Q: I am a middle school teacher. I see students passing their phones around to share pictures on their phones. Sometimes I get a glimpse of the pictures and they look “questionable” to me. Can I take the students’ phones? Can I search the phones? The students are quick, they often turn them off if I ask to see the pictures or messages. -Tired of Phones in My Classroom
I see students passing their phones around to share pictures on their phones. Sometimes I get a glimpse of the pictures and they look “questionable” to me. Can I take the students’ phones? Can I search the phones?
A: If you are concerned with content being passed around, you can “search” the phone for the concern you identify when you take the phone. “Searches must be reasonable in their inception and in their scope.” You can look at a student’s pictures on a phone (if that’s what you saw that concerned you), but you can’t look at all of a student’s texts and contacts. Make yourself aware of your school’s policy! If your school policy directs that you have the school resource officer conduct the search, obey the policy.
What is UPPAC? UPPAC is a committee of nine educators and two community members charged with maintaining and promoting a high standard of professional conduct and ethics among Utah teachers. It is advisory to the Utah State Board of Education in making recommendations regarding educator licensing and may take appropriate disciplinary action regarding educator misconduct.
For more information about UPPAC or to submit your questions to the UPPAC Q&A, contact William Spiegel at email@example.com or by phone at 801-538-7500.
Read the UPPAC newsletter, “Utah School Law Update,” for more Utah public education legal news and information.