Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pennsylvania School Settles Sexting Case

If you are interested in learning a new word daily to increase your vocabulary try this one out: sexting. That is the term being used to describe the latest school vs. a minor case involving personal property, nudity and the classroom.

In this instance, a school's principal searched a student's cell phone, uncovered naked pictures of that student, and then handed the evidence into the authorities. I may not be a world-renown detective, but even I know that is a big no-no. How did a school principal not figure this out?

The case has now been settled out of court, with the student being awarded over $30,000 from the school. While the amount of money will help that student knock out a few thousand monthly phone bills, it could have been more given the public embarrassment she suffered due to what was found and reported to authorities.

I understand the tough ground teachers find themselves in today. Students of all ages are wielding smart phones that are a distraction to the classroom and drive teachers crazy. However, there is a fine line between taking someone's phone because they are using it in school and actually searching it AND handing that evidence over to the authorities. The principal could have simply taken the phone (even if he knew what was on it) and disciplined the student for using a phone in the classroom and maybe privately warned the student of her behavior. Instead, the teacher crossed the line, and hopefully this will serve a valuable lesson to other educators as to where to draw the line with confiscating student property.

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