Last week, before school started, a student at R.A. Brown Middle School in Hillsboro, Oregon was wearing a hat in the school gym. One of the teachers asked him to remove his hat and the student refused. His refusal resulted in a confrontation between the student and two teachers who ended up escorting the student out of the gym.
Several of the other students in the gym used their cell phones to take videos of the confrontation. Later that day, teachers confiscated the cell phones of the other students present in the gym. When the phones were returned to the students, they discovered that the videos of the confrontation had been deleted and that the teachers had also accessed their photos and messaging apps.
One of the students who videoed the confrontation was Khloey Summers who told the local news station of her phone being confiscated by the teachers. Before the teachers were able to delete the video from her phone, her mother Melissa Siegel stepped in. But when Khloey did get her phone back, she discovered that the teachers had been going through her photos and some of the apps she had on her cell phone. Siegel was outraged when she heard what happened to her daughter’s phone. She told the local news:
“Granted, she’s 13 [but] she still has rights. Clearly, I don’t feel like my daughter did anything wrong. I feel like her rights are violated, by going through her phone and text messages.”
Celia Watt, the mother of the defiant boy in the gym admits that her son was wrong. The school suspended him and the police arrested him for harassment and disorderly conduct. Watt also spoke to the local news telling them that the teachers were wrong in deleting the videos of her son’s confrontation:
“Deleting videos after accusing someone? That’s just suspicious behavior.”
In following up on the story, the local new station, KATU obtained a copy of the school’s search and seizure section of the student handbook and found this:
“Building administrators may search the person, personal property, and student vehicles and seize property deemed dangerous and detrimental to the safety and welfare of the students and staff.”
KATU pointed out that there is nothing in the student handbook that says that teachers of school officials can destroy property which they did by deleting the videos from the student’s phones. Parents are also saying that the teachers had no right to search through their children’s phones, looking at their photos and messaging apps. They plan on showing up at the school to confront the teachers and school administrators about what happened.
We are hearing of too many incidents where teachers and/or school administrators have violated the constitutional rights of students. Earlier this year some Florida schools took iris scans of their students without parental knowledge or permission. Another Florida school was brainwashing students to be willing to give up the constitutional rights to the school in order to be safer and more secure. Don’t forget then 16 year old Samantha Pawlucy whose geometry teacher last year tried to order her to take off her Romney/Ryan shirt and then tried to deface it, because the teacher was a liberal Democrat.
Teachers and school administrators seem to have the feeling that children do not have the same rights as adults, but they forget that students are American citizens with the same constitutional rights they have. If it were up to me, I would require every person pursuing a teaching degree and teacher’s credentials to have to take at least one class that covers the constitutional rights of students and teachers. Those rights need to include issues of religion, free speech and personal rights that include search, seizure and physical contact. Then teachers would have no excuse when they violate a student’s constitutional rights and would be punished accordingly for willingly doing such. Perhaps then students would no longer be treated as third rate citizens or chattel with little to no rights.