Florida County Allows Teachers to Read Student Text Messages


Phil Leggiere
Don’t Tase Me, Bro
May 28, 2008

MyFox Tampa Bay reports:

Kids love using their cell phones to send text messages. But now Manatee County has a new rule that say if teachers think the students are up to no good, those texts can be read.

"If we suspect kids are plotting together and we have that suspicion, we’ll search that," said School Board attorney John Bowen.

It’s not just what may have been written, but also what may have been photographed. Teachers now have the power to check cell phone pictures if they think test questions were photographed or inappropriate pictures were taken of unsuspecting students.

And legal experts agree. Kids can’t argue it’s an invasion of privacy because the rules are different on school grounds.

"The constitutional rights inside school are not the same as out in the street," Bowen reminded.

But other legal experts are disappointed in the new policy.

"Anytime you start talking about lowering the standard to get around Fourth Amendment protection against searches and seizures, you always have some concern," said Bradenton attorney Matt Whyte.

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