Wilson Co. Schools Proposal Would Accept Student Cell Phone Searches For Texts, Pictures :: WRAL.com


– Parents in the Wilson County School District are calling a proposed rule that would search students’ phones at school as a privacy violation.

Wilson’s parents say they believe the proposal could put their children at risk.

“It’s just that it’s a terrible idea,” Wilson’s parent Jayme Daniels said. “It’s privacy, it’s a violation of privacy.”

At a meeting on August 16, the Wilson County School Board heard the first reading of Policy 4342 – Student Searches.

According to the proposal, if a student was suspected of breaking school rules or the law, the school could search their cell phone for evidence, including their text messages and photos.

The proposal stated that the search should be reasonably related to the investigation and not excessively intrusive. But a school board member spoke out against the proposed rule.

District 7 Representative and Lawyer Rhyan Breen told WRAL News that even if the policy seemed constitutional, it would be nearly impossible to search for a specific text or image on a phone without reading the rest.

Breen said that because students’ phones often contain information from the rest of the family, the proposal could also violate the privacy of students and their parents.

Parents said they agreed.

“It’s just going to create some controversy and some issues that don’t need to be there,” Daniels said.

Daniels, a former middle school teacher, said a student’s phone should only be searched by police, especially when photos are involved.

“I have a daughter who will soon be 15, and I certainly don’t want a phone in the hands of someone I don’t know well, looking at pictures of her and her friends,” Daniels said.

In response, Wilson School Board President Christine Finch said the board gets policy advice from its legal counsel at the August 16 meeting and that first readings of proposals are often refined before they are voted on.

The proposal was to be discussed again at the next Wilson School Board meeting on September 20, where it could be revised.

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