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orange
09-21-2010, 05:44 PM
Girl, 17, sues officials who found nude pics on her phone

Though they were never e-mailed, school alerted prosecutors; teen gets $33

By John Springer
TODAYshow.com contributor
updated 9/21/2010 2:17:09 PM ET


A Pennsylvania teen who stored intimate photos of herself on her cell phone — but never e-mailed or shared them with anyone other than her longtime boyfriend — settled her federal privacy case against high school officials who had seized the phone without a warrant and turned it over to prosecutors. According to the U.K. Daily Mail, the school agreed to pay the teen and her attorneys $33,000.

Still unsettled, however, is the question of how far educators can go when it comes to fulfilling their obligation to keep sexually explicit images, audio and text from reaching the eyes and ears of minors while on school grounds.

"I hope this settlement will lead school officials in the future to consider whether they have valid grounds to search students' private text messages, emails and photos," the teen, now 19, said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

To protect her privacy, the teen was named as “N.N.” on the federal complaint the ACLU filed on her behalf. According to it, in January 2009 she was preparing to answer her ringing cell phone on school grounds, a violation of the district policy, when a teacher seized the phone. Summoned to the principal’s office later, the student said the principal confronted her with several images of her exposed breasts found on the phone.

Because of a district policy adopted to deter students from circulating inappropriate images or “sexting,” the 90-minute in-school detention that N.N. normally would have been given for using the cell phone instead became a three-day suspension from school.

In addition, the local district attorney's office mounted an investigation. In the lawsuit, the ACLU claimed that a prosecutor threatened to file charges against the teen if she didn't attend a special class. Instead, N.N. sued everyone involved — including a district attorney’s office investigator who she claimed made the comment that if she had waited a few months until her 18th birthday, Playboy would have published the photos.

"I was absolutely horrified and humiliated to learn that school officials, men in [the] DA's office and police had seen naked pictures of me," N.N., who graduated from the school in 2009, said in a statement released when the lawsuit was filed last year. "Those pictures were extremely private and not meant for anyone else's eyes. What they did is the equivalent of spying on me through my bedroom window."

Although the school district involved settled the lawsuit without admitting any wrongdoing, N.N. is still suing the Wyoming County District Attorney’s Office, which so far has not commented on the suit. A spokesperson could not be reached.

No standard policy
The case didn’t make it to a federal jury, and so far school districts around the country have yet to agree on a standard cell phone search or seizure policy that will pass muster with the courts and privacy groups.

..In Washington state, for example, where a school district contemplated a policy that would permit school officials to search students' cell phones without their permission, the regional ACLU office warned that such searches impinge on student privacy rights much more than traditional backpack or locker searches.

"Cell phones store a virtually limitless amount of highly personal information dating back months or years,” ACLU-Washington Technology and Liberty Project director Brian Alseth wrote in a letter to one district superintendent. “By searching a smart phone, administrators could determine a student’s political views, whether a student is having relationship problems, whether their parents might be considering a divorce, whether the student has personal health issues or is pregnant, and whether the student likes sports, World of Warcraft, or shopping for lingerie."

The ACLU has recommended that districts adopt cell phone policies that permit educators to seize devices if they disrupt the learning process, but to not search them without express consent from the student or their legal guardian.

© 2010 MSNBC Interactive. Reprints

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/39290437/ns/today-parenting?GT1=43001

BIG_DADDY
09-21-2010, 05:47 PM
She was horrified. LMAO

SNR
09-21-2010, 05:50 PM
Glad to hear I'm not the only person out there who keeps nude photos of myself on my cell phone

Saul Good
09-21-2010, 07:14 PM
She was horrified. LMAO

I'm sure she was. They had no right to search through her phone.

vailpass
09-21-2010, 07:19 PM
I'd need to see all of the evidence before making any judgements.

orange
09-21-2010, 07:41 PM
I'm sure she was. They had no right to search through her phone.

Hear, hear.

Velvet_Jones
09-21-2010, 09:15 PM
If you don't see the slit - you must acquit.

ClevelandBronco
09-21-2010, 09:23 PM
I'm sure she was. They had no right to search through her phone.

Agreed entirely.

If, however, school officials ever were to come across evidence of potentially dangerous behavior on the part of one of my minor children, I would be happy if they would share it with me and any other appropriate authorities. In the vast majority of cases that I can imagine (including this one, at least given the facts as presented in the article) I would promise not to sue them. I would instead be grateful for the assistance.

Saul Good
09-22-2010, 07:30 AM
Agreed entirely.

If, however, school officials ever were to come across evidence of potentially dangerous behavior on the part of one of my minor children, I would be happy if they would share it with me and any other appropriate authorities. In the vast majority of cases that I can imagine (including this one, at least given the facts as presented in the article) I would promise not to sue them. I would instead be grateful for the assistance.

I agree with this to the extent that they happened upon the information randomly rather than invading their privacy in order to do so. If I had a daughter in middle school, I would want to know if they found her passing a note that said she was having sex with her boyfriend. I wouldn't want them doing mandatory hymen checks on all students because they have heard that some are sexually active, though. This is closer to the latter than the former.

Chief Henry
09-22-2010, 09:15 AM
If you don't see the slit - you must acquit.

LMAO

Chief Henry
09-22-2010, 09:15 AM
Lets see the evidence...

ClevelandBronco
09-22-2010, 10:13 AM
I wouldn't want them doing mandatory hymen checks on all students because they have heard that some are sexually active, though.

Are you also courageously opposed to torturing students to the point of confession?

BIG_DADDY
09-22-2010, 10:28 AM
On a serious note, I would expect these monkey spankers to check out her pics hoping for some new material to rub one out to but what amazes me is that they would actually make an issue out of finding it. That being said isn't that why they have phone lock codes? If your going to walk around with pictures of the daily box lunch special shouldn't you at least use the code?

vailpass
09-22-2010, 11:52 AM
On a serious note, I would expect these monkey spankers to check out her pics hoping for some new material to rub one out to but what amazes me is that they would actually make an issue out of finding it. That being said isn't that why they have phone lock codes? If your going to walk around with pictures of the daily box lunch special shouldn't you at least use the code?

LMAO