Principals Claim Right to Search Cell Phones

By Tyler B. Reed/ Daily News Staff

FRAMINGHAM -- High school administrators under a new policy are claiming the right to snatch information stored in students' cell phones when they search for drugs or stolen property at school.

The change clarifies the school's search and seizure policy, adding cell phones to the list of places school officials can snoop if they suspect a student has contraband.

Federal law says school officials need only "reasonable suspicion" of the presence of drugs or stolen goods to conduct searches.

"We reserve the right to look through the cell phone," Principal Michael Welch said. "It would be no different than if a student were to have a notebook. We've had instances of graffiti. We've looked through a notebook and found identical instances of graffiti."

The apparent broadening of principals' search rights drew criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

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Students Cry Foul Over Cell Phone Policy: Teens Say Officials Are 'Overreacting' and Violating Their Privacy

By Eric Athas/ Daily News Correspondent

FRAMINGHAM -- Fearing their wireless freedom may be in jeopardy, students at Framingham High School were fuming over a new school policy that allows administrators to seize cell phones and search their contents.

The policy, administrators say, is to improve security and stop the sale of drugs and stolen goods, but students said that the edict is an invasion of privacy.

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Monty Solomon
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