In Albany, N.Y., the father of a 14-year-old teenager whose iPhone was confiscated after he was caught texting during class is fighting mad. Not because of the confiscation (I’m guessing most parents have no problem with teachers laying down the law against in-class phone-use.) But because of what the school principal did next. He searched the phone, discovered “inappropriate” pictures of the teenager’s ex-girlfriend, and proceeded to call the Albany County Sheriff’s Department.
My own 15-year-old son, who not too long ago had his iPod Touch confiscated for the day when it somehow “accidentally” started playing music during class, happened to be getting ready for school as I read the thoroughly reported Albany Times-Union story. I recounted the details to him.
“Isn’t that just wrong?” he asked.
Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? And the answer appears to be in legal limbo-land. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of case law on whether the Fourth Amendment protects smartphones against unreasonable search and seizure in high schools.