Nashua officials seek advice on issue of student cellphone searches vs. privacy
The question was raised in the wake of the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision last month banning cellphone searches by police without a warrant. According to the decision, scrolling through a cellphone, which is often loaded with personal information, is a violation of the Fourth Amendment that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.
“The New Hampshire School Board Association has recently warned that we not search cellphones,” Conrad told the board. He said he didn’t feel the district was compelled to immediately follow that warning.
In Manchester, school Superintendent Debra Livingston said she consulted with the school district’s lawyer, and he does not believe the Supreme Court decision, which sets a standard for criminal law, applies to students. Livingston said principals search student cellphones and other property when they believe a student or the school could be in danger. That would include sexting, or sending explicit photos and messages, she said.
“Attorney Bennett will offer a legal opinion, and I suspect you will see other opinions,” said Conrad, who mentioned the issue was also being researched by an expert on school law at the University of New Hampshire.
District 2 state Rep. Neal Kurk of Weare, who introduced HB1533, said the laws are already clear. Although obtaining a warrant prior to a cellphone search has been the common practice throughout much of the state for several years, Kurk said the bill establishes a clear and common set of rules.
But there is, according to Kurk, one major difference.
“When it comes to children, different laws apply,” he said.
“The concept is a school has the right to do whatever is reasonable to provide a safe, educational environment,” he said.
“It is not illegal for a parent to search a child’s cellphone,” said Kurk.
“I think by the time school starts, we will have a plethora of interesting opinions on this,” he said.
READER COMMENTS: 1
- Bird causes Concord-area power outage Monday - 0
- Swanzey solar array should be completed by end of 2014 - 1
- New Londonderry transmission line project will add 60 more utility poles - 0
- 'Northern Trespass' film to be screened in Nashua on Thursday night - 0
- Mount Washington Auto Road to host largest gathering of alternative-energy based vehicles in North America - 0
- Ayotte says Northern Pass lines should be buried beneath roads - 12
- Tariffs tabled in state energy talks - 2
- Without an exemption, Goffstown resident must pay high taxes on solar energy panels - 1
- State asked to re-evaluate Livermore Falls settlement deal - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Man stabbed in leg in Manchester incident - 0
- Senate sustains Hassan veto of bill to revamp juvenile justice system - 0
- Possible negotiated plea for Nashua dad accused of negligent homicide in son's death - 0
- Amherst man facing charges in August Merrimack accident - 0
- Dan Tuohy's Granite Status: Brown calls on Shaheen to back bill targeting ISIS - 4
- Traffic backed up a mile in Hampton tractor-trailer accident - 0
- Woman shot during Manchester drug raid is identified - 0
- Citizen's Police Academy in Manchester set for Oct. 1 - 0
- NHIAA Football Power Poll; Who's No. 1 this week? - 0
In 2nd District race, Garcia bucks Obamacare
Attorney claims illegal phone seizure following Christmas Eve accident that killed Brookline mom
Find the hidden cash stashed downtown
Strategery: A war by any other name
Freeh dumb: Favoritism in Vt.?
Lawyer wants cellphone evidence thrown out
Mexican man pleads guilty in international conspiracy to traffic hundreds of pounds of cocaine
Your Turn, NH -- Ted Menswar Jr.: How Manchester pulled together to honor one of its greats