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  • ACLU
The ACLU of Washington has lashed out at the Oak Harbor School District for a sexting policy which it says is going too far. The ACLU contends that allowing school administrators to search students' cell phones without their or their parents' permission to prevent sexting is a violation of privacy. The school district has defended its actions, saying that the rules were crafted to prevent cyber-bullying and has already been adopted by other schools.

But ACLU Technology and Liberty Project director Brian Alseth wrote in a letter to the district superintendent, “The proposed policy is overly broad... Searching telecommunication devices impinges on student privacy significantly more than a traditional backpack or locker search. Cell phones store a virtually limitless amount of highly personal information dating back months or years." The group argues that administrators could determine a student’s political views, poke into their personal relationships, investigate their parents personal relationships, find out if the student is pregnant, or discover other private details that aren't the school's business.

The ACLU recommended that the district restrict its phone-search policy to cases where officials have reasonable suspicion that a phone contains illegal content and then turn the device over to law enforcement. Law enforcement officials could then get a search warrant if there is probable cause.

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