Teacher’s confiscation of student’s cell phone upheld
In the Fall of 2008, Anthony Koch attended Sylvan Hills High School in Arkansas. The school had a policy prohibiting cell phones in classrooms. Anthony violated the rule and his teacher, Nancy Adams, took his phone and turned it over to the principal.
The case went to the Arkansas Supreme Court and in March, 2010, it ruled against Anthony. It stated that Arkansas law allows school districts to “prescribe minimum and maximum penalties, including students’ suspension or dismissal from school.” The school is not limited to these penalties – certainly taking a student’s cell phone for a period of time falls within the statutory limits. As the U.S. Supreme Court has stated, courts hesitate to get involved in micro- managing schools unless a constitutional violation has occurred.
Many middle and high schools across the country have cell phone policies in place. Look for the one that applies to you in your student handbook. It should include penalties for violation and how to get the phone back.
*Koch v. Adams, 2010 Ark 131 (2010).