The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Don’t count on the Constitution to protect your privacy

It’s become quite trendy in the days following the sexting scandal to rant about how the school policy that allows paraprofessionals to confiscate and search our cell phones infringes on our constitutional rights. While our stance on the matter will not be popular among the student body, the “constitutional rights” argument is both legally and rationally false.

It is absolutely true that cell phones, like any other belonging we bring to school, are personal property. In normal circumstances, it would certainly infringe on our rights as American citizens if someone were given authority to take our cell phones without probable cause or a warrant. However, stepping into the halls of New Trier throws normal circumstances out the window.

Anything you bring to school with you becomes property of New Trier while you are on school grounds. Sure, we will gladly admit that this policy is unsettling, especially when it comes to cell phones, which hold our personal text conversations with family and friends. However, there is a simple way to protect your phone if you are truly so passionate about your privacy that you would rant against the school taking it—just don’t bring your phone to school. How hard is that?

“Well, I need my cell phone with me at school,” you might say in response to this. While it may seem like the world is going to end without you receiving your best friend’s latest tweet about Gangnam Style the second he or she taps it out, it won’t.

“What happens if I need to make a call?” Every single one of your teachers has a phone at their desk and there is a phone in every classroom. If all these phones spontaneously combust, there’s a courtesy phone for exactly this purpose in the first floor vestibule between the B and C stairwells.

“Okay, well what if I need to send a text?” Is it really out of your social capabilities to ask one of your classmates to borrow their cell phone?

“But all of my contacts are in my phone! I don’t want to have to memorize all of them.” Fact: People were writing  phone numbers on paper before the New Trier News started publishing egregious typos in our headlines and front-page stories.

“You’re making me seem immature and are being really condescending!” Deal with it.

Humor aside, it is not unjust for paraprofessionals to be able to take our phones on a whim to check them for evidence in a very serious criminal investigation. Every time you bring anything to school, including your cell phone, you accept that fact that the school may have control of it as long as you are on its grounds.

So feel free to leave the phone at home and then cry a river about how you can’t waste your time playing Temple Run during your free period. But if you bring your phone to school, you are making a conscious decision to subject it to a school policy. While our country is a democracy, our school is not, and rights that may be afforded to us outside of its walls frequently stay there.

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