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New Sexting Policy Allows Troy Schools to Search Students' Electronics

The Board of Education adopted the new policy at its July 10 regular meeting.

The Board of Education recently adopted a strict new policy aimed at preventing sexting in Troy schools.

"It was just a matter of being proactive and recognizing that unfortunately across the United States with the proliferation of communication devices and social media, it's … only a matter of time before this may occur," Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Rich Machesky told The Detroit News.

The new policy forbids "sending, sharing viewing or merely possessing sexually explicit digital pictures, messages, text messages, emails or other material of a sexual nature in electronic form or other form on a computer, cell phone or other electronic device" while on school property or while attending school-sponsored events.

But it goes one step further, allowing the schools to take action if they suspect a student of sexting, including confiscating and searching the student's electronic device.

"Students and their parents/guardians are hereby placed on notice that in any suspected investigation of a sexting incident, a school official may search a student’s cell phone, computer or other electronic device if reasonable suspicion exists that a student has been involved in sexting," reads the policy. "All evidence and electronic devices shall be turned-over to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and will not be retained by the district."

A student suspected of texting may face disciplinary action, and the students' parents may be contacted. Also, if warranted, "the school shall report the suspected activity to the appropriate authorities related to suspected child abuse or neglect."

Students who violate the next texting policy face disciplinary action, "including losing the privilege of bringing the device onto school property" and "a report being made to law enforcement." 

The new policy has raised concerns with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, including how broadly it defines materials of a sexual nature, according to a report from CBS Detroit.

The group’s legal director, Michael Stienberg, told CBS Detroit that sexting usually involves kids being careless or irresponsible, and that the students aren’t criminals and “shouldn’t be treated that way.”

To read the entire text of the sexting policy, please see the attached PDF file.

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Peoplearenuts July 31, 2012 at 03:36 PM
How about a policy that bans all electronic devices except those that are needed in the classroom?? There is no need to text, tweet, call or whatever else these kids think they are "entitled" to when they are in school. They are there to learn. Leave the phones and whatever else in the locker, or check them in at the office and pick them up at the end of the day. They are teenagers in school to learn - they have no rights.
canseeallsides July 31, 2012 at 06:19 PM
You are speaking for your sheeple-to-be kids and not mine. "Your" kids can trade in their rights for whatever state whim is in fashion... My kids have ABSOLUTE rights and I would sue if they search anything without their parents consent, under the fourth amendment. Best course of action is to call the parents, share the schools suspicions and let THEM decide. Teach your kids this important statement PLEASE, "I do not consent to your unlawful search, stop until you call my parents". Aware (non-lazy) parents please meet with your teachers to find out their knowledge on your role, their role and the child's rights. Since when do crazy institutional policies out rank the constitution? Which right of YOURS (or your childs) will they take before you have had enough? This is a pattern of poor judgement from misguided Troy Michigan and their views. SHAME! http://boycotttroy.com
ljd July 31, 2012 at 11:05 PM
I think they have gone too far with this and there are too many gray areas as well. The schools have had rules for not using electronics in school and because they did not enforce them properly, it has come to this? Was there an incident we do not know about? The problem that will be is there is going to be that one adult that goes overboard and "assumes" a child is "sexting" or whatever, and follows the procedure to where the cops get involved and give the child a bad name for nothing. Especially some teachers that may not like a child very well, this would be perfect for them to use! What a kid has on their phone is their private property and is irrelevant to if they happened to do a quick text. Ok, so how about we turn the tables now. Say an adult is spotted using their phone, can a child now report them as well? Can the child request to search their phone to see what pictures etc they have stored? This new procedure/rule should apply to all in the school. No employee should be using their cell phone during school hours as well. Save your calls for when you get off work. Sorry, this isn't going to fly very well....can't wait to tell my son this one!!!!
ljd July 31, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Very good comment and thanks for bringing up the 4th amendment! And your advice on the important statement that I WILL be making my son memorize to the tee!!!!
ljd July 31, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Troy has always had a no cell phone rule etc.....they never reinforced them and now they think they have to do this? Now they are going overboard to cover their butts! I agree kids shouldn't have to be using their cell phones or ipads or whatever...no need to be using them during school. Like I said though, Troy failed on their part to enforce their own rule. And the kids do have rights. No employees should be using their electronics for personal use during school hours either.
uknowimright August 01, 2012 at 07:19 AM
Since when is it illegal for minors to have sexual contact with other minors? The "sexting" thing is just a scapegoat to allow schools more powers to intrude into the lives of not only the students, but parents, and even unknowing relatives, as well. Do you really think this issue is about sex? No! It's about the school being intrusive, plain and simple. Funny thing is, people cry "communist" when we try and be pro-active in preventing problems, such as unwed pregnancy, etc, but look at the Netherlands - they're as liberal and unreligious a nation as you can get, but their teen pregnancy and STD rates are the lowest in the world! Must be doing something right. Just teaching kids that "sex is immoral" and that sex is a religious issue are NOT the answers. Just look at the south, if that's not proof enough for you, then you have your heads buried under a rock!
M&P9 Pro August 02, 2012 at 05:29 AM
It's called the 4th amendment.
Chris Wosik August 08, 2012 at 01:42 PM
hey dudes, amendments don't apply in schools lol, there has never been freedom of speech let alone any others. also parents allowing their kids phones in school are at fault, kids have survived how many years before cells phones???
canseeallsides September 18, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Factually speaking this just is not true. Does the Constitution apply in school? Yes. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District that students do not “shed” their free-speech rights “at the schoolhouse gate.” This means that public school students retain some level of free-expression rights, even during the school day. (We the) people, please!
Peter Griffin September 18, 2012 at 04:19 PM
easy ---- count to 10 and relax
Peter Griffin September 18, 2012 at 04:23 PM
children do not need phones at school. The office has a phone if the "child" needs to contact their parents. If the parents need to contact the "child", they can call the office and the office can relay a message. Holy cr@p people....kids don't NEED a phone in school.
canseeallsides September 19, 2012 at 12:59 PM
"Kids do not need a phone" is a great point of view and you should be allowed to decide this for your child, not the school (unless it's a destraction obviously). I think the point of this is the over reach and invasion of privacy. I'll bet you'd wish you had a way to call your child in a nightmare situation. Let's see if they can get to and use that office phone during lock-down. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CELL CALLS TO PARENTS HAPPEN IN THESE AWFUL SCHOOL DISASTERS? This is just one example of a possible need. Please don't disable our children just because the previous generation doesn't relate to the tech or thinks there might be a bad use for it.
Peter Griffin September 19, 2012 at 02:14 PM
NO, I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY CELL PHONE CALLS TO PARENTS HAPPEN IN THESE RARE SCHOOL DISASTERS. Do you know how many? That is the only justification for a child having a phone in school -- in preparation for the rare instance of a school disaster. Cell phones in schools are a problem...they are mainly used for: taking embarrassing pics of someone in gym class (showers) and sending to everyone, texting friends when children should be paying attention in class, texting friends about 'what is the answer to test question #3, children making fun of teachers behind their back via text, placing video of a teacher yelling at a student or children taunting a special ed child on Youtube, etc. No child "needs" a phone in school, and no where in the U.S. Constitution or State Constitution does it give children the right to bear cell phones. Quit being your child's "best friend" (hey...look at me....I'm the 'cool' parent) and be a parent.
John David September 19, 2012 at 02:36 PM
You ask, "since when is it illegal for minors to have sexual contact with other minors" See: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(skt5e245uv0ye445mo4o3555))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-750-520d Michigan Penal Code 328 of 1931
canseeallsides September 19, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Please highlight the portion you think applies. That does not say anything about minors with minors. As I read it, each one of those are for adults (18 or over).
canseeallsides September 19, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I am my children's main advocate and protector, not their friend. I have a responsiblity also to prepare them for their future, this is most parents' priority. What do you think will happen to these children that are not "allowed" to be responsible by taking EVERYTHING away. I am trying to see your zero tolerence as an effective way to debate, but it only comes off as lazy and shows disinterest in your child's relationships. I hope you see the good in our children and their abililties, you sound hateful. You are stereo-typing young people and showing real ignorance. When you "allow" a child to live, yes they will make mistakes (that's how they learn), but they also learn how to be a responsible adult. Closing off young people's world may make it easier or safer for lazy teachers and parents but it will ruin our future. I found many other reasons to have a cell phone, I just listed one I thought you would understand. Search "reasons children should have a phone" or "cell phone call during school shootings." And finally, please don't disable perfectly good children.
Peter Griffin September 19, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Not allowing a child to take a cell phone to school is hardly taking "everything" away. Not allowing children to take cell phones to school doesn't make me, or other parents who feel this way, last parents -- they simply don't "need" it to function in school. I would rather talk with my kids face to face than to have our only means of communication be a "lazy" text message. Oh well, I guess some "parents" give in to their child's every want....wonder who wears the pants in that household....the kids? Kids may make mistakes, but it is best to minimize the effect of those mistakes on other people. We don't need children playing their little "phone pranks" on innocent people and just saying "sorry" when they realize it's wrong....or only realize its wrong when they are caught. I bet the number of pre-teen and teen suicides from cyber-bullying (and using cell phone cameras to facilitate the bullying) are higher than the number of kids that are fatally wounded in school tragedies.
Peter Griffin September 19, 2012 at 07:37 PM
@ canseeallsides (which I don't believe you do) A solution to the sexting problem, even though I agree with the school's policy, would be to do what large corporations do to protect sensitive properties from being photographed by employees....put a red sticker over the camera lense. This would prevent the embarrassing photos from being taken and distributed. Another solution would be to allow only "jitterbug" or "firefly" phones in school. The first solution would not stop texting during school hours, but the second solution would. I like the idea (if children MUST have phones in school) of the jitterbug or firefly because they can only call and receive numbers that the parents allow. This way, no creeps can contact them either (hey, just what a "protector" would do).
canseeallsides September 19, 2012 at 09:09 PM
PG said, "they simply don't "need" it to function in school." Thank you for validating my view about the previous generation being clueless to new tech. Kids need a device in most schools, kids will need a device in all schools sooner or later. We need to teach responsiblity and consequences, not just disable their abilities by banning tools. A misuse of a tool does not remove the value of a tool, but it does create a dilema and a debate. Thank you for participating, and I do try to see all sides, my username is not agreewithallsides. This is not about your ideals vs mine, agreed? It's about our child's rights and responsiblities. I definately see your side. I hope whatever happened to you or your child, you don't project that "victim" hate to all people?
John David September 19, 2012 at 10:07 PM
canseeallsides: 750.520d Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree; felony. Sec. 520d. (1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree if the person engages in sexual penetration with another person and if any of the following circumstances exist: (a) That other person is at least 13 years of age and under 16 years of age. For more info, here's an attorney's website which gives an example of a 15 year old and a 14 year old and the Michigan Court of Appeals' unanimous affirmation of an order for the 15 year old to register as a sex offender. http://www.protectingyourfuture.info/teenage-sex-criminal-sexual-conduct-and-the-sex-offender-registration-act
Peter Griffin September 19, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Nothing "happened" to me, my children, or anyone I know (quit thinking you can psycho-analyze people -- you stink at it). kids today (12 - 18yrs old) have the biggest sense of entitlement thanks to parents that try to be their friend first and the parent last. Trying to treat little kids like little adults just reinforces that sense of entitlement. Kids are kids and adults need to act like adults. I still say children don't NEED a phone in school. That doesn't rule out all technology (please stop with the generalizations). There are still laptops, tablets and good old paper and pencils. I understand that when kids have kids at a very young age, it is hard not to see yourself as their best friend (due to the lack of age difference). A lot of very young parents want to be the cool parent and point out how the administration is making too many rules and "they are not going to trample on my kids rights". It's actually quite adorable. Either way, the school's rule will probably stay and.....well.....too bad. At no time in your incoherent ramblings did you make any sense at all. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened. You are awarded no points; and may God have mercy on your soul.
canseeallsides September 20, 2012 at 12:59 AM
PG said, "easy ---- count to 10 and relax" Am I the only one who doesn't know what you are referring?
canseeallsides September 20, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Yes, I see. It could apply to underage people, I did not think that. This needs to be changed, it also should be up to BOTH minors and their parents/guardians. They have changed this a little and added a chance to prove consent. Thank you for sharing this info J.D. it is very good to know.
canseeallsides September 20, 2012 at 02:03 AM
I am a much older than the average parent... you are off, just way off. This has NOTHING to do with whether cell phones are allowed or good/bad. It has to do with not assuming everyone is a criminal that needs their phone searched to protect us from our own good (or bad). And to be VERY clear my kids do not have cell phones. I agree with parents not being "friends", that is not the role the kids need. I have yet to meet a parent that wasn't doing their best. Although I love you as a human, honestly I could care more or less about you or your kids, I am not analyzing just trying to reason how someone could be so afraid.
canseeallsides September 20, 2012 at 02:07 AM
"There are still laptops, tablets and good old paper and pencils." ...and you are ok with anyone searching these without your (the parents) consent?
canseeallsides September 20, 2012 at 02:24 AM
"At no time in your incoherent ramblings did you make any sense at all. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened. You are awarded no points; and may God have mercy on your soul." I am not keeping score. I may be wrong and can learn from anyone. No one is making you read my comments, but you are so... you're welcome. I am seeking truth and compatibility not points. I will go away from this thread in life now carrying some of your point of view, thank you. I dream we are responsible and social enough to learn from each other and govern ourselves. Let's stick to facts and view points. I am sorry for assuming something must have happened to you.

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