Does the principal of a school have permission to look through a child's phone? Isn't that "Invasion of Privacy"?

Asked over 2 years ago - Hialeah, FL

Doesn't he need a Search Warrant, because hes technically "searching the kids phone"?

Additional information

My Friends and I were in a trip to Washington D.C. at night we've got bored and decided to have a dance competition. We would send each other funny videos of us dancing because were kids and have nothing else better to do. So my friend took a video of one of his roommates in the room and he is Autistic. The video was him having an reaction of a video he watch. But my friend sent it to two girls in the trip. and he got in trouble for it. With out any questions, my teacher took the phone and gave it tot the principal. Does the principal have permission to look in his phone? Is it Legal?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Robert Lincoln

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . There isn't a single easy answer to this.

    If you are a minor, and on a school trip, you are subject to all of the school's rules. Your parents may have signed a consent form that allows the teacher to monitor your activities. Under some circumstances, the teacher and principal might be, in effect, your temporary parents. That would give them the right to give themselves consent to search your phone, especially if there was already information or evidence that you had participated in violating rules.

    However, there may be more (or less) to it depending on exactly where and how this took place.

  2. Lana Lea Traynor

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Lincoln about the school's rules following you on a field trip, outside school hours, off campus, etc. And, yes, your parent(s), if you are under the age of 18 years old, likely signed a consent form that detailed the rules, expected code of conduct, etc. Another place that you may wish to look for information is your school's policy handbook/code of conduct. Many schools are posting its handbook online (either at the particular school's website and/or on the District's main website). Most likely, you will find that the answer to your question, which I suspect is that the principal had the right to do what he did under the scenario set forth above.

    Good luck!

    Note: I am not licensed to practice law in your state. I provide this response for general, information purposes... more

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