On September 1, 2009, the ACLU filed suit against the Desoto County, Mississippi school district. The ACLU believes that the student had his civil rights violated while he was at school. The reason for this is because of a simple device that many students in high school and junior high school now carry…a cell phone.
The student, Richard, had his phone confiscated while he was at school. The punishment for using the phone while in school carries the penalty of having your parents come to get the phone and having to pay a fine for its return. The problem was that the school district office personnel went too far and started to go through the phone. While going through the phone and checking all of the intimate details that were on the phone the staff stumbled upon something that they felt posed a threat.
The item that the personnel came across was a picture of Richard holding a BB gun and posing with it in his bathroom. The staff felt as though it had bad implications and that they had the need to turn the phone over to the police. The local police force then came to the conclusion that the picture on the phone indicated gang involvement by the honor student. The problem was that neither the police, nor the staff of the school had the right to go through the phone or anything that was on it.
This is what got the ACLU involved. Because not only did the student receive a three day suspension because of the personal picture on his camera, but he ended up being removed from school for the remainder of the year.
The lawsuit is claiming that the student has rights even when in school and has been filed against the principal, football coach, police and the city as well. The hope of this case is to aid in the preservation of the rights of the students to allow for the privacy and the chance of the students to not feel as though they are in a prison environment while they are there.