Mississippi business litigation – ACLU sues school district over cell phone search!

Legal news for Mississippi general litigation lawyers. ACLU sues a Mississippi school district for illegal cell phone search.

Mississippi lawyers alert- The American Civil Liberties Union sued Desoto County School District over cell phone search.

Southaven, MS– The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) http://www.aclu.org/ filed a lawsuit against DeSoto County School District for violating a middle school students civil rights. A middle school honor student was reportedly kicked out of school after school officials searched his phone and allegedly found “gang-related activities”, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The federal civil rights lawsuit, filed by the Mississippi ACLU, claims the cell phone search conducted in 2008, was illegal and the expulsion of the student was unwarranted. The Southaven Middle School student, Richard Wade, who was 12-years-old at the time, had his phone taken away after he read a text message in class, which was from his dad. The cell phone was sent searched by his football coaches, the class principal, and a police sergeant, who found pictures of what they call “gang-related activities”. The lawsuit claims, the “gang-related activities” is actually Wade dancing in his bathroom of his home, and his friend who was also at Wade’s home, holding a BB gun across his chest. Officials suspended Wade for three days and ordered him to appear at a disciplinary hearing, based on what they found in the search. After the hearing, school officials decided expel Wade from Southaven Middle School. Wade was then enrolled at Oakhaven Middle School, which the lawsuit claims is “plagued by serious gang problems and which posed a constant threat of harm”. Wade and his family then moved to Georgia, where he is currently attending school.

Southaven Middle School reportedly bans the use of cellular phones by students, and gives the authority to teachers and coaches to confiscate them and turn them into the main office, where parents have to pay a fine in order to retrieve them. In a statement released by school officials, they stated “School system officials earlier cited the district’s policy on the use of cell phones during school hours and said students know that if they break the rules, their cell phone will be confiscated and that school officials reserve the right to look through the cell phone to see if they were cheating on a test or conducting illegal activities related to gangs and drugs.”

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal News for Mississippi general litigation lawyers.