ACLU Challenges Boulder Valley's Seizure of Student Text Messages

October 2007

The ACLU has entered the fray over the Boulder Valley School Department's seizure of students' cell phones and reading their text messages. In a letter to the Department, the ACLU demands the practice be stopped.

Administrators at Monarch High School are committing felonies under Colorado law and violating students' privacy by seizing students' cell phones, reading their text messages, and making transcriptions to place in students' permanent files, according to an letter sent today by the ACLU of Colorado to the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education. "The educators at Monarch High School need some education themselves about the law and students' rights," said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. "They have reportedly told parents that their children have no rights of privacy at school, and they have declared that they can search any cell phones and read any text messages they please." "Monarch administrators are wrong," Silverstein continued. "Students have legally- protected rights of privacy, and the actions of Monarch administrators are violating those rights."

It's not just a constitutional issue. Under Colorado law, it a felony to read, copy, or record a telephone or electronic communication without the consent of the sender or receiver. You can read the ACLU's letter here.

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