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How do you do....it? Thread, Searching pupils mobiles - reading/deleting Texts/pics/vids in Technical; I need to send out an email to all staff detailing why we are not permitted to search, read, copy ...
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    Disease's Avatar
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    Searching pupils mobiles - reading/deleting Texts/pics/vids

    I need to send out an email to all staff detailing why we are not permitted to search, read, copy or delete texts, pictures or videos from pupils phones.

    Some teachers believe that it is perfectly legitimate for them to read texts on phones they have confiscated and that we can copy pictures and videos off of said phones for us to use for evidentary purposes.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction to any legislation I can add to my email to highlight this issue?

    Thanks

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    Isn't it just common sense? Honestly, some people astound me as to what they think they can and can't do!

    I'd just mention about invasion of privacy and the fact that they are opening themselves up to all sort of claims against them by doing this.

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    Disease's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTFM View Post
    Isn't it just common sense? Honestly, some people astound me as to what they think they can and can't do!

    I'd just mention about invasion of privacy and the fact that they are opening themselves up to all sort of claims against them by doing this.
    Valid points as we know though unless you quote specific legislation they do not think it applies to them, well in my school anyway :P

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Put simplistically, this boils down to a Safeguarding issue.

    If there is material on a mobile phone or other electronic device that may be the result of a Safeguarding issue, it is vital for legal reasons that it is handled using the correct procedures that should be laid down in your school's Child Protection policy.

    Safeguarding issues include: bullying, cyber-bullying, child p*rnography, child abuse and much more...

    The reasons:
    1) Safeguarding issues must be referred straight to your Child Protection Officer (CPO) who will decide the correct course of action. This is for legal reasons to protect both the child and the school. As such, the confiscated equipment should be taken straight to the office and ideally placed in a sealed envelope.
    2) It is illegal to view child P*rn images... if these are suspected the item must be taken to the CPO who will refer the matter to higher authorites; they will examine the item, not the school.
    3) Even if there are no Safeguarding issues, looking at other people's texts, etc without their permission is an offence.

    Rather than a letter from you, your school needs to review its policies for electrical equipment in school and Child Protection and ensure that all staff are aware of the correct procedures for dealing with these issues. It sounds like your school needs to be ensuring that all staff undergo Safeguarding training.

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    My next question was going to be, isnt this an issue for your senior leadership to be dealing with?

    It sounds like something that would be beyond a network manager type person to be dealing with due to the fact, as elsiegee said, it could lead to child protection and safeguarding issues........

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    Diello's Avatar
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    Article 8 of the Human Rights Act? Right to privacy unless there is a legal reason. Data Protection law since they have no right to access that data. Also wonder where theft law fits in with it in a general sense.

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    Aren't teachers exempt from all laws and rules?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTFM View Post
    My next question was going to be, isnt this an issue for your senior leadership to be dealing with?

    It sounds like something that would be beyond a network manager type person to be dealing with due to the fact, as elsiegee said, it could lead to child protection and safeguarding issues........
    Quite right, this is outside of your remit.

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    Disease's Avatar
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    Thanks for te replies, but in the nicest possible way, I am not interested in the issue around staff training and if it should be the job of SMT or not, this iswhat I have been tasked with doing.

    I have found what I was after anyway, thanks to those who responded, here is a link to and copy of the current guidance.

    Teachernet, Mobile phones

    School staff can confiscate a mobile phone as a disciplinary penalty, and have a legal defence in respect of this in the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (section 94). Staff cannot search the contents of a pupil's mobile phone without the consent of that pupil. Where a pupil refuses to allow the contents of his or her phone to be searched, the matter can be referred to the police who have more extensive search powers. If the pupil is suspected to have committed a criminal offence, it may be advisable to involve the police from the outset.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NikChillin View Post
    Quite right, this is outside of your remit.
    You have no idea what my remit is.

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    I have done some music work in schools in the past, which has used Karaoke as a tool to loosen spirits and get people involved to have a go. Now, one school I've worked in has a policy, that the pupils all fully understand, that if they are using the phones in class to record other pupils, be they friends or be they people they are suspected of bullying, they are instructed by the staff member to delete such material immediately else the phone will be confiscated, taken to the SLT who will then deal with the issue more seriously.

    This works because the kids aren't meant to have their phones turned on in class as that is against school rules so it's the good cop bad cop situ - do this or this will happen - and the fact they know they'll be in a lot more serious trouble if they don't. I think, but have never witnessed the behind the scenes part, that the staff then report this issue somehow so that there is a log it has happened, but it's a way of dealing with the issue at the heart of it.

    That said, if they're not caught, the staff member cannot go through the phone themselves to check the device and, as people have said above, if the phone is suspected to have material on that can be used for cyberbullying, or the worse case scenarios that have been mentioned, then this has to be referred to the CPO who will deal with it in the correct manner.

    The might be "just kids" but they are in the staffs care, and the staff have a duty of care over them, that does not mean they have stop and search powers for their personal belongings, unless so documented by the CPO on a serious incident. It's just plain stupid to even put yourself in a situation like that. I mean, there's all this stuff about how teenagers are "sexting" each other, what happens if a staff member is looking through the phone and comes across a photo of this sort, you get a cocky teenager who goes "oi, sir/miss, you perving at my body then are you" reports this and kaboooooom! That's not a good position to be in really.

    So my response, as others have said, you shouldn't be having to look at this, but referring it to SLT. If they have asked you to look into this, respond by saying "searching of pupils property should be done under the advice and supervision of the schools CPO, or even preferably a police officer".

    [/RANT]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Disease View Post
    Thanks for te replies, but in the nicest possible way, I am not interested in the issue around staff training and if it should be the job of SMT or not, this iswhat I have been tasked with doing.
    I think people (including me) are just trying to give you some advice that comes to mind, it is ok being tasked with something but if your not suitably qualified (for arguments sake) in terms of safeguarding and the like then it is fair enough to question it.

    If you've found what you were looking for though then great and thanks for posting it as i am sure other people will find it useful in the future.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disease View Post
    Thanks for te replies, but in the nicest possible way, I am not interested in the issue around staff training and if it should be the job of SMT or not, this iswhat I have been tasked with doing.

    I have found what I was after anyway, thanks to those who responded, here is a link to and copy of the current guidance.

    Teachernet, Mobile phones
    I rather hoped I had given you some answers to your original question AND suggested that you need to put these answers in context with the appropriate School Policies that I mentioned.

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    Without wanting to get into an extended arguement on the do's and dont's or coming across as arsey what qualifications do you need exactly to research the legalities of an action and provide feedback on what you have found?

    I am one of these people who just gets on with things and does not let barriers get in my way :P I don't intend to sound arsey.

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