Published Online: December 7, 2010
Published in Print: December 8, 2010, as Ruling: Va. Students' Phones, Laptops Can Be Searched

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Ruling: Va. Students' Phones, Laptops Can Be Searched

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Students' cellphones and laptops can be seized and searched by public school officials, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wrote in a recent advisory opinion.

But to do so, school officials must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the student has violated school rules or the law, Mr. Cuccinelli wrote, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. “The supervision and operation of schools present ‘special needs’ beyond normal law enforcement and, therefore, a different framework is justified,” he said.

He also stressed that any sexually explicit material involving a minor discovered during such searches should be shared only with law enforcement and not with other school personnel.

Vol. 30, Issue 14, Page 4

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