Alright, so its been a while (too long, in fact) since I’ve been active in the forums, but I was hoping for some input on a topic which has been long agitating me. I also wish to preface this question with a formal statement that I am in no way attempting to undermine or subvert the authorities of my school or any other, only that I wish for enlightenment in regard to the issue.
At my high school, there is a strict cell phone policy (which doesn’t affect me much because I keep my phone off and in a locker during the day). The policy states roughly that if a student’s phone merely rings during class, the phone is confiscated and his text messages, voicemail, images, etc may be subject to a thorough search. Now, my school is a private school, and I am aware that similar policies exist in other schools, both private and public. My question is, does this not seem a little unconstitutional? That is, the Fourth Amendment states,
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
This seems fairly straightforward to me, but I am obviously not a scholar of the law. It would seem logical that if a student was caught in the act of texting, for example, during a test, the authorities would have a reasonable basis for the searching of the phone.
Now I have discussed this topic rather informally with several faculty members (once again, entirely out of my own curiosity), but have received such responses as “this school is a private institution, and your signing of specific documents binds you to the rules of this institution,” and the like. If this is the case, then what precisely is a private institution?
Thank you for your comments and time.