Trust proves to be essential

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Naturally, boundaries are pushed each day. Whether it’s a teenager rebelling against their parent, or an employee sticking it to their boss, things can get heated in an organized setting. Keeping this in mind, it is inevitable that high schoolers and teachers won’t always get along. In other words, the bond between a teacher or administrator and a student is a fragile one.

When a teacher’s name is brought up into conversation, each student usually has a pretty clear idea of what kind of methods that teacher practices: there’s the sticklers for the rules, who adhere to the rulebook strictly, and the more laid back teachers – the ones that aren’t apt to hand out many detentions or take phones away. English teacher, Dominic Bruno, would definitely be categorized under the latter part of that statement.

“If [they’re texting] during a time when I’m teaching, I tell them to put it away. When they’re in small groups or studying independently or in study halls, I don’t mind. I realize they can multi-task at times.”

Bruno says he trusts his students until they prove otherwise. He understands that everyone makes mistakes though and says he gives his students the opportunity to earn back his trust.

With this year’s new policies, trust will be an essential key to success.  Some students feel like the administration doesn’t trust them because of stricter policies regarding hall passes, parking lot exits and dress code.

“Students often perceive that things are stricter because they are trying to find the balance between their role and responsibility as a student and their independence that they’re needing and wanting,” social studies teacher Lynn McHenry said.

This year has already brought up some controversial issues. Cars have been searched and so have cell phones. Since they’re on school ground, the administration feels obligated to keep things under control. Well this poses a pretty controversial privacy issue.

Our founding fathers made it clear through the Fourth Amendment that each citizen is safe from unreasonable search and seizure. Of course once there is reasonable cause, searching is acceptable.

So what reasonable cause is there for a teacher to go through a student’s phone if they are simply texting during a class?

Maybe they’re bored and already know the material. Perhaps they’re texting their mom because they forgot lunch money. Phones shouldn’t be searched by teachers just because a student had it out, and certainly shouldn’t be searched out of context.

Justice Abe Fortas declared that it can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate. If this is taken into account, it wouldn’t make very much sense if the Fourth Amendment didn’t apply in the classroom.

It seems that allowing teachers and administrators to search a student’s phone is a breach of privacy and freedom. Just because a student is looking at their phone, doesn’t necessarily mean they are participating in illegal activity.

While it is completely understandable for a teacher to ask the student to put their phone away during class, taking it and going through the effort to search it crosses the line.

It’d be more effective if trust was given the opportunity to grow. Possibly a bit of leniency and understanding will go a long way. Bruno just might be onto something.

“I’m laid back because that’s just my philosophy as a teacher. I’m also just a laid back person, so it wouldn’t really make sense if I came into the classroom and tried to be someone I’m not. I’ve found that kids respond positively to respect and trust. I don’t feel like I have to be strict all the time.”

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