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Confiscation of mobile phones

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by mjbb73, May 21, 2007.

  1. m.mouse

    m.mouse New commenter

    Just as a matter of interest, as a trainee teacher, can items be confiscated for an indefinite period or are there guidelines within the law that state an appropriate length of time that items can be confiscated? I'm aware that items such as drugs and pornographic material have their own separate laws and guidelines but I was wondering does anyone know if there are any specifics on the length of time that is appropriate for other items such as mobile phones or the endless arsenal of Saturday market fads that become latest crazes for a week!?

    x
     
  2. Syria1

    Syria1 New commenter

    We keep their phones for 2 weeks in an office safe - by that time the batteries have run down. It tends to amuse visitors when the safe starts to ring though...[​IMG]
     
  3. I teach Year 5 (also did on placement), I've had issues with mobile phones being brought into school. My schools policy is to confiscate, phone parents and inconvienance them by stating they can't have the phone back until they have met with the HT.
    Recently one of girls in my class was walking out from the cloakroom out of the classroom door, she had her phone out in front of her, I took it straight out of her hand. Her Mum stood about 2 metres away said 'It's your fault for having it out at school' as her daughter started complaining.
     
  4. I was a teen just as mobile phones were becoming the rage. Before I had my mobile, mum always knew where I was. Sometimes I was late home from school but she didn't used to worry if I was home by 5 since she knew I might have popped to the library / shop on the way home or my bus may have been late. When I got my phone, nothing much changed. I didn't suddenly start ringing mum if I was going to be slightly later from school. I didn't feel any safer having my phone. A friend of mine was raped when we were in KS4 - she had a mobile phone, no it didn't protect her.

    As I started to get older, my mobile made it slightly easier to get away with things. If i was at a friends house and wanted to come later, prior to my mobile I would have called on their house phone - mum would know I was exactly where I said I was. I was a 'good' teen and didn't lie then, but once I got to uni it became very easy to phone from my mobile and tell mum I was tucked up in bed!

    At our school, if something is confiscated it is until the end of half term, with a parent coming in to collect it. I don't think it is harsh. I always have my phone in my bag at work, but I manage to leave it alone during lesson times. Noone is saying they can't have phones in school, but they need to learn when is appropriate to use them. Children may use the argument that the phone is for their safety but rarely that is true - their phones are their music players, cameras etc.
     
  5. at my school if a pupils mobile was to go of during a lesson they would have the phone confiscated.however depending on circumstances the pohne ma y be collecting by the pupil either from the teacher or the pupil office. however this is nt always the case it a senior member of staff was to catch a pupil with a mobile phone the onyl way in which the pupil should be allwoed to reedem it ,is if a parent or guardian comes to the school to collect it .
    x
     
  6. Doesn't seem to be much of a problem at my primary school. But then again, we are in Wales and we've only just got colour telly and sliced bread.
    Reminds me of an incident that occured last year. A couple of children came to tell me that two boys in year 6 had mobile phones on the yard and were texting each other. So off I set to track them down only to find them looking red faced and guilty as they saw me approach. They looked so incredibly shifty as they deposited their mobiles in my hand that I felt that I had to check out what they'd been up to. (I await the bleeding heart liberal sermon about privacy and rights with baited breath) Weirdly enough, there were no texts in the outbox, so I had a quick look in the pics and videos.
    What they'd actually been sending to each other was hardcore **** vids! The most recently viewed was appetisingly titled ' Anal Antics' and featured ... well, I'm sure you can guess. Anyway, after retiring to my office to view the video a few dozen times just to check it was indeed what the title suggested, I then had a think about what I was going to do.
    I won't tell you what I did .... yet. Maybe other people would like to suggest what you might have done about the incident. [​IMG]
    I've started a blog recently and I think I'll write about this in full another time. But, in the meantime, I'd love to know how different people would handle things in different ways.
     
  7. The idea of theft only being "permanent deprivation" seems strange. I "borrowed" next door's Ferrari, only for the weekend. I'm glad it was not theft. In fact I might take it every weekend now that I know it's not theft. Btw, do teachers confiscate each others' phones if they go off in staff meetings? Or is that different?
     
  8. No, but generally, teachers have good grace and manners to turn the things off. Although that's not always the case!
     
  9. Quite agree. Perhaps it's part of our job to teach children to have good grace and manners? Could provide ofsted with a new stick to beat us with... more than 3 phones seen in a school = Inadequate. The sad thing is, as usual, the point is being missed, big time. Within a very short time, we will have worked out how to use this and other "new"technology as a tool for teaching and learning. Then, I suppose, children will be punished for not having their phones with them. Strange world, isn't it.
     
  10. I think willowisp make an excellent point. We already allow limited use of mobile phones for filming as appropriate.
    However, to clear up the discussion about what is and is not legal in terms of confiscation can i please refer you to the 2006 Education Act
    Confiscation from pupils
    94 Defence where confiscation lawful
    (1) This section applies where, as a disciplinary penalty—
    (a) an item which a pupil has with him or in his possessions is seized, and
    (b) the item is retained for any period or is disposed of.
    (2) A person who seizes, retains or disposes of the item is not liable in any
    proceedings in respect of—
    (a) the seizure, retention or disposal (as the case may be), or
    (b) any damage or loss which arises in consequence of it,
    if he proves that the seizure, retention or disposal (as the case may be) was
    lawful (whether or not by virtue of section 91).
    Section 91 is quite long and basically deals with proportionate response and special circumstances. Is two weeks proportionate? That would be the only relevant question in a court!
    The only way in which a parent can overcome this is if they can prove that a two week confiscation is proportionate. However, as the school is covered by any loss or damage whilst item is in confiscation...
    For those of you unsure of where you stand in legal areas the 2006 Education Act Section 7 is a useful read. Many parents think they have more rights than they actually do. The classic example is still the view amongst many that schools need permission of parents for pupils to attend detentions - no they don't - they never did!

     
  11. We hold on to them until parents pick them up. They can collect them anytime from 8am to 4.30pm. Works very well. Lots of younger kids actually hand their mobiles into the office when they arrive in school and collect them at the end of the day.
     
  12. I remember being in secondary school, not long after mobile's had become all the rage and my alarm on my phone went off in a lesson, even though I turned my phone off (turned out my brother had been messing with it the night before) I quickly tried to turn the alarm off, but accidentally hit 'SNOOZE' teacher took it off me and put it in the cupboard and for the rest of the lesson, every 5 minutes for 1 minute my alarm would go off! haha. I offered to turn it off, but he was having none of it.
    After my lesson, he handed my phone to the Deputy Head and told me I would get it back at the end of the week. However, I collared the Deputy Head at the end of the day and explained that I had the phone with me because I was going horse riding straight after school and my mum likes me to have it incase anything happens. She gave me it back straight away.
    I think it's right to confiscate phones, however 2 weeks is a bit excessive.
    I know that children aren't necesserily safe, just because they have a mobile. But if I was a 14 year old girl, walking back from my friends house on a weekend and I was worried that someone was following me, I'd be straight on the phone to my Dad or the police to say where I was and explain the situation. Again, it's not just about attacks, but what if they needed to call an ambulance, e.g forgotten inhaler and having an asthma attack and what if a family member needed to get in touch with them because of an emergency!
    We've all survived without mobile phones, but school children now have grown up having one.
    Like I say, I think they should be confiscated, but keeping them over a weekend is wrong!
     
  13. The prima facie reason for considering a restriction on the use of a mobile phone in a school is because it can disrupt a lesson if it goes off. The situation is like that which exists in a theatre, but they do not confiscate customers' phones and hold them for two weeks; they simply ask them to ensure they are switched off.

    A more serious problem is that we know that if pupils had a mobile phone with them it would be too tempting to not try to use it for texting and all the other distractions that they give rise to.
    We know that some pupils will try to make surreptitious or mischievous films, or use it to access or transmit unsuitable material. This is potentially a much more serious transgression which could undermine a schools' position and authority.

    But there are good reasons for a child to have a mobile phone with them for the same reasons that other people have mobile phones. We can imagine a situation where a child couldn't contact a parent because the school had taken their phone away and then something regrettable happens. Something like this would get in the press, create a public reaction to school's over-zealous policies on this subject, and then schools would then quickly adopt a more rationale position.

    A school's policy needs to be reasonable, and needs to be tested against a range of scenarios. It is also better if possible to make a rule about the consequence rather than the cause. e.g. we could ban cars because they sometimes cause accidents, but it is better to regulate their use, and punish the crime if it occurs. So it might not be considered reasonable to hunt down phones in pupils' bags and confiscate them; but it is reasonable to have a punishment if they are used in a way that violates the published rules of the school.

    Publishing the rules will also serve as a warning, and act as a deterrent.
    So for example the following might form the basis of a set of escalating rules on this subject:

    Don't bring a phone into school unless you have a good reason.
    If you need to bring a mobile phone into school you must hand it into reception for safekeeping.
    It is forbidden to make use of a mobile phone without express permission when on the school site during school hours.
    If a mobile phone causes disruption to a lesson, or if you are seen using a mobile phone on school premises without permission, then it will be confiscated and held securely until a parent comes to collect it; you will then be forfeit your right to bring a mobile phone into school for the rest of the year.
    If we find evidence that a mobile phone has been used at school for any activity that the school considers to be time-wasting, distracting, disruptive, disrespectful, indecent or against school rules, then a range of sanctions will apply.
     
  14. Morninglover

    Morninglover Lead commenter

    Would you want to store (potentially) several hundred mobile phones per day? And be responsible for its safety?
     
  15. I know this is an old thread, but I'm doing some research into students using mobile phones in the classroom. I posted a thread about it here.
    I'd be really interested to know if, following the Coalition's Education Bill (which extended teacher's search powers and gave teachers the power to seize any elecronic devices - including mobile phones) your school/college has changed its policy. Do you think it will have an impact?
     
  16. Morninglover

    Morninglover Lead commenter

    No
    Not as far as mobile phones are concerned. Only allowing schools to electronically block them would stop their use, IMHO...

     
  17. I have mixed views on this. I believe pupils should be allowed to bring mobiles into school but they must not be seen /heard during the school day. Maybe at break/lunch would be acceptable although I would be cautious due to camera phones etc. I also defend a schools right to confiscate a phone, but agree that 2 weeks is slightly draconian. I think if a parent requests a phone to be handed back, schools are on dodgy ground in terms of depravation of property.
    That said I, personally, will only ever keep a phone until the end of the day. Am I going to risk being the teacher who confiscated the phone of a child who was attacked on their way home? No chance. I accept that having a phone would make no difference, as they would not be able to use it anyway (as others have said above), but the perception of parents, other pupils and even the press would make life very difficult.
     
  18. internationalschools

    internationalschools New commenter

    If a student's phone goes off accidentally, can't they just be told to turn it off? This happened to me in my lesson this week, and the girl in question was absolutely mortified, and she turned it straight off. Surely we have all been at the cinema/in a meeting etc at some stage and forgotten to turn our phone to silent? Deliberate misuse on the other hand is diferent, and our school confiscates until the end of the day.
     
  19. HelenPatey

    HelenPatey New commenter

    I work abroad in an international school. The draconian newly appointed deputy head ruled that all students' phones should be left with reception on arrival and failure to do so would result in a month long confiscation.

    However one child left their phone with reception, the deputy head took the phones of the IGCSE year groups from reception and removed them to his own office where he appears to have accessed the texts and face book entries on students' phones. He then called the child in question into his office and told the child that he would be confiscating his phone for a month due to his excessive use of facebook and further questioned the child as to why he had two facebook accounts. The deputy head was told by the child that one was for family and the other account was for social friends. The child had followed the school rules and then had his trust abused by having his internet use examined. The deputy head called the parents of the child - the country has a great respect for teachers and parents rarely gainsay teachers demands - and the parents acceded to this extraordinary punishment.

    I have encouraged the child to appeal to the headmaster. The headmaster has sent the child back to the deputy head to negotiate, however the deputy head is not open to negotiation or communication and has merely shouted at the child for appealing, in writing, to the headmaster..

    Furthermore the deputy head told all teachers that he had been listening into their conversations in the teachers' rooms on CCTV at a recent school teachers' meeting. He said he was shocked by the level of gossip and advised teachers he would be continuing to listen into their conversations.

    What are the UN guidelines / legal remedies regarding a right to privacy which students and teachers can refer to?
     
  20. marple1

    marple1 New commenter

    The original post is 10 years old. I am assuming the child in question now has his phone back.
     
    Pomz likes this.

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