Parents and students at RA Brown Middle School in Hillsboro, Oregon are demanding answers after some students say their smartphones were taken away and videos of an incident between a student and teacher were destroyed.
It all started on Friday morning when students caught a confrontation between a student and teacher on camera before class started. The student involved in the incident had refused to take his hat off after teachers asked him to, and that’s when the situation escalated. The student began to get angry while the teachers tried to grab him and escort him out, and eventually, the student was arrested for disorderly conduct and harassment and was suspended from school.
Immediately following the incident, teachers gathered all the kids that caught the incident on video and collected the cell phones. Students claim that the school went into the phones to delete the videos and check their messages to see if they sent the video to anybody else.
“She grabbed my phone and said I’m going to have to hold onto this for a while,” claimed student Khloey Summers. “When I opened the recent applications after I got my phone back all of my messaging and photos were open, which meant they were on it when they got my phone.”
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Just as the school was about to delete the video, the girl’s mother stepped in.
“Clearly I don’t feel like my daughter did anything wrong,” said Summer’s mother Melissa Siegel. “I feel like her rights were violated by going through her phone and text messages. As a parent that’s my job.”
“They went through everything,” said RA Brown student Trinity Caudle. “When I went through my recent apps, everything was open. Even Instagram was open, which I know because I close my phone apps. And basically they lied to all of our parents about it.”
As multiple children continue to come forward with the same claims, the school denies any wrongdoing.
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“That’s just not what happened,” said school district spokeswoman Beth Graser. “The staff did not delete video from any of the phones, but the students were asked to do that voluntarily.”
“I was assured that things were not deleted without students’ knowledge, that protocols were followed in terms of getting in touch with all the parents to let them know what had happened and that there was conversation about the taking of the video,” said Graser.
On Monday, Dr. Koreen Barreras-Brown, RA Brown Middle School principal, had teachers read an email from over the weekend to students informing them that the school’s allowance of cell phone use before and after school and during lunch has been amended.
The email read:
Due to a large scale and inappropriate use of cell phones on Friday, all electronic sound and voice devices will be “off and away” at all times. There is no longer an option for teacher discretion in classrooms or use during lunch. Please see BMS handbook or HSD district policy for more details. Feel free to come see me in person if you have any questions. Ms. Torres will send you a Monday home room lesson to reinforce “off and away” and the consequences for not following this expectation. Thanks for understanding the importance of keeping BMS a safe and healthy learning environment for staff and students. Enjoy your weekend.