“Contributing to Deliquency of a Minor” Charge May Hit Teacher Whose Student Took Her Phone and Sent Out Her Nude Photos

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Leigh Ann Arthur, a South Carolina teacher at the Union County High, left her phone on her desk when she went out to do hall monitor duty. A student picked it up and fiddled with it. Then, according ssffhtybfi
to Reason.com
:

After discovering the phone was unlocked, he went through Arthur’s photos, eventually finding some sexually oriented shots that Arthur says she took for her husband. By the time she returned to the classroom, the student [had taken a photo of the sexy picture with his own phone and]  was texting the photos to other students. According to Arthur, he told her: “Your day of reckoning is coming.”

One might think that the student would at least face disciplinary action from the school, if not criminal charges of some sort. But thus far, the school has not moved to hold the 16-year-old student accountable at all. Arthur, however, is another story. After teaching in Union County for 13 years, she resigned when district officials gave her the choice to do so immediately or start the firing process.

Fired for…not keeping her phone strapped to her body? For taking photographs to send to her husband? For not shooting the kid who stole her phone?

No, her crime was brazenly bringing sex into the life of this otherwise upstanding young man. Or so it sounds, as the interim superintendent has said the teacher may be charged with “contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

Which is sort of like arresting dad for keeping Penthouse in his sock drawer.

The superintendent said the teacher was at fault because “when we take inappropriate information or pictures, we had best make sure it remains private.”

It’s not private if it’s on her private phone? And while we’re at it: Are pictures really “inappropriate” if we choose to take them of ourselves and choose the people we share them with?

This is just another instance of the mess we get into when the authorities decide they are “saving” kids by acting as if anytime anyone under 18 encounters anything of a sexual nature, the young person is damaged for life.

A petition created by three of Ms. Arthur’s pupils, “and many more students who just want their teacher back,” has garnered almost 10,000 signatures. It is so lovely. It not only asks the school to reinstate the teacher, it asks for mercy on the student who started the whole mess:

Another thing that you have to realize is that we have went to school with the student responsible for years, the intention of the petition is not to have him absolutely berated, but to have Mrs. Arthur reinstated, everyone makes mistakes.

That includes the authorities. Let’s hope they admit theirs. – L.

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The caption "Teacher resigns over nude photos" makes it sound like she deliberately posted them!

The caption “Teacher resigns over nude photos” makes it sound like she deliberately posted them!

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114 Responses to “Contributing to Deliquency of a Minor” Charge May Hit Teacher Whose Student Took Her Phone and Sent Out Her Nude Photos

  1. Donald March 4, 2016 at 2:15 am #

    When I signed the petition, I saw the message below. I love it. We need to see more of that. The revenge feeling runs deep and is a big reason why things are such a mess.

    We would like to stress that the student is under investigation by authorities and will face consequences for his actions. He has expressed nothing but sincere remorse for his actions, we ask that you do not show hatred towards him, he realizes that what he did was wrong. We are not defending his actions by any means, but some of the things that have been said are utterly hateful, we must keep in mind that this is a fellow classmate who still has a life to live and will remember this for the remainder of his life.

  2. Donald March 4, 2016 at 2:40 am #

    I just saw the news on Youtube. She said, “I forgive him. He’s 16”.

    We need more people with that attitude to get us out of the mess that we’re in. What better way then have a teacher teaching kids this attitude.

    The kids need her back. The country needs her back.

  3. andy March 4, 2016 at 3:07 am #

    So, this is what they call victim blaming, right? I have hard time to believe this is about protecting children. It is either that there is some kind of complicated politics behind this, or administrator is hard core authoritarian kind of christian.

  4. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 3:51 am #

    This is a case where you have two people who have done something wrong, and no people who have done something right.

    Bringing “sexually-oriented” photos to school and leaving them unattended where student(s) can find them? Yeah, that’s a “quit-or-be-fired”.
    Poking around in someone’s phone without permission? That’s a serious invasion of privacy.

    After a casual review of the relevant statutes, there appears to be no likelihood of criminal convictions for either party.

    The relevant statutes (for those inclined to Google up the text):
    SECTION 16-17-490. Contributing to delinquency of a minor.

    And

    SECTION 16-17-470. Eavesdropping, peeping, voyeurism. (him)

    Short summary of why I don’t think criminal charges are coming:
    For her, the statute requires “knowingly” doing a laundry list of things. She’s negligent, but did not knowingly intend this result.
    For him, the statute requires either entering onto the property of another, or taking photographs while a person is in a place they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    On the other hand, if she really did want to go after him, there’s a civil cause of action for copyright infringement. Statutory damages of up to $150,000 per photo that he copied and distributed without authorization.

  5. BL March 4, 2016 at 4:02 am #

    @Donald
    “She said, “I forgive him. He’s 16”.

    We need more people with that attitude to get us out of the mess that we’re in.”

    Why? He’s a goddam thief. I wasn’t a thief at 16, nor were most of the 16-year-olds around me.

  6. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 4:53 am #

    “Why? He’s a goddam thief.”

    He’s not a thief. Thieves steal things. He’s a snoop.

  7. Nathan March 4, 2016 at 5:55 am #

    @James Pollock
    I understand your point of view, but mine is different. I view the modern smartphone as the equivalent of a house that you carry around with you. I firmly believe that we should treat smartphones with the same respect and rights as a person’s home.

    If the student had walked into her house through an unlocked door, then proceeded to rifle through her house until he found a photo album with some private pictures taken for her husband, then the student took pictures of those pictures and shared them with friends, would you blame her for leaving her door unlocked?

    The student’s crime is no less horrible just because he didn’t have to break a window (bypass a phone lock). The damage is real; the violation is real. Victim blaming and shaming is always ugly, no matter the circumstances.

  8. BL March 4, 2016 at 6:33 am #

    @Nathan
    “I view the modern smartphone as the equivalent of a house that you carry around with you.”

    Rifling through a purse or wallet would be a better analogy.

  9. andy March 4, 2016 at 6:57 am #

    @Nathan @BL I agree. Pictures on her phone are not “brought to school”. If she copied them to school computer, then they would be “brought to school”. She did nothing wrong. Teachers phone is off limit to students exactly as content of her purse or money in wallet are.

    We are not talking about 5 years old, we are talking about high school and 16 years old. The boy should have to be punished (although I would prefer it to be in school and not criminal, I like to give 16 years old a chance to change).

    The minor is already delinquent and it is not teachers fault. The focus should be on teaching minor not to steal phones and not to distribute other peoples pictures. That is the important thing, not making sure that teachers sex lives and phones are policed by prude administrators.

  10. Jessica March 4, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    The whole issue with leaving her phone unlocked irks me. I don’t have a passcode on my phone because I have small children, and with a locked screen there’s still a little button that lets you call emergency services. After the second time my kid called 911, I decided it wasn’t worth it. But really and truly, the fact that she didn’t lock her phone is a moot point, because it’s her phone and her choice. It’s easy to sit back and say “if only she hadn’t done x, y wouldn’t have happened”, but how is that any different from any other form of victim blaming? The person committing the crime is the person responsible, regardless of how “easy” we make it for that person to commit the crime.

  11. Vicki Bradley March 4, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    @JamesPollock

    I think you are completely mistaken in saying that there are two people who have done something wrong here. The teacher has done NOTHING wrong, only the student. He had absolutely no business doing what he did; the minute he picked up her phone, he was completely in the WRONG. Talk about there being no consequences for bad behaviour – sheesh!

  12. ChrisG. March 4, 2016 at 8:45 am #

    James – Ultimately he will have stolen her job if she is fired.

  13. Mallory Park March 4, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    I didn’t see that it said what she taught. I hope it isn’t English.

  14. Beancounter Eric March 4, 2016 at 8:50 am #

    Ms. Arthur should have done a better job securing her phone. Sad to say, but it’s naive to expect people to leave another persons belongings alone.

    Someone needs to tell this kid that smug and nosy are very unbecoming – with luck, some of his fellow students will pass along the message in a very memorable manner.

    This kid, and American culture in general need a serious lesson in integrity. To start with, if it doesn’t belong to you, leave it alone.

  15. Vicki Bradley March 4, 2016 at 8:56 am #

    @Beancounter Eric
    So, because the teacher so “naively” left her phone where a POS student decided to help himself to it, she should have to resign – do you people (James, Beancounter) hear yourselves?! I will reiterate: “She has done NOTHING wrong!” I don’t get how this is so difficult to understand.

  16. Jeff_Birt March 4, 2016 at 9:11 am #

    Think about this in a more generic sense. You have person A rummaging through person B’s possessions without permission. What was rummaged through and what was stolen are not material. That act of rummaging is criminal, having private information stored in your own possessions is not criminal.

    If the student had rummaged through a teacher’s purse, wallet, car, or house would that have been different? If he stole something else private and passed copies around would that be the teacher’s fault? What if she had a prescription or other medical documentation in her purse from a recent visit to a doctor for an embarrassing condition? Having a photo of yourself, clothed or not, is not illegal. What if this student had drilled a peep hole in the restroom and taken a picture of her? Would she be at risk of legal trouble for exposing herself in private, in the restroom?

  17. Vicki Bradley March 4, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    @Jeff_Birt
    Exactly!

  18. Beancounter Eric March 4, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    @Vicki;

    My comment re. Ms. Arthur: “Ms. Arthur should have done a better job securing her phone. Sad to say, but it’s naive to expect people to leave another persons belongings alone.” – Where do I argue she should be forced to resign, please?

    In a just world, Smug-a#@-student would be flogged, expelled and sued, Ms. Arthur would learn that locking ones cellphone is a good idea and continue teaching her students, and the world would continue its inexorable slide into insanity. Instead, bureaucrat Superintendent forces a good teacher out for the bad acts of smug-a#@ student and gets his name in the news, said student gets some sort of satisfaction, and the world continues its inexorable slide into insanity.

  19. Vicki Bradley March 4, 2016 at 9:26 am #

    @Beancounter Eric

    I know you didn’t state that the teacher should have to resign because she naively left her phone unattended, but there is a degree of victim-blaming in your the first statement. I do wholeheartedly agree with your 2nd and 3rd statements re: the student being smug and nosy, and the need for integrity.

  20. JB March 4, 2016 at 9:51 am #

    What if he had, instead of passing them around, sent them to himself and blackmailed her by threatening to pass them around?

    Would the James Pollocks of the world blame her for whatever happened to her in that situation?

    Victim blaming at its finest.

  21. E March 4, 2016 at 9:54 am #

    Ugh — was going to try to reply to James’ assertion that she did something wrong and I just can’t with the ridiculousness of this.

  22. BL March 4, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    @Beancounter Eric
    “Sad to say, but it’s naive to expect people to leave another persons belongings alone.”

    What’s sad is that those who don’t leave other other persons’ belongings alone aren’t naive to expect to escape without violent retribution.

    Unfortunately, they do so all the time. 🙁

  23. Beancounter Eric March 4, 2016 at 10:24 am #

    @BL

    “What’s sad is that those who don’t leave other other persons’ belongings alone aren’t naive to expect to escape without violent retribution.” – How do you change this? What is an acceptable penalty?

    Some have argued no crime was committed – I would think something along the lines of computer trespass would apply to the student’s actions.

    How does society return to the idea that you “leave other peoples stuff alone”?

  24. JR March 4, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    @Vicki –

    The term “victim blaming” irks me because it’s so often used to shut down a conversation. It conflates blame with responsibility, and in doing so, conveniently ignores the fact that it’s entirely possible for a person to have contributed to the mess she’s in through her own poor choices while still not being the one to blame.

    The blame for a crime is always with the criminal, but sometimes people make choices that make it easier for criminals to do their dirty work. In this case, the teacher did something negligent (not in the legal sense, just in the common understanding) by leaving her phone unlocked and unattended, but the student was the one who did something immoral and probably illegal. The blame is all his, but part of the responsibility is hers, for not taking reasonable precautions to secure her private information.

    To use an analogy – If I leave my door unlocked while I run to the store, and someone burgles my house while I’m gone, the burglar is the one who will face charges, not me. I am not to “blame” for the crime. However, my actions clearly contributed to the mess, and I now have to face all the natural consequences of my dumb move.

    Now, to be sure, a person could take all the reasonable precautions in the world, and might still be targeted by a very committed criminal. And on the flip side, it’s certainly a tempting fantasy to think that nobody should ever have to take reasonable precautions because criminals should just learn how to behave themselves. But that’s exactly what that kind of thinking is – a fantasy. And in the scenarios mentioned above, something as simple as a locked keypad or locked door would have most likely deterred the bad guys and prevented a crime from occurring.

    The boy is a punk who deserves punishment, but the teacher also should have known better. It’s a hard lesson to learn, all around.

  25. andy March 4, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    @Beancounter Eric I think that action can be bad without it being criminal. I strongly believe the teacher did nothing wrong and student was wrong a lot. Administrator is even more wrong that student, because administrator is fully grown adult.

    However, the “what is the biggest vengeance we could take on student” thinking is not right either. Sending the student to criminal system would not make for the better world. Suspension, expulsion or whatever is usual big in-school punishment is more of appropriate.

    The administrator does not belong to any leadership position through. I would support firing the administrator.

  26. Vicki Bradley March 4, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    @JR

    Nope – I don’t see how using the term victim-blaming closes down the conversation, especially in this case. You are missing the point that she is 100% a victim here – that punk-a** jerk should have never touched her phone. He is 100% responsible for everything that took place the minute he took it upon himself to pick up her phone and do what he did.

    What is irksome is that not that long ago, this kid would have gotten in a world of trouble for touching a teacher’s belongings but just because the situation involved nude photos (that are not illegal, inappropriate, or otherwise), all of a sudden she gets demonized, too. Not to sound racist, but it doesn’t surprise me that it happened in the bible-belt state of South Carolina.

  27. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 11:47 am #

    “If the student had walked into her house through an unlocked door, then proceeded to rifle through her house until he found a photo album with some private pictures taken for her husband, then the student took pictures of those pictures and shared them with friends, would you blame her for leaving her door unlocked?”

    You’d be right… unless she brought her house with her to school.

    “I agree. Pictures on her phone are not ‘brought to school’.”
    That is some Olympic-level denial. If they weren’t “brought to school”… how did they get to the school?

    “Ultimately he will have stolen her job if she is fired.”
    There is approximately 0% chance she will be fired.

    “I didn’t see that it said what she taught.”
    It’s a class that combines technology and engineering.

    “I will reiterate: “She has done NOTHING wrong!” I don’t get how this is so difficult to understand.”
    It’s not difficult to understand, it’s just wrong.

    “Some have argued no crime was committed – I would think something along the lines of computer trespass would apply to the student’s actions.”
    That’s not how it works. What you have to do is look up whatever the law is on computer trespass, and see if the specific actions violate the law. (I’m guessing probably not, BTW.) Note that “no crime was committed” is a very specific thing. I don’t think there’s a crime here, but there’s definitely a couple of torts. If you don’t know what that means or why it’s an important distinction, Google it.

  28. Vicki Bradley March 4, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    Wow, James, now I know why Warren gets so irritated with you. You really think you know everything about everything. SHE DID NOTHING WRONG!

  29. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    “I don’t see how using the term victim-blaming closes down the conversation, especially in this case. You are missing the point that she is 100% a victim here – that punk-a** jerk should have never touched her phone.”

    I don’t think anybody is ignoring this, and you ARE misusing the term “victim-blaming”..
    What you’re ignoring is that there are two different wrongs here.
    The kid is entirely to blame for rummaging around through a phone (or any other property) that isn’t his.
    She’s completely to blame from bringing “sexually oriented” materials to school.

    Not having a passcode is dumb but not wrong, and ditto for leaving valuables unattended.

  30. Beth March 4, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    Again, James is a troll. He is going to choose the most ridiculous interpretation and repeatedly assert it so that he can get everyone engaging and arguing with him.

    We CAN discuss amongst ourselves and ignore him. Really, we can.

  31. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    I looked up the South Carolina statute on computer trespass. This appears to be the relevant portion:
    SECTION 16-16-20. Computer crime offenses; penalties.

    (1) It is unlawful for a person to wilfully, knowingly, maliciously, and without authorization or for an unauthorized purpose to:
    (a) directly or indirectly access or cause to be accessed a computer, computer system, or computer network for the purpose of:
    (i) devising or executing a scheme or artifice to defraud;
    (ii) obtaining money, property, or services by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises; or
    (iii) committing any other crime.

    Doesn’t look like it was violated.

  32. lollipoplover March 4, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    Other news stories say she routinely let students use her phone:

    http://wspa.com/2016/03/02/fmr-union-teacher-let-students-use-her-phone-regularly-says-district/

    However stupid this was, trying to place blame on the victim here or charge her with a crime is bat-shit crazy. The student should be charged and held accountable for his malicious actions. I hope she sues his family. What if he did this to a classmate? He’d be on the sex offender registry. Why the double standard?

  33. JKP March 4, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    The article I read said that the phone was in a drawer in her desk. So the student rummaged through the teacher’s desk to find the phone, and then snooped through the phone to find the pictures. The teacher is not at fault at all. The student invaded her privacy.

  34. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    “Wow, James, now I know why Warren gets so irritated with you. You really think you know everything about everything. SHE DID NOTHING WRONG!”

    Yes, repeating it will make it true… once you adjust the incantation by SWITCHING TO ALL CAPS and adding an exclamation mark.

    Would you mind clarifying for me… are you saying that A) bringing nude photos to school is not wrong, or that B) she didn’t do that?

  35. John March 4, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    This story really angered me and, in fact, I sent it to Lenore. Any time “sex” is the subject line and minors are involved, it’s ALWAYS the adult’s fault even if the adult was the victim. Since this 16-year-old kid sent these nude pictures of his teacher to other students and assuming these other students were minors also, if the Judge wanted to be a real stinker, he could charge this kid with disseminating harmful material (pornography) to minors. Now I really believe it would be completely inappropriate to charge him with something as ridiculous as that. But I do believe this student should face strict disciplinary action and be held accountable for victimizing another human being. I mean, the kid has got to learn! This teacher should also get her job back.

    Back in 1971 when I was in the 9th grade, apparently the Spanish teacher, Ms. Fry, had gotten into a big fight with her boyfriend and they broke up. Well, her boyfriend then blackballed her by planting nude pictures of her that he had taken into the phone book that was in the telephone booth (remember those?) located in the school lobby. Eventually one of the 7th grade boys found those pictures and showed them to all his classmates! Unfortunately, Ms. Fry was then fired as the damage to her reputation was already done. Now she wasn’t charged with a crime, just fired.

  36. JR March 4, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    @Vicki – I take umbrage with your assertion that I’m “missing the point.” I wholeheartedly agree with you that she has been the victim of a crime, or at the very least, the victim of an unscrupulous @$$hole teen. But I’m not going to absolve the teacher of the fact that she took a very unnecessary risk with some very private data, and that choice came back to bite her. The student did something wrong, but the teacher did something stupid, and it’s possible to acknowledge both of those facts.

    You are right that he shouldn’t have touched her phone, but isn’t that the case for every crime? He shouldn’t have touched her phone in the same way that my hypothetical burglar shouldn’t have walked in my open front door. But that’s not how criminals behave, and that’s why it’s important that the good guys use common sense and take reasonable precautions to prevent criminals from targeting them.

    I am a former teacher, and at least once a year, we had to sit through the “don’t leave your private items unattended” talk from the admin. Money, personal electronics, medication – all of these things needed to be secured during school hours. Female teachers regularly locked their purses in their desks to prevent kids from stealing, and when I was a student-teacher, my mentor told me to button the flap on my back pocket so a student couldn’t lift my wallet. I know it seems like extreme measures, but it’s pretty much par for the course when it comes to the wonderful world of teaching.

  37. John March 4, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    LOL….I see that James is at it again, playing his usual “devil’s advocate” and being provocative. Nothing wrong with that, it keeps the conversation spicy! 😉

  38. Micki March 4, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    I’m not sure which is more appalling: the fact that Ms. Arthur was fired for doing absolutely nothing wrong, or the fact that her students cannot write grammatical sentences. If she’s an English teacher, she should be fired.

  39. MaeMae March 4, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    That article that Lollipop lover posted pisses me off! The school official implies it is the teacher’s fault that the student is facing disciplinary and legal actions. The point that she let other students use her phone with permission does not mean anything here. This particular student did not have permission at that time so the fault is purely his. As for the teacher not being where she should have been – that seems more like a disciplinary action is required not a resign or we’ll fire you. Talk about overreacting.

  40. Red March 4, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    “Bringing “sexually-oriented” photos to school and leaving them unattended where student(s) can find them? Yeah, that’s a “quit-or-be-fired”.”

    In today’s world, the photos may not even be on the phone itself, but accessible from the phone in the cloud.

    I take photos on my phone. Once they are backed up to my cloud account, I delete the copies on my phone because they are still accessible to my phone whenever it has cell data or wifi access. If someone stole my phone and cracked my lock code, it really doesn’t matter whether the photos are physically on the phone or on the cloud account associated with the phone–they are accessible to that phone.

    That really throws a wrinkle into the whole concept of bringing certain things to “school”–it’s not just what is physically on the device, but anything that is potentially accessible from the device.

  41. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

    “if the Judge wanted to be a real stinker, he could charge this kid with disseminating harmful material (pornography) to minors.”

    Judges don’t charge people with crimes. They are supposed to be impartial.
    It’s not clear that there’s any actual pornography involved in this story. Nudity, yes, pornography, maybe.

    “Now I really believe it would be completely inappropriate to charge him with something as ridiculous as that. But I do believe this student should face strict disciplinary action and be held accountable for victimizing another human being.”
    I think the school is holding off until the police and prosecutor finish. (Based on the administration’s statement as reported in the news coverage from lollipoplover’s link above.)

    As much as it might be distressing to Ms. Arthur’s other students (and supporters), it appears to me that she believes that a fresh start somewhere else is in her best interests. If I’m right about that and not just projecting, then it’s hard to second-guess her.

  42. Vaughan Evans March 4, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    Perhaps there should be miniature “courts” in schools.
    A lawyer can say “objection” A judge can say’ objection over, rules, objection sustained, or objection reserved

    (Sometimes a judge will “:reserve” judgement.
    A judge can allow for genuine mitigating or aggravating extenuating circumstances.

    I get angry how the judges in Canada treat naïve persons more leniently than white persons-for the same offence

  43. John March 4, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    @JR….what you’re saying JR is true and very much common sense. BUT it is not a crime to leave your house unlocked or personal belongings unattended unless, of course, it’s a loaded gun and you knowingly have young children in the house. This case was far from being that extreme and this teacher could normally be very responsible and secure with her belongings BUT people will occasionally slip up and this teacher obviously slipped up (Is there anyone here who NEVER had anything stolen because you were careless with it?). For that she should not be punished.

  44. JKP March 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    Just because you have the option of locking your phone doesn’t mean you are required to or that it’s dumb not to.

    I don’t lock my phone, and for a very good reason. 75% of the calls I answer on my cellphone are for my business and ring through using an installed app rather than through my actual cell service. I NEED to answer those calls for work and to accept the incoming call I have to type a password in the app . If my phone is locked, I can’t get to the app/keypad without unlocking the phone first. When I kept my phone locked, I was never able to actually answer any of my calls in time, so I leave it unlocked.

    The fact is the photos were on the teacher’s private, personal phone, not on a school provided phone, whether the phone was locked or not. It’s no different than if a student went in her purse and found a naked picture hidden away in her wallet. Just because she brought her purse/phone to school doesn’t change the expectation of privacy.

  45. EricS March 4, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    Ok…I don’t agree with her getting fired. KInd of like saying, the person who’s house got broken into and their gun stolen and used in a crime, gets charged. It’s a stupid charge and punishment.

    But that being said. 1. Why on god’s green earth do people still keep very personal photos on their mobiles. If anything take the pic, save it on a separate drive, delete from phone. Unless, of course they intend to keep going back to it to view or forward to “friends”. And 2. Serves her right for not securing her phone. In this day and age, it’s baffling that people are so lazy, that they can’t be bothered to enter a passcode to access their phone. Especially when they know they leave it somewhere and walk away. Kids aren’t stupid. They are more tech savvy by age 9 than most adults. lol And if she had an iPhone, and was too lazy to enter an access code, set up the fingerprint scanner.

    Like I say, smart dumb people. Or book smart but common sense stupid.

  46. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    “I don’t agree with her getting fired. KInd of like saying, the person who’s house got broken into and their gun stolen and used in a crime, gets charged. It’s a stupid charge and punishment.”

    More like saying, the person who brought their gun to school and their gun stolen and used in a crime, gets charged with bringing a gun to school.

    C’mon, people, can’t you see the progress?
    Used to be, married women couldn’t even BE schoolteachers, because married ladies sometimes have (whispered) S-E-X.

  47. Dave March 4, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    The fact that this is happening in the South is revealing. I’m betting the superintendent is one of those conservative Christian types who frown on anything remotely sexual (done by others.) “I’ll get rid of that brazen harlot!”

  48. EricS March 4, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    @JKP: “Just because you have the option of locking your phone doesn’t mean you are required to or that it’s dumb not to.”

    I beg to differ. Sure, anyone has the right to do what they will with their mobiles. But should never ever expect to be clear of any consequences for those actions.

    Would you leave your house without locking it up? Why not? It’s the same thing with your phone. You can chose to keep it unlocked and easily accessible at any given time. But at the same time, if you lose, misplace, leave your phone unattended and someone were to access your content, who’s fault do you think that would be. People are naturally curious. And I would guess you are no different. If you found a phone, and realized it wasn’t passcode protected, you (like many of us), would probably rifle through at least the photos. Or at the very, very least, be itching to go through it, like your arse was on fire. lol

    Again, like our homes, our car, our safe, our cabinets that contain personal items, we all lock things up. Mobiles are no different. Your choice, your responsibility. Never trust that others will respect your privacy.

  49. EricS March 4, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    “More like saying, the person who brought their gun to school and their gun stolen and used in a crime, gets charged with bringing a gun to school.”

    No James, that’s not same analogy. Bringing a gun to school, is not the same as bringing an unlocked phone to school. lol The issue here is a persons personal property was accessed without permission, and it’s content used. And the owner of said property is getting bit for it.

    No one has any business bringing a gun to school.

    “C’mon, people, can’t you see the progress?
    Used to be, married women couldn’t even BE schoolteachers, because married ladies sometimes have (whispered) S-E-X.”

    I don’t even get this. I understand what that means. I just don’t understand how it relates to the topic. Or why. Kind of like me saying, at the end of my original post, “So you see, the sun is too hot, and you shouldn’t water your lawn at high noon”. lol

  50. Curiuos March 4, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    Does the Union County teacher have a Union or other Labor Organization to protect her rights? Isn’t this arbitrary and capricious behaviorby a mean-spirited and misguided employer?

    That the student, who was so potentially “damaged” by this incident was not sent to therapy and counseling and years and years of treatment seems irresponsible –if the employer was right. But of course he was wrong and knows he is wrong. He is vindictive, don’t you think? Or on a power trip? Or had a grudge against this particlular teacher?

    A little sanity would go a long way.

  51. andy March 4, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    @JR @EricS Expecting everyone to passcode their phones is NOT reasonable expectation nor common sense necessary precaution in todays world. It is just not. People don’t lock their phones with several digits numbers and other people don’t search their phones.

    That is normal behavior in todays age. We should not expect everyone to predict worst possible way other people could behave and do all possible precautions no matter how unlikely. That fear based behavior is helicopter area.

    Besides, watching the number over your shoulder is quite easy. Passcode can protect your account against thief, not against determined student.

    But mostly, no it is not normal to lock phone with passcode nor expected. There is nothing lazy about not locking it just as there is nothing lazy about not driving the kid to school. Locking phone does not make you superior nor more hardworking, just someone who was unlucky to have really bad people around them.

    The same goes for having whatever on phones. Yes, peoples lives are moving to smartphones. That is normal behavior in todays age.

  52. Vicki Bradley March 4, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    @Beth

    I’m totally with you and I will no longer respond to he-who-shall-not-be-named 🙂

  53. lollipoplover March 4, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

    @MaeMae- It pissed me off too, that’s why I posted it. Especially the full statement given by the interim superintendent, David Eubanks on why he thinks the teacher is at fault.
    Supervision!

    “One of the most critical responsibilities that a classroom teacher has is the supervision of students. In this particular case there was a breakdown in the classroom in that most critical area. Evidence and statements indicate that the teacher was not where she should have been at the time the incident occurred. As a result, a student accessed inappropriate material on her phone, sent it to others, and as a result also may also be severely punished by law enforcement as well as the school district. This is a case where a staff member, properly supervising students, could have prevented a very serious problem. Contrary to statements attributed to Ms. Arthur concerning the phone, evidence indicates that students routinely used the teacher’s cell phone with full her permission. The teacher involved has widely reported that the student is not being punished. That is incorrect along with many other statements made by her. The extent of the punishment of the student will be determined by the findings of law enforcement. One error, along with many false statements, by a teacher, has and will affect the lives of many.”

    What has happened to our education and value system when we consider the most critical responsibility of a teacher is…supervision?
    For 16 year-olds?
    What happened to teaching the value of honesty, hard work, accountability, and responsibility and growing young minds instead of just *supervising* them prison guards?

  54. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    “No James, that’s not same analogy. Bringing a gun to school, is not the same as bringing an unlocked phone to school. lol ”
    You’re right. Approximate number of people who think this teacher was fired for leaving her phone unlocked: 0

    “The issue here is a persons personal property was accessed without permission, and it’s content used.”
    That’s one of the two issues here, yes.
    Approximate number of people who think the kid was OK in what he did: 0

    “And the owner of said property is getting bit for it.”
    Or for that other thing.

    “No one has any business bringing a gun to school.”
    Nor do they have any business bringing nude photos of themselves to school, unless it’s some kind of nudist school on school picture day.

  55. Dee March 4, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    In my neighborhood, almost every other week, we get a crime alert that a fire arm was stolen from someone’s unlocked vehicle. Now, the crime is that criminals are going around our neighborhood, looking for unlocked doors, and rifling through vehicles to find something to steal. When it’s a gun, I’m sure they feel that they have hit the jackpot. The criminals are at fault for doing a crime. However, the vehicle owners who leave their vehicles unlocked are giving them an ideal scenario in which to perpetrate their crime. Yes, criminals can still break into a car to steal your gun, but it rarely has to happen because a few times a month the perps know they can find an unlocked vehicle somewhere.

    Unfortunately, this teacher also provided an ideal scenario for a teenager to perpetrate a crime. A lot of teenagers are fine, upstanding kids who wouldn’t think of looking in their teacher’s phone. But as they say, there’s one in every crowd who ruins it for the rest of us. We know it and this teacher should’ve seen it as at least a remote possibility. I guarantee you that if I had sexy pictures of myself on my phone, there would be a lock on it and I don’t work in a high school. (Although a coworkers phone was stolen out of her cubicle.) Crime happens. The criminals are to blame. But we don’t have to make it easy for them. It sucks to do something stupid and careless, but sometimes you pay the price when you do.

  56. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

    “Passcode can protect your account against thief, not against determined student.”

    Seems to be effective against the FBI.

  57. JR March 4, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    @John – You’re right that leaving one’s house unlocked is not a crime, although it is certainly an invitation to crime. The consequence of an unlocked door is usually nothing, but sometimes it’s a burgled house; the consequence of an unlocked phone is usually nothing, but sometimes it’s a ruined reputation.

    Whether or not the teacher should have been fired depends on the standards to which the district holds its teachers. Many schools and districts have a morality clause in the teacher handbook that acknowledges the fact that teachers are also expected to be role models of decency and comportment at all times, even outside of school hours. While this clause doesn’t preclude teachers from having a sex life, a drinking life, a cosplay life, or anything else, it does require teachers to be very discreet with those life choices.

    For example, the common-sense expectation among teachers is to keep their social media accounts set to private, and even then, most teachers refrain from posting anything even remotely inappropriate, such as pictures involving alcohol or risque clothing choices. Likewise, veteran teachers have been fired when it comes to light that they acted in pornographic movies while in college.

    Unfair expectations? Perhaps. But as a teacher, you know that going in.

  58. Betsy March 4, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    How about this. A fifth grader on my son’s bus took nude videos and showed them to several kids, including mine. The school found out, called the cops and the parents of the kids who saw it and….. the student was allowed to continue to ride the bus with no repercussions. There are no rules and no accountability for students who bring in electronic devices. The school is stonewalling me. Any suggestions?

  59. EricS March 4, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

    “Nor do they have any business bringing nude photos of themselves to school, unless it’s some kind of nudist school on school picture day.”

    Again, completely different. Gun vs nude photos. Concealed gun vs nude photos stored away from prying eyes. That’s like comparing apples to a steak.

    Everyone is naked under their clothing. So by your reasoning, none of us have any business stepping out the house at all.

  60. MichaelF March 4, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    Whenever I see something that involves Sex and Children I know Overreaction is coming.

  61. EricS March 4, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

    @andy: Do you have a passcode for you bank account? Do you have a safe? If so, do you keep it locked with a combination? A lock on your house/apt door where you require a key to enter? If so, why? According to you, security is neither common sense, or required. lol

    Security is security. Doesn’t matter if it’s for your home, your bank account, or your phone. You may like to believe their are plenty of good people out there who wouldn’t take advantage. And I would agree with you. But there are also plenty of people out there who couldn’t care less about any of our feelings, and consequences. That would take advantage any situation that comes their way. Regardless of who it hurts. And if you choose to take your chances, that’s your choice. But never complain when you get bit for it. You left the door open for people to walk right on in. Gone are the days when we were able to do that. So not helicoptering. Just plain ol common sense. And example of helicoptering would be constantly keeping an eye on your phone, and nothing else. But if it were locked, you wouldn’t feel the need to. 😉

  62. EricS March 4, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

    @andy: Which is also why I love the fingerprint access feature of the iPhone. You don’t have to type in your alphanumeric code all the time. Just scan your fingerprint. Done. Much, much quicker. And your phone is still secure. Again, in my experience, most people who don’t lock their phones, are admittedly lazy. Like you, they don’t like having to keep entering their code. Some people are even so lazy, that when they do use a password, it’s something like 1234, or password, something so simple they’d have to have brain damage to forget. AND, they use the same password for everything. lol

  63. JR March 4, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    @Betsy – Former teacher here. Did the student take secret nude videos of other children or adults? That’s a big problem. Or did he simply stream nude videos, say from YouTube, and show them to other kids on the bus? That’s a smaller problem. I’m going to assume it’s the latter.

    I suppose this kid could be charged with “distribution of pornography to minors” or something like that, but that could put him on the sex offender registry and ruin his life, when all he basically did was the modern equivalent of sneaking his older brother’s Playboy onto the bus and showing it around to the other kids. Not exactly life-ruining stuff, IMO.

    The school may be dealing with the kid and his parents and simply not keeping you in the loop as the student’s case goes through due process. That’s because there’s a law called FERPA that generally prohibits sharing private data about a student, such as that students’ disciplinary records, with third parties.

    You could look through the student handbook to see if there are rules for misuse of electronic devices on school property, and you could rally other parents to encourage the school to set a strong precedent against bringing illegal (for children) materials onto school property, perhaps even by threatening to go to your local media.

    Another option is to try increasing your kids’ assertiveness, because this won’t be the last time someone wants to show them objectionable material. Have them practice saying, “No, I don’t want to look at that. Get away from me.” Then, if the 5th-grader continues to try shoving porn in their faces, you might have a case for sexual harassment.

  64. Tee Dee March 4, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

    I’ve seen at least one person mention that they can’t lock their phone for one reason or another (children call 911 on accident, etc)

    FYI, at least on Android, there are programs you can download that allow you to password protect certain apps but not others.

    This allows you to leave your phone unlocked for quick access, but to protect things that you wish to keep protected.

    I have my email, settings, social media, gallery, and banking apps password-protected, but the web browser, reddit, phone, messaging, etc aren’t.

    There’s an app for that.

  65. Betsy March 4, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

    @ JR. The girl took nude videos of herself. The school assured me that they were “investigating,” but in the meantime, she’s back on the bus. I’m not sure if she has her phone or not. The bus driver is having her sit up front now (driver’s own idea, this didn’t come from the school). The school handbook is extremely vague about personal electric devices. And nothing about devices on the bus. I’m pushing to get the rules clarified and updated, but nobody is doing anything.

  66. Puzzled March 4, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    Wait, is she an English teacher? If so, that her students wrote that letter might be a reason to let her go. This phone nonsense isn’t, though.

  67. Railmeat March 4, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    @Betsy . . .

    It is unlikely that you will be privy to whatever ‘punishment’ the district decides to dole out, and that’s as it should be. You seem pretty upset that the school is ‘stonewalling’ you. Why?

    I think JR gave you some good advice about empowering your boy to stake out and defend himself from what he believes (and is taught) is inappropriate behavior. That is an area where you actually have some power (nearly all of it, in fact) and doesn’t require the school’s say-so, or any kind of notification.

    Frankly, the girl in question is in a much more dangerous place than your son, and I suspect that lots of folks (cops, school officials, the girls parents, and likely Child Protective people) are all looking to HELP this troubled girl, not pile on the punishment.

    Just out of curiosity, what were you hoping that these ‘stonewalling’ powers would do to her?

  68. Suanne Laqueur March 4, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    How come the teacher is “Leigh Ann Arthur” but the student is “the student.” Why does he get privacy after snooping an adult’s phone and distributing her property without permission?

    Name, please.

  69. Betsy March 4, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

    @ Railmeat – These kids aren’t 16. They are 8, 9 and 10 and exposure fo this stuff could be detrimental. I feel bad for the girl, believe me. But to put her back on the bus without clarifying the rules is insane. It’s just going to keep happening. I am upset because the school refused to tell me if the girl was back on the bus. I think that’s information I ought to know before putting my kids back on the bus

  70. Railmeat March 4, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

    Perhaps you should read my post again . . . .

    “But to put her back on the bus without clarifying the rules is insane.”

    How do you know that school officials didn’t do this? They wouldn’t report to you a/c FERPA.

    “It’s just going to keep happening.”

    How do you know this? But no matter. If you are so concerned, why haven’t you spoken with the girl’s parents? They aren’t bound by FERPA.

    “I am upset because the school refused to tell me if the girl was back on the bus.”

    We are back to FERPA again.

    “I think that’s information I ought to know before putting my kids back on the bus . . . ”

    And now you have it. You have apparently known for some time.

    What more do you want? The 10 year old girl in the stocks?

  71. andy March 4, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    @eriks The comparison with bank account makes as much sense as comparing wallet at backseat with child and arguing that child can not be left alone because you would not left wallet there.

    Cars are stolen often, people around me don’t go through other people’s phones often. Besides, people living in low crime areas don’t lock cars and doors. They also leave things in backyards.

    It is normal not to lock phone. Whatever moral failure you imagine to be reason does not matter. Assuming you did not implied laziness just so people who disagree with you shut up lest they be called lazy.

    Events like this are rare. Comparatively, hackers trying to break into bank systems are common.

    You are trying to make it sound as if all unlocked phones were constantly looked at by colleges and friends and students and families and so on. That is, in fact, not what is going on in real world and more importantly not common sense about the world.

    It is normal and common not to lock phone. There is nothing extraordinary irresponsible or unusual or word or outrageous about it. Just a way how majority of adults handle phones and rarely someone peek at their data.

  72. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

    “I am upset because the school refused to tell me if the girl was back on the bus. I think that’s information I ought to know before putting my kids back on the bus”

    Why would she NOT be back on the bus?

  73. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    “Again, completely different. Gun vs nude photos. Concealed gun vs nude photos stored away from prying eyes. That’s like comparing apples to a steak. ”

    Good point. Who was it who dragged guns into the discussion, again?

    “Everyone is naked under their clothing. So by your reasoning, none of us have any business stepping out the house at all.”

    If you cannot distinguish between people who are naked inside their clothes from people who are naked outside their clothes, perhaps you should avoid schools until you get that sorted.

  74. Betsy March 4, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

    @ Railmeat and James. Tell me then, what would you do if your eight year old repeatedly saw child porn videos? Keep putting them in a place where it could happen again?

  75. Donna March 4, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

    “But at the same time, if you lose, misplace, leave your phone unattended and someone were to access your content, who’s fault do you think that would be.”

    If I lost or misplaced my phone, it would be PARTIALLY my fault (some fault still lies with the person who accessed my information) since careless with my own property.

    This phone wasn’t lost or misplaced. It was stolen with her right there. She was in the same damn room when it was stolen. She didn’t go down the hall and leave her phone lying around. She walked from her desk to the doorway and the phone was in the desk (according to one news report anyway).

    Do you lock your doors 24/7? Do you keep all your personal possessions in a safe at all times? Because according to your logic, I am at fault if raped in my home right now because I am sitting here on an amazingly beautiful afternoon with the doors open when I should be behind a locked door at all times. It is also my fault if a guest in my home steals my computer because safes are available and that is where anything I don’t want stolen should be.

    How about things that don’t lock? My purse doesn’t have a locked. Am I still at fault if someone decides that they want to steal my wallet? I mean I could probably attached a padlock if I think about it. Is it okay for my kid’s classmates to steal her lunch money? Afterall, she could easily attach a lock to her backpack. How far are we going to go blaming the victim for other people’s crimes?

  76. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

    “Cars are stolen often, people around me don’t go through other people’s phones often”
    I’m not going to go looking for statistics, but I’m pretty sure people look at other people’s phones more often than they steal their cars. Your associates may be different.

    “It is normal not to lock phone.”
    Depends on where you are, what you have on your phone, how much you value your privacy, and probably some other things, too, that I can’t think of.

    “Whatever moral failure you imagine to be reason does not matter. Assuming you did not implied laziness just so people who disagree with you shut up lest they be called lazy.”
    Why are you so sensitive about being called “lazy” with regards to your cell-phone-locking policy? I don’t lock my phone, partly because I’m lazy (with regards to my cellphone-locking) but mostly because there’s nothing on my phone that I have a privacy interest in.

    “Events like this are rare. Comparatively, hackers trying to break into bank systems are common.”
    I really think you have this backwards. Hackers put much more time and effort into attempting to break into bank systems, because banks put so much more time and effort into attempting to delay them from gaining access. Snooping a phone (especially in a high-school or university context, where you are more likely to find a person who has taken such photos and stored them on their phone.)

    “You are trying to make it sound as if all unlocked phones were constantly looked at by colleges and friends and students and families and so on. That is, in fact, not what is going on in real world and more importantly not common sense about the world.”
    I don’t know about “about the world”, but I also don’t care… what they do in Zimbabwe has little relevance to what they do in an American high school.

    “It is normal and common not to lock phone.”
    You keep repeating this. Intentional?

    “There is nothing extraordinary irresponsible or unusual or word or outrageous about it.”
    It’s dumb to A) have something valuable or private or both, and B) leave it freely accessible.

  77. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

    “Tell me then, what would you do if your eight year old repeatedly saw child porn videos?”

    I suppose that firstly, I would teach my eight-year-old the difference between nudity and porn. Then I would say “if you don’t want to see this (I’m assuming you would also add that you don’t want your child to see this), don’t look at it.” And then I’d put my child on the bus.

  78. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

    “This phone wasn’t lost or misplaced. It was stolen with her right there. She was in the same damn room when it was stolen. She didn’t go down the hall and leave her phone lying around. She walked from her desk to the doorway and the phone was in the desk (according to one news report anyway).”

    The news report I read (before the coverage here) is about 180 degrees off from yours. She did get up, leave the phone, and go down the hall.

    If your contention is that she was right there while the student took her phone, accessed the phones, scanned through them, located the naughty ones, and then photographed the phone displaying the images… then she’s a lot more guilty than I thought.

  79. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

    Oops. The preceding comment has a typo… “phones” appears where “photos” should be.
    I’m sure you can figure out what I meant.

  80. Railmeat March 4, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    @Betsy,

    Well, I second what James said.

    When did this ‘repeatedly’ thing start? Escalating the circumstances won’t change the principles involved.

    But I’ll even let that go. So, Betsy, I suppose if I was so up-in-arms about what happened, regardless of the triviality, or substantiality of the circumstances, I’d go and have a chat with the girls parents.

    By the way, I’m done now. If you were interested in learning (which it initially appeared you were) you’d answer questions. But you don’t. You’re just combative.

    By now!

  81. Jen March 4, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

    @ Betsy–
    I would assume that at this point, the girl is humiliated and will be more careful in the future. Most 8-10 year olds are a little curious about the opposite sex but too embarrassed to talk to their folks about it unless they really need info. If your child doesn’t want to look at the pictures, I doubt his friends will force him. What is more important is that he told you, you let him know you don’t approve. lesson learned. he is not damaged. if you want to — don’t have him ride the bus. I think that might be more damaging.

  82. Miriam March 4, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

    1. I assume that most of us here, as people who subscribe to Lenore Skenazy’s newsletter, share similar views on at least some social issues, such as personal responsibility, social responsibility, etc. Basically believing that giving more responsibility to human beings in general (including both children and parents) would make our world a better one.

    Another assumptions is that it’s a shitty story, and our world arrived at this situation because of many reasons.
    If my assumptions are true – I think that the question that we need to ask ourselves is not who is right in this scenario (or who is ‘more wrong’), who is to blame, who is to pay the price, what kind of punishment is appropriate, etc etc. Not even how to correct the current situation, because the damage is already done.

    Punishment doesn’t correct anything, and things cannot go back to what they were.
    I think we need to ask ourselves what we need to do to correct that in the future, basically avoiding incidents like this.

    I’m surprised (and also a little disappointed) to find that many of the comments here focus on a ‘solution’ and think that the solution is ‘suing the kid’ or ‘making sure you always lock your phone’ or ‘have an app that is password protected’, instead of trying to figure out how, as a society, we instill values and norms that make us steer away from such negative behaviors. I realize it’s harder and more complex, but if we want a positive change – we need to work hard. Harder.

    In my opinion, the thing that got us all into this mess in the first place – was litigation, litigation, more litigation, over-litigation, law suits. And did I mention inviting the legal system as a regular guest in our lives (I would even use the word ‘invasion’). Less personal integrity, less responsibility. Our way of showing that we are responsible people is by making sure that we have the proper paperwork, insurance, diploma. Not the proper mindset, awareness, involvement, empathy, knowledge and experience. I know they are harder to measure, but it’s very easy to recognize these character traits and skills in most of the people that we meet.

    Litigation only means that:
    a. Punishments work (in order to avoid bad things – we need to make society be afraid of the punishment).
    b. In order to make sure that others to not sue us – we have to have the proper insurance and paperwork.
    c. Any wrong can be fixed with money.
    Punishments do work, but to a very limited degree. Many wrongs cannot be fixed with money, although money can help if one buys the proper tool to help with healing. The only thing that increased litigation does do efficiently is increase over cover-ass culture, increase the price of insurance, lower our sense of personal responsibility and even morals.

    The legal system increases justice (and judgmental behaviors), but justice is not a very high value. It’s petty. It’s almost a necessary evil when there are wrongdoings. Higher values are trust, truth, respect, kindness, compassion, empathy, generosity, forgiveness. How about implementing an honor system into our societies and schools. If we expect people to violate our trust – and lock everything and never allow them to practice self restraint and respect – then they will, obviously, not be worthy of our trust.

    Which makes me think that I should cancel the password on my phone, or let my daugher (4) know it. It was very useful in limiting screen time, but maybe a better tactic in the long run is to trust her, so she won’t have to sneak in the future. Now it’s 3 more minutes with a LEGO app – when she’s older it will be booze. I’d rather trust her and teach her to trust herself and to not hide things from me.

    It reminds me of a tragedy that happened too close to home (Toronto, Canada) last winter. A little boy (3) who died after leaving the house (alone) around 4 AM dressed with a diaper only, in around 0 Fahrenheit (-20 Celsius) – with wind-chills of -27.
    I was devastated, even though I didn’t know the kid. My daughter was 3 too. I found everyone around starting to talk about special locks to the houses to make sure the kids won’t run away in the middle of the night, when you are sleeping. And I didn’t install any new lock. But started a rule. That my daughter is the one who opens the door, but always stops and asks me before opening the door. Asking if it’s OK to go outside, making sure that I know that she’s going outside. It was annoying and time-consuming, and sometimes difficult for her to open the door (especially after she put her gloves on) but if she gets used to the fact that she takes responsibility for herself by making sure that someone else knows that she’s outside and someone else also supports her judgment of going outside – this is going to be a better insurance than any high-tech lock or leashes or alarms or more awareness and alertness on my part, as a parent. I didn’t scare her, I didn’t tell her the terrible story – I just told her that the safe way to be outside in the cold is if someone else knows that you are out.

    2. Victim blaming (and gender discrimination)
    We can discuss in great detail the different aspects of the case, the words, concepts and definitions of ‘blame’ / ‘responsibility’ / ‘common sense’ / ‘stupidity’ / ‘crime’ / ‘justice’ / clause X in this or that law / ‘school policy’ / ‘privacy’ / ‘intent’ / ‘mistake’ / ‘minor’ / ‘adult’ / etc etc. But in order to get the correct feeling for what’s really driving this story – imagine for a second that the genders were reversed. This is how I think it would have played (sadly). If the teacher was a man – the school would immediately hire top-notch lawyers to protect themselves, offer compensations and apologies, find an even better job alternative for him in a near-by school, just as an option to have, in case the teacher chose to stop teaching in that school, to allow him to keep his dignity. I can’t even begin to imagine what actions would be taken by the teacher (and the school) against the student and her family (reversed genders, remember?). How she’d be humiliated (not regarded as just a naughty bad-boy 16 year old, who actually deserves some praise for being bold and resourceful). And what we would expect a respectable male educator to do (sue, fight, win – definitely not forgive) to right his wrongs.

    But it was a woman-teacher. A vagina + boobs who was allowed our of the tent. See what happens when we let them roam freely without a leash? Shame on her. Shame on us as a society. Better send these genitalia-connected-to-teacher far away from us, especially far away from those wonderful innocent children.

    By the way, this teacher is bringing her ‘inappropriate’ body to school daily. It IS covered in clothes, but they may accidentally get torn, wet, and also taken off while going to the bathroom. It’s a ticking time-bomb before something goes wrong. (Get the ridiculousness of it yet? Do I need to continue?)

    Anyways – sorry for the very very long post, and possibly to messy, but I wish that we would use those stories not to just enjoy a dirty story, not to get angry and fantasize about punishing everyone, not to give ourselves a pat on the back that it’s not us, and not to shame people. Just to find out how we can, in our own lives, make a change for the better, that our children will learn to respect other people’s privacy, will understand that actions have consequences, become more responsible, and at the same time learn to forgive, forget, move on, be human beings, not free of mistakes, but free of guilt and judgmental behaviors.

  83. Steve S March 4, 2016 at 9:47 pm #

    I don’t see how charges against the teacher would be sustainable. Clearly, she didn’t intend for this kid to see these pictures and I think it would be difficult for any prosecutor to show that her conduct was reckless.

  84. Steve S March 4, 2016 at 9:49 pm #

    I would also point out that this kid was only able to access these photos as a result of his criminal actions.

  85. Richard March 4, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

    The school failed to take advantage of a lesson some teenagers need desperately–embarrassment is not worth killing yourself over. In times when some teens kill themselves because they can’t see a way to go back to school after something embarrassing happens, watching a teacher come back to school and hold her head up has value.

  86. ezym March 4, 2016 at 10:09 pm #

    Here goes, I will try to express how I feel about this. Yes, I do believe the teacher did not protect her phone by password. Anytime, you leave something like that around, in a classroom full of students, where anyone can pick up that phone, that should instill a warning not to leave it there. Even if it were locked, the phone itself could have been taken. Of course being locked anyone who would try to enter the password three times would permanently lock the phone. My cell is part of me and don’t leave it anywhere except at home. I have several security features and if someone tried 3 times to unlock it, a picture of the person is taken as well as GPS to track the phone. But that is not the point here. However, the student is at fault as well as he not only took the phone but found nude pictures on her phone. By him sending these pictures to other students is absolutely wrong. That is invasion of privacy. Whatever the teacher had on her phone is her responsibility and she definitely she should protect it from prying eyes. Whether the teacher should be fired or subject to resign after 13 years of teaching and I know she had to be good because of the petition that students signed, I feel that she not be put in a position such as this. Obviously, the student can’t be trusted as he knew that what he did was wrong. Yes, there should be disciplinary action toward the student to make him aware what he did was wrong and learn to correct it. Fortunately, he had remorse and was very sorry. That should give some consideration to whether he be a criminal or not. Personally not because it will deter him from a lot of things in his life. I feel it is up to the parents and school principal to decide how this can all be rectified. Please do not fire the teacher. If she already resigned then it would hard to fight the board to get her position back as being a teacher. I wish the best for both of them.

  87. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 11:01 pm #

    “This is how I think it would have played (sadly). If the teacher was a man – the school would immediately hire top-notch lawyers to protect themselves, offer compensations and apologies, find an even better job alternative for him in a near-by school,”

    Nonsense. If the teacher was equipped with convex reproductive equipment, everybody would immediately assume that the photo-sharing was intentional on his part, regardless of the facts. He gets fired, not offered an opportunity to resign instead, and is FAR more likely to face criminal prosecution. And a recurring theme in the Internet commentary would be amazement that we ever let grown men work as teachers around children, because, well, men.

    See if you can get your own sexism under control, before you try to work on others’.

  88. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 11:03 pm #

    “Clearly, she didn’t intend for this kid to see these pictures and I think it would be difficult for any prosecutor to show that her conduct was reckless.”

    The prosecutor doesn’t have to prove that it was reckless. The prosecutor has to prove that it was intentional.

  89. James Pollock March 4, 2016 at 11:51 pm #

    In today’s news, we learn that the student has been arrested on two charges. I still don’t think either one will stick, but they might get him to take a plea.

  90. Anne Egli March 5, 2016 at 12:32 am #

    She is accused of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and yet school sanctioned sex education classes are 10 times worse! Those classes are too often pornographic, but that’s all right and she’s wrong? Boy, does this school ever have it wrong.

  91. andy March 5, 2016 at 2:49 am #

    @James Pollock “I really think you have this backwards. Hackers put much more time and effort into attempting to break into bank systems, because banks put so much more time and effort into attempting to delay them from gaining access.”

    Nonsense. Hackers put more effort into hacking banks, because that is where money is. Moreover, hacker group from anywhere in the world can hack account anywhere and profit, snooping phone requires physical access.

    If you have phone connected to internet or with bluetooth enabled, hackers are more likely to get access to your data. Passcode is irrelevant to that as it requires someone to steal your phone first.

    “Why are you so sensitive about being called lazy with regards to your cell-phone-locking policy?”

    I am sensitive about dishonest arguments based on shaming or emotional manipulation instead of logic and facts. This is soooo common and I decided I do not want to play along.

    Why are you so sensitive about being called lazy with regards to not driving the kid to school?

  92. lele March 5, 2016 at 2:59 am #

    @james Pollock- I disagree about him being a “snoop” and not a thief. He did steal from her, he took a photo of a private photo that did not belong to him. I take that back, he is both a snoop & a thief. And how despicable, sending it to others….if my kid did that I would be ashamed. Mistakes are mistakes, but lets not down play here.

  93. James Pollock March 5, 2016 at 3:00 am #

    “Nonsense. Hackers put more effort into hacking banks, because that is where money is.”
    No, it really isn’t. Merchants are where money is.

    “Moreover, hacker group from anywhere in the world can hack account anywhere and profit, snooping phone requires physical access.”

    Boy, you sure got me there. Mobile phones are so rare, it’s difficult to physically access any.

    “Why are you so sensitive about being called lazy with regards to not driving the kid to school?”
    What, now?

  94. James Pollock March 5, 2016 at 3:20 am #

    “I disagree about him being a “snoop” and not a thief. He did steal from her, he took a photo of a private photo that did not belong to him.”

    And where is her photo? Is it right where it’s always been since the day she took it? Yes? Then it hasn’t been stolen. If it hasn’t been stolen, then no one has stolen it. If ho one has stolen it, then this particular student has not stolen it. If he has not stolen, he is not a thief.

    “Steal” means to take something that does not belong to you, without permission, with the intent to permanently deprive the lawful owner of its possession.

    “And how despicable, sending it to others”
    No argument there.

    “Mistakes are mistakes, but lets not down play here.”
    Are you seeing anyone downplaying this? I think you’re confusing “I don’t think he can be convicted of a crime for these specific actions” with “I don’t think he’s done anything wrong here.”

  95. sexhysteria March 5, 2016 at 5:06 am #

    So if a student takes my credit card out of my jacket pocket (carelessly left on my chair) and uses it to buy porn, I would be guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor?

  96. BL March 5, 2016 at 5:12 am #

    @lele
    “Mistakes are mistakes, but lets not down play here.”

    Apart from the “snoop or thief or both” issue, why is this called a “mistake”?

    Was this kid really trying to do something else, like solve an algebraic equation, and his hands just accidentally bumped the teacher’s phone, extracted a compromising photo, spread it around the internet, and broadcast a taunting message?

  97. CrazyCatLady March 5, 2016 at 10:55 am #

    Anne Egli wrote:She is accused of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and yet school sanctioned sex education classes are 10 times worse! Those classes are too often pornographic, but that’s all right and she’s wrong? Boy, does this school ever have it wrong.

    Anne, do you know exactly what the curriculum is in those classes? This IS South Carolina…wouldn’t shock me at all if they had abstinence only education…but then I would have to agree with you….that would be 10 times worse than seeing a part of the human body and knowing how to use a condom properly.

  98. Donna March 5, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    “The news report I read (before the coverage here) is about 180 degrees off from yours. She did get up, leave the phone, and go down the hall.”

    The news report that I read (before the coverage here since that seems pertinent for some reason) said that she was right outside her own classroom greeting students. This is pretty typical for middle and high schools around here. Teachers hover around their doorways during class changes so that they can both monitor the hall and the classroom. Obviously in this case her attention was diverted from the classroom for a couple seconds and the kid seized the opportunity to grab the phone.

  99. CrazyCatLady March 5, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    When I taught at a high school it was the policy that teachers go out in the hall during class change to monitor what is happening in the hall ways. This school had the same policy. You are supposed to be ready to break up a fight…which is hard to do with your phone in your hand.

  100. SteveS March 5, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    No, the prosecutor would have to prove that the conduct was intentional or likely to result from her actions. She did intentionally leave the phone there, but it is a huge stretch to say that she intended for him to see the pictures or that her conduct would likely result in him seeing the pictures.

    He was only able to see them as a result of his criminal act. He intentionally took something that was not his and that he did not have permission to access. I don’t see why people don’t think charges could be maintained. While this isn’t a slam dunk, I don’t think it is a bad case.

    James, how many criminal cases have you been involved in? You seem to think you know a lot.

  101. James Pollock March 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    “While this isn’t a slam dunk, I don’t think it is a bad case.”
    I don’t think the voyeurism charge is good, because the statute does not seem to contemplate taking a photo of a photo. The statute criminalizes being a peeping Tom… which he has not done.

    I don’t think the computer intrusion charge sticks because there’s no motive to profit.
    16-16-20(1)(a) has three prongs. I don’t see any that apply. He definitely accessed the data without authorization, but, that alone is not criminal. The unauthorized access has to be for (i) devising or executing a scheme or artifice to defraud; (ii) obtaining money, property, or services by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises; or (iii) committing any other crime.

    So… if the voyeurism charge holds up, then the computer intrusion charge can be piggybacked. But if the voyeurism charge doesn’t hold up, the computer intrusion charge doesn’t stand alone.

    So, I don’t think there’s criminal liability here. I definitely think there’s tort liability (and, as I pointed out whimsically near the top of the thread, copyright liability for making and distributing unauthorized copies of a copyrighted work.)

    “James, how many criminal cases have you been involved in?”
    I’ve seen EVERY episode of Law & Order.

  102. SteveS March 5, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    There is definitely tortious conduct, but it may cost her more in legal fees than she could expect to recover. I haven’t seen the criminal complaint, so I can’t really comment on the criminal charges.

    Law and Order is pretty bad. Now if you had said Anatomy of a Murdet, I would have been impressed.

  103. James Pollock March 5, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    “Law and Order is pretty bad. Now if you had said Anatomy of a Murdet, I would have been impressed.”

    I also made it through the first season of “How to Get Away With Murder” before the fact that clearly none of the writers has ever even TALKED to someone who went to law school bugged me enough to stop watching.

  104. Papilio March 5, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

    “This is just another instance of the mess we get into when the authorities decide they are “saving” kids by acting as if anytime anyone under 18 encounters anything of a sexual nature, the young person is damaged for life.”

    Hah. And I just read an article on sex ed for 4th graders… (What would Anne Egli say about that? 😛 )

    @Betsy: “These kids aren’t 16. They are 8, 9 and 10 and exposure fo this stuff could be detrimental.”
    Euhm… You said this stuff was nude videos of a 10-year-old girl. I’m now wondering what on earth she did in those vids that it could be “detrimental” for 8 to 10-year-old boys to watch.

  105. [email protected] Circus March 5, 2016 at 7:50 pm #

    All the king’s horses and all the Kings men will never be able to put that teacher’s employment together again!!! When a teacher is accused of ANY type of “sex offense”, there’s nothing ANYONE can do to get his or her job back. End of story. She’s just lucky she isn’t facing CRIMINAL PROSECUTION ( or IS she??? )!!! This sex offender witch-hunt is nothing to ever “joke” about. In both Florida and Ohio, an accusation is ALL IT TAKES to get placed on the sex offender registry, …. WITHOUT charge or trial!!!!!!!

  106. Jay March 5, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

    She did three things wrong. Had pictures on her phone that she should not have brought to school. Left her phone unattended. Resigned from her job. The first two were foolish enough, but the school would have had a difficult time firing her for just the phone foolishness. If they had fired her at least she would been able to collect unemployment for a year.

  107. James Pollock March 5, 2016 at 10:06 pm #

    “She did three things wrong. Had pictures on her phone that she should not have brought to school. Left her phone unattended. Resigned from her job. The first two were foolish enough, but the school would have had a difficult time firing her for just the phone foolishness. If they had fired her at least she would been able to collect unemployment for a year.”

    I agree that resigning was a mistake IF she wanted to stay. I’m not entirely certain she did. I’m assuming it’s difficult to teach teenage boys who’ve seen your naked picture(s), and she might not have wanted to have that on top of the time, effort, and stress needed to fight for the job.

    She might not have been able to collect unemployment, either. You generally cannot if you’ve been fired for cause. The way it would be framed if she was fired is not “this teacher left her phone unattended”, but more likely “this teacher left students unsupervised”.

  108. David March 6, 2016 at 6:40 am #

    @[email protected] Circus: I live in Ohio and I have never heard of that. I though you had to be convicted/plead guilty to wind up on the registry.

  109. David March 6, 2016 at 6:41 am #

    thought*

  110. Warren March 6, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    Cool, by James logic when someone gives him a shot in the yap, for being an idiot, the resulting injuries are James fault. He should have been wearing protective gear. Should have taken all precautions.

  111. Donald March 6, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

    “James, how many criminal cases have you been involved in?”
    I’ve seen EVERY episode of Law & Order.

    If you were being serious, that speaks volumes!

    I haven’t read all of your post so I don’t know if you’re joking. Perhaps it was a joke but there are many people that believe TV drama is equal to reality. They are the same thing.

  112. James Pollock March 6, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    ““James, how many criminal cases have you been involved in?”
    I’ve seen EVERY episode of Law & Order.

    If you were being serious, that speaks volumes!”

    That you struggle to identify a joke speaks volumes.

    I work in a field (information security) where having a police investigation, much less actual criminal charges, indicates a serious failure. I’m pretty good at what I do. Law has been a life-long interest.

    If it helps, though, I WAS serious about having seen every episode of L&O. I’ve even seen the 7 or 8 seasons or so of “Law & Order: UK”. I ALSO went to law school, wrote on to the law review, earned a JD, and passed the bar exam.

    Do I work on criminal cases? No, I do not. Because, as noted a couple of paragraphs ago, I am an IT administrator, not a lawyer. If I DID want to be a lawyer, though, I could go to the bar association, activate my application, go through the C&F examination, and be admitted. At which point, I would be about as useful to a law practice as a second-year paralegal, except for being allowed to sign some things that a paralegal isn’t, and the client being charged more for my time (yes, I’m very cynical about actual practice of law.) After a couple of years of careful guidance, THEN I would be qualified to actually work unsupervised.

    However, I’m not advising anyone on what they should do… just reading the statute and giving my best guess as to how they apply to what I know about a specific set of circumstances. This is something that law students do on their very first day of law school, most of them quite adequately. You can’t do this at a professional level until you learn how to research how the courts of relevant jurisdiction have interpreted the statutes in the past… which requires some specialized and fairly expensive tools, which you get to use for free when you’re in law school but revert to being fairly expensive once you graduate.

    I don’t think a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, against the teacher, was ever sustainable and indeed there’ve been no such charges thus far.
    I don’t think the charges they’ve leveled against the student are sustainable, either. Not because he hasn’t done anything wrong, because he has, but because the statute he’s being charged under was written to punish actions the student hasn’t taken, and I don’t think they cover what he’s actually done. Perhaps they should; that’s a different discussion, and even if the statute is re-written to criminalize what has happened here, the new re-written statute can’t be retroactively applied to this incident.

    So, my best guesses are:
    A) no charges will be filed against the teacher.
    B) if he goes to trial on the present charges, the student is acquitted. By no means certain, and he may accept a plea deal… figuring the likelihood of that requires a lot of information that I don’t have.
    C) the teacher will be sending a tort notice for wrongful termination to the school district, and they will pay out a settlement, as quietly as they can.
    D) the school will suspend the student for a substantial period.
    E) despite the student clearly being liable in tort to the teacher, no suit will actually be filed. 16-year-olds do not have assets to pay civil judgments.

    and, this one’s not legally-oriented, but
    F) the petition to have the teacher re-hired will not be successful… because the teacher would, by this point, rather be somewhere else.

    Did I cover everything? THAT’S how to speak volumes.

  113. Donald March 7, 2016 at 2:02 am #

    James

    You’re knowledgable. I don’t dispute that. At the risk of everybody else screaming at me, I would say that you’re smarter than many on here – academically. Where you really struggle is your social intelligence. You REALLY REALLY REALLY (another 20 reallys) have a hard time this one.

    When most people post and someone disagrees with it, they let it go. We have several different opinions on this blog. That’s ok. However you seem to take it personal. It’s as if your whole self worth depends on proving to everybody that you’re right.

  114. Paul March 13, 2016 at 11:23 pm #

    I think James Pollock brings a few good points to bear on this issue, albeit not in the particular fashion that he would like to think. Admittedly, he is unquestionably smarter than I am, an average country boy, at best. I almost think that he is more than anything seeking intellectual stimulation via debate. But one could also argue that what it amounts to is an example of the broken legal and social climate that allowed this poor teacher to lose her job to begin with.

    IE – guy that is super smart but struggles with common values ends up in some type of position with a little authority (presumably because they are super smart) and then uses these super smarts to make bad decisions that affect good people’s lives. In whatever world the school thinks that she put herself in a “quit or be fired” position, I’m sure that pretty much anything that happens because maximum precautions weren’t taken gets interpreted as the victim’s thought.

    The notion also emphasizes someone else’s lamentation that “it’s naive to believe you can just trust people not to go through your stuff”. If I am naive for thinking that a stranger won’t pick up my phone and see what information they can find in it with which to hurt me, they are equally naive for thinking that I won’t punch them in the throat as hard as I can possibly manage if I catch them doing it.

    IE – no discipline for the kid is symptomatic of the overall absence of an appropriate, occasional throat punch in today’s society. Now, before you get all riled up, I know some of yuns are going to say that physical violence is deplorable, etc. I respect your opinion, and you have the freedom to share it because a great handful of men over the years have throat punched people that would’ve preferred you not have that freedom, but that’s a different conversation. I simply think that if you’re not willing to condone a throat punch, you should at least admit that saying not locking her phone is like not locking your door is irrelevant because it’s not your fault if someone burglarizes your house through an unlocked door either! The reason people burglarize homes and go through phones alike is because THEY DON’T GET THROAT PUNCHED LITERALLY OR EVEN PROVERBIALLY ANY LONGER!

    James’ attitude is a microscopic example of the macroscopic problem – not only does his rhetoric suggest that law abiding citizens have a duty to make a criminal’s deeds more difficult, but it also suggests that the criminal shouldn’t be throat punched AS LONG AS NO SPECIFIC LAW HAS BEEN BROKEN (which he clearly states to be his opinion in the student’s case). Please allow me to posit that there are laws in place that shouldn’t be and people shouldn’t be prosecuted for breaking them, there are absences of laws when people should be prosecuted, and there’s everything in between. Maybe that’s why our forefathers wrote the book so it could be edited. I mean, is it wrong for some drunk dude to harass your girlfriend in some public setting? Yes. Will he suffer any legal consequences? Probably not. Could he use a good throat punch? You decide for you, I’ll decide for me. But I can tell you someone somewhere made the erroneous decision not to throat punch that student figuratively or literally when he really deserved it.

    Here’s how discovering someone looking through your phone goes: “Excuse me, turn the phone around so I can see the screen right now.” “Why?” “Because if you’re looking through the contacts to find someone to call and try and get that phone back to it’s rightful owner, good on ya – that’d be me. If you’re looking at my pictures or my banking app, I’m going to hit you in the throat so hard it’ll be shakes and juicers three meals a day for two weeks.”