During the pandemic, schools around the country entered unprecedented territory. With draconian mandates and lockdowns, students stayed home the majority of the time and teaching became very different.
Since then, numerous lawsuits have popped up regarding some of the more controversial guidelines. For example, there’s the “room scan” idea that many universities started to implement.
However, a federal judge just ruled that this practice is unconstitutional.
Back in February of this year, a Cleveland State University student prepared for a remote test. But before beginning the exam, Aaron Ogletree was required to show the professor a full view of his bedroom.
This is known as “room scanning,” and the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) says it’s a common requirement “where students are forced to use their device’s camera to give a 360-degree view of everything around the area in which they’re taking a test.”
Ogletree told Reason that he didn’t like the idea, and sent an email to Cleveland State Testing Services saying that he had confidential documents in his work area, and didn’t have time to secure them before the “scan.”
Afterward, Ogletree sued the university, claiming his Fourth Amendment rights were violated. The university tried to say that these scans don’t qualify as “searches” and are about “academic fairness and exam integrity.”
But the judge didn’t buy that. Via The Blaze:
A federal judge ruled this week that it was unconstitutional for a university in Ohio to require a ‘room scan’ from a chemistry student before he took a remote test.
The university tried to defend itself by saying students are allowed to control the inspection, in regards to where they direct the camera in the room.
Even so, U.S. district court Judge J. Philip Calabrese said the defense didn’t hold enough water. He ruled in Ogletree’s favor and stated:
Mr. Ogletree’s privacy interest in his home outweighs Cleveland State’s interests in scanning his room.
Accordingly, the Court determines that Cleveland State’s practice of conducting room scans is unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
EFF Associate Director of Digital Strategy Jason Kelly said he hoped other schools will “recognize that just because an invasive surveillance tool exists, it isn’t necessarily helpful to education.”
He added that this sort of thing could be, and sometimes is, a direct violation of a student’s Constitutional rights.
Currently, the school’s legal team is “reviewing the decision,” and they may or may not decide to appeal. In the meantime, it’s a victory for student rights and for those who support the Constitution.
Remote learning has elicited plenty of scrutiny and criticism in the past few years, and some lawsuits are saying that students were simply given a very poor education and are now behind.
Others allege that it has had a profoundly negative impact on the mental health of children and teens, as evidenced by a sharp rise in students going into therapy since 2020.
As for the “room scanning” issue, that’s bound to be a problem when cameras and personal homes are brought into the picture.
- A federal judge ruled against a “room scan” and called it a violation of the student’s rights.
- The lawsuit the student brought against the school said the required scan was in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment.
- The judge agreed, and the EFF said they hope other schools will start to question the use of “room scanning” in the future.
Source: The Blaze