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Father sues school for searching daughter's phone

Wants more than just an apology
Tue Aug 03 2010, 20:17

A TEXAN is suing an independent school district claiming that his daughter's constitutional rights were violated when one of its schools performed a search of her mobile phone.

The lawsuit stems from an investigation carried out by MacArthur High School following rumours that a threatening situation involving a gun might have been afoot. The administrators thought for some reason that young Madelyn Beaird was involved and questioned her about it at school without calling her parents.

During their questioning of the girl, the school administrators "sought her permission" to search her phone and took possession of it.

When Ms Beaird's father found out, he thought that his daughter's constitutional rights had been breached by the school illegally searching the phone. A lawsuit entailing a claim for $7.5 million in damages ensued.

As for how the Beaird family reached that figure of $7.5 million, Madelyn's father John Beaird referred to a well-known judgment against the fast-food chain McDonalds. "I remember back when hot coffee was spilled in the McDonald's law suit. They were awarded $4.5 million. I said you know, I guess a constitutional right is worth at least $4 million today."

The school district board voted unanimously to deny the Bairds' claim, however the family said it intends to take the matter up in federal court.

As it turned out, no gun was found at the school and no one got hurt. However, while the school district did not give the Beairds $7.5 million, it did offer to reimburse Madelyn for her phone. µ


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