Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Substitute Bill No. 5170

    February Session, 2018

 

*_____HB05170ED____032618____*

AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENTS' RIGHT TO PRIVACY IN THEIR MOBILE ELECTRONIC DEVICES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2018) (a) As used in this section:

(1) "Mobile electronic device" means any hand-held or other portable electronic equipment capable of providing data communication between two or more individuals, including, but not limited to, a mobile telephone, as defined in section 14-296aa of the general statutes, a text messaging device, a paging device, a personal digital assistant, a laptop computer, equipment that is capable of playing a video game or a digital video disc or equipment on which digital images are taken or transmitted;

(2) "School employee" means: (A) A teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, school superintendent, guidance counselor, school counselor, psychologist, social worker, nurse, physician, school paraprofessional or coach employed by a local or regional board of education or working in a public or private elementary, middle or high school; or (B) any other person who, in the performance of his or her duties, has regular contact with students and who provides services to or on behalf of students enrolled in a public elementary, middle or high school, pursuant to a contract with the local or regional board of education;

(3) "School-sponsored activity" means any activity sponsored, recognized or authorized by a board of education and includes activities conducted on or off school property; and

(4) "Administrator" has the same meaning as provided in section 10-144e of the general statutes.

(b) No school employee may (1) take custody of a student's mobile electronic device for purposes of accessing any data or other content stored upon or accessible from such device, or (2) compel a student to produce, display, share or provide access to any data or other content stored upon or accessible from such device, except a school employee may take custody of a student's mobile electronic device if (A) such device is located on school property or being used during a school-sponsored activity, and (B) the school employee has a reasonable suspicion that a student (i) has violated or is violating an educational policy and that such device contains evidence of the suspected violation, or (ii) poses a risk of imminent personal injury to such student or others. Upon taking custody of a student's mobile electronic device, the school employee shall immediately turn over such device to an administrator.

(c) An administrator may conduct a search of a student's mobile electronic device taken pursuant to subsection (b) of this section. Any such search shall (1) be strictly limited to finding evidence of the suspected policy violation or to prevent imminent personal injury to such student or others, and (2) immediately cease upon (A) finding sufficient evidence or no evidence of the suspected violation, or (B) preventing such imminent personal injury to such student or others.

(d) A school employee who has taken custody of and turned over a mobile electronic device pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall immediately submit a written report to the principal that explains the reasonable suspicion that gave rise to such school employee taking custody of such device and to whom such device was turned over to after taking custody of such device.

(e) Not later than twenty-four hours after the completion of the search pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the principal shall notify the student and the parent or guardian of the student of the suspected violation and what data, if any, was accessed from such device during the search of such device, and provide a copy of the report explaining the reasonable suspicion that gave rise to the search.

(f) For the school year commencing July 1, 2018, and each school year thereafter, each local and regional board of education shall include the requirements of this section in the publication of the rules, procedures and standards of conduct for the school district and in all student handbooks.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2018

New section

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 1(a), a definition of "administrator" was added for clarity.

ED

Joint Favorable Subst.