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Scanning students’ homes during remote testing is unconstitutional, judge says

Scanning students’ homes during remote testing is unconstitutional, judge says

Enlarge (credit: Jeff Greenberg / Contributor | Universal Images Group)

As the pandemic unfolded in spring 2020, an Educause survey found that an increasing number of students—who had very little choice but to take tests remotely—were increasingly putting up with potential privacy invasions from schools. Two years later, for example, it’s considered a common practice that some schools record students throughout remote tests to prevent cheating, while others conduct room scans when the test begins.

Now—in an apparent privacy win for students everywhere—an Ohio judge has ruled that the latter practice of scanning rooms is not only an invasion of privacy but a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s guaranteed protection against unlawful searches in American homes.

The decision came after a Cleveland State University student, Aaron Ogletree, agreed to a room scan before a chemistry exam, even though his teacher had changed their policy, and he did not expect it to happen before the test. Because there were others in his home, he took the test in his bedroom, where he says he had sensitive tax documents spread out on a surface. These confidential documents, he claimed, could not be moved before the test and were visible in the room scan recording—which was shared with other students.

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