A U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio has ruled in favor of a Cleveland State University student Aaron Ogletree on Aug. 22 in the legal case of the school using the student’s webcam to search his room before a test, 19 News reported.
Federal Judge J. Philip Calabrese ruled that Cleveland State’s practice of conducting room scans was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. The ruling appears to be the first to state that the amendment protects students from ‘unreasonable video searches of their homes before taking a remote test’, according to civil rights attorney Matthew Besser.
Ogletree was subjected to a warrantless room scan prior to a February 2021 chemistry exam, prompting him to sue. The school made students show their room to a school official prior to a test to ensure there was no cheating.
“Freedom from government intrusion into our homes is the very core of what the Fourth Amendment protects,” said Besser. “If there is any place where students have a reasonable expectation of privacy, it’s inside their homes. CSU’s warrantless webcam searches of student homes tramples that fundamental privacy right. The Framers would have recoiled at the idea of a school official physically entering a student’s home without a warrant to preemptively search for evidence the student might cheat on a test. CSU’s use of webcams to snoop inside student homes is no different. It is an unnecessary and unreasonable intrusion on student privacy, and it violates the Fourth Amendment.”