Virginia High School Principal Orders Student to Stop Recording

Carlos Miller

Virginia High School Principal Orders Student to Stop Recording While Searching Bag for E-cigarette (Updated).

A high school student in Virginia was suspected of possessing marijuana an e-cigarette while on a school bus, leading to the principal and assistant principal to search his bag without his consent.

And when he tried to pull out his camera to record, he was ordered to put it away.

But while they may teach the Constitution in high school, the courts have ruled that the Constitution doesn’t fully apply to students.

There are several reasons why violations of student rights are upheld by the courts. One of the most basic reasons is known as in loco parentis. This Latin phrase basically means that while a student is in the custody of a school, the school can and often should act as a parent. In this duty of the school, many decisions can be made that are outside the normal governmental purview. The other basic reason for violation of student rights has to do with the goal of school — to educate. If an act of a student can interfere with the educational process, that act may, in many cases, be suppressed.

Nevertheless, they found no weed e-cigarette and the student, who doesn’t identify himself but goes by TheLilRubix1 on Youtube, went home and posted a video about his experience, including the short clip when Massaponax High School Principal Joseph Pisani ordered him to turn off his camera.

While there doesn’t seem to be any court cases addressing the rights of students to record on school grounds, most schools fall back on policies that restrict the use of phones during school hours.

However, this incident appeared to have taken place after school hours on a bus.

In the video below, you can hear the student talk about the incident as well as footage from the actual incident right after the 2:00 mark, which goes as follows:

Student: “I’m sorry but this is for legal reasons.”
Pisani: “No, shut it off. Put it away.”

Also below are the names and pictures of the administrators who conducted the search.

UPDATE: The name of the student is Evan Stone and he is 16-years-old sophomore. Also, as I’ve corrected in the story, it was an e-cigarrete they were looking for, not marijuana. Because marijuana is also vaporized, I assumed it was the weed they were looking for, but I was corrected.

Stone provided the following statement to PINAC:

I just want to stress that all students in any school should know their rights! It is kind of like the school system wants to hide them from us. If they have enough time to teach us about how sex works, then they ought to have enough time to teach us our amendments! Out of every 2,000 students at Massaponax, I bet I am the only one who knows my rights, and that is sad.


War on Photography