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Student Stunned When Teacher Demands To Read Their Texts After Catching Them Using Phone In Class

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Many teachers have strict rules about phone use. But when those rules are broken, how far is too far when it comes to disciplining the student?

A young person on Reddit found themself in the midst of this conflict when their phone was confiscated by their teacher, who then read all of their texts.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by OccultPriest on the site, felt like their privacy had been violated. But they weren’t quite sure about how they responded.

So they went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

OP asked:

“AITA? My teacher took my phone because I was on it in class, she made me open it and let her read through very personal text messages with my mom.”

They explained:

“It’s exam week at my school and I was in my English class. 90% of teachers at our school let you go on your phone after your finished with your exam, so after I competed everything I needed to do for English I started reading. I then opened my phone to text my mom a question about some money stuff going on with me.”

“The teacher told me to put it away, and I finished up my text message and then put it way. She then told me to put it up on her desk for the rest of the hour. So I placed it on her desk and went back to reading.”

“About five minutes before the bell rang I went up to her desk to get my phone and before I could say anything she just said ‘I’ll talk to you at the end of the hour.’ Okay, weird, this has never happened to me before.”

“The bell rings and I go up to her desk to retrieve my phone and get scolded. She picks up my phone and gives me the lecture about being on my phone and not putting it away immediately after being told to. She then hands me my phone and asks to unlock it, so I do.”

“She asks me to show her my text messages, I hold up the phone so that she can see that I was texting my mom, but not close enough to see the conversation. She then tells me to hand the phone so she can read my messages, I start to kind of argue against it, but she’s insistent and takes the phone from me.”

“She scrolled around for a bit and read my personal text messages to my mom. She gave me the ‘was this really important enough to be doing during my class?’ And I said no, even though it actually was very important to me.”

“She did this all in front of my classmates who were watching. I realize that I probably shouldn’t assume that all the teachers have the same rules, but was she really justified to read my text messages?”

Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

And they were pretty firmly on OP’s side on this one.

“NTA – I would take this issue to the principal. Teachers aren’t allowed to do that.”

“Edit: Go to the principal with your parents. This is probably important.” –Chappo-1205

“I’ve worked as a relief teacher after I finished my masters and when I took a phone of a student I NEVER physically touched it.”

“They had to get up from their seat, place it on my desk and if it was to be confiscated. I walked them to the office, they were handed an envelope write their name on it and then close it.”

“This was all due to liability. So taking it and additionally going through your phone is a huge no-no and as a relief, that would’ve been my last day working for that school and probably for the entire district.”

“Onto the ruling: You should’ve confirmed her rules first, so this wasn’t the best move. But her actually looking through your phone trumps anything, so NTA.” –Icy_Appeal4472

“Texting during class is small potatoes compared to the trouble this teacher could and should get into for reading through your personal messages like that. If I was your parent, I’d be raising hell. If for some reason your parents don’t accompany you, I would still go to the principal, because it’s very likely that you’re not the only student she has done this to or will do this to in the future, and it’s not okay.”

“Editing to add that you should make sure you mention her judgey comment after she read those messages. She had no right to be looking through them in the first place, and she ESPECIALLY had no right to be commenting on your personal circumstances or taking it upon herself to deem whether they seem ‘important’ enough to her or not.”

“If she was that upset about you texting, she could have given you an appropriate consequence, like detention (or just having you put the phone on her desk, like she did). There was no excuse for this invasion of privacy.” –athymeforclues

“NTA. Please tell your parents.”

“As a parent, I can say with complete honesty, I would have gone into that school riding a pale horse holding the reins in my teeth so I could put on my spike toed boots. HELL NO. You want to know what is on my kid’s phone then you call ME.”

“Then, if I am not busy, I will come down, talk to my kid ALONE. My kid and I will decide if it is okay to tell you what is on it. At no time will anyone touch my kid’s phone, or my kid. This make me very angry.” –LastCall4Coffee

“NTA and big hell no she wasn’t justified. This teacher has a power trip. Tell your mom or your principals and apologize for being on your phone but that it’s unacceptable to invade a student’s privacy in that manner. I’ve had teachers do this before to other students when I was a kid and there should be consequences.” –grandgrimes

Hopefully OP can work this out with their teacher.

Written by Peter Karleby

Peter Karleby is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.