School asks girl to hand over her phone to read her text messages, Dad sues for $7.5 million

In Irving, Texas, ridiculously close to my last home, Madelyn Beaird, a student at MacArthur High School, was suspected of being involved in an incident on campus that involved a gun and some cars that were keyed. When teachers asked her to turn over her mobile phone to inspect her text messages, she panicked and caved in.

“I knew they could not do it but I was kind of scared to ask for it back because you know I was like ‘there were three principals and a police officer,” she said.

Her Dad, being a pure breed America, saw this as an opportunity to demand compensation for the High School violating his daughter’s right to privacy. He’s not even hiding the fact that his motives are purely financial: “I remember back when hot coffee was spilled in the McDonald’s law suit. They were awarded $4.5 M. I said you know, I guess a constitutional right is worth at least $4 M today. It is worth at least a cup of coffee.”

School officials sent The 33 News a statement with regards to the situation, saying that “there was a reasonable cause for the district to search the phone. In addition, the students consented to the search and even assisted in the search. MacArthur High School administrators were working in the best interest of all the students on the campus, including those involved in the search.”

Madelyn’s phone was also confiscated and there are no plans to return it, but the school has agreed to reimburse her for the cost of the device.

Which side do you take? As batshit insane as the father is, I’m going to have to stand by him. A person’s mobile phone is their most private possession. In it there are call logs, emails, text messages, photos … everything needed to tap into someone’s life.

I wasn’t one of the first kids in my High School to get a mobile phone, but I did eventually get one, and I did eventually get in trouble. When my teachers asked for my device I politely declined and that was that.

Kids today. They need balls.

[Hat tip to Textually]

Video below detailing te whole shebang:


  • @GCustom

    This is why I like the remote wipe feature of most smartphones.

  • Dave

    I stand by the father 100%…the cell phone is a private possession.

    • kyle

      not supposed to have it at school or at least dont have it on. once there is probable cause and you consent, your right to privacy is gone.

  • simplemobilereview

    I wonder why they wanted the device. Was she suspected of cheating, stealing, fighting….
    I understand the privacy issue. The issue is the child is intimidated when confronted by adults including a police officer. I can understand why she would comply.

    I do wonder why they are keeping the device. Unreal story…at the end someone will be paying the family

    OH Nice photo that sucked me hook em horns

    • Concerned citizen

      Well, they did have a reason for doing it. In some way I do agree with the school. The girl was suspected with guns at school and keying some cars. What if something like a school shooting was planned?

      • bob

        exactly. everyone wants to cry when caught, and love it when helped or protected but again cry when asked to do something as simple as investigate your phone. if you didnt do anything, then dont cry

        • Zackhardball

          ya go tell that to micheal crowe who did nothing wrong a talk to the cops and talk him self in to a boat load of trouble, if you have done nothing wrong never talk to the cops. the truth will not set you free

  • Close Border

    Crazy or not, he has every right to sue the school. Laws are laws for a reason.

    • bob

      she was asked for the phone, she gave it. she was asked to look at phone, she assisted. what privacy was violated? the only rule/law that was broken was her bringing her phone to school and having it on. guarantee you she was texting all day and during class, but no one wants to talk about that. you can see it on her face, she is lying through her teeth

      • Zackhardball

        your wrong they demanded i am willing to be tehy didnt ask nicely she was scared not to do what she was to they didnt ask her for anything they told her to do some thing. i was once told at a dui cheeck point on the 4th of july while working for pizza hut to exit my vechile and open all the doors for a saftey check, after i lol for about 5 sec told the office that wont be happen as i turned on my camera phone and told him i was recoreding and streaming to my home computer the rest of or convo he started to get really mad and pointed out the 5 cars in front of me that were open and had police going threw them i told him it will be a cold day in hell b4 he look in my car and told him to get a warrnt, he told me he didnt need one i said to watch what he was saying bc everything is being recored. long stroy short i didnt let him search, so did the other ppl give up their right no they were told to do something not ask

  • yes, but still isnt it stealing to take the phone

  • GDub

    I guess I side with the school on this one. It'd be an entirely different story if the school demanded that she turn the cellphone over………. but she gave it up voluntarily.

    Like the story says – "Kids today. They need balls." Yes, and they need to know their rights as well and not panic like this girl did.

  • Ann

    Most schools send home documents at the beginning of the year stating that while on school property a students persons, bags, and cars can be searched through. And usually the parents and the student have to sign said document. The school is in the right here.

    • bob

      correct. exactly. read the freakin' handbook! no one wants to read or take responsibility for violating rules. this is precisely why phones arent allowed at school. it is so easy to set explosives and a plethora of other things with electronic devices

  • Defacto

    I don't think the right to privacy applies to children. My kids have no right to privacy in my house or at there school. If my children's school wants to see the text messages on their phone, its fine by me. What kind of world do we live in where people think 15 year olds should have the ability to hide there actions from the adults that care for them.

    • angelo

      i agree

      • Laur.

        not agreed. ‘children’ should have the right to make adult responsibilities and decisions made; how else are we going to grow up with our own moral conscience? I’m seventeen, and my parents trust me completely; they feel no need to search bags or lockers or rifle through my things simply because it’s impolite and basically telling the youth of today that they are different from adults, and don’t have equal rights- and trust me, when young people start to think like that, it’s when things get dangerous.

  • BorisM

    Unbelievable… I remember getting into trouble almost every day in HS cause of my phone and my refusal to hand it over to teachers, school safety, and even deans & principles. Once the dean even brought in a school safety officer in a private office and threatened to physically take my phone from me lol (I told him to go F*** himself and let me call a lawyer first). I side completely with the father, your phone is your right to privacy and under no circumstance should a school be able to take it and see anything that you have on it EVEN IF you are involved in illegal activities. If they suspect you bieng involved in such activities, they should get a warrant. I hope every teacher, faculty member, and police officers involved in this activity lose their jobs.

    • pete

      you would, you loser. the rule applies to all but you, right. i bet youre the first to call the police when something goes wrong. if you would have paid more attention in school rather than worry about adults asking for your phone, then you might remember that once you enter a state or government owned facility that youre rights change, you louse. why would be such an idiot. so you mean that if the guy sitting next to you was planning to knife you in the hall, you wouldnt be appreciative that admins found out because of a phone text. what a coward and copout to say "go F*** himself and let me call a lawyer first". thats what all cowards say. real men stand up and take account

      • BorisM

        Pete, you seem to have me figured all out. Hows about you come down to Brooklyn and see what I'm really about (just reply with your email and I'll send you my info). The only time I've ever called the cops was for car accidents (when someone hit me). The guys in my school that did plan/try to knife me in the hall (after school too), well that didnt turn out too well for their health. I'm one of those very rare exceptions and I grew up a little too smart for my age. This particular article just happened to get me a little heated becuase I have personally been in this situation many times and helped many friends out that were similarly involved. Long story short, know your rights and they need a warrant for such acts.

  • BorisM

    Its true though, kids today need some balls, at least the american kids. Know your rights and challenge authority, everything that this country once stood for is down the toilet. I'm only 24 but I was lucky enough to grow up in the final years before they started to turn everyone in wimps. I remember that when I had a problem with someone, we would wait after school and duke it out. Now a days, the school gets involved and all of a sudden you have behavioral problems and need counseling etc… its just retarded. What happened to standing up for what you believe in and defending your right to privacy. The father may be a complete moron for saying he is doing this for financial reasons but the motives are right. Bravo… I hope that whole school district goes bankrupt !!!

  • conservative_voice

    I've been in law enforcement for over 34 years, and at high levels. Reasonable suspicion is not the standard that governs schools. The recent 2008 Supreme Court case makes this clear.
    We routinely obtain telephone warrants in many times 10 minutes or less while on hold! That should have been done in this case of the Irving student. From one with decades of service in law enforcement, I have no room in my book for "lazy" law enforcement officers, or those who cannot go "by the book". I owe the public a duty and have also "sworn an oath to protect our Constitution". I do not take that duty and obligation lightly, as should every other member of law enforcement and respective school administrators.
    Once again, without PROPER knowledge of both the LAW and of the FACTS, folks show the ignorance that is enveloping our country and trivializing the very rights that I served in the military for over 9 years to defend, and frankly at a GREAT personal cost to me and my family during that time. I fought so people like this little girl could have a cell-phone and not have to worry about the government intruding upon, or treading upon, her rights that guard against that!

  • Get REAL

    Most of yall are retarded i go to this school and in the begining of each year we sighn all kinds of gay contracts which noone reads , so im willing to bet the school didnt break the law , who cares about privacy it was suspected that there was a gun on campus and vandalism occuring , they dont need to sue the school and they arent emotionally distraught . Bank Balance a little low and they dont want to fuckin work anymore . Oh and you if you dont hand your phone in the calll renta cops in to try and get it from you , there are always 2 real cops on campus but rarely do they get called for minor stuff like takin up a phone unless , A SERIOUS CRIME IS SUSPECTED LIKE BRING A FUCKIN GUN TO A SCHOOL ….. Constitutional Rights My ass , Its not like shes the fuckin CIA PRIVACY FOR WHAT , big deal now the school knows what shes gonna do at 5 with her friends

  • Tyler

    Well technically from what i remember hearing is that there is no constitutional right to privacy, read all the amendments, there's nothing about privacy, you are given a level of privacy though.

    • Zackhardball

      the 4th amendments spells it out sorry you cant see that, the constitution say nothing about you having the right for police officers not kicking you in your teeth, based on your logic or lack thier of the police officer didnt do anything wrong bc they didnt violate your rights

  • MJ

    The father has no right to sue the school. Schools reserve the right to search students including their cars, backpacks, lockers and anything else on their person if there is reasonable suspicion that they have done something wrong and evidence can be found. Unlike a police officer, a school official only has to suspect the student of wrong doing, they don’t have to catch them in the act, obtain a search warrant, or substantiate their suspicions before searching a student or their possessions. Plain and simple….. this father is doing nothing but seeking money from an already strained school system and he really should be ashamed of the example he is setting for his child.

    • Zackhardball

      your wrong you like most ppl use the word “right” schools have no right only ppl have rights but the school does have authority, so no they dont have the right to search students or authority to do so either. the school at hand is a public school and the studetn have all the rights in school that they have out of school. 2nd no a school does not have the authority to search a studtnt simply bc they think the sudent has done something wrog, unless there is a danger to someone the school can not search a student, hes one for ya i tell teacher jhonny has a gun then they can search, 2nd i tell teacher i being hearing jhonny has a gun they do not have authority to search they need permission.

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