School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Sharon Michael-Chadwell


civil liberties, personal handheld technology, school law, school policy


Civil Law | Educational Leadership | Education Law | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Other Education


In an effort to support school leaders in policy development, this research is an evaluation of jurisprudence related to student use of personal handheld devices. The qualitative legal analyses of 15 recent court cases representing both federal and state jurisdictions were analyzed to determine patterns and trends within the decisions of the courts. The researcher sought to identify the following: The way the U.S. courts addressed the balance between students' civil liberties and the interest of school officials in maintaining and operating safe, orderly, efficient, and effective learning environments. The identifiable trends within the legal cases related to student use of personal handheld technology. The legal standards used by lower courts to render decisions on cases related to students' personal handheld technology use and the authority of school officials to protect both the safety of students and the learning environment. The suggested guidelines to use when developing school policy and procedures based upon analysis of jurisprudence as applied to student use of personal handheld technology cases. The outcome of this research clarifies the rights and limits of both students and educators as well as provides guidelines for the establishment of appropriate school policy.