Judge rules video scan of room before online testing illegal

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. damage / ˈdæm ɪdʒ / (n.) – money paid to someone for causing him or her some injury or loss

    The man won the case and was paid $1,000 in damages.

  2. precedent / ˈprɛs ɪ dənt / (n.) – an action or statement that can be used to set an example for a future similar situation

    It’s the first time we’ve encountered a case like this, so it can be a precedent for future cases.

  3. intrusion / ɪnˈtru ʒən / (n.) – an action that disturbs someone in an annoying way

    Unexpected guests coming to a party are an unwelcome intrusion.

  4. outweigh / ˌaʊtˈweɪ / (v.) – to have greater weight, value, or importance over something or someone else

    The pros of using metal straws outweigh its cons.

  5. discretion / dɪˈskrɛʃ ən / (n.) – the right to make a decision in a situation

    Choosing the speaker for the event is left to the discretion of the organizers.


Read the text below.

Cleveland State University violated a student’s Fourth Amendment right to privacy when he was required to use a webcam to show his bedroom before taking an online test, a federal judge in Cleveland ruled.

Matthew Besser, the attorney for student Aaron Ogletree, said that the lawsuit was filed last year to stop the university from enforcing an illegal practice aimed at preventing cheating and that Ogletree is not seeking monetary damages.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge J. Philip Calabrese appears to set a precedent regarding student privacy rights, Besser said.

“Freedom from government intrusion into our homes is the very core of what the Fourth Amendment protects,” Besser said. “If there is any place where students have a reasonable expectation of privacy, it’s in their homes.”

Ogletree initially protested but scanned his room before a chemistry test, fearing he would receive a failing grade if he did not comply, Besser said.

Calabrese in his ruling ordered Besser and attorneys for Cleveland State to meet to determine what the next step in the case will be. He said in the order that Ogletree’s right to privacy “outweighs Cleveland State’s interests in scanning his room.”

Cleveland State spokesperson David Kielmeyer said the school cannot comment on “active litigation.”

“Ensuring academic integrity is essential to our mission and will guide us as we move forward,” Kielmeyer said.

Ogletree said in the lawsuit that the COVID-19 pandemic forced him during the school’s 2021 spring semester to take classes online to protect his family members’ health.

The decision whether to require students to show their rooms before a test is left to the discretion of individual professors and is not enforced by all instructors, Ogletree said in the lawsuit. Room scans are visible to other students who are taking a test, Ogletree’s lawsuit said.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • According to Besser, the core of the Fourth Amendment is having freedom from the government’s intrusion into people’s homes. Based on this, do you agree or disagree with the judge’s decision on Ogletree’s case? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Why do you think the right to privacy is important? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Professors have discretion on whether they’ll require the students to show their rooms before a test or not. Do you think professors who required this should also be penalized? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Because of the pandemic, a lot of schools have been holding their classes online. This requires some students to use cameras or create social media accounts. How do you think schools can protect their students’ privacy with all these new requirements? Discuss.