14-year-old Wisconsin student arrested for texting in class

Jeremy Gantz
Raw Story
Feb. 21, 2009

A 14-year-old high-school student has the dubious distinction of being perhaps the first American ever arrested for texting in class.

The Wisconsin girl was charged with disorderly conduct last week after refusing to stop texting during her math class and then denying she had a phone, according to a police report.

"The School Resource officer at Wauwatosa East High School was asked to go to room 242 and remove a student who refuses to stop texting on her phone during class," the Wauwatosa Police Department officer wrote in his report. "The student [name redacted] (w/f 6-23-94) is known to me and the administration based on prior negative contacts."

It's unclear what those earlier "negative contacts" were. But what is clear is that the arresting officer gave the student a a $298 ticket for disorderly conduct and kept the Samsung, according to the report, which The Smoking Gun published in full Tuesday.

Wauwatosa East High School has a policy against texting during classes. The situation would not have escalated if the student had followed the officer's instructions, Wauwatosa Police spokeswoman Lt. Dominic Leone told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

"The arrest was more for her behavior than for the texting," Leone said. "All she had to do was put the phone away and that would have been that."

Clearly, the student loved her Samsung Cricket. She didn't give it up easily: After repeatedly denying she had it to both her teacher, the school officer and the police officer, the phone was finally revealed after a body search by a female officer called to the scene, according to the report.

In his report, the arresting officer noted that he "had observed that the zipper on [name deleted]'s pants was down," and that "she squirmed in her chair keeping her hands in her lap," while he interviewed her. After told she was being arrested for "not telling us the truth," the officer writes that the girl said "she was not going to stand up to be searched."

"These words alerted me with her zipper open and he [sic] refusal to stand up and be searched she was concealing the phone in her pants," the officer wrote.

Later, the female officer "recover[ed] a Samsung Cricket cell phone from the buttocks area of [name deleted]," and the arresting officer claimed that the girl "was smiling and laughing as Paula told me where she recovered the phone."

The student also apparently gave false phone numbers to the arresting officer, who wished to tell her parents what was happening. "She gave me several numbers all being false by one or two digits wrong [sic]," Officer Jeffrey S. Griffin wrote.

After her arrest February 11th, the student was suspended for a week but apparently the time away from school was too much to bear. The recalcitrant student received citations Thursday and Friday for trespassing on campus, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Tuesday.

It's possible, though uncertain, if the student's arrest marked the first time high-school texting has led to an arrest. It's a difficult question to answer, since such arrests would appear in records as "disorderly conduct" or a similar charge, according to Leone.

The student is due to appear in court April 20th to deal with the misdemeanor charge.

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