By COLLIN KRIZMANICH
Capital News Service
LANSING — Turn on any crime show, such as CSI, and you’ll see a scene like this: The police identify a suspect, and within seconds a tech expert has traced the cell phone to the perp’s exact GPS coordinates. “I’ve had several people ask me, ‘You can already do that, right?’” said Terry Jungel, executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association. “But it’s not that easy.”
While federal legislation allows cellular providers to turn over a user’s location information, it does not require them to do so, unless the police have a warrant. In some cases–such as an abduction or a wandering Alzheimer’s patient– the time taken to obtain a warrant may mean the difference between life and death. Across the country, 17 states have passed what is commonly referred to as “Kelsey Smith Acts,” designed to expedite cellular location tracking.
By CORTNEY ERNDT
Capital News Service
LANSING – Most school districts in Michigan continue to confiscate electronic devices used in classrooms, although 78 percent of U.S. teens now have a cellphone, almost half of which are smartphones. That means 37 percent of all teens carry access to social networking sites in their pockets, purses and backpacks, up from just 23 percent in 2011, according the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Peter Broderick, assistant director of communications at the Michigan Association of School Boards, said district policies primarily determines the penalty for using cellphones in class, followed by individual school policies and teacher policies. There is no statewide law regarding cellphones in classrooms.
West Ottawa High School’s student handbook notes, “Cellphones are personal media devices that may be used on campus, but are prohibited from being on or used during class time, unless deemed educationally appropriate by the teacher.”
Students can use cellphones between classes and during lunch. High schools in the Big Rapids and Grand Rapids districts have the same policy.
On Aug. 1 The Lansing School Board Policy Committee will discuss prohibiting cell phone use among board members during meetings. This type of policy discussion has already been addressed by other public bodies in Michigan. The Detroit News reported on July 6,
that public bodies in Ann Arbor, Sterling Heights and Royal Oak have eliminated the use of cell phones and laptops by board members during open meetings. These decisions were made in an attempt to support the Michigan Open Meetings Act. The Michigan Open Meetings Act requires that meetings of public bodies be open to the public with only a few exceptions.