HILLSBORO, Ore. -- Some Hillsboro students claim teachers took their cell phones and deleted video Friday of a student's outburst and subsequent arrest at R.A. Brown Middle School, but the teachers have denied it.
The student refused to remove his hat in the gym before class started, and then climbed to the top of a section of closed bleachers and started yelling obscenities at staff, according to school district spokeswoman Beth Graser. The student ultimately came down and was arrested for harassment and disorderly conduct.
During the outburst, several students recorded the incident on their cell phones. Video shows the boy running back and forth on stacked bleachers and then being grabbed by staff when he came down.
After it was over, students told NewsChannel 8 they were asked to hand over their phones and threatened with suspension if they didn't provide the passwords to unlock the phones.
Faculty members said it's a violation of school policy to have cell phones out and in use on school grounds, so the phones were confiscated.
The students said when their phones were returned at the end of the day, the videos of the incident had been deleted. They said their text messages and applications like Instagram had also been accessed, which they said was a violation of their privacy.
"They went through everything," said student Trinity Caudle. "When I went through my recent apps, everything was open. Even Instagram was open, which I know because I close my phone apps. And basically they lied to all of our parents about it."
Students also questioned why evidence in an arrest had been destroyed.
The teachers denied that any of the videos were deleted, said Graser, who added that no students were threatened with suspension for refusing to give up their pass codes.
"That's just not what happened," Graser said. "The staff did not delete video from any of the phones, but the students were asked to do that voluntarily."
Graser said staff members also asked students to email copies of the videos to the school so they could review them for the disciplinary case.
Hillsboro police said they had enough evidence to make an arrest in the case and did not need the cell phone video. They did not seize the phones or even look at the video. Police said they don't know what the teachers did with the material.
Dozens of Brown students were wearing hats in protest Monday, and T-shirts that demand the boy be let back into class. The district maintained it is within the faculty's rights to seize and search property if a student is in violation of policy.