Teachers are allowed to confiscate their students’ phones, but when and for how long?
Phones can be confiscated if students break the rules regarding phone use and there is a corresponding legal basis to do so. In most cantons, the use of electronic devices has now been addressed in the house rules of schools.
The house rules qualify as rules (often the prohibition of use is expanded to include all electronic devices such as cell phones, MP3 players, etc.) providing sufficient legal grounds.
General prohibitions on use for cell phones and other electronic devices during school hours (or their confiscation if such rules are broken) can be justified by the “school purpose” (smooth functioning of the school and its operations).
If set out in the house rules, the devices can also be confiscated during recess and on the entire school grounds.
However, the school administration cannot prohibit students from bringing phones to school.
In addition, a general rule of thumb is that the cell phone must be returned to the student on the same day, after class at the latest. The house rules should govern the duration of the confiscation and the return of the devices concerned. As a rule: The longer a phone is confiscated, the more difficult it will be to justify the confiscation with the school purpose. In other words: With regards to a legal assessment, if a student opposes the confiscation, their chances of winning the proceedings grow with every passing day.