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Irvington Eighth Graders Explore History, Phone Tapping Constitutionality

Irvington Middle School eighth-graders in Dr. Jeffery Rieck’s social studies class wrote “letters to the editor” in response to the Apple v. the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation case over access to the iPhone used by a shooter in San Bernadino.
Irvington Middle School eighth-graders in Dr. Jeffery Rieck’s social studies class wrote “letters to the editor” in response to the Apple v. the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation case over access to the iPhone used by a shooter in San Bernadino. Photo Credit: Contributed

IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- Irvington Middle School eighth-graders in Dr. Jeffery Rieck’s social studies class recently explored the 1920s and the issues that revolved around the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“As part of their study, they read about the case of Roy Olmstead, a prominent bootlegger from Washington who was arrested after having his phone tapped by Department of the Treasury agents,” Dr. Rieck said.

The Olmstead v. United States  case made its way to the Supreme Court in 1928, where the court reviewed whether the use and tapping of telephone conservations, which was a new form of technology at the time, without judicial approval was a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights.

As a culminating activity, the students demonstrated what they had learned and applied it to a case that’s relevant in their lives today. They were tasked with writing “letters to the editor” in response to the Apple v. the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation case over access to the iPhone used by a shooter in last year’s San Bernardino attacks.

The students responded to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s open letter from February 2016 and expressed their thoughts on the issue.

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