The father of a Secondary 2 student from Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) has sropped his lawsuit against the school for confiscating and keeping the boy’s iPhone for three months, despite his request that the school release the phone to him.
The father was reportedly ordered by court to pay costs to the school, according to a school spokesman.
The case went viral earlier this year when the story first broke.
On 8 March, the boy was caught using his iPhone 7 in school when he was not supposed to. He was subsequently called for a meeting with the school principal, Peter Tan, on 21 March where he confessed that he had been using his phone.
Tan confiscated the phone and gave the boy his SIM card and a receipt indicating that he could collect the phone in 3 months, which would be 20 June.
This is concordant with the school’s rules and regulations, as can be seen in a letter Tan had sent to parents of students as far back as January 2017:
The boy’s disgruntled father emailed the principal and said that the phone belonged to him. He demanded the phone’s return immediately.
Although the student and his father were aware of the 3-month confiscation rule, the father chose to launch a lawsuit against the school’s principal when Tan failed to reply to his email.
The boy’s father tried to sue Tan under the basis that keeping the phone amounts to the tort of conversion — denying a person rights to his own property. He also claimed that he, being the father and the one who owns the phone, is not bound by the school’s rules “as there is no contract between him and the principal.”
He also filed a request for a court order to force Tan to return the phone to the student, immediately while the case is ongoing. This request was denied by District Judge Clement Tan who ruled that the principal was justified in holding on to the phone, on 28 April.
The school said yesterday that there has been no change to its mobile phone policy despite the case.
It is believed that the student is no longer with the school.