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Teens’ Right to Privacy: Should Parents Go Through Our Stuff? [VIDEO]

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On Feb.13, one day before the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a woman in Everett, Washington, called the police to have her 18-year-old grandson arrested after finding a gun and a journal full of plans about committing a school shooting in his bedroom.

According to CBS News, Joshua O’Conner had a semi-automatic weapon hidden in a guitar case and bomb-making equipment. The local news station reported: “According to probable cause documents,” O’Conner’s journal included “detailed plans” to shoot people at Aces High School, where he was a student. His journal entries reportedly included statements like, “I’m preparing myself for the school shooting. I can’t wait. My aim has gotten much more accurate. … I can’t wait to walk into that class and blow all those [expletive]s away.”

O’Conner’s journal also reportedly contained details of an armed robbery he is suspected of committing two days prior. Police officials applauded the grandmother for acting when she did, otherwise there may have been yet another school shooting.  

I don’t believe the grandmother was wrong for going through her grandson’s things. He lived with her, and considering what she found, she may have good reason for going into his things. She probably noticed a change in his behavior, or he could have become very distant from her.

But what if she was just snooping around for the fun of it? Wouldn’t that be an invasion of privacy?

This situation made me wonder: Where do boundaries begin and end as far as privacy between teens and their parents? I’m not saying teens should have complete privacy from their parents, but there could be respectable boundaries that parents should set so the child doesn’t feel violated.

Teenagers are still human beings and we are also entitled to our rights — and privacy is a right. I also believe teenagers who live with their parents should still abide their parents’ rules. But, with the parent-teen relationship, there should be privacy when it comes to their bedroom, journals, bathrooms and things of that nature — unless parents believe they have plans to harm themselves or other people. Only then is a little peek here and there acceptable. But before then, parents should talk to their children or try to be aware of any changes that the child might have gone through over time.

I asked some fellow teens what they think about the situation dealing with this 18-year old and his grandmother. They shared their thoughts on video.


Toyin, 16, is a junior at Tri-Cities High School actually likes her AP classes.

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