Teacher uses lie detector phone app on her third graders

There are multiple reasons to be angry about this story. But many miss one of the core points – that lie detector tests are unreliable and should not be used for THIS or any other purpose.

Teacher Reportedly Subjects Third Graders to Lie Detector Test Over Missing Candy on Valentines Day – ABC News.

A third grade teacher in Lynchburg, Va. is in hot water with parents after students say she made them take a lie detector test to find out who took candy from the candy jar.

The incident happened on Valentine’s Day, a holiday on which people often share candy. But, when some of the classroom’s candy disappeared and students wouldn’t fess up, the teacher downloaded a lie detector app to her smartphone.

“It was an app where you put your thumb on the screen and a question appears, then the app tells you whether you’re telling the truth or not,” said Kelly Brown-Hampton, the President of the PTO Board at Dearington Elementary School.

Parents are fuming. As they should be. Our tipster, Mark, notes: “The app is marketed as a piece of entertainment. It is also difficult to assess what exactly happened in the class room second hand. Did the teacher believe it was an accurate test? Was the teacher using it to elicit a response from the guilty party knowing the test was a sham? Either way it seems like a terrible approach that wound up needlessly scaring the children.”

One of the parents says the test is “something that belongs at a jail. My kids are not in jail. They are at a school. They’re here to be educated, not to be considered criminals where they have to take a lie detector test about candy.” This parent is mistaken in one aspect, lie detector tests are not even good for criminals. They are not reliable indicators of lies.

Of course that a cheap phone app was used makes this even worse but notice that even the parents assume that this was a valid device. That’s the core problem. It is NOT valid.

Tip: Mark Hixson

  4 comments for “Teacher uses lie detector phone app on her third graders

  1. Chuck Nelson
    March 15, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Once, while being polygraphed, my examiner shifted in his chair. The chair creaked loudly and my readings went off the chart. This was as I responded to a key question, which was a truthful response. We ended up on this line of questioning for sometime as I was now really keyed up. Not fun.

  2. Aaron
    March 15, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    @Chuck Nelson- I’m curious why you would submit to such baloney. One time a co-worker accused me of stealing his wallet because he wanted me fired. Unfortunately, I didn’t act surprised when the boss told me because the accuser had been acting rude and strange for days beforehand. I got fired. I was the new guy and there were no cameras to prove him wrong.

    Two weeks later, I got a call from a cop, who told me that “HE would submit to a lie detector to prove his innocence.” I told him that lie detectors have no scientific merit, etc. He couldn’t come up with a single retort.
    The thing is, I wondered how my anxiety would affect the test. Do I take it with or without my Xanax in my system. How about Ativan, instead? Could a killer take a huge dose of those meds and act cool as a cucumber? I realized that things like medicine, anxiety, bipolar, and other X factors aren’t even taken into account.
    Two more two weeks later, I called and harassed the cop into telling me why he hasn’t called me since. The answer: an unusually high number of theft calls from the accuser’s phone!

  3. Chuck Nelson
    March 16, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    It was part of a job application process.

  4. David Bailey
    March 28, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    If I were required to take a polygraph for a job application I would walk out, after berating them for their idiocy. They are pseudoscientific garbage that can exonerate the guilty and convict the innocent. The only person who should ever take the test is a guilty person, they have a good chance of being shown innocent.

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