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.
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