My daughter told on some students in her 5th grade class for clicking on other students files on their laptops. She saw what they were doing, but told. The assistant principal then called me & sent home a note saying my daughter is suspended for the last 2 days of school and will miss 5th grade graduation. I spoke to the assistant principal and she said that Catherine had only seen with her eyes, but not physically touched the computer or clicked on anything to access files. I asked why the school didn't have the files password XXXXX or have restricted access settings, the assistant principal said they can't keep up with the technology and the offenses. She said because my daughter saw them before telling that she was in violation of Texas Student Privacy Laws. I want to know if I can take any action to appeal this and what would be the proper way to handle this.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Texas
Thank you for the post, how much time passed between your daughter observing the students and telling on them?
She said she saw them doing it on Wednesday and then she saw them do it again Thursday and told on Thursday.
Thank you, I want to understand correctly, the school is stating that because your daughter saw the other students before telling that she violated the student privacy laws?
No, She actually saw the computer screen of what the other students were accessing from the laptops. The assistant principal said because she saw the restricted files with her eyes, that she "viewed" the files and was also going to be punished. She's never been suspended or in trouble like this ever.
Thank you, but in order to know that the other students whom she told on were viewing she had to look at the computer screen. The logic that your child was to report that the other students were viewing content/filed impermissibly without knowing what they were viewing is illogical.
The assistant principal said that students were warned not to access the files that were being accessed. My daughter said a power point presentation project was what all student were supposed to be working on, but she saw the other students accessing files that were not their own presentations.
Thank you, did you raise the defense that the children must first have committed the violation before your child could report the violation, but in order to report the violation your child had to first know what files were accessed (hence the need to view the files)?
The assistant principal said she was just as guilty for viewing the files. I think the school is trying to put blame on the students for accessing files because they are trying to shift the blame from themselves. This is a violation of federal law for the school not to properly protect other students work, files, etc. I don't know if I should contact media to expose them, have an appeal done, or get a letter written by an attorney to expose them.
and Yes, I did bring up that point. That my daughter told and had to see it to tell on kids.
ok, the most prudent approach here would be to retain counsel to send the school a letter advising that unless the suspension is lifted you will file suit against the school on the basis that the suspension is unwarranted and the rationale in support dubious at best as a 5th grader is not savy enough to crack or hack into what should be a reasonably secure intranet or server.
Okay. I think this makes sense. I will speak with my attorney in the morning. Thank you very much for the information you have given me.
Thank you, please remember to click Accept if I have answered your questions.
Experience in this category is derived from assisting clients with bullying disputes and IEPs.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).