Hi,This past December the principle of our son's middle school presented us with a copy of our son's facebook. The facebook had several profane entries about lude sexual acts and getting high. We were appalled, and questioned our son extensively about it. He consistently denied it. After many questions and phone calls, we discovered it was my nephew who made those entries. He thought it would be "funny." This cousin is the same one who helped my son set up his facebook initially. He had access to his pass word. I spoke to my brother and his son admitted to it. Knowing this, we had another meeting with the middle school principle. We relayed what we knew about the incident to him. The principle was still not convinced that our son was not responsible for it. I asked where the copy of his facebook account came from. He was very vague and would not give up the individual's name. He stated that the school has the right to review facebook accounts. The person who "creeped" on my son's facebook made a copy of it from an iphone. I have it. I spoke to a school board member about this and as far as he knew, the school district did not have a policy about reviewing student's facebook accounts. I feel defamation of character has resulted from this event. Who saw his facebook? Who was responsible for bring it to the principle? My questions have gone unanswered. I felt if I had pursued this issue too much initially, there may have been retribution for my son. Right after this happened though, he was accused and punished for things he said he did not do. They began to treat him like a delinquent. My thoughts are that a lot of people knew about this facebook issue, and felt my son was responsible for it. As a parent I feel very helpless. When my son was accused of different things I would go in and plead his case. The party line was, "The teachers said...." so therefore, it is so. Can I file a FOIA and request info about the individual who copied and gave the facebook account to the MS principle?Thank you,Laurie Van Buren
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): New York
Speaking to the principle.
Thank you for the post, am I correct to assume this is a public school?
Also, the information was lifted from the facebook at 7pm at night. That info is sited on the copy. Personal related info was cut off.
Thank you, I am reading through NY's FOIL law, I will be with you momentarily.
Thank you for your patience, public schools are considered agencies in NY and therefore subject to NY FOIL (freedom of information law)
Will the info be forth coming if I file? What if someone outside of the school lifted the info, will school officials be obligated to give up the name?
You therefore are free to request the information you seek and the school is obligated to provide the same unless the school can show that release of the information is an unreasonable invasion of privacy. For your reference, here is the applicable law in pertinent part:
"...an agency may deny access to records or portions thereof that:
(a) are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute; (b) if disclosed would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under the provisions of subdivision two of section eighty-nine of this article;(c) if disclosed would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations;(d) are trade secrets or are submitted to an agency by a commercial enterprise or derived from information obtained from a commercial enterprise and which if disclosed would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise; (e) are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which, if disclosed, would:
i. interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings;ii. deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication;iii. identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information relating to a criminal investigation; oriv. reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures;
(f) if disclosed could endanger the life or safety of any person;(g) are inter-agency or intra-agency materials which are not:
i. statistical or factual tabulations or data;ii. instructions to staff that affect the public;iii. final agency policy or determinations; oriv. external audits, including but not limited to audits performed by the comptroller and the federal government; or
(h) are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions;(i) if disclosed, would jeopardize the capacity of an agency or an entity that has shared information with an agency to guarantee the security of its information technology assets, such assets encompassing both electronic information systems and infrastructures; or* (j) are photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images prepared under authority of section eleven hundred eleven-a of the vehicle and traffic law.* NB Repealed December 1, 2014* (k) are photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images prepared under authority of section eleven hundred eleven-b of the vehicle and traffic law.* NB Repealed December 1, 2014* (l) are photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images produced by a bus lane photo device prepared under authority of section eleven hundred eleven-c of the vehicle and traffic law.* NB Repealed September 20, 2015"
the full law is available here for your reference: http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/foil2.html#s87
Is my request unreasonable? What about the invasion of privacy regarding my son?
No, your request is not unreasonable.Regarding your son's invasion of privacy, there is no privacy right in Facebook postings, once published they are considered in the public domain.
Please let me know if you have any follow up questions.
I'm not sure what you mean.
You asked is my "Is my request unreasonable?" I answered "No, your request is not unreasonable." You also asked "What about the invasion of privacy regarding my son?" I answered "Regarding your son's invasion of privacy, there is no privacy right in Facebook postings, once published they are considered in the public domain." Is it that you do not know what I meant by public domain?
As a parent would you pursue this matter, or am I going to make matters worse for my son?
As a parent I would not, this is because the cost benefit analysis is not favorable. The benefit would be determining whom submitted the content to the principal, which would satisfy my curiosity but what would I do with that information that would warrant the backlash my son would likely suffer? This is why as a parent I would not pursue the request but would advise the principal that you are monitoring closely how your son is treated and should you learn that your son is being targeted or otherwise treated in a discriminatory manner based on this incident (in which your son has no culpability) you will strongly consider filing a complaint with the superintendent and if necessary retaining counsel.
Please remember to rate my answer if your questions have been answered, and please let me know if you have any follow up questions.
I feel like the backlash has already occurred. I feel that he has been accused of things he did not do because they affixed a profile consistent with the facebook entries.
I understand, requesting the name of the informant would not cure this though. What would cure this profiling is advising that it will not be tolerated in the future, and should it continue you will file a complaint with the superintendent as well as retain counsel to discuss pursing a civil action
What kind of lawyer would I seek out. Someone who specializes in....
A lawyer who practices in the field of education law.
Thank you, please remember to offer a rating/click Accept if I have answered your questions.
Experience in this category is derived from assisting clients with bullying disputes and IEPs.
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