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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Explains legal matters based on 14+ years experience.
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I have a situation where my childs public school teacher released

Resolved Question:

I have a situation where my child's public school teacher released a sensitive private school document about me, to my exwife. My exwife then produced/attempted to use this document in our child custody litigation.
What are the legal implications, law violations, code violations? Is this strictly civil or are there criminal violations?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer!

What was the document and why do you believe that the teacher could not release it to anyone else?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The document was an email between my son's teacher and the principal. Thus, the document was a private school related communication between employees of the school. The school district has a policy, based in govt code, which prohibits the transmitting of documents by employees to any private party.

In this case, the email, was a reference to a communication between a student and this teacher as to possible misconduct on my part, to that student. The misconduct was established as baseless, but my exwife produced it in a hearing in an attempt to further her child custody case.

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
Thanky you.

Does your child attend a public or a private school?

What was the school district's response to your complaint?

What are your "injuries" by the release of the document?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

My Child attends a public school. The district has not had time to investigate yet.

By the mere creation of the document, and the release of it, shows a unified concerted effort on the part of the staff at the school to show bias to the father-child relationship.

I now feel uncomfortable participating as a classroom parent as I had before, or to participate in field trips with my son's class, as I had done before. Thus, our relationship has been destroyed and cannot be restored at this school.

 

I am not sure if I told you before. There were also letters written by four teachers on behalf of the mother, against the father, for purposes of the child custody litigation. Again, the letters did not contain anything outrageous, one gave an opinion based on mother's perspective, and how the child custody litigation should be awarded---clearly outside her realm. The letters are also against school district policy.

 

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
Thank you. Can you please include the school district policy which you claim has been violated?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Administration and staff shall maintain the confidentiality of all confidential records until such time as laws, state regulations and/or bylaws of this district permit disclosure. Information and records pertaining to closed sessions, negotiations and student records are not subject to public disclosure under Government Code 6252-6260.

Any employee who willfully releases confidential/privileged information about students, staff or any topic properly confined to a closed session shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from district service. Confidential information includes any information relating to the Board's employer-employee strategies on matters in negotiation or matters to be placed in negotiation.

Any employee who willingly and for monetary gain uses or discloses confidential/privileged information as defined in Government Code 1098 is guilty of a misdemeanor. (Government Code 1098)

Any action by an employee which inadvertently or carelessly results in release of confidential/privileged information shall be recorded, and the record shall be placed in the employee's personnel file. Depending on the circumstances, the Superintendent or designee may deny the employee further access to any privileged information and shall take any steps necessary to prevent any further unauthorized release of such informat

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
Thank you.

From the facts you've described and the information that you've provided, it does not appear that the teacher disclosed a "confidential" record as described by the school policy.

If the record is not "confidential" there is no policy violation.

Particularly since your child attends a public school, there's a greater presumption that records are PUBLIC unless there is a specific law which says that a specific document is NON-PUBLIC. In your case, I'm not aware of such a law in your circumstances.

It was entirely appropriate for you to share your concern with the school district. It's up to them to see what they're going to do internally. However, based upon the information you've supplied, there does not seem to be a violation of any law.

I wish you the best. I hope that you find this information to be helpful and this answer to be ACCEPTable!
JB Umphrey, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 20232
Experience: Explains legal matters based on 14+ years experience.
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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey
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Explains legal matters based on 14+ years experience.