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I just wondering if someone could throw a little help our way, yesterday whle at school our 13 year old son was forced/pressured to login to his facebook account in an effort to gather evidence that could well be used against him.

 

Basicly I'm furious as a parent that this was allowed to happen without either myself or wife present or without my son seeking advice on what he should do from us as parents.

 

Anyone got any views or advice on this as I believe it to be totally out of order and the school trying to use powers they simply don't have.

 

I going to be honest here my son is guilty for what he has done, but so is the other pupil but when the other pupil refused they basicly forced my son to login to use his account.

 

My son said they used his account to take screen grabs of his profile and wall status.

 

Is there any legal course of action we can take against the school as we believe his right to privacy has been breached.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hiya sorry this has went unanswered,

 

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i have moved this to the general issues forum for more views

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Yes it's still an ongoing matter, we have raised a grievance with the school. Basicly we have now gone to the police regarding this matter as the school were basicly trying to single my son out when this was not the case. The police have looked into the complaint we have raised with them and the matter goes far wider than Facebook it extends to Xbox live & MSN messenger and my son only wrote on facebook in retaliation to remarks made on other networks to which the police have found vile remarks towards my son regarding race & sexuality.

 

In a nutshell the police have told my son that all he may face is a fixed penalty of £40 for his part in this however for the pupil who used other methods to provoke my son the crime is alot more serious and the police have not ruled out using the courts to prosecute this other pupil.

 

But my main concerns are with dealing with the school as they forced my son to reveal information against his will and without the advice of his parent, the other issue is with the police why should my son accept this £40 penalty when he only responded following provocation and is there any pitfalls for accepting the £40 fixed penalty on his behalf as I'm sure this could potentially show up on any CRB check he applies for in future. I'm in two minds to get a solicitor to deal with the matter as I'm sure they will know best and advise on the matter, my only worry is would my son get a solicitor under the legal aid scheme or would we have to provide one

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I'm aware of a similar situation where a pupil used profane expletives as a quotation, whilst hosting a graphic of his School logo. As it was publically viewable (without a login), the teachers required the pupil to login to permit the removal of the offending material. There was no police involvement and no fine, but the parents remain aggrieved. However, as the pupil was unwilling to remove the material the school was prepared to exclude him permanently. Many forget utteranced within a forum or social networking site are PUBLIC, and as such offences are punishable depending on what took place. You don't state explicitly what took place, but it sounds similar to a Breach Of The Peace, and therefore serious enough to warrant action.

 

There will be no legal aid, so you would have to fund a solicitor should you need one.

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This was not publicly viewable hence the forced login by the school. To be honest the police were involved by us as this other party involved were basically trying to put our son in the frame when it were the other party who the police say clearly provoked our son. Although they don't condone our sons actions they did say they could understand why a 13 year old would make such comment on a social networking site following his provocation in relation to race and sexuality, let's just say the comments which were passed to my son were directed to my wife and were vile in nature and were of racist content. My wife and I as well as our son are White English origin however my sister is married to a Afro carribean man and have mixed race children to the coments are particualry nasty and considering our views regarding racism or fascist remarks made by this other pupil. To be honest I really don't care how the police choose to deal with this other pupil they can drag the matter through the courts and throw to book at him for all I care as there was clearly no need for rasicst and fascist comments say the police.

 

The school needs to be dealt with as forcing a 13 year old to give away his credentials is out of order especially without his parents being informed, he said he was told to login while 3 teachers trawled through his profile, he was returned to isolation while the staff members gathered screen grabs surely this is not right and the school is very much in the wrong in trying to used powers they simply don't have. We have filed a grievance with the school but not holding out much hope. To be honest he said he felt pressured to to login otherwise he feared the consequences of not doing so, they eventually gave him a two day exclusion while the other pupil got let off without any punishment hence the reason for us involving the police which opened up a can of worms for this other pupil as his involvement is far more serious say the police when originally he got let off by the school.

 

My only concern is how my son will be dealt with they say a fixed penalty of £40 will apply in this case but it's the matter of wether this is a police caution and will be recorded as such or is it just pay up and the matter forgotten about. The police did say the fixed penalty would remain in file for 5 years and it's this bit which is confusing as to wether this would show up on a CRB after 5 years has elapsed if it don't then this won't be a problem as he will be 18 by then I just don't want to accept something on my sons behalf which could affect him later in life. My other worry is we are off to the USA next year and I don't want this to prevent him going.

Edited by zoltron
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Hi, plainly two separate issues here..

 

a) Did the school breach your childs rights by forcing him to logon and divulge information which incriminated himself and others against his will and b) The police fixed penatly and the implications of that penalty.

 

Did the police actually say what offence the penalty was for? anti-social behaviour? if we have that info then we can possibly find out more on the effects.

 

S.

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The following info may help :-

 

Criminal proceedings against your child

 

If your child is under 10 years old, they cannot be taken to court and charged with a criminal offence. However, once they are 10 or over, they are treated in the same way as any young person under 18 years old and will be dealt with by the Youth Justice System.

 

If it is the first time your child has got into trouble, behaved anti-socially or committed a minor offence, they can be dealt with outside the court system by a pre-court order which will see them either formally reprimanded or warned by a police officer. This will be recorded as a criminal record, and someone from the Youth Offending Team may contact you to see if your child needs support or advice.

 

If the police charge your child, they will be bailed (allowed to go home) or remanded (made to stay) in custody before appearing in a Youth Court. If your child pleads guilty or is convicted of the charge, they will be sentenced by the Youth Court. For more serious offences, the Youth Court will refer the case to the Crown Court.

If your child is jointly charged with an adult, they will be dealt with in the adult court.

 

If your child is faced with criminal charges or has to go to court, it's important to talk to an experienced adviser.

 

The Children's Legal Centre offers free advice on a wide range of issues. Helpline 0845 120 2948 - 09.00 am to 5.00 pm daily.

 

Taken from http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/CrimeAndYoungOffenders/DG_4003033

 

HTH

 

S.

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IMPORTANT: Please take my advice in the spirit it is given and on the basis that I am expressing my opinion, These opinions are not endorsed by CAG in anyway and are offered informally without prejudice or warranty of any kind. These opinions are solely based upon the knowledge I've gained from this fantastic site and life in general. I have NO legal training.

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I've a feeling that this is one those cases where a version to be told from the school's point of view would scarcely resemble the version to be seen here.

 

If one of the kids got the worse of it that was probably because he was not so contrite.

 

Believe it or not, schools prefer to stop trouble and to keep out of it, so are not so fond of troublemakers.

 

Nor am I.

 

:!:

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Hi, plainly two separate issues here..

 

a) Did the school breach your childs rights by forcing him to logon and divulge information which incriminated himself and others against his will and b) The police fixed penatly and the implications of that penalty.

 

S.

 

Basicly this is what happened he basicly incriminated himself. The school only acted upon what they saw when my son logged in.

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How is this any different from any other self-incrimination? The fact a computer log-in is onvolved appears to be an irrelevance, theiy had concerns, and presumably were vindicated when the page was displayed? I don't believe this is any different from a teacher asking a pupil if they 'did something', and the answer was in the affirmative.

 

If the staff used deception to access the offending page, or threatened physical abuse, there might be a valid complaint, but if it was freely given (even with reservations) then no 'rights' were infringed.

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With respect I see it being more grey than either black or white....

 

It could be argued the teachers abused there position as adults to intimidate a child into revealing something which was protected by a username/password, the right of privacy whilst not ingrained in english law does have support from the human rights act I believe.

 

The fact other people saw the message that was posted means it was in the public domain so to speak to he would be guilty of an offence if it was abusive language or threatening behaviour.... I note we still have not been told what the police are cautioning him for exactly.

 

S.

Are You as Anonymous on CAG as You Think You Are? *Link*

 

The CAG is a free help site,should you be offered help that requires payment,please report it to site team.

 

Deal with your debts:

STEP ONE - Dont Panic! | STEP TWO - Priority & Non Priority Debts | STEP THREE - Personal Budget Sheet | STEP FOUR - A SAFE bank Account | STEP FIVE - Dealing with Priority Debts | STEP SIX - Non-priority Debts | STEP SEVEN - Non-Priority Debt-Repayment Opt1 | STEP EIGHT - Non-Priority Debt-Repayment Opt2 | STEP NINE - Perils of Consolidation | STEP TEN - RE-Evaluate Frequently

 

***** SERIOUSLY IN DEBT, DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO, TRY NationalDebtLine's MoneySteps *****

 

 

IMPORTANT: Please take my advice in the spirit it is given and on the basis that I am expressing my opinion, These opinions are not endorsed by CAG in anyway and are offered informally without prejudice or warranty of any kind. These opinions are solely based upon the knowledge I've gained from this fantastic site and life in general. I have NO legal training.

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Coming at it from another angle, I think I would not be so hard on the school. Clearly the other little demon has a very nasty mouth and what comes out of it (or is written) should be way beyond the comprehension of any child (I believe you mentioned racism?) That in itself is vile and must be stamped out. It sounds as if your son has been having awful problems, so do you not think that perhaps now the truth has been got at (albeit a tad heavy handed) a way forward would be better? After all, by your son being "forced" into opening up his facebook account now everyone, including the police, know why he said what he did, and what he was having to put up with.

 

I believe the police should be prosecuting the other one for racism. That will certainly be far more serious than this £40. I know nothing of any £40 one off fine for this sort of thing - never heard of that before. However, if this is the punishment then don't you think your son is served better by learning not to retaliate? Those who do not retalitate - ever - can never ever be blamed for anything. Hard lesson, I know, but it takes a tower of strength not to retaliate and I believe that makes us better people.

 

I'm guessing I'm far older than you because I can tell you a tale of school 32 years ago! I had a fight with two girls (older than me) in the playground. I got a black eye, then the English teacher came over and had to physically separate us - I was getting the worst of it. It was common for teachers to hit you in those days, although I never came across one of those who would do it out of malice or whatever. This teacher belted all of us around the head, and then had to do some serious hair dragging to get us apart - it really was a bad fight. I then had a black eye and a lump on the back of my head. I went wailing home to mother - who promptly smacked me round the face for......fighting, swearing, abusing a teacher who had no choice but to break up this fight, and for getting my uniform dirty and torn! How times have changed.

 

I hope it is all sorted out swiftly for you, but I do think, if I read the situation right, rather than have a go at the school why not ensure that the police deal with the racial abuse?

 

I suppose also, if you think about it, how would it have been if the police had got involved first? Never mind coax a password out of your son, they'd have cracked it themselves before tea time!

 

Anyway, just my twopennorth for you!

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Well the matter is still ongong with both the school and police. We have raised a complaint with the schools governing bodes we have to wait 14 days to get a response on that one. The police have said they wanting to issue a fixed penalty of £40.00 to our son for cyber bullying and improper use of telecommunications systems, however things have took a rather nasty turn for the other pupil the police have aquired chat logs from microsoft on MSN and XBOX live and the vile racist remarks from this pupil to our son have been flagged up.

 

So I think its just wait and see time...

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Yeah, its going to be a hard lesson for the boy to learn, but its one that he has to learn and swiftly. Lets hope that he does. And that your son knows never to retaliate in that way again, but to tell someone who can deal with it rationally. At least your boy realises that rascism is wrong. And I should think at the end of the day that is all that the school want, hence being a tad heavy with your son to get at his password.

 

I was talking to a friend about this thread late last night and she said straightaway to think of a darker scenario. What if, god forbid, someone had been grooming your son on the internet - and somehow the school became aware of it. Far better that they force the pupil to open up his account than risk that going on.

 

I think the internet is the home of cowards - its amazing, isnt it, what people find the courage to say on places like Facebook. Bet if they saw you in the street they'd turn tail and run!

 

Lets hope this is done and dusted swiftly so everyone can get on with life. Good luck.

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I sympathise with the original poster as my girlfriend has had lots of problems with her 13 year old daughter and Facebook. Not just her being rude abusive but all the friends seem to behave in the same way. The only answer we have found is to keep her login details and check regularly. We have had parents banging on the her door, kids banging on the door for fights. It isn't just her as we see it brew between her friends etc. If I had my way I would disconnect her account but it isn't my decision.

 

I am quite surprised the School and Police have bothered to get involved as when I had death threats and abuse from my ex-wifes family the Police just advised me to close my Facebook account.

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Oh I certainly sympathise - problem is Facebook is not going away, so the kids have to be taught that just as it is unacceptable to act in this way verbally, so it is to write such tripe. I hope they are being taught this in schools. Its worse actually, because what they say is then committed to paper so to speak, libel, that sort of thing. And we all know how much easier it is to write something nasty than actually say it to someone's face.

 

I can only recommend a very firm hand and control over what the youngsters are doing on the net, and the facility being taken away completely when something like this occurs. But then I don't have kids myself, and from what I see with all my mates, control at that level is not so easy as it once was.

 

I'm afraid I cannot knock the posters school for their actions.

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When a disciplinary issue comes to the attention of a school the need is to know the story, to see the evidence.

 

How else is a school supposed to cope?

 

Would you rather they involve the Police from the start? Should they proceed to a Magistrates Court to seek a warrant or would you rather have them take no notice?

 

To win the support of the school the need is to demonstrate a wiser way to go about it. If all you're doing is complaining as if the school is to blame they are not going to thank you for that.

 

:whoo:

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I would personally like the schools to educate them against cyber bullying and their policy on it. They have no problem with telling the kids they can't fight or verbally abuse fellow students. Although I agree with schools taking action to prevent bullying I think a lot of them have been caught by surprise about the amount that goes on on the internet.

 

Like I said if they involved the Police in every case of name calling, threats, racial abuse that goes with the fellow students at my girlfriends daughters school. I reckon they would have arrested 90% of the pupils by now.

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Like I said if they involved the Police in every case of name calling, threats, racial abuse that goes with the fellow students at my girlfriends daughters school. I reckon they would have arrested 90% of the pupils by now.

 

----

 

The alternative argument is that were the Police to be involved on every occasion, 90% of the offences taking place would not be taking place.

 

On that account I learn a lot from what happens in Switzerland, Germany and the Nordic countries where the Police or other authorities are routinely involved with affairs that one would never dream of reporting in the UK.

 

The recent fuss about a certain Julian Assange is a good example of that.

 

8-)

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Used to be so simple - I was verbally rude to someone and used bad language - grandma would catch me and put soap powder in my mouth, mother would just belt me one round the head and ground me for a week. I suppose todays equivalent, since they are typing, would be to scrub their finger nails with caustic soda, and if they still carried on make them suck their thumbs. Oh, I forgot, that's cruelty or something isn't it?

 

You could compare it to the seat belt law - oh how we all railled against it, got caught, got fined, learnt quickly. Must have cost the govt a fortune in prosecutions for about 6 years til we all got the message. Today we all wear seat belts. Mobile phones whilst driving - new law - lots of money and manpower spent on it - hopefully some years down the line, same thing, we all stop doing it. This cyber bullying is all relatively new, it'll take some years for the police or whoever to work out how to deal with it effectively, but they no doubt will and then some years on it won't be so common place.

 

Its just a shame that so many kids have to get involved in the meantime, all that damage done and of course, whole families getting involved and falling out and then resorting to good old fashioned violence which of course we don't want either.

 

We can trust the human race to deal well with new technology can't we?!! Still I suppose most of us have moved away from firing nuclear weapons at each other or threatening to do so, but it seems rather a lot of us have now taken to this wonderful new past time of threatening and god knows what on social net working sites instead.

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