"As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected
and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever
~Clarence Darrow

Monday, February 11, 2008

Blogging Within The Law

I received a question recently from a parent questioning what the limits are when someone blogs about their children and their experiences at school.

It was relayed to me that in at least one case, a parent was told that their blogs which contained school content had "breached the laws of confidentiality" and that they must remove the 'offending' content. And, of course, the dreaded implied threat came along with - the school was seeking legal advice. In this particular case, it appears that the parent was also suspended from helping out at their child's school.

So what's the scoop? Can a parent really get into legal hot water for blogging about their child's experiences and/or their discontent with their child's school?

It's a bit of a hard question to answer in the abstract because, as common sense might tell you, the answer will depend both on the actual content posted by the parent and the relevant laws where the parent resides. However, subject to the law concerning libel which I will touch on below, although a school may well be bound by duties of confidentiality, a parent is much less constricted.

Therefore writing that little Johnny is a student in Ms. Campbell's primary class at Rockland Heights School (as a totally fictitious example) should cause no concern. Nor should there be any problem with referencing the names of certain classmates (but common sense would tell you to stick with first names only when you are mentioning someone else's child). And if a parent was unhappy with the quality of the education little Johnny is receiving, sticking to factual details that you know (and can prove) to be true should also be kosher.

Where a problem could occur is were a parent to publish (publishing in a blog being much like publishing in a newspaper, for example) something about the school's actions or inactions which were false. At that point, chances are that you will have engaged the law concerning libel.



Anonymous said...

Hey parents, this is a great read. If you feel your
childs best interests are not being met even after many meetings with the school, this read is a must.
If you reach the point when you are
no longer going to trust that the school has your childs best interest in mind, but rather the welfare of
students as a whole, you need to really read this.
Thanks to there always being limited funds, your
childs best interests can end up on the side lines.
Maybe more cases being brought to court will make
the department question if it is in the best interest of
all students to spend Education money in the courts or should they seriously rethink how to better meet individual students needs.

neardem said...

The article is in fact a very interesting read and very much of an eye-opener. Anonymous's comment on whether it would be in the best interest of all students to spend Education money in the courts as opposed to rethinking how to better meet individual students' needs, is also an interesting consideration.

Casdok said...

Thank you, yes very interesting. I quite often mention my son and his school. As my son is special needs and dosnt speak, it is always my interpretation of events. But i do not mention names.
Anon also made an interesting point.