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  1. #1

    Default Posting Info from Parent Portal on Facebook

    My question involves education law in the State of: Suffolk county, Long Island, New York

    Like most schools, our district also has a "parent portal". It is only accessible by registered guardians who have a child currently attending in the district.
    Student bus schedules are located on the portal. Years ago they used to be mailed to parents. I don't know exactly when they stopped being mailed.

    A few days ago someone posted the bus schedules on our local parent's page (which is closed--not public) and quite a few thought it shouldn't be posted due to "security". The person that
    posted them said they had been posting them for years without incident. I never saw them so I don't know. I've been speaking with someone about this
    and they said the bus company said it was a "direct violation of school security. It is deemed a danger to the students and parents of the district.". It was also
    stated that the superintendent and other higher ups " sees this as an extreme violation to school , student , and parent security".

    I'm trying to find out where this lies in terms of the law. There is no law that states these schedules cannot be posted outside of the portal. It's a "policy".
    My understanding (ok... opinion.. and possibly fact, that's why I'm asking) is that a policy and a law are two different things. How can a policy be enforceable by law?
    Just because someone "sees" it as a danger doesn't mean it is. That's opinion. Not fact. Opinions are not covered by law.

    I've asked the person who told me this info to find out where it's written that it's a danger to students to post schedules.

    Subsequently the schedules were taken down by the admins. I personally think she has every right to post them. If the admin wants to take them down that's fine since
    they run the page.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    Default Re: Posting Info from Parent Portal on Facebook

    If the terms of the parent portal indicate that information from the portal cannot be redistributed without the approval of the school district, then that's a matter of contract. Contracts can be enforced.

    If not, then the school district would be hard pressed to assert a basis why a school bus schedule could not be redistributed.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Posting Info from Parent Portal on Facebook

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    If the terms of the parent portal indicate that information from the portal cannot be redistributed without the approval of the school district, then that's a matter of contract. Contracts can be enforced.

    If not, then the school district would be hard pressed to assert a basis why a school bus schedule could not be redistributed.
    Ok, good point. So does that mean there's an implied contract if the website says it? By a parent joining they are effectively "signing" the contract, yes?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    37,430

    Default Re: Posting Info from Parent Portal on Facebook

    Quote Quoting JustMe10628634
    View Post
    Ok, good point. So does that mean there's an implied contract if the website says it? By a parent joining they are effectively "signing" the contract, yes?
    If there is a contact placed in front of a subscriber and they are required to agree to the terms of the contract to be able to use the portal, then there is a contract

    if there are no posted rules or acknowledgment one will comply with the rules, then there is no prohibition from publishing the bus routes.

    The problem really is what actions could be taken against one violating the rules. More than likely the only penalty that can be applied would be to block that person from using the portal.

    Do you even know who used their access to the portal to gain the bus routes?

    While i understand some concern, in my area the bus routes are published in the monthly school newsletter that is mailed to every household in the school district. Maybe the paranoia that has settled into your area hasn’t reached our small town school.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Posting Info from Parent Portal on Facebook

    It was a parent with a child in the district. they said they posted because every day at least 3 people are asking where the bus schedules are, meanwhile they're right on the home page of the portal when you log in. (no one sees them). I too, have a child in the district so I use the portal too) They are right in that people are always asking. Just like when we all get the text, call and email that there's no school (like for snow), no less than 10 people have to post it on the parent page. (insert facepalm here).

    I found the contract on the school website. I'm editing it to take out the school name and I'll post it. It says nothing about sharing outside the portal.

    Ours used to be sent home as well, and some schools still send them out. Gosh in the 80, even our class schedules were mailed and on a post card no less so everyone who handled it from the school to the house knew every child's schedule!

    the paranoia is insane. everyone wears tin foil hats around here. This place is full of tin foil hat nimbys. I'm a very open minded old school laid back person, who does slightly believe in big brother but each of us are just a grain of sand on the beach so any one person doing something means nothing. Most people don't understand how the internet works. they don't know how to look up a phone number and freak out when they find out their phone number is on the internet totally forgetting that everyone used to get phone books at one time. Everyone uses their real name on fb. they have half their profile public. I often have argument with people about "privacy" yet i'm busy looking up where they live, their phone numbers, what their house looks like on street view, from satellite view, who lives in their house, their relatives. All FREE PUBLIC INFO.

    Ok, that said... here's the terms and conditions. It says nothing about shareing the info. Although the school may use the last line in the "Vandalism" paragraph to suit their agenda.
    "I also agree to report any misuse of the information system to the system administrator. Misuse can come in many forms but can be viewed as the ability to view information of students other than my own or the ability to alter any information contained in the information system."

    Parent Portal is a means for parents to access online, timely, and secure information about their student(s). Each parent or legal guardian must register online, creating a user login and password. By registering online, you are agreeing to abide by and support the terms of use and user expectations set forth in this document to insure the safety and privacy of each student.

    The School District requires that you agree to this contract before the District can provide you with access to the Portal information system. Please read this contract carefully. When you agree to this contract by clicking “agree,” it becomes a legally binding document.

    The District’s goal in providing this service is to promote educational excellence by facilitating resource sharing, innovation and communication. The District will make reasonable efforts to protect students, parents, guardians, and teachers from any misuse or abuses as a result of their experiences with this information service. All users must be continuously on guard to avoid inappropriate and illegal interaction with the information service. Listed below are the provisions of this contract. If any user violates these provisions, access to the information service may be permanently denied.

    Privileges: The online access to information is a privilege, not a right, and inappropriate use, including violation of the District's Code of Conduct, will result in cancellation of this privilege. The administration, staff, or faculty of the District may request that the system administrator deny, revoke, or suspend a specific user account without notification. Parents/guardians agree to act in a responsible, ethical, and legal manner.

    Services: The District and its service providers make no warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, for the service it is providing. The District and its service providers will not be responsible for any damages suffered while on the system. These damages include loss of data as a result of delays, non-deliveries, incorrect deliveries, or service interruptions caused by the system or user errors or omissions. Use of any information obtained from this information system is at your own risk. The District and its service providers specifically disclaim any responsibility for the accuracy of information obtained through this service.

    Technical Support: Parents/guardians agree and understand that this service is offered as best effort. The District cannot troubleshoot home computer issues. Users are responsible for resolving any technical issues encountered when trying to access this system.

    Security: Security on any web-based system is the responsibility of all users of the system. Parents/guardians agree not to share their password or allow anyone other than themselves to use their parent portal account including their own child(ren). Users must agree that they will report any security concerns to the system administrator immediately and that if a security issue is detected, not to discuss or demonstrate the problem to other users of the system. Parents/guardians agree and understand that in the interest of security, the District reserves the right to change user passwords or deny access at any time. Parents/guardians agree not to set their computer to automatically login to the Parent Portal.

    Identify: Users also attest that they are the rightful owners of the user name and password currently being used to access the system. Fraudulent use of another person’s user name and password may result in legal action. Parents/guardians agree not to access data or any account owned by another parent.

    Vandalism: Vandalism is defined as any malicious attempt to modify, harm, or destroy data and/or computer systems and/or computer networks. This includes but is not limited to, the uploading or creation of computer viruses. Any vandalism will result in the loss of computer services and legal action. As the parent or guardian of a student in the District, I have read this contract and understand that this service is designed for educational purposes. I understand that it is impossible for the District and service provider to protect against all potential electronic security breaches. Therefore, I hereby waive all claims against the District, its officers, agents, employees and its service providers for damages occurring by reason of the use of the information system. I also agree to report any misuse of the information system to the system administrator. Misuse can come in many forms but can be viewed as the ability to view information of students other than my own or the ability to alter any information contained in the information system.

    I understand and will abide by the provisions and conditions of this contract. I understand that any violations of the above provisions may result in the revoking of my user account and appropriate legal action.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1,000

    Default Re: Posting Info from Parent Portal on Facebook

    Honestly if it is information that is "locked" behind a username and password on the portal, it's probably information that is not meant to be shared with the public at large but rather those parents that have a child at that school or on the bus route. If the school district/school wanted it to be public, they would have put it on their public site (facebook page, website, etc). These days school districts have to be extra special careful about the liability when they are in charge of your children. So I suspect they are vetting who has access to the portal.

    On the flip side, who is vetting the people requesting FB group access? Who wants to take that responsibility and liability (regardless of a contract)? It only takes one incident and I suspect the FB group admin didn't want to take that responsibility and decided to pull the information. I would too if someone brought forward a liability/risk.... regardless of what a contract or no contract says elsewhere. In the end the FB group admin makes the rules of that group.

    And if it's on the parent portal, why not just direct the FB inquiries there? Why have a "shadow" group to post the same information (that may be out of date, mistaken etc if the school district has changed it since the parent pulled and posted)?

    Just giving another perspective on the WHY?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Posting Info from Parent Portal on Facebook

    Quote Quoting hr for me
    View Post
    Honestly if it is information that is "locked" behind a username and password on the portal, it's probably information that is not meant to be shared with the public at large but rather those parents that have a child at that school or on the bus route. If the school district/school wanted it to be public, they would have put it on their public site (facebook page, website, etc). These days school districts have to be extra special careful about the liability when they are in charge of your children. So I suspect they are vetting who has access to the portal.
    I agree about the liability.

    Quote Quoting hr for me
    View Post
    On the flip side, who is vetting the people requesting FB group access? Who wants to take that responsibility and liability (regardless of a contract)? It only takes one incident and I suspect the FB group admin didn't want to take that responsibility and decided to pull the information. I would too if someone brought forward a liability/risk.... regardless of what a contract or no contract says elsewhere. In the end the FB group admin makes the rules of that group.
    I learned it was posted on two groups, the larger parents one (people aren't really vetted there, pretty much anyone can join) and a smaller one whom the poster is the sole admin and has questions to be answered, checks out profiles, makes sure they live and have children currently attending the district. I've run groups myself and I've been selective of who I let in so it is possible to check everyone out. I, myself haven't let people in I wasn't sure about even tho they could have been legit. Just didn't want the wrong people in the group.

    Quote Quoting hr for me
    View Post
    And if it's on the parent portal, why not just direct the FB inquiries there? Why have a "shadow" group to post the same information (that may be out of date, mistaken etc if the school district has changed it since the parent pulled and posted)?
    The school portal is constantly updated and nothing is ever out of date. The bus schedules are taken down in the beginning of August and updated ones are put back on second to last week in august.
    I agree with the person who posted them that it's annoying to have 55462 people asking where the bus schedules are when they're right on the main page after you log in to the portal.

    Quote Quoting hr for me
    View Post
    Just giving another perspective on the WHY?
    No worries. It's hard to know the whole story. As as many questions as needed. ;0)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    588

    Default Re: Posting Info from Parent Portal on Facebook

    What does the District Code of Conduct state?

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