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What Privacy Rights Does My Son Have?

Discussion in 'Other Legal Issues' started by ceyorksbcgloba, Feb 21, 2007.

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  1. ceyorksbcgloba

    ceyorksbcgloba Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi All,

    I hope someone can give me some advice on this as I have a son who is very distraught over the privacy of his snail mail letters to his girlfriend who is attending a boarding school.

    I have contacted the boarding school trying to find out exactly what their policy is pertaining to the mail it's residents receives from private individuals. Unfortunately they were not very forthcoming, but my son is very upset as he believes someone on the staff of the school is reading the postal mail he is sending to his girlfriend.

    The school is not a regular boarding school as it takes in pupils who need emotional help and guidance, and therefore they may have regulations that may be more strict on the contact that it's residents have with individuals not attending this school.

    My questions are in regards to the rights a resident of this school has pertaining to their privacy.

    If a parent of a minor attending this school gives permission for the school to read the minors mail, does this over ride the minors rights to privacy?

    Does the minor attending the school have any right to over ride the parents permission to stop the school from opening their private postal mail?

    Does the sender have any rights to stop the school from opening their private postal mail?

    Any advice on this would be gratefully appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Em.

    p.s. My son brought up a good point as to his first amendment rights, as in is this school actually suppressing his first amendment right to free speech in intercepting his mail?
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm sorry to hear about the problems your son is having. The First Amendment probably does not apply here as that deals with a different issue, most easily explained as the inability of government to suppress your right of "protected free speech." Private institutions may have their own rules as are contracts regarding an agreement not to publicly talk about xyz.

    Let's start with the easy question - what evidence does your son have that the school may be reading his mail? Has it been physically opened by the time it gets to him?

     
  3. seniorjudge

    seniorjudge Super Moderator

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    Q: If a parent of a minor attending this school gives permission for the school to read the minors mail, does this over ride the minors rights to privacy?

    A: Yes. Google in loco parentis.


    Q: Does the minor attending the school have any right to over ride the parents permission to stop the school from opening their private postal mail?

    A: No.


    Q: Does the sender have any rights to stop the school from opening their private postal mail?

    A: No.


    As pointed out by the law professor, this is not a first amendment issue since this is a private school (I am assuming).
     
  4. ceyorksbcgloba

    ceyorksbcgloba Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    Just to clarify. In one of the letters sent to my son from his girlfriend she stated that all of her incoming mail is intercepted and read by a member of staff before being passed on to her.

    Thanks Em
     
  5. seniorjudge

    seniorjudge Super Moderator

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    Just to clarify. There is nothing wrong with that.
     

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