Instructables

Do you think this is fair?


So I have 2 friends who got in a fight about a week ago, after school, and off campus.  Someone videoed it, and put it on their facebook account.  One of the fighters got suspended for school for a week for the fight, despite it being after school, and not on campus.

Do you personally think this is an unreasonable punishment, or is it?  What do you think of this situation? I want to hear your opinions here, and encourage a good discussion.

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themoose642 years ago
I think it is fair. Even though this didnt happen in school, it was their choice to fight. Also fighting is violent and the school probably wouldnt want them to bring violence into school. I also agree that it isnt any of the schools buisiness what student outside of school as long as it isnt illegal.
It's an unreasonable punishment; legally the school has no right to view it unless they signed a contract giving the school access to their account(s) and permission to act on the content of those accounts. If they did so, then it's still unreasonable because the fight took place off school property and outside of school time.
This sounds extremely fishy. Can you please cite the relevant law(s) and/or caselaw, please?
It's simple right to privacy; it wasn't related to the school, and it wasn't necessarily illegal, so the school should not have acted on it.
The event in question was not "private", at all. It was publicly staged in a local convenience store parking lot. It had many viewers. It was recorded, and posted on a social network.

There are dozens of ways the school could have found out about this. One of the viewers of the actual fight could have spoken up, one of the viewers online could have downloaded it and shown it to a teacher, one of the parents could have seen their child watching it, and called the school....

This is not a private ordeal.
DJ Radio (author)  Flintlock3 years ago
It was not staged at a local convenience store parking lot, the meeting was simply arranged there. The real fight happened in an abandoned field where nobody goes.
Either way, it was premeditated, people were invited or heard of it (hence video), and it was not private.
DJ Radio (author)  Flintlock3 years ago
Explain to me how does that give the school the right to act on it?
That last comment wasn't a "It wasn't private, so they should act." I was simply replying to mettaurlover, who said they were breaking the student's privacy. Which they were not.

On the other hand, if you would like to see some policy from a school district regarding how such a district might handle an incident, look here: 

 2.4    These guidelines shall apply fully and completely to school instructional time and to all student
academic activities, to extracurricular activities and athletic programs, and to cases of
imposition of discipline for off-campus student misconduct as follows:
2.4.1     misconduct occurs on the way to and from school;
2.4.2     the conduct has a direct impact or effect on the school;
2.4.3     there is proximity of the misconduct in relationship to the school day;
2.4.4     there is proximity of the misconduct in relationship to school premises;
2.4.5     the misconduct is an extension of a problem that began at school;
2.4.6     the seriousness of the misconduct, its impact on the general welfare of staff and students,
and fear of retaliation create reasonable suspicion or expectation of further school
disruption; or
2.4.7     the victim is a student or a staff member. 


This was taken from the Yakima (hometown) School District policy, viewable on their website, here.  Many other school districts follow similar policies (not the same ones, but similar).

Depending how the event unfolded, it could easily fall under many of the actions they take disciplinary actions on.  But without further knowledge, it's hard to tell what is right, wrong, or policy (which usually is a little bit of both)  Let's get some examples of how this incident would be handled under the school policy, and why they chose to act:

2.4.1 :  If the students didn't return home before initiating the fight, they were still "on their way home from school", which means the school would feel obligated to act based on their policy. 

2.4.2  :  The event had a direct impact on the school and the students that attended.  It was posted to facebook, and had a large enough effect that the administrative staff found out about it.

2.4.4  :  Depends on how close the altercation was to school.  For instance, there was a park right next to my school growing up.  People would get into fights there, smoke pot, vandalize, etc.  And when they got in trouble, raised a fuss because it wasn't "on school property".  The school was still able to punish them.

2.4.5  :  If the argument began at school, and just happened to end up in an abandoned field.

2.4.7  :  The victim of the misconduct (whomever it may be in this case), is a student.

When enrolling in school, you agree to follow the policies of a school.  When you agree to the policies, sometimes you give up rights.  The school is obligated to follow these policies.  If an event, behavior, or any such activity goes against school policy, they can, and usually will, act upon it.
Thank you for sourcing that. :)

The only caveat here is that schools can (and do) have policies that run counter to law; which can be (and are) successfully challenged in court. So school policies don't ultimately have the heft and weight of a law or binding contract; just because it's school policy does NOT mean that it's perfectly legal and you have no recourse but to go along with policy.
I thought you would appreciate that. :)

Agreed. I've nearly gone to fisticuffs with a few administrators over the very same thing. For instance: I once had a favorite pair of red pants, and would wear them often. They were the kind that could zip off into shorts. A student/teacher/anonymous source let the staff know I was wearing red a lot, and I was called into the office, had to stay there for an hour or so, they searched my backpack, and nearly placed me on a "gang contract", which is the school's way of keeping tabs of gang members in school.

They freaking thought I was a gang member. I called my parents, and my step-mom (at the time), while vicious, was very good at making administrative staff feel like idiots.

So yes, I understand where the school's policies can overstep personal rights.

Although, I believe, in DJ Radio's situation, the school used their policies effectively, and if any "rights to privacy" were broken, they were just. (personal opinion, citation: my head)
ilpug Flintlock2 years ago
Huh, the pants thing is a bummer.

The police almost arrested me because as they said, "I refused to open my locker, and it smelled like marijuana"

I COULDN'T open the locker, because I had no key to the lock! My friend had the key, and it took two hours of phone tag to get in tough with him, when he was on vacation in New York, having left two days earlier (this happened in California).

They refused to believe me, and were about ready to arrest me when my friend finally called back and told them I was telling the truth. Even so, they went and got bolt cutters and cut off the lock (and it was such a nice lock!), proceeded to find absolutely no marijuana in the locker, and then left with no apologies or explanation. Even though everything was cleared, I was still sent home for the rest of the day. They never found any weed, either, even though it probably belonged to some kid whose locker was two rows away and was never given a second glance.

Boy was I pissed.
DJ Radio (author)  Flintlock3 years ago
That's from a school district, not the one I attend.  The student handbook for our district, does not have these policies.

The event did not start at school, and the field was a pretty decent distance from school, about a few miles away, or a 30 minute bike ride.
The majority of school policies are not detailed in the handbook. Those are fairly standard clauses world-wide. A clause like 2.4.7 above cost a teacher her job recently because she pretended to an ex boyfriend that she had had a baby by another man since she split up with him.

On the face of it, a squabble utterly unrelated to her work, but the school found out and she lost her job.

I personally have handed out formal punishments to children who were seen being rude to members of the public on a Saturday.

DJ Radio (author)  Kiteman2 years ago
Lol sorry that I didn't see this earlier. Anyways I was about to say that most incidents like this are handled by city police, and this was an exception.
Like I said, "Many other school districts follow similar policies (not the same ones, but similar)."

Although, unless your school district is completely rule-less, and is a "come how you are and f*** the textbooks if you don't like them", they have some sort of policy that is similar.

Once again, you have provided to little information to accurately form an opinion.
DJ Radio (author)  Flintlock3 years ago
The majority of the time, out-of-school incidents like the fight mentioned are normally handled by city police. This fight was more of an exception than a rule.
Right, you don't know what you're talking about; you're just pulling semi-legal theories out your...
k'nex rule of law: "I am right because I said so :P," King Louis XIV at age 4.
Right to privacy is not simple. Whether a physical assault is legal or not is a question of fact (i.e., jurisprudence), not your opinion. The school has a legal responsibility to to act on the behaviour of its students.

As has already been requested, if you have particular case law from your jurisdiction which supports your assertion, please provide it here, so we have the benefit of your expertise.
*coleslaw
So you saw the coleslaw?
I cited it first.
ok, ok, nothing to get overly ex-cited about ...
Hmmmm


sounds_fishy.jpg
FYI as soon as you make something public (you know, by posting it on the internet) it is no longer covered by any reasonable expectation of privacy. also, FYI, the fight happened in public, so, still no reasonable right to privacy. also, DON'T FRIEND YOUR BOSS OR YOUR SCHOOL ON FACEBOOK!
Hey, would you mind citing those? :)
don't have to? if i do something outside in a public place, it's not private. you don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy when you're, you know.....in public. facebook (i.e. the internet) is "in public". you do not have a right to privacy on facebook with concern to people who are able to view your facebook profile. you only have an expectation that facebook will keep your content private with accordance to the settings of your facebook profile. if your profile is set to show all your media to anyone on your friend list (or, friends of friends), then anyone who is on that list now has the right to see that media.
As much as I hate to admit it, he's correct. But, depending on the state, the video itself was illegal to tape in the first place.
It is not illegal to photograph or video other people, even if they object, if you are in a public place.

That's how paparazzi make their money.
there was two known photographers in the US who would pay bums and homeless to fight it out while they filmed it for sleezy movies.
They both got arrested for several years for "misuse of photography equipment"
The producers of Bumfights were jailed for six months, for the crime of failing to complete their community service.

They were given community service for "promoting or glorifying violence".

I've not been able to find any mention of photographic equipment in the articles on the web.
maybe it wasnt them but someone else, its been awhile ago when i saw it on the television
see, now this is the bit where you should expect Lithium to come in "citation needed" guns a blazin. you might actually want to research these claims.

it is in no way illegal to video anyone who is in public, or take their picture. thre's no such thing as "Misuse of photography equipment".

It's not even illegal to then publish those videos or photos without the subjects permission. the subject can bring a civil lawsuit against you for defamation or the like if they so choose, but civil law, and criminal law are not the same thing
(Lithium's been having severe internet issues the last few days ;) )

Indeed. I have to call citation needed...on both of you.

Because in some situations (under US law) it IS illegal to video or photograph people without their consent even in public. That is to say, there still legally exists a reasonable expectation of right to privacy in certain public areas and circumstances. A few examples (all federal) where it is against the law to photograph someone in public with their consent:

Up someone's skirt in public. (Video Voyeurism Prevention Act of 2004, Pub. L. No 108-495, codified at 18 U.S.C. §1801 - viewable online at http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00001801----000-.html)

Public places where people still have a reasonable expectation of privacy (for example, restrooms or phone booths). (Katz v. U.S., 389 U.S. 347, 361 (1967) - viewable online at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=389&invol=347 )

Military bases (18 U.S.C. Sec. 795 - viewable online at http://law.onecle.com/uscode/18/795.html)
Being fussy, none of those, er, locations count as "public".

Up a skirt is not normally visible in public, restrooms, phone booths and military are owned by somebody, and are only given over to as much access as the owner desires.
I'm sorry, but this simply is not correct.

Privately owned establishments can most certainly count as "public." It's a matter of federal law.

In fact, that's why (or, one might say more accurately, how) in the 60s, the federal government mandated an end to segregation in restaurants, hotels, and other "public accomodations" as defined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title II (for classic civil rights cases which illustrate this principle at work, see Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964) and Katzenbach v. McClung (1964) ).

And the law says upskirt shots are illegal in "circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that a private area of the individual would not be visible to the public, regardless of whether that person is in a public or private place." (Italics added) It's a common-sense notion that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy under your zipper, to be sure. The law explicitly shows that there are still reasonable expectations of privacy even in public spaces - which is why blanket statements like "it is in no way illegal to video anyone who is in public, or take their picture" is incorrect, because depending on whether there was a "reasonable expectation of privacy", it can be illegal to do so.

(Additionally, your argument is not logically consistent - simultaneously you declare a place "private" if it is owned by private citizens or the government (military property is government property)! )
you're talking about different things. you're talking about ownership (a privately owned business) and expectation of privacy. the ownership of a location does not imply expectation of privacy.

in your upskirt example, the location that is private is under the person's skirt. underneath your clothes is now, and always is private property. so where the rest of you is doesn't have any bearing on whether or not under your clothes is a private location.

a public restroom is a restroom that's allowed to be used by the public. western social construct dictates that bathroom usage is a private matter, so using the crapper puts you in a private place even if it's in a building designated for public use.

so, this applies to the rule that kiteman cited earlier where you cannot be standing on public property and taking pictures of private property. your body is private property, in so far as the parts of your body are not in immediate view.

I think we're looking at two different definitions of "public", and two very different legal approaches - UK/US law is similar in so many areas, it's easy to forget that there are some big differences.

In the UK, a lot places are not owned by anybody, just managed on behalf of the public. Public streets, national parks, beaches etc.

Buildings are not public in the UK. Toilets, restaurants, shopping malls, even phone boxes and libraries are all private spaces, to which the owners have allowed access.

"The government" over here is also a private entity, and can own private spaces. They don't secrecy laws to make secret bases over here, just enough paint to create a sign that says "Private, no trespassing".

In the UK, the statement "it is in no way illegal to video anyone who is in public, or take their picture" is not a generalisation, it is a simple fact.
right, underneath your clothes is universally accepted as private. there are private areas that are located in public places (like dressing rooms and bathrooms) etc.. but again, those places are private places
Right. "Public" restrooms are public, yet have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" according to established law (and not merely common sense).

That's essentially my point.

Text of the law: "circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that a private area of the individual would not be visible to the public, regardless of whether that person is in a public or private place."

The point is that there ARE "reasonable expectations of privacy" (language taken directly from Katz) EVEN in public places, and therefore a blanket statement like "it is in no way illegal to video anyone who is in public, or take their picture" is incorrect, because depending on whether there was a "reasonable expectation of privacy", it can be illegal to do so.

There is a difference between common sense standards and legal standards.
defamation of character is difficult to demonstrate if there is nothing said/written against another (slander or libel). Vilification is a "conscious act" and can't be shown by proxy.

A legal definition can be found here, and this also defines the difference between private and public persons.  
Yes, and I think that was the point. In public it is difficult to draw lines in the sand and say this or that is an act against one's privacy.
what the man of kites said.
Um, this thread is rife with legal theorizing, but there is a dearth of citations. Without citations, there's no reason to believe anything you're saying is actually correct.
So many things apply to the Corp, or other institutions that are not "tested" in court for the public (in area of the internet). So the legalize gets so much more diluted the further one gets from an actual lawyer with the resources to look things up But Cdad's point I think is that things done in public are normally considered "public", but then if one is "employed" or going to school, the whole ball game changes. and what is public can become "indicative" of those represented. The problem is the word "can" and such, and how each place of business, state, local authorities, or school handles it.
That's all great - it's just that without citations, everyone's opinion, even if reasoned, on an objective subject has equal merit: none.
true, still one can not expect to step up on a soap box, and then feel that everything he / she said should be "private" :-) It is the nature of "privacy" that one needs not "get involved" if they wish privacy. This is all I think Cdad was making a point on. If we want it private, we keep it behind closed doors, that have no window, no phones, no mics, etc. Privacy, unless one lives in a cave, is almost non-existant anymore.
Arrrgh, methinks you have me mistaken in the crosshairs for that scalawag crapflinger, dang C R A P F L I N G E R. I only incite piracy. Arrrrrrrgh.
indeed. it's probably his elderly eyeballs.

also so that it's noted, i'm not making comentary on the right of the school do act on the information they got, just on the fact that there's nothing wrong about HOW they got the information. nothing that happens in public is private, otherwise it wouldn't be called public.

Indeed I must have been half asleep when I was replying above, sorry about that. And I agree, it would be difficult to make a public occurrence private in any way. Tis either one or the other, and a private affair can, by reason of circumstance become public, but the other way around is nearly impossible (unless you work for the government in area 51 LOL ).
Forgive me yon Corsair. ;-)
There's a wonderful, complicated part of British law called "Common Law" - no specific laws are set down, but it is binding by precedent - if somebody did it before and got away with it, you can do it now and get away with it.
Of course, and since we, ahem, budded off of the UK, common law is a huge part of US law, but common law *still needs to be referenced* to be a genuine legal argument! You can't just say "there's no privacy in schools" and have it be a serious legal argument. You have to spell it out. Even supreme court cases CITE chestnuts like Marbury v. Madison, or go into great length explaining common law concepts and why they apply in a particular case.
"there's no privacy in schools"?

I think you've picked something up wrong, somewhere - the fight was outside school, but in a public place.

The thing with (UK) Common Law is that there often *isn't* anything to reference or cite. If an action has not been ruled illegal in the past, there are no grounds upon which to assume an action is illegal now. "Normal" laws do not list legal actions, that would be silly. The nearest they get is to legalise actions that were previously illegal.

In this case (again, UK context), nobody has ruled in the past that the taking of images (of any kind) on public property to be illegal.

The only rulings I am aware of are:

> It is an invasion of privacy if an image is taken from public property, but of something on private property that could not reasonably be held to be visible normally (eg long lenses from a hill-top into a private garden that would be invisible to the naked eye)

> It is "obstruction" or "behaviour likely to lead to a breach of the peace" if the person taking the image (or their equipment*) impedes the movement of other people in a public place, or if the taking of images leads to raised tempers. If fists end up flying, it is generally the subject of the image (or their minders) who end up on the wrong end of the law, charged with assault (or whatever the equivalent is when the victim is a camera - "destruction of property"?).

"Citation" - briefing from the chap who edited the student newspaper before I did.

*I read about an artist who was fined under that one, because his easel blocked a footpath.
OK, just an example of a statement.

When the common law doctrine is so old there's no specific caselaw to cite, you cite the doctrine or rule itself. A couple examples can be found on this wikipedia article. Now, obviously it's different for a court to do this as opposed to Lira or crapflinger doing this, but the point is that we both at least are making arguments based on something solid rather than assertions. You have to show your work, as it were, because otherwise it is indistinguishable from baseless ramblings. I'm not saying *I'm* perfect about citing in original posts, but it seems a reasonable thing to provide your basis for a given line of reasoning once asked rather than referring to your own argument.
my comments aren't revolving around amorphous legal theory. this is solid stuff, if you did something in public, then you have no reasonable expectation to privacy, period. you can't show your boobs in public then claim you only meant to show them to that one guy over there and not the whole park. you also can't come back and get pissy at that one guy who happened to have his camera out when you did it.

the fight happened in public, someone video taped it in public, then put it on facebook. on facebook, you have privacy settings which determine what is/isn't public. this serves to define "in public" and "in private" in the virtual space.

so, if the video was posted "in private" and the school somehow gained unapproved access to that "private" (by lying to get a friend request, hacking an account, etc...) then that's an invasion of privacy and is illegal. if the school, or an agent of the school was already granted access to the media (the school or an agent of the school was in a group that had access permissions to the media) by the media owner (the kid who took the video), then there was no invasion of privacy.

DJ Radio (author)  crapflinger3 years ago
Thing is, neither party posted the video. Someone who happened to be there videoing it did.
so?
Yeeeah...

I've made that mistake before.
ilpug2 years ago
Frankly, to my personal feelings on that, the school had no right to do that.
I fight a lot, for fun or just for the hell of it, and some of that gets to Facebook. If my school punished me for something on my time that was my business, whatever applicable Hell would be paid.

That said, I have no idea what country you are in, and what kind of laws are in place there. I suggest that you get some backing of some of the students who the teachers and staff like, and take it to the school board. It might not do anything, but you will get some more information, at least, and dealing with school boards is fun and educational.
~Meme~2 years ago
Yes.
Kiteman3 years ago
Without knowing the details, the most sensible comment that can be made is "it depends".
  • What were the circumstances of the fight?
  • What was the cause or provocation?
  • Did the conflict begin in school?
  • Was the meet-up arranged during school hours?
  • Where they in school uniform, or team colours?
  • etc
In the UK, it is legal for schools to give school-based punishments for incidents outside of school hours, and to set punishments on a Saturday (and, if a detention is set for a Saturday, and the child does not attend on time, an automatic £100 fine is levied against the parents).
DJ Radio (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
I don't know about the circumstances, but the entire thing was arranged at some gas station in town. The school I go to does not have uniforms.
If you don't know the circumstances, and you don't know the background, and you don't know the local law...

"It depends"
Hey, I don't wear Depends just yet....
;-D
+ 100
MegaMetal83 years ago
I Personally don't think it is but....
Flintlock3 years ago
Yes. 

These two students go to the same school.  Having two students that are involved in some form of feud that has already escalated to fisticuffs, could cause a future problem on school grounds.  

They're attempting to prevent further problems by punishing them now, in hopes that they will not fight in the future.
DJ Radio (author)  Flintlock3 years ago
Ah, but only one got punished.
Without knowing the full story, or seeing the video, I wouldn't be able to say whether or not it's right that only one person was punished.

Although, I would recommend that the student who videotaped it and uploaded it be punished as well.
DJ Radio (author)  Flintlock3 years ago
Why do you think that student should be punished?
The person who videotaped it and uploaded it is just encouraging these type of behavior to continue in his/her peers.

I can just imagine what was going through that person's head, "I'm standing here, watching an preconceived fight. Should I break it up or leave? No, I'm uploading this s*** to youtube."

Youth idiocy at its finest.
*correction*

"...a preconceived fight."
Also:

"...encouraging these types of behaviors..."

I blame the errors on a lack of sleep, lack of coffee, and a lack of intelligence.
DJ Radio (author)  Flintlock3 years ago
You could have simply copied your comment, made a new one, deleted the old one with the errors, and pasted your comment with the corrections, like I always do.
sometime it is hard to correct errors when you're tired though :-)
DJ Radio (author)  Flintlock3 years ago
I wouldn't say it is idiocy, it's considered entertainment to most youths. We already get encouragement from pro wrestling on TV, and everyone knows WWE stages their fights on TV anyway.
People play murderers on TV. But I don't go kill people. Usually.
That's not what he said.
Le whut? O_o
Actually, j'agree. I got mixed up who was talking about who(m?).
Whoa, French? You're a braver man than I. :p
French? Non, c'est le Franglais!
Mais oui, j'thought le Francais seulement ne <3 pas merrycans for parlaying Francais.
Le Franglais modern est un invention d'Engleterre, par Miles Kingston dans le Punch magazine.

(Haw-he-haw, Franglais donnez le spell-checker une grande mal de téte les scribbles rouge tout le place!)
Sometimes I type without thinking.... The "Yes." should be changed to, "I believe this was a right and just punishment."
In parts of the US, the school is responsible for the student from the time they leave their house until they return. The schools are also authorized to enforce school regulations while the student is in that door-to-door period.
Is that fair? I dunno, but it's the way things are.
ajleece3 years ago
Were they in uniform? If they were, yes.
Can we get a citation for that?
Look at the school's policies. They have jurisdiction while you're wearing their uniform outside of school. Because it's how they are represented. Schools are constantly getting complaints from people in the public, because they know the uniform.
No. Legal citations.
Look in the school's policies. Which you sign when you go to a school.
You still are not citing anything of substance; merely theorizing as to how it *could* work. (Besides which, a school can't make you sign a contract agreeing to things which it is not legally allowed to, which is the whole point of my question.)
I don't know how american law works. Someone else on here commented on it.
As far as I can see, US school boards are a law unto themselves.
While US laws often allow school boards wide latitude (and schools *le gasp* break laws that limit them), that is a far cry from "a law unto themselves." Schools are under both federal and state laws - it isn't (legally) true that they can run hog-wild. (What happens in practice with some/many schools is of course another story.)
What the law says, and what self-appointed law enforcers (schools) do are, clearly, two different things.

Outside of large cities, school boards do seem [to an outside observer] to wield power disproportionate to their position.
I assume it is not THIS position?




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