Teachers open camping kid's sealed letter home; eject kid for confessing to eating chocolate


#1

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#2

Sounds like something right out of a Pink Floyd song. Or a Roald Dahl book.


#3

I suppose there's a case against the school for steaming (or tearing) open the child's mail, but I doubt the unemployed mother has the means to bring suit.


#4

Goodness, you'd think they'd just confiscate the candy and be done with it.


#5

Dahl would never have been this cruel.


#6

The upside is that the kid will never again have to go to that insufferable camp.


#7

Often with stories like this I think, "There's got to be more to this. It can't be as stupid as it sounds." It's really depressing when it turns out that it is as stupid as it sounds. Some details not mentioned in Mr. Doctorow's summary:
The trip Ms Graves, the girl's mother, had to make included two ferry crossings.
Ms Graves had to borrow £130 from family and friends to cover her travel costs.
The school is defending this because the students sign a "behaviour charter" meant to "ensure that everyone can have a safe and enjoyable holiday".

On that last point, I'd like to know whether the teachers and other responsible adults sign a similar "charter", and whether unnecessarily violating a student's privacy is included in it.

If there's any good that comes out of this it's that the fact that teachers are opening and reading private mail has been revealed.


#8

I'm not a legal-bod, but doesn't this sound like an article 8 human rights act breach?
" Article 8 of the Convention, which guarantees your right to respect for your privacy, also expressly protects your right to respect for your correspondence, and correspondence can include telecommunications. For this reason the law strictly regulates the circumstances in which your post or telecommunications can be intercepted or monitored. Any interception which is not done in accordance with the law and which cannot be justified as being necessary and proportionate for a legitimate aim is likely to constitute a breach of your human rights."


#9
Eh, I can see some mitigating circumstances here. I went to a lot of camps as a young'un, and they do have rules.
Holli’s mother urged Ms Graves to reconsider but she refused and said if Holli was not picked up she would have to attend all the planned activities but would not be allowed to join in any of them.

It's not like she was going to be turned out onto the street or subjected to corporal punishment or solitary confinement. Of course, without knowing more about the nature of these "planned activities" it's hard to say just how bad this would have been. Mind you, it was the mother who decided such exclusion would be so excruciatingly cruel.

"They had been planning the feast weeks before the trip and Holli was in charge of bringing the chocolate,” she said.

Of course it wasn't drugs, but this certainly sounds like something of an organized operation to purposefully undermine authority. Sounds rather unsavory. It makes me wonder a little if the other kids were also punished.


#10

At some point, you'd think someone in the chain of command of the school would say, "Wait, this is ridiculous." That someone didn't makes the whole school's administration culpable for this nonsense.

This is different from other "zero tolerance" situations where they dismiss a child for, say, a mock weapon where liability issues are involved.

Plus, the opening of letters is just bizarre. Wouldn't all the other parents find this objectionable? Isn't there any blowback for the school's actions?


#11

Is there somewhere we can actually log a complaint with the school to let them or the local authority know how disgusting we find this level of unauthorized mail tampering to be?


#13

Sorry, purposefully undermining authority is unsavory? Are you sure you're in the right place? Christ, I'd have given the kid lessons in crypto and stego and told her that if she was going to sneak around, she'd need better chops than that.


#14

Indeed. As the headline says, it was chocolate smile

The Daily Heil's take on this says the other two girls weren't asked to leave, and she had also been misbehaving. It also says the 'no sweets' in the room was a hotel policy, not the school.
I will reserve judgement on this until I've heard more.

I would certainly like to know if the school really are opening the children's mail. Aside: kids still write letters home on school trips? Whouldathunkit?


#15

Also, Article 16 of the Convention of Rights of the Child:

"No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home **or
correspondence**, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation."


#16

I am so freaking glad I grew up in a time and place where I had a bit of a long leash as a youth, and was not trained to be a mindless slave of the Fourth Reich. Being a kid these days sounds like it TOTALLY BUMS.


#17

As pointed out below it seems to violate Convention on the Rights of the Child which the UK has signed and ratified (unlike those three regressive societies in the world that have not). I would say make a complaint to UNICEF - likely to end up without any teeth by way more embarrassing for the school.

wait with the bbs threads below is above for me but below you


#18

Sounds like it could also be an offense under s84 of the Postal Services Act 2000, of interfering with the post. Punishable by a fine, up to six months in the klink, or both...


#19

Oh sure, it's all fun and games until the crap hits the fan and some kid's parent sues the pants off everyone involved for being "irresponsible" or turning a blind eye to bullying or something.


#20

Skarka's Law: "On internet messageboards, there is no subject so vile or indefensible that someone won't post positively/in defense of it."


#21

I'm not sure why this is called a camp when it's clearly a school trip. It makes a little more sense in that context, as my experience with school trips that have overnight stays is that the custodians are generally crapping their pants and praying that nobody comes home with a story. It's stressful and not a surprise that they're turning into total hardass authoritarians to try to send a message to the rest of the students.

It's still totally ridiculous, but at least I can see where it is coming from. I took several school trips back when I was in school and never once did the teachers and parents fail to freak out when it came to the hotel stay.