A middle school student in the suburbs of Seattle is accusing a school administrator of bullying her in person in an attempt to nab another student he suspected of cyber-bullying.
Samantha Negretti and her parents contend that the Everett School District violated her civil rights and her privacy when a North Middle School assistant principal compelled her to log into her Facebook account while she was at school, reports KCPQ, the local FOX affiliate.
The unnamed assistant principal was allegedly conducting a search for a picture posted by an unnamed student that was somehow unacceptable in nature. Apparently, the assistant principal wasn’t a Facebook friend of the suspected bully.
“He was like looking through all of my friend’s profiles and stuff and viewing what they said and making mean remarks to their posts and things,” Negretti told KCPQ in an interview on Friday.
“Honestly I feel like, I feel like it was my fault,” Negretti added. “And I feel like I was used and kind of harassed because he made me feel kind of bad.”
Negretti’s parents were not pleased at the assistant principal’s actions.
“There was no right for anybody to come in and ask her to open up her personal information to obtain any information about anybody else,” Negretti’s mother, Connie Becerra, told KOMO-TV, the local ABC affiliate. “That’s just something you cannot do.”
“He proceeded to sit down and go through students’ pages and opened up numerous kids’ Facebooks and looked through pictures and postings,” Becerra also said.
The assistant principal found the picture he was looking for, according to KOMO, and the student who posted it was later suspended.
The contents of the offending picture remain unclear.
School district officials would not agree to an on-camera interview, according to KCPQ. Off camera, one of them reportedly told the station that school officials possess far-reaching authority to investigate issues related to student safety — authority that could even exceed the power that mere police have to investigate mere crimes.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington State disagrees and has entered the fray on the side of Negretti.
“Schools shouldn’t investigate alleged bullying by starting with a student who was not involved in the incident and trolling through her private Facebook account,” ACLU representative Linda Mangel told KCPQ. “The school’s conduct violated the rights of this student.”
The school district has transferred the assistant principal to another work location pending an investigation of the investigation, says the station.