Does a parent have the right to review video containing their child?
I have been told by my child's daycare that I'm not allowed to view the video materials during the times that my child has been written up with a behavioral or accident report (aka. hit, falls down), and that it's a Freedom of Information Act issue.
Today I was approached while picking up my children and told that a meeting needed to take place for the reason that my child was performing acts of violence (hitting, scratching other children). I requested to see the videos, because according to them it is in excess and a behavioral redirection is needed.
When I arrived home and discussed the reports with my child they said it was aggravated by another child's behavior or games they were playing.
I believe that I should have the right to review these incidents, even with the admin staff present, as to determine if anything is needed or what is needed to be done.
Is it my right to review any video recording that contains my child (especially since it's being used to justify behavioral intervention)? What are my rights in this situation? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Does a parent have the right to review video containing their child?":
Ken (Chamberburg, PA):
If the daycare center is privately owned or run, you do not have a legal right to see the videos. Those videos may be considered proprietary, and as such may only be viewed with the consent of the daycare owner or management. However, if you decide to sue the daycare center, you or your attorney may subpoena the videos for your review.
If the daycare center is a public one, existing under the local or state public school system, then you have a right to view the videos under Pennsylvania's Freedom of Information "Right to Know" law. Under the "Right to Know" law, persons may seek access to records belonging to government agencies.
Section 703 of the Right to Know Law states:
"A written request for access to records may be submitted in person, by mail, by e-mail, by facsimile.... or by any other electronic means. A written request should identify or describe the records sought with sufficient specificity to enable the agency to ascertain which records are being requested, and shall include the name and address to which the agency should address its response. A written request need not include any explanation of the requester’s reason for requesting or intended use of the records unless otherwise required by law."
Below is the basic format of a letter you may use to request the records...
Date of Letter
Name of School Administrtator
Under the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law, I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records including videos taken of my child (child's name) on school property from (include the dates of the videos in question).
Please advise me if there are any costs or fees I am required to pay to obtain these records. The Pennsylvania Right to Know Law requires a response time within five (5) business days. If access to the videos I am requesting will take longer than five (5) days, please advise me when and where I will have access to the videos.
If you deny all or part of my request, please cite any and all specific exemptions you feel justifies the refusal to release the videos. If this is the case, please notify me of the appellate procedure available to me under the law.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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