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Article Title

Keeping students safe : personal information and privacy laws in Australia

Abstract

What are the legal rights and protections available to students? In the second of a two-part series, the author looks at privacy issues and the law in relation to the withholding of a student's personal information from parents or students. In the March 2008 issue of 'Teacher' the author looked at privacy and the current legal rights and protections available to students in the event that inappropriate photographs are taken of them, particularly in relation to the right to privacy. In this issue the author looks at the collection, storage, use and disclosure of their personal information in relation to privacy. The Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 does not distinguish between adults and children. As a result, children have some rights when it comes to the collection, storage, use and disclosure of their personal information. Schools often collect personal information about students from a student's parents. Schools also collect personal information about students from students themselves. What should schools do if parents demand that a school provide them with access to personal information about their child, but the student objects? Similarly, if a student requests access to personal information that the school holds about him or her, how should the school respond? The author discusses the Privacy Act basics; whether a student can withhold consent; complying with a school privacy policy and collection notice; a school's contractual relationship with parents; other reasons to deny access; withholding a student's personal information from teachers; how private schools should use and disclose information; and, a procedure for deciding to who to distribute information. [Author abstract, ed]

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