Should Dad Be Allowed to See Surveillance Tape of Son's Fight?

A Colorado father has to asked see surveillance tapes of a fight that landed his son a 10-day school bus suspension, but the school district says privacy laws prevent it from releasing the video -- even to the parents of one of the students involved.

"I need to see the video so I know how to discipline my kid accordingly," said Mike Moskalski, whose 13-year-old son Cody got into a fight on a bus in late April. "This is sort of absurd. I felt that if anybody had right to view the video, it would be the parent."

Roger Fiedler, a spokesman for the Greeley Evans School District 6 in Colorado said the school district was reviewing its policy not to release school bus surveillance videos.


To release the video, Fiedler said the district would either have to get consent from the parents of all the students shown in the video or blur the faces of the students, which he said the district does not have the technology to do.

He said the school district had never released videos from the cameras mounted in 80 of the district's 100 buses.

Cody claims the tape will show that he was defending himself when he got into the fight.

He said another boy told him that he had to move out of his seat and when he refused, the other boy pushed and punched him. Cody said he then he kicked the other boy.

He said the suspension was "not at all fair. It'd be like punishing victim of a crime."


Of his parents, he said, "I think that they should be able to see the tape because it is their kid that is involved in the tape."

District lawyers consider the tape to be an educational record that is protected under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Fiedler said.

Stu Stuller, an education law attorney in Boulder, Colo., said the courts have not decided whether school bus surveillance tapes are considered educational records. "I don't think anyone can walk into court and say this is a clear-cut issue," he said.

But Moskalski believes he should have access to the tape depicting his son's behavior.

"The school district can videotape my child, and they can make decisions about disciplining my child," said Moskalski. "They can look at the video of my child, but I can't."