Walworth, WI asked in Education Law for Wisconsin

Q: Is my principal allowed to follow me home and question me why I left?

I'm 18 year old senior in high school, I had a modified schedule which allows me to leave earlier than the rest of the students. I am not mad about it, I am just wondering if this is allowed. I am guessing this is fine but it just worried me a little. Also I don't know where to even start on what kind of law this applies to.

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1 Lawyer Answer

Emmanuel Muwonge

Answered
  • Wauwatosa, WI
  • Licensed in Wisconsin

A: Your question is a valid concern for a number of reasons. Having said that, I don't know what school or school district you are in and what the regulations are regarding the duties of the principal and the protocol regarding errant students or students deemed not to be compliant with attendance. If as you indicate you had a modified schedule allowing you to leave earlier than the rest of the students, I would on that basis think that the principal or any school official would have been aware of that fact. However, if the principal had no time to check to determine why you were leaving school premises, I imagine s/he would instinctively follow the student to see what is going on. That does not mean that your rights to privacy disappear but rather because that would be a reasonable thing for a principal to do. The other issue is whether or not a student in your circumstances (during school hours) has any reasonable expectation of privacy which effectively would preclude the principal's conduct as alleged. Absent other facts and circumstances, I doubt that I can be any more helpful assuming this is helpful to some extent. If this continues and you continue to have permission to leave early, I would address it or have your parents or guardian address it with the appropriate school authorities. If that fails, the school district or school board governing your school would be the first place to go. Good luck with your schooling and beyond.

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