Cheerleader sues coach over invasion of Facebook privacy

Posted on August 5, 2009


Another Facebook legal row is about to erupt in the USA right now as a high school cheerleader’s family are suing the school over forced access to their daughter’s Facebook account.

The incident happened when the cheerleader coach, Tommie Hill, demanded that all of the girls on the cheerleading squad hand over their Facebook logins, and passwords, so the coach could keep an eye on what they were up to. All of the girls readily obliged, giving the woman their login details. She then accessed all of their Facebook accounts and read all of their personal messages.

When she read the messages of sixteen year old Mandi Jackson she found some profanity in messages between her and another girl, and she promptly dropped Mandi from the cheerleading squad for the next game. Her parents found out about this and are suing the coach for $100 million for invasion of privacy.

Incredibly the school (Pearl, Mississippi High School) is standing by the coach, claiming that she was within her rights to access all of the Facebook accounts because she had a duty to look out for the girls.

Mandi explained that she gave the coach her details because she didn’t think anything of it:

Knowing that she was an authority figure I was like ok, I don’t know what to do.

Rita Silin, the attorney for Mandi and her family, stated:

The supreme court has found that internet media is supposed to be treated as magazine or book media is concerned. That’s the crux of it. It was in a private email. It wasn’t in a public email that anyone can access.

Accessing someone’s private email, whether that’s a regular email account or on Facebook, is a crime and the Mississippi High School will no doubt realise that when the fallout of this case settles.

This is the second time in as many weeks that a school has become embroiled in controversy following private messages on a Facebook account.


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