finding out what my ex is emailing about me to the school

(15 Posts)
barkingtree Tue 08-Mar-16 16:27:09

Hi,
I am wondering if anyone can give me advice about whether I have a legal right to see emails my ex has been sending to my son's school about me (From what the teachers have said and from what I know from letters he's sent to family members in the past, it sounds like he's telling people I'm mentally ill, etc, ranting about what a bad mother I am - I'm not BTW smile )
The school think they aren't allowed to disclose to me what he's been saying or show me the emails but they are not very sure (though they let slip a bit. They are finding him to be nightmare so are very supportive of me and hopefully will help my son -It's a new school) but I wondered if I can reassure them that they are allowed to show me emails that pertain to me and my son. It would be handy to have these emails if we end up in court again (which we prob will- he takes me to court ALOT)
The school are a bit flustered over what they can and can't do.
I also wanted advice as he has shown several people, including the school, confidential court documents from our child contact court case a few years ago. I know he's not allowed to show anyone these confidential court documents and have written to him telling him this in the past (he's shown them to about six people that I know of) but what can I do to stop him doing this. The docs contain my very personal medical history. The teacher has seen them and the admin staff- cringe. Of course he only shows the bits that make me look bad. I feel like showing them a pile of letters from our couples counsellor saying he's a nut job but that might make me as bad as him.

Primaryteach87 Tue 08-Mar-16 16:46:18

I just want to reassure that (sadly) this sort of thing is increasingly common. Teachers can sniff out bullshit use their discernment. I'm sure if he is a nasty bit of work, the staff will realise and take what he says with a pinch of salt. Regarding your medical history. I'm not sure where you stand legally. He probably can show them court documents. A history of mental health difficulties is about 1 in 4 of us. So if that is the medical problem don't think staff will think badly of that.

All in all, I think his true colours will show through.

barkingtree Tue 08-Mar-16 17:00:08

Thanks for your response Primary. Yes the school do know he's a nasty piece of work and have seen through him luckily. But I'd still like to see these emails as they are about me, about my parenting, etc and I feel I should have a right to see what's being said about me to my son's school.
The school feel they aren't allowed to show me but are pretty unsure.
My lawyer after the court hearing told me he's not allowed to show folks the confidential court docs and he's been warned before but keeps doing it.

GloriousGoosebumps Tue 08-Mar-16 17:53:19

Your ex husband's correspondence is presumably filed in your child's school records so why don't you apply for a copy of those school records. The school must produce the records within 15 days and can ask you to pay photocopying costs. Just in case the correspondence is filed in a separate file, which seems unlikely, make a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act at the same time for any personal information the school holds on you. If the school isn't sure what information it can release then they'll have to take legal advice. If your ex is in contempt of court for showing confidential court paperwork to third parties then you should take the matter back to court and have the Court deal with him.

barkingtree Tue 08-Mar-16 17:58:45

Ooh thanks Glorious
I will do that re asking to see my son's records.
Am not sure what the hell court can do to stop him showing the court docs. Slap on the wrist. Thats the trouble with these court orders; there are no penalties for not adhering to them. But firstly I will ask the school for my son's records. I can't imagine they won't be able to release them to me.

TeaBelle Tue 08-Mar-16 18:02:36

At work if we are asked for a child's records then we can only produce work/documents produced by ourselves. If there was, for example, a doctor's letter, we would have to seek permission from the author to disclose it. I imagine it would be the same for these emails.

GloriousGoosebumps Tue 08-Mar-16 18:04:08

Yes, the Court may indeed just give him a rap over the knuckles but he won't like being summonsed to Court and having to stand there while he's being hauled over the coals by a Judge and the fact that you are there to witness it will make the pain that much worse!

barkingtree Tue 08-Mar-16 18:07:50

Tea belle, oh no. Do you work in a school?
Infuriating having him say whatever he likes to the school and, as I don't know what he's saying, I can't defend myself/refute it.

GiveMyHeadPeaceffs Tue 08-Mar-16 18:14:09

I agree with Glorious, make a SAR request under Data Protection to see all that is filed under your son's name. I have a little experience in dealing with DPA requests and from what I remember if you're the legal guardian then you can see everything the school holds about your son. I'd enquire at the school about who deals with DPA requests asap. Good luck!

barkingtree Tue 08-Mar-16 18:19:44

ooh thank you GIvemyhead.
I do hope it's straightforward.

GloriousGoosebumps Tue 08-Mar-16 18:45:30

Re third party information, the Guidance states
"Step 2 – Has the third-party individual consented?
In practice, the clearest basis for justifying the disclosure of third party
information in response to a SAR is that the third party has
given their consent. It is therefore good practice to ask relevant
third parties for consent to the disclosure of their personal data in
response to a SAR.
However, you are not obliged to try to get consent and in some
circumstances it will clearly be reasonable to disclose without
trying to get consent, such as where the information concerned
will be known to the requester anyway. Indeed it may not always
be appropriate to try to get consent, for instance, if to do so would
inevitably involve a disclosure of personal data about the requester
to the third party."

I'd say that information from your ex about the Court reports falls within the definition of information which will already be known to the requester.

The Guidance can be found at ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1065/subject-access-code-of-practice.pdf .

For expert reports in general (ie not the Court reports you are talking about) we would always advise the author to bear in mind that the report might be disclosed and professionals word their reports accordingly and never seem to have a problem with disclosure.

barkingtree Tue 08-Mar-16 18:52:34

Glorious, sorry to be dense but I can't follow that. Layman's terms?
The emails my ex wrote about me to the school. Do you think the school have to show me them if I request to see them?
The court docs are a separate issue. I know he's not allowed to show them to anyone without my consent (though he has been doing so, and the school have confirmed he has).

TeaBelle Tue 08-Mar-16 19:28:06

If I understand correctly the school have let slip that they have received these emails and as such the information shouldn't be known by you - that was a mistake on the school's part.

If any assessments/reports were completed as part of the proceedings (as opposed to statements written by you or dad), he would also need to court's permission to share these. They do take a really dim view of sharing court information.

No - I don't work in a school but for a local authority so our requests for information are dealt with under an overarching policy.

GloriousGoosebumps Tue 08-Mar-16 19:33:23

The short answer is yes the school will give you copies of the emails and attachments. I know you think the Court docs are a separate issue but the fact that they are able to give you copies of the Court reports is your evidence that your ex is in contempt of court.

barkingtree Tue 08-Mar-16 19:57:08

Thanks .
The court judgement shouldn't be disclosed without the courts consent so he is in breach as he's shown it to three family therapists, two policemen , our GP and our son's teacher.
I dont know if he gave the school a copy. I'll ask them. The school readily told me he'd been sending them emails about me but said they couldn;t show them to me...
They are being supportive re my ex being a nightmare so I don;t want to put undue pressure on them but I am curious what he said about me so I may follow it up at some point.

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