Some schools are using online notification systems for students to report instances of bullying, either of themselves, or of other students. Schools have a number of obligations when using these systems.
Duty of care
A school's duty of care may extend to liability for any detriment or harm to a student caused as a result of a delay between a notification being sent and being received by the school. An example of this potential risk occurring might be when students or parents rely on an online reporting system when a school's inbox is not monitored, for example, in the evenings and during school holidays.
Legislation and policy
Chapter 12, Part 10 of the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld) requires school staff responsible for monitoring and responding to online notifications to respond to incidents of harm, or possible harm, to children.
Staff need to act with caution when handling any evidentiary material uploaded to online reporting notifications that may constitute 'child exploitation material', as defined in the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld). Any staff dealing with notifications would need to be aware that it may be a crime for them to communicate, send, transmit, save, or make copies of material, where that material constitutes child exploitation material.
Schools also need to be aware of information privacy and confidentiality obligations in relation to the collection, use, storage and disclosure of personal information. Any staff dealing with online notifications need to comply with the requirements of the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) and s.426 of the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld).
Under the Information Policy and the Information Privacy Principles, the department also has a duty to protect and secure information from loss, unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure. Schools are advised to only use services that have Government Information Technology Contracting (GITC) accreditation, as it ensures schools are protected by standard pre-arranged contract terms and conditions.