May not relate to law but it falls under exercising justice.

I was in school (higher student) when a younger student had their phone pointed at me and the flash went off. I suspected he took a photo of me as one of his friends sent me a random photo and called to me - they were playing about. I called to him, asking if he took a photo. He told me no, to which I demanded he show me his camera album to prove such. He then said it was instead a call (the LED flash was then caused by the notification), and picked up his bag to leave (the period had not ended). I stood in his way as his friend intervened telling me to leave him alone. I told him since it was a call he could prove it by showing me his call log. He refused and tried to leave - I read this as he felt he was caught out and tried to escape. I held my hand in his way and repeated my demand, but he continued to try to escape. I then held onto the strap of his bag and repeated my demand that he show me his call log. His friend continued to intervene and the student still did not show me his call log, I read this as his friend was backing the student as he tried to escape me. It came to the a teacher of high status appearing and I immediately let go. End of scenario.

My statement and his was taken. Upon entering the head of year's office she explained the boy was an 'exemplary student' who is usually quiet and never misbehaves. The student in fact did not take any photo and did receive a call. In total I am given a maximum 3-day exclusion and repeatedly told I was angry throughout the ordeal and acted unfairly - the teacher cited the boy being shaken after the event. I was told I was attacking him by holding him by the bag strap, and that I did not restrain him as the definition of restraint is holding an aggressor away.

I asked if if the boy was not shaken afterward and rather responded with aggression would the punishment be any different, as she repeatedly mentioned I caused his distress. I believe how he feels after the event does not affect my actions and should not affect my subsequent punishment.

Repeatedly I claimed I was not angry yet this was refuted with conviction by the teacher. I am now on an exclusion for this event. I believe holding someone by their bagstrap is not assault and that I am being punished in this manner because of the student's distress, younger age and the fact there was no photo taken.

Is it fair for me to reason I did not act out of line by holding him back and demanding he prove he did not take a photo of me? Is it excessive use of force?


You acted illegally in assaulting your fellow student. When you are in public, a person can legally take your picture, and you are not allowed to assault a person because you do not like their legal actions. Any degree of force is excessive except in certain responses to illegal fource, and even the threat of force is excessive. You also have no right to demand that a person prove that they didn't take your picture, and certainly no right to enforce that demand with physical violence.

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    I'd suggest this be edited to read "any degree of force is excessive in response to legal actions" or "in this situation", to clarify that this is not a blanket statement. There are situations where the use of force is legally justified (e.g., self-defense and/or the defense of others), even if this wasn't one of them. – Michael Seifert May 17 '19 at 15:56

What you did was criminal assault

Assault is the crime of placing someone in fear of physical violence - it can include physical violence or contact but it doesn’t need to. In some countries assault with physical contact is called battery or aggravated assault and carries harsher criminal sanctions.

You are permitted to use reasonable force in most jurisdictions to protect yourself and your property or to protect others and their property. In the scenario you outlined, you had no right to use force but the person you menaced and their friend probably did have the right - he to protect himself and his phone and the friend to protect him. The force that would be appropriate would be very minor.

He or anyone else has a right to take a photo of you unless you have a reasonable expectation of privacy - in a change room or bathroom for example - you do not have such an expectation in a classroom. The controller of the premises (the school) can impose whatever restrictions it wants on photography but if someone ignores their rules that’s a matter for internal discipline, not the law. In any event, it’s not grounds for assaulting the photographer.

How the victim ‘feels’ is manifestly part of the damage done by the crime and is taken into account by courts in setting punishment - there is nothing unfair in the school doing the same thing.

  • @forest I said that at the end of the 3rd paragraph – Dale M May 18 '19 at 0:30

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