I am a senior in high school and like many other classes we are doing a "scavenger hunt" (teams of students have to compete various tasks and earn points for these tasks) outside of school.

Our school got wind that there were illegal things (e.g., filming a sex act of a girl under the legal age of consent, and the use of marijuana) on the scavenger hunt list. They are now launching an investigation with authorities and have called/emailed all senior parents.

I am in no way in trouble and do not mind the scavenger hunt being cancelled, I just want to know if the school has the right to do this?

2 Answers 2


Anyone has a right to report illegal activities that it is aware of to the authorities. This is in fact where 99.9% of police investigations start.

In addition, students of a school (or, more generally, members of any organisation) are eligible to be investigated/disciplined by the school in accordance with the rules of the school providing that the investigation and punishment are in accordance with the law. This would normally permit (require?) notification of any child's parent or guardian.

In loco parentis does not arise - the school is acting as a responsible citizen; not as a substitute for the children's parents.

  • One more question now: Can the school personally question anyone e.g. can an administrator call a student down and ask them about this? Or is that now in the hands of the police?
    – Justin
    Oct 8, 2015 at 1:34
  • @Justin - interesting separate question. I expanded it here.
    – feetwet
    Oct 8, 2015 at 1:53

The school can call parents and tell them whatever they want about students.

FERPA 34 CFR 99.31(a)(8) gives the school this authority. It is probably explicitly stated in your code of conduct.

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