I understand that to some extent it does depend on the AUP but if the brown stuff hits the fan, and perhaps irate parents get involved - the IT tech, who of course can access everything, can get into real problems. It happened to someone I know so I do think it is better to be safe than sorry
* Bossman - I thought we agreed on EVERYTHING!! :)
We can login to our administrator email account, then just change the admin username in the address bar to "../<pupil username>/Inbox" which loads their Inbox, not needing any of their credentials at all (this doesn't work for staff and we purposely haven't set up this capability for staff as we would never have any need to). We're obviously trusted to use this capability when absolutely necessary and when we can justify the reason.
In the AUP, it clearly states may login to student email accounts in persuit of a crime/other activities (with permission or supervision from a senior staff member). Students agree that we can do this by signing the AUP. They do, of course, have the option to simply say "no" and therefore they won't get an email account (afterall, we can't exactly force them to have one), though noone yet has declined this.
As for irate parents - well, I am sure they would be very irate if their child was being bullied internally, on the school system, and there was nothing the school could do to see what is going on (hotmail etc is a different matter).
Thanks for everyones advice!
Can I add my administrators account to everypupils mail box in an automated way?
We tend to make it very clear to staff and students that if they use the establishment's accounts then they have no expectation of privacy, they aren't the pupils' accounts nor are they staff accounts, they are all the property of the establishment and as such are controlled and accessed at our discretion.
If they want privacy they use their own personal accounts from home and not using our equipment.
We turned "journaling" on for students, then had a specific journaling account set up so we could track its usage.