stevenlong1985 (8th December 2010)
Is there more than data protection to consider when dealing with the issue of parents taking photos in school?
The BBC have widely reported that the Information Commissioner has issued new guidance for schools about parents taking photos in school.
BBC News - Nativity photos not against law, says data watchdog
As far as I can tell, this is a re-issuing of the old advice about personal use and data protection.
Information and Advice on Taking Photos in Schools - ICO
However, this just deals with the data protection aspect. And mentions photos for the family albums.
I was going to contact the ICO to enquire about what the situation would be if the family album is actually Facebook or Flickr or similar, but I am wondering if this is not a data protection issue but a safeguarding issue??? Parents can quite innocently take photos of groups of friends, upload them to Facebook with no privacy settings and tag the children with names. What happens if there is a child there who is subject to some kind of child protection order to keep their identity safe? Would the school be responsible for policing who is photographed???
If a parent uploads photos to a website, is that still considered personal use???
Anyone know of any guidance on this?
stevenlong1985 (8th December 2010)
A bit common sense ?
Yes, it is a safeguarding issue. That is one of the reasons why some schools have the ban in place, because they might have a large number of looked after or adopted children. Some schools have hidden behind DPA to save some difficult conversations, but a school could be left in the position of either banning photos, or banning certain pupils/students from taking part in an activity where they may be innocently photographed.
It is hard for a school to say "hey, we have at risk kids here who may have been abused so no photos please!" without it generating some fallout. In some schools it can mean pupils turn on other pupils too ... As looked after children are frequently looked down on ... Or the parents of other pupils can stop their son / daughter associating with the looked after child with excuses such as "well, they were abused once ... I'm not letting little Johnny near them in case he gets involved in abuse too!"
One school I heard about bans photos but then sells a DVD. Some parents thought this was to a money spinning venture but it was actually allowing for some careful editing so you don't see certain kids.
Andie (10th December 2010)
I'm all for no photos, let the parent/guardian take a photo of their own child/ren in their costumes but not photos of the actual event, performance etc. There are so many children these days with split families where access is restricted or disallowed, children in refuges and children in care in some schools, that the chance of a photo appearing on facebook, flickr, being passed round the pub or the local OAP club by proud grandparents could put that child at risk.
Hire professionals in for major events to take the photos, then work out whom is in the photos and offer them to the apprioate people (ie: their legal guardians)?.
From 2007: BBC NEWS | UK | England | Leicestershire | Man's shock at nativity photo ban
And again this week: Parents are calling on a head teacher to abandon her school's long-running ban on photographing nativity plays.
If you look closely at the first article (same parent), the child protection issue is mentioned and vulnerable children is mentioned in the second article. It also says parents can photograph children afterwards in costume. But the response is to repeat the guidance from the ICO, which takes no account of the issue of family albums being on the web now.
Why are schools left to deal with this themselves and face this kind of pressure from parents and the media??? Surely it is a case again of needing some joined up thinking here, and some proper guidance to schools that will support them in their decisions.
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