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Pictures on the internet


Marco Koene
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The whole issue of pictures is potentially a thorny one, I agree. Isn't it sad that we have to be so cautious?

I think that as a general rule pictures of students in groups, not identifiable by names or email addresses etc accompanying the pictures, and wearing normal clothing, should not present a problem. However, if in doubt, it is best to ask parents for their views/ permission before going ahead. It might be advisable to restrict any student pictures to those areas of the site that are password protected for access by school members only.

School websites do attract unwanted interest, I know. We were aware, some time ago, of people who were looking at our school site through carrying out searches for 'college girls' - our school's name, at that time, contained those words. I don't think that they were innocently looking at a school site to benefit their intellectual development!

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The whole issue of pictures is potentially a thorny one, I agree.  Isn't it sad that we have to be so cautious? 

I think that as a general rule pictures of students in groups, not identifiable by names or email addresses etc accompanying the pictures, and wearing normal clothing, should not present a problem.  However, if in doubt, it is best to ask parents for their views/ permission before going ahead.  It might be advisable to restrict any student pictures to those areas of the site that are password protected for access by school members only.

School websites do attract unwanted interest, I know.  We were aware, some time ago,  of people who were looking at our school site through carrying out searches for 'college girls' - our school's name, at that time, contained those words.  I don't think that they were innocently looking at a school site to benefit their intellectual development!

Guidelines that apply to the UK can be found HERE

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Maggie writes:

I think that as a general rule pictures of students in groups, not identifiable by names or email addresses etc accompanying the pictures, and wearing normal clothing, should not present a problem. However, if in doubt, it is best to ask parents for their views/ permission before going ahead.

This is pretty standard advice these days.

Names can be a problem, even in email addresses. I used to display my daughters' and my wife's (who are also my business partners) names in their email addresses at our business website. Bad move! I have now removed all references to any email addresses at our business website. We use an anonymous contact form instead.

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Guest Andrew Moore

I have a friend who teaches in a special school. She asks parents, as a matter of course, for permission to publish images of the children on Web sites - though without any link to personal contact information.

It's important that we don't hide young people with learning difficulties and physical disabilities away, as happens in so much TV drama and advertising.

Many children feel proud and happy when they see their own pictures on a Web site. They are not in any way harmed or threatened by people who look at those pictures for other reasons. But I will have enabled those people to help me harm myself, if their existence raises fears that alter how I behave.

Moreover, most images of children quickly become images of people who no longer exist - they have turned into older people.

If we step outside, we may meet danger, but this happens to very few people. If we hide from potential dangers, and never experience the fresh air, we will certainly suffer real harm.

People fear the unknown, but not the known and real dangers. Internet technologies do not come close to motor vehicles as causes of death and injury to children in the UK - vehicles which often are driven by people who won't let their own children walk anywhere.

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This is much the same issue as allowing pupils access to organised online discussion groups etc. using photos or putting students online in any format requires careful thought. Firstly there has to be parental support for it. To that end we ask all parents to state whether their childs image can be used for publicity purposes. None of the images are labelled in any way that could lead to the name of the pupil being identified. Wherever pupils are communicating online measures are taken to make sure that they can only be accessed by approved people - which is much the same as the way the student forum works.

A simple check list:

- is the pupil happy for the image to be used?

- have parents said they are happy with it?

- can the pupils name be assertained from the images / labels?

- is access to communication details vetted and approved by staff and this method of vetting made known to pupils and parents?

- is the end product compliant with the countries / schools / local councils guidlines for this usage?

Given the right answer to all of the above, you shouldn't have a problem using images of pupils.

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Thank you for all your replies! Tomorrow I will put a text on my website stating that we do place pictures on the site, however, if someone objects to their picture being on it, it will be removed immediately. I hope that will keep me ,and the students of course out of harms way.

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