Mrs. Spalt's EdTech Blog - Mrs. Spalt's Third Grade Class
 
    I typed up this blog in Word after responding to a post on Blackboard about obtaining permission to photograph and publicly display photographs of students.  I forgot to add it to my blog last week, but thought I'd add it now:

    Interestingly, I have yet to have a student whose parents have not granted written permission for their child to be photographed and included in all media outlets.  However, after a professional development workshop I attended within district, I refused to give my own daughter's preschool permission to photograph her and use it on their website.  The workshop was given by a retired Bergen County Technology Department Detective and the information he shared about child predators, how they find their prey, and the means they use to stalk them sent chills through my spine.  A similar course was then provided to the parents of the students in our district through our Parent University night program to educate parents about internet and technology safety.
    This year a local bank then visited my daughter's preschool and brought professional photographers to help them create a marketing flyer and develop a portion of their website that was geared toward a specific bank account for young children to manage, called a Piggy Bank Account.  A separate permission slip was sent home for this event.  Again, I did not grant permission for my daughter to be photographed.  Later that day, my daughter informed my mother-in-law about the bank's visit to her school and what she had learned about banking.  Further into that same week, my mother-in-law went to the neighborhood bank, bumped into the manager, and mentioned what an impact the banks' visit to the local preschool had on her granddaughter, stating that she was informing her all about it enthusiastically after school that day.  The bank manager questioned which child she was referring to, walked to her computer, and showed my mother-in-law photos taken during that visit of the children on her computer.  Who was sitting smack dab in the middle of most of the the photographs?  My daughter!  Of course, my mother-in-law retold me this story excitedly, proud that her granddaughter was sitting so nicely actively engaged in the lesson (she is a retired elementary school teacher herself) and had no clue of the potential danger those pictures could hold, nor that I had not granted permission for them even to be taken.  I haven't seen any photographs used publicly, but I was really upset.  Why ask for permission if one isn’t going to honor a parent’s request not to photograph? 
    So now I know that when the day comes that I have a student whose parents do not give written consent, I will completely uphold their wishes and not photograph the child at all.  I used to think that I would include the child and then just either crop him/her out or just not include that photo in whatever display I was making.   However, now I wouldn’t want to be “caught” with a child’s picture if permission isn’t granted, god forbid it ever got into the wrong hands somehow (I do fear hackers- probably because I am a “digital immigrant”), and I now know what it feels like to be in the parent’s shoes.  So I question, should I as a teacher be sharing photos of my students on the internet, with written consent of course, when I as a parent would not want my own child's photos on the web for all to see?  Please share your thoughts/input on the topic.




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    I am a third grade teacher at Haledon Public School.  I enjoy learning new things, and learning how to blog is one of them!

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