Jun 242011
 
 June 24, 2011  Non-U.S., Youth & Schools

Nick Martin reports:

Manitoba’s largest school division is trying to put the social-media genie back in the bottle just in time for graduation.

The Winnipeg School Division has adopted stringent privacy policies -increasing up its already rigid standards -in an effort to keep photo and video of its students off the Internet.

Anyone recording a public event at the school, including those held after school, off-campus or at a school in another division, may do so only for personal use, and may not post on the Internet, the division says.

It’s a policy proponents say is meant to protect young children. But just how school officials can enforce it in the era of Facebook and social media is unclear.

“We believe student safety is paramount,” said trustee Kristine Barr, chairwoman of the policy/ program committee that recommended the changes to the board.

“It could be a holiday concert, a band recital, a sports game,” Barr said.

Principals will be responsible for notifying people attending school organized public events of the rules and it will be up to principals to ask people to take down any postings that violate the rules, Barr said.

“They’re welcome to do so for their own use, but they can’t be posted on the Internet,” she said. “Our hope is there’s going to be compliance.”

Barr would not talk about what steps the division could take if anyone refused to take down postings that violated the policy.

Read more in the Edmonton Journal.

While their proposal may sound like a serious over-reach, I would point out that here in the U.S., we also have similar rules. People who take photos of students in school or at a school event may not publish them or use them without written consent of those photographed and their parents.  But those rules fall under our federal FERPA law and it’s not clear to me what a school district here would/could really do to enforce that other than suspend first and hope that the student or parents cave in.

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