Rules for Photographs on School Web Sites

I received an email from a principal who was having a discussion about photographs of the pupils on their school web site. The teacher has concerns that any photograph online could be manipulated and used for illicit activities. This teacher wouldn’t be alone. I give a number of talks around the country where I talk about how we use social media in my school, which includes photographs and videos of our pupils engaging in school activities. The majority of the time, I am asked about this issue.

The generally accepted answer to the problem is that one has a good AUP and that parents can have the option of opting out of being in the media. To be honest, the likelihood of any problems occurring these days is very low. However, to be sure that photographs cannot be manipulated, I have a few simple rules that I follow.

  1. All photos must have more than one child in them
  2. All photos must be reduced to a low resolution (max 800px in size)
  3. No name should be on or tagged or captioned on any photo of a child
  4. A plug-in can be used on the school web site to prevent a photograph being right-clicked, thus disallowing the menu option: Save Image As…

Have you got any other rules that you follow? If you do, how about commenting below.

Last Update: August 9, 2017  

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8 thoughts on “Rules for Photographs on School Web Sites”

  1. As always a timely and informative article. Thanks. I’m sure you would agree that this is a conversation that should be had in all schools and a clear policy should be decided upon in every school too.

    At the moment there is a wide range of approaches and I am not convinced that all of them are wise.

    On my class blog I continue to err on the side of caution so no photos or video footage where a child can be identified are included. I try to make a virtue out of what I consider a necessity to get the personality of the students across in other ways. Initially this meant a reliance on podcasts but we also use Voki avatars, hats, sunglasses and other disguises and photoediting tools which turn photos of the children into sketches, cartoons and oilpaintings. To add an extra layer of anonymity sometimes the photos used to photoedit are of the children when they were younger, so they are even less likely to be identified.

    What started out as a class blog policy decision has become an interesting challenge. Our students learn from us, so there is no harm I feel and everything to be gained from them seeing us taking this approach.

    Thank you for highlighting this question. Much appreciated.


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