Wednesday, 25 April 2012
How would you feel if your child came home from school with this class picture? Just a quick side note; the other children’s faces were not blurred out for the picture that was sent home.
I think I would be thoroughly confused. This is exactly what happened at Sawgrass Elementary in Broward County. Florida.
According to the Broward County Board of education this child’s family did not sign a media photo release form. Every year parents in every school district throughout the United States are required to sign a release form, so their child’s photo can be displayed in public. If you do not sign the release form, the school is unable to publicly show your child’s picture. In this age of technology are children’s faces are put out there for everything the schools website, local newspapers, flyers, and more. I am slightly confused though; I did not think that it pertained to class photos. I cannot imagine not allowing a child to have their picture taken with their class even if you did not sign a public release form. That just seems like a punishment to the child.
The school’s PTA notified the photographer of the error and requested that he remove two children from the picture. The photographer David Claussen was able to remove one of the children, because the child was standing on the end of the group. He let them know that he was unable to edit out the other child because he was in the middle of the picture. According to Claussen he suggested placing a star over the child’s face. He stated it was the PTA that insisted he put a smiley face over the child’s image. Claussen also agreed to reshoot the picture. Claussen does have 35 years of experience with taking photographs for the Broward County school system.
Broward County School District spokesperson Marsy Smith stated, "It was totally inappropriate," referring to the smiley face; Smith also said the school’s principal, Sherry Rose was shocked when she first saw the photo. "She was very, very upset and immediately took action to reschedule a picture-taking session for Thursday."
Some of the parents have gone on the record saying the picture is “degrading” and “offensive”.
I think a yellow smiley face would have been sufficient. That is not completely true, but if he had to put a smiley face on there, he should have stuck to the traditional. However, I feel it is extremely irresponsible for the Broward County school administrators to put the blame on the photographer. The school should be responsible to know which of their student should not be photographed. Why they sent the picture home in the first place is overwhelming. They could have avoided all of this if they sent a note home stating there was a problem with the picture and they have rescheduled them. Shame on Broward County’s Board of Education they have made a mountain out of a molehill, and offended many people in the process.