Saturday, May 22, 2010

Access Denied

Apparently some teacher somewhere made a statement about girls playing on boys' teams, and it sparked controversy and outrage. So now our board has issued an edict that says, in part, "Comments by employees to any media, or in any public manner or forum, should not make direct reference to the student involved, including commenting on her athletic abilities, characteristics, motives or her family." They want direct permission from parents to say or show anything about any student each time something comes up. Those general forms we get signed at the beginning of the year about taking photos of students don't hold water anymore....

So now I think I have to delete much of this blog, specifically all the photos and videos that include students like the Before It's Too Late video letter to Harper. And I imagine I have to delete the You Tube videos that show students commenting on their environmental views. Do I also have to delete the You Tube videos of my daughter and her friends doing a drama presentation since they they are students at my school? Does this mean I can't share videos or photos of my kids and their friends on-line in any way because they go to the school where I teach?? I tend to save thing on-line so I don't have to worry about fire burning down the photo albums or my hard-drive crashing. This determination removes this right from any parents who are teachers with their own children attending their school or friends with students at their school.

As far as I can understand, all this is fair game if it's added by one of my kids or students and not me. The kids are free to post videos and photos of themselves with their friends; only sharing by teachers is limited.

I tend to hate blanket statements in general because they're often too stringent in some circumstances yet allow for abuses in other arenas. This is no exception. It's reasonable to prevent teachers from slamming students publicly, but we're now prevented from celebrating students in a public format as well. And teachers who are truly corrupted will continue to post under the cover of anonymity.

It's ironic that this is all happening at the same time as Facebook is being allowed in the schools. YouTube, with all its educational shorts, is still not permitted, but we can make Facebook groups for our clubs and teams and classes, even though we're still discouraged from e-mailing students directly.

I'm in the middle of creating a video on what KCI has done as an EcoSchool this year. It'll be shown at the EcoFest in June for select teacher and students, but it can't be shown here - unless, of course, one of my students adds it.

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