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AIBU to be furious with school?

(73 Posts)
shakethatcake Tue 18-Oct-16 16:57:09

Name changed, of course.

Background: Both myself and DH work in professions where we are in daily close contact with serious violent offenders. We are both in positions where our decisions have a significant impact on the lives (and freedom) of these individuals. I have received death threats on occasion, including specific threats towards my family.

School are aware and various measures are in place, for example we have a list of people who can collect the children (with photos). Another thing is that I do not sign the consent form for photos of the children to be put on the website or included in newsletters etc.

A few weeks ago, school rang me to say that a local newspaper had been into school, and taken a photo of the whole class of one of my children, including my child, which they wanted to publish. They asked if I would consent, and I said no. The school liaised with the paper, and arranged for an alternative photo to be supplied which did not include my child.

Today school called to let me know that the newspaper has published the version of the photograph that includes my child. I'm furious. I realise this is the newspapers error, but I have no idea why school even let my child be in the original photo, considering they know I don't consent to the photos etc.

What do I do? I haven't spoken to school yet, they just left an answer phone message then spoke briefly to my DH, who didn't comment, just waited to discuss with me. I realise it wasn't intentional, but this should never have happened. I need Mumsnet wisdom as to how to handle this please. sad

Sleepinghooty Tue 18-Oct-16 17:02:57

I think there are 2 things. First- is your child in danger (were they named)? Assuming that is not the case I think you need to talk to school about how they plan to make sure it never happens again.

FleurThomas Tue 18-Oct-16 17:04:48

You should take legal advice here.

ThornyBird Tue 18-Oct-16 17:09:30

If your child is one of 30 in a class with no names, then there is presumably no immediate issue with identification/links to you/dh.

But the school need to address how this was allowed to happen and ensure it does not happen again.

It's all fine saying the newspaper are at fault for publishing it but the school knew your child should not have been in the picture in the first place and I think it was their responsibility to ensure your child wasn't photographed.

ayeokthen Tue 18-Oct-16 17:10:08

I agree with Fleur I'd take legal advice. You have clear, valid reasons for protecting your child's privacy, it's not a whim. I'd be furious too fwiw.

Evilstepmum01 Tue 18-Oct-16 17:13:39

I'd be raging in your position. and making an appointment with your solicitor to pursue the newspaper.
And tearing a strip off the school also. How dare they endanger your child?

Hope the kid wasnt named.

fitzbilly Tue 18-Oct-16 17:13:52

Presumably your child isn't named in the paper though so no one will know if your child?

The school should not have let your child be in the photo and you should find out how this mistake happened, but it's not too bad is it?

Jaxhog Tue 18-Oct-16 17:21:03

You also might want to contact the paper to ensure they haven't published an online copy of the photo. If they have, you should insist they take it down.

CrohnicallyPregnant Tue 18-Oct-16 17:22:28

YANBU- I work in a school and know which children in my class can't have their photograph taken. If it's a posed photo then they are discreetly removed. If it's snapshots while the children are busy working etc then I personally delete or edit any photos which contain those children.

I would be making a complaint and asking what steps will be take to ensure a similar mistake doesn't happen again.

shakethatcake Tue 18-Oct-16 17:25:10

He wasn't named, thank heavens. I'd be losing my mind if he was.

So I need to be contacting school to make an appointment - or better to write a letter? And contacting the paper - hadn't even thought of there being an internet version, will check that now.

Thank you all, I appreciate the advice.

BoinkAlongQuietly Tue 18-Oct-16 17:25:34

YANBU our school goes to elaborate lengths to protect children whose photographs cannot be published. I would be furious if this were my child and I would take legal advice.

Good luck, OP.

Thirtyrock39 Tue 18-Oct-16 17:26:01

I would see it as a safeguarding issue. Also regarding childrens pics being in newspaper they MUST make sure they have consent as what if it was a LAC who's location was kept private etc ??? I'd think the school and paper are in the wrong . Problem you'll have is they'll no doubt blame each other . I'd be totally fuming and I'm usually pretty supportive of keeping on good terms with school.

pestov Tue 18-Oct-16 17:28:48

I can understand how the original mistake happened, especially in a large school - I have no idea which of my students have consent, so when photos happen on the spur of the moment I ask students if they don't have consent to remove themselves, and double check after. More than once students have not done as asked - sometimes they didn't know about it. School have done the right thing telling you as soon as they noticed the publication. You should however insist that all staff are explicitly informed of the lack of consent and ask for the policy to by updated

Thetruthfairy Tue 18-Oct-16 17:29:19

'persue legal advise'
Really? I don't think you have any grounds for suing the school. It is the paper's fault. Your child will not be named op.

GnomeDePlume Tue 18-Oct-16 17:30:11


It suggests to me that the newspaper photographer was not sufficiently supervised while on the school premises.

My DCs' primary school were very used to dealing with the type of situation where someone was not to be photographed. The school secretary would discretely steer children who were not to be photographed out of camera shot. She was so good at this that none of the children were even aware this had happened.

GettingMuckyFingersCrossed Tue 18-Oct-16 17:32:05

It's basic safe guarding
The school should have checked before the photographer arrived , and before the photo was taken
This is actually quite serious

FlyingFortress Tue 18-Oct-16 17:33:07

Hopefully it was an unnamed photo, but nevertheless, it is a huge safeguarding fail.
I would be beyond furious, so my first suggestion would be to make sure that you are calm - it may be best to initially communicate in writing. Depending on the exact nature of your job, you may find that your union or professional organisation can assist.
It is for the school to deal with the newspaper now, and for them to reassure you as to how this will not be repeated. If your children are under potential death threats then they must increase their procedures accordingly - it isn't just a matter of not putting photos on the website, the culture of the school must be that photos are unnecessary, and should not take place within school of any child unless specifically authorised.
I assume your dc must be quite young - they will grow to know very quickly that they cannot be in school or other photos and hopefully will be able to alert the staff when this next happens.

itsmine Tue 18-Oct-16 17:34:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Inthepalemoonlight Tue 18-Oct-16 17:35:02

Unless they have named your child nobody will know they are anything to do with you.

TheTyrannyOfMAGENTA Tue 18-Oct-16 17:36:18

shock I would put it in writing, not just a conversation.

FannyWincham Tue 18-Oct-16 17:36:46

Teacher here. I have dealt with similar situations where a child cannot be photographed under any circumstances.

How old is your child? I ask because the dissemination of info is much easer in primary schools than secondary. You say that you refuse consent for photographs, but do the school know why - and if so, has this information been shared beyond the school office? You need to write to the HT and the board of governors, asking what systems are currently in place and explaining the severity of this breach. Every single member of staff needs to know that your child must not be photographed under any circumstances. There needs to be a list clearly displayed in the staff room, and there needs to be a note on what ever information management system they use.

I appreciate that you don't want to frighten your DC but if he is old enough then you might consider telling him that he must not let anyone take his picture, but this is a failsafe - the school's procedures should be robust enough to make this unnecessary.

CheesyWeez Tue 18-Oct-16 17:39:00

Most people don't get why some children can't be photographed. I'm sorry to say that I also thought it was weird not to be proud of your children (sorry OP)
until recently an event happened in our family which means we now totally understand why some children must not be photographed.
It sounds like your school understands and has done the right thing as soon as they realised. But the paper need to have things explained. They should be able to edit the online article I'd have thought.

tiggytape Tue 18-Oct-16 17:39:47

YANBU - thankfully there was no harm done this time but that's really not the point. It is a very serious mistake.

It isn't that unusual for some children to be in a situation where they must absolutely never be photographed and named in a way that identifies them as pupils at one particular school.
There are some children in foster care and adopted from care for example who would also be placed in potential danger if this happened to them. If the school doesn't have safeguards to ensure this cannot happen then they need to review all their policies and make sure checks are done before photos are taken and again before it is released or published.

Cary2012 Tue 18-Oct-16 17:40:06

I work in a school, many students for a variety of reasons are not allowed to have their photos taken. All teachers know because it's coded on the registers.

This is a safeguarding error, and ultimately the school's to blame, because regardless of the oversight of the paper, the school breached it's privacy agreement with you.

Formal letter to the Head, copy in Chair of Governors. Ask for reassurance as to how they will amend their policy to prevent it happening again.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Tue 18-Oct-16 17:40:11

Wow. This is huge. At the school I used to work at I would expect the safeguarding lead (DSO) (who happened to be the headmistress) to take this very seriously indeed.

Not necessarily in this order I think you should
- check about the online photo and have it removed
- write a letter to the school, addressed to the chair of the Board of Governors and copying the DSO and the local authority (LADO)
- have a meeting with the Head and the DSO
- speak to a solicitor
- raise a formal complaint with the newspaper
- consider legal action against the newspaper
- consider raising a formal complaint with the school

Good luck with it all OP. It sounds like a horrible position to be in.

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