Question: Teacher photos on the website?

I am PTO president and also the webmaster for our school. I recently updated our teacher contact page to include the teachers’ pictures. A few of the teachers did not want their pictures online and got the principal to ask me to remove them all. Are the teachers being irrationally paranoid about the Internet?

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Advice from PTO Today

Elly writes:

Elly does understand that some teachers might not want their names and photos published online. And irrationally paranoid or not, the teachers do have final say about whether their pictures are posted on your school’s website. Elly thinks it’s unfortunate that our society’s heightened security awareness forces us to think of the worst-case scenario every time we publish a name with a photo (especially photos of children), but that’s just the way it is. (Keep in mind that some individuals, including teachers, may have sensitive legal concerns about publishing their identities, such as domestic violence, a hostile divorce, or child custody disputes.)

Perhaps you could meet with the principal and ask to display the teachers’ photos on a bulletin board at the school instead. Would the teachers be comfortable if your group sent home with students a newsletter that included the photos and contact information? You should also ask your principal whether other publication vehicles are off-limits, such as the yearbook or any newspaper coverage that your group may seek during the year.

In any event, Elly thinks it’s good practice to let people know when personal information is going to be published; that way, they can decide what works for them personally.

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