While taking a photo with a cell phone and posting it on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter has become a part of everyday life, Hauppauge students might be asked to put their cameras, or phones, down at school events, even prom.
Hauppauge Board of Education is considering a proposed change to the district's code of conduct that prohibits students from taking photos or video in school buildings or "school zones" without first asking permission.
Hauppauge Board trustees held a public hearing on proposed changes to Hauppauge Public Schools code of conduct on Tuesday evening. Among the changes includes a new paragraph on student's using any wireless communication devices, such as a cell phone or iPad, to take pictures or video.
The proposed addition under "Wireless Communication Device" reads:
Video or still photography in an instructional space may only be completed with the permission of the teacher / instructor / supervisor. Permission is not granted to post, print, publish, transmit or post to digital media sites, the web, any still or video images taken in an instructional space without permission of the building administrator.
Ed Spear, head of Security for Hauppauge Public Schools, speaking on behalf of the committee who went over the code of conduct, said the amendment was recommended after a situation came up regarding inappropriate photos taken in an instructional space at Commack High School during the current 2011-12 school year. Spear did not further elaborate no the details of the above-mentioned incident.
Board member Ann Macaluso raised serious questions regarding the school district's ability to enforced the proposed policy change.
"Seniors take photos in many classrooms and are putting those photos on Facebook before the end of the day. How are we going to enforce this?," Macaluso said.
Superintendent Patricia Sullivan said "it will be rather difficult" to try to enforce such a photo policy, depending on what was considered an instructional or school zone.
Spear said events such as athletic sports games, whether home or away, charity concerts, field trips and events such as the Senior Prom would all be considered a "school zone." Student photography would be limited at any Hauppauge school district sponsored event based on the proposed change, according to Spear's definition.
"I think this is going to be a problem. Just pictures of graduation, just pictures of the chamber choir singing would not be violating the Code of Conduct," Macaluso said. "To be able to enforce this we need to define it more clearly.
Eileen Mass, vice president the board of education, suggested the committee reviewing the Code of Conduct perhaps consider adding the word "offensive pictures." However, that could raise a future issues of what's considered offensive.
The committee is supposed to offer its suggestions on this policy at the first Board of Education meeting in July.
Tell us, Do you think students should have to ask permission before taking photos or video in classrooms and school-related events? Are you a Hauppauge teacher or student with an opinion? We'd love to hear from you, email firstname.lastname@example.org.