RCMP Warns: School Boards Must Prohibit Student Information from Websites

Dennis Faas's picture

Students attending institutions in Canada may no longer have to fear that their personal information is easily accessible to potentially harmful individuals.

As part of the new Public School Network Access and Use Policy, school and school board websites in Canada are to refrain from including the names and images of all students. The policy also regulates how Internetand email are used by schools and school boards and have unanimously agreed that most websites leave their students prone to corruption by unwanted users. (Source: herald.ns.ca)

Representatives of the policy have admitted that it is nearly impossible to avoid using images of children on school websites. The policy will regulate and include only images of students taken at great distances or, in some cases, some students may have their picture taken without a caption linking their image to their identity. The names of students will not be divulged, even with parental permission. (Source: technology.canoe.ca)

While these sanctions are created to ensure the safety and security of all students, some school boards still find the policy problematic. A regional school board in Halifax contests that the changes will affect the programs designed to encourage the self-confidence of students.

Monthly newsletters that outline the achievements of selected students will now be prohibited from using the names of these special students, as will student council websites that depict images of students and contact information.

The policy also discourages the newly popular method of student assessment via email. Recently, teachers have been able to document the progress of a child via a word processor and email this ongoing progress report to their parents. With the changes implemented, the much more time consuming task of meeting directly with parents is the only means of relaying progress information. (Source: herald.ns.ca)

The changes come in response to the recent warnings issued by RCMP officials, who suggest that a child's image can be easily taken and manipulated for sexual content. This practice has become alarmingly popular in Russia. Also, fellow schoolmates could manipulate certain images, using this as leverage in an attempt to bully their fellow peers. (Source: technology.canoe.ca)

Members representing the policy hope to reach a compromise with school boards that will reward a child's success within the realm of student safety.

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