Dec 15 2014

North Carolina School District Considers Ban on Selfies

Board members question how such a policy could be enforced.

How do you stop students at more than 170 schools from taking selfies? School board members of North Carolina’s Wake County Public School System are mulling a change that would prohibit students from using their cameras or smartphones to take pictures or videos unless authorized by a teacher.

Discussion of the issue came up during a Nov. 25 hearing for the local Department of Education’s Policy Committee, where board members reviewed a series of proposed changes to the school district's technology policy. School officials are in the process of updating the language of the policy in consideration of a bring-your-own-device pilot program in 13 of the district’s schools, according to The News & Observer.

The policy change that would prohibit self-portraits is included under the paragraph describing inappropriate use of technology. However, board members questioned the enforceability of such a policy, considering the proliferation of mobile phones at school and after-school events.

Jim Martin, chairman of the policy committee, says that requiring teacher permission for use of school-owned devices makes sense, but not for personal devices owned by students, The News & Observer reports.

“I don’t think we can say you can’t take pictures with your personal phone,” Martin says. “Kids are taking selfies in the lunchroom all the time.”

School officials are seeking the opinion of the board’s attorney on the language of the policy before considering it for adoption.

The board is also poised to adopt a parental opt-in policy on technology use at schools in preparation for a districtwide switch to Google Apps for Education. The app suite is becoming a popular choice for K–12 districts.

In November, EdTech reported that the New York City Department of Education approved the use of Google’s Chromebook notebooks and the Apps for Education suite in the city school system — the largest in the country. Earlier in November, IT analyst IDC released a report showing that Chromebooks are now the best-selling device in the K–12 market.


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