Online Privacy

Children’s House Montessori School Web and Social Media Guidelines

The school’s Parent Teacher Handbook states:

We believe children have a right to privacy. Pictures of children on social media will often become the property of the social media platform and can easily be abused by third parties. The school will as a general rule only post pictures on the web if those pictures do not show the faces of the children clearly (typically from behind, showing what the hands are doing in order to demonstrate work) unless the express permission of the parents has been obtained after discussing the purpose of the particular picture with the parents.

Parents commit not to post pictures on social media or open websites of children other than their own from school or school-organized events unless with the express permission of the parent(s) of the children in the picture. Parents commit to not use social media or open websites to identify locations and times of excursions and field trips before the event takes place. Parents commit to not identify, on social media or on open websites, the names of students other than their own when in a school setting unless with the express permission of the parent(s) of such children.

Parents, with regards to pictures of their own children, have to decide what practice to adopt. In the interest of the safety of our students, we encourage parents to pay attention to the risks associated with posting pictures of children along with their names, and to be aware of the potential misuse and manipulation of pictures of children online. We encourage parents to think about the purpose of the pictures they post (pictures to grandparents can be safely emailed, for example, rather than posted on an open Facebook page). It is very easy for anyone to use pictures and comments on social media to obtain a child’s picture, name, address, and school location (using services such as www.whitepages.com). You would not hand a picture of your child with her name and address out to strangers on the street; consider what you are doing online.

The school’s interest in the use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is solely school-related. We consider the privacy and safety of the students more important than the marketing value we could derive from the use of social media and open websites. We focus our online communications to our own website, where we can control the content, in the interest of the students.

This policy is based on the following considerations:

  1. Children have the same right to privacy and respect as adults.
  2. Children cannot make informed decisions about the level of online privacy they need, and neither school, parents, nor children can know what level of online privacy children will want once they reach the age where they can make such decisions.
  3. There is no discernible value in posting continuous picture updates of the children’s activities or class group pictures online. Parents and family can receive and enjoy class pictures in a non-public manner. Pictures on our website are there in order to familiarize interested parties with the Montessori methodology and classroom, and what a typical day in our school looks like, not to provide updates of what a particular class or a particular child is doing. Such information will be communicated to patrons in a non-public way.
  4. Therefore, Children’s House Montessori School will make all efforts to protect children’s privacy and safety while at the same time communicating our mission and activities to the community.
  5. Specifically:

    1. No pictures of children’s faces will be shown online unless they are part of a larger group, such as a group picture of the entire classroom where individual faces can not easily be distinguished, or unless they are for the specific purpose of illustrating an educational activity with approval from the child’s guardian;
    2. Only pictures aimed at educating the greater community about the Montessori methodology and our school are to be posted online. Pictures to showcase a child or a class do not belong in the public domain.
    3. Pictures will not be published in real time, so that outside parties cannot track the activities of the school’s children, pictures of specific events will follow these guidelines and be posted with a delay of at least one week;
    4. Under no circumstances will children’s names be published online by the school;
    5. Announcements regarding events open only to school patrons will be communicated in a manner only accessible to the school community.