MHS photo policy snaps into place


Photo by Erin Cowan

By Jade Ruggieri, Round Table feature editor

With the new school year starting up comes the review of school rules and policies. One topic that was stressed during the class presentations at Middletown High School was the photo policy and how it should be enforced.

It is difficult to control the policy since many students have some variation of a technological device, and, therefore, can easily take a picture of someone without the other’s permission. That can lead to serious consequences whether they are intended or unintended.

Middletown High School sophomore Max Smullen said, “It is naïve that people think no one is going to take photos,” and that “photos are a big part of culture.” Smullen also said that the rule is not enforced but the student should have some level of responsibility that comes along with the privilege to use a device in school.

Taking photos are sometimes necessary in a school environment for yearbook or journalism but students taking pictures of another student to ridicule can become problematic.

The problem is that while students are given the freedom to take pictures, the picture can easily be abused and upset the subject of the picture or even the viewer.

Donna Lehman, a MHS photography teacher, said that, as a parent, she is fine with the policy unless it is used in the purpose to bully others students. Lehman said, “If your child was in a fight then you wouldn’t want it all over [the internet].”

Lehman brought a new perspective to this topic by taking the view of a parent than how a student would feel instead.

“In this day and age, school violence is more prevalent and people should be aware of other people’s feelings,” said Lehman.

Lehman also said that the policy is only enforceable when the school is made aware of the situation. If it becomes serious problem, then the school would have to get involved.

It is expected for the student to use their own judgement in deciding whether or not taking a photo of another student would be acceptable.  

Cailyn Clingan, an MHS junior, had brought up more points about the photo policy as well. Clingan said the photo policy is worth enforcing more because “for some, it is since some people aren’t using school pictures in the right way [and] can hurt someone’s feelings.”

Clingan said that the photo policy is important but as a journalist and a photographer it can get in her way if she is working on a project and having people think that she is using it in an inappropriate way.

Clingan said, “[It’s] depressing, too, if people thought that I was taking or using a picture in an inappropriate way.” Clingan said she tries to look at a situation from all angles so that she understands what is going on.

MHS sophomore Lauren Herman said, “There should be designated areas where you can or cannot take photos.”

One way to make sure that the photo policy is never violated is  by always asking if the subject’s picture can be taken. That way consent is given and everyone is happy.

Herman also said, “Usually she doesn’t take pictures in school [but] has seen kids taking pictures of each other or themselves.