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School nativity – danger in the manger?

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IT’S the time of year when every parent enjoys watching their little darlings perform in the school nativity play. It used to be that the show was documented by hundreds of proud parents snapping away on their cameras, but more recently school politics and privacy issues have come into play, with some schools ruling that it is unacceptable to take pictures or videos of the show.

But what is the legal position when it comes to videos and photographs of school events? Are schools able to impose a blanket ban? If you ignore the school’s photography policy, what legal action can they take against you? And if another parent shares a group shot featuring your child, without permission, can you force them to take it down.

Anthony Di Palma, Solicitor at DAS Law, looks at the photographic minefield that is the school nativity play for The Herald.

My child’s school has a photography policy which states that there is a blanket ban on taking photos at the nativity play. Is this legal?

Any owner of private property may restrict the use of photography or video equipment on the premises. If ignored, you may be asked to leave and may be deemed to be trespassing if you refuse.

I signed my child’s schools consent form stating I won’t take any photos. What legal ramifications will I face should I choose to ignore the policy?

The consent form is unlikely to be legally enforceable as a contract if there is no financial loss to the school, and there are no laws generally against taking photographs of your own or other people’s children as long as the photographs are not deemed ‘indecent’, or are likely to have the effect of harming or harassing the children.

Are there any laws against sharing group shots of my child’s nativity play photos online? 

As a best practice, it is advisable that parents should avoid sharing photographs of children without obtaining prior consent of that child’s parent or guardian. However, as long as the photographs are not deemed ‘indecent’, or are likely to have the effect of harming or harassing them, then there is nothing legally stopping you from doing so.

What legal action can I take against people that share group photos of the school nativity play on social media that include my child without my permission?

You can ask the person to remove the photograph, however if they refuse there is no realistic legal action you can take. Privacy laws under the Human Rights Act cannot be enforced against other private individuals and unless you own the copyright in the photograph, or the image is offensive or indecent, then the social media site has no obligation to remove that photo if it is reported to them.

If I blur out other children’s faces can I share school play photos online?

You don’t have to blur out children’s faces in order to share them online, as the Data Protection Act doesn’t apply to photographs taken for private use and which do not identify the child (i.e. name them). However, if you would be concerned about images of your own child appearing without your permission, blurring out other children’s faces may be a sensible step to take.

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Aberystwyth man sent to prison

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A 50-YEAR-OLD man from Ceredigion appeared at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court on Monday (Sept 16) to face a charge of being intoxicated in a public place, whilst he was prohibited from doing so.

Malcolm Roy Edwards of Queens Road, Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to being drunk in public in Llanrystud when he was prohibited from doing so after being made subject to a criminal behaviour order by Aberystwyth magistrates on October 12, 2017.

He also admitted breaching that order by committing this offence on September 11 this year.

Magistrates sent Edwards to prison for 18 weeks, as they felt the offence was serious having been aggravated by the offence being committed whilst on a community order.

He must also pay £122 victim surcharge, and the community order was revoked.

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Ceredigion Day Centre meet the Dream Team

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On Monday 9 September, the Dream Team visited staff and service users at, Canolfan Meugan Community Support Base for adults with learning disabilities and older people, to showcase the ‘My charter’. The Learning Disabilities ‘My Charter’ West Wales was written by people who have learning disabilities in West Wales.

The Dream Team is made up of the people who wrote the Charter. The Charter says that people who have learning disabilities want to have more chances in life, more choice and to be listened to. It also says that people who have learning disabilities want to be treated as adults, to be given dignity and respect and that their information is kept private.

Organisations, businesses and individuals are encouraged to show their support by signing up to the My Charter.

Go to www.ldcharter.com for more information on ‘My Charter’.

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AM and MP help ease complicated bus pass application process

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Elin Jones AM and Ben Lake MP have offered to help constituents who need to renew their Bus Passes, after raising concerns about the change in the renewal process.

As the current Concessionary Travel Passes run out at the end of the year, Transport For Wales have asked pass holders to reapply online, however Elin Jones and Ben Lake have raised concerns that the process is over complicated and that applying online rather than via a paper form will exclude many.

Initially, if applicants wanted a paper form, TfW said that applicants had to call a helpline and were warned the process would take a long time. So, as thousands went onto the website, it crashed under the weight of demand.

However, with the website expected to be back up and running soon, Elin Jones and Ben Lake have offered to help constituents reapply.

Elin Jones said:

“Bus pass users have been told that their current passes will be accepted for travel until 31 December 2019, however after that they will need to have the new pass.

“The application process has been muddled by urging people to reapply online. We know that many over 60s and disabled people may not have internet access or may be unfamiliar with its use.

“To simplify the process, I am offering the support of my office to try and help constituents with the process of reapplying for their bus pass, and Ben Lake MP is doing the same.

“If constituents would like to collect a paper form, or if they require assistance applying on paper or online, then they are welcome to contact us and we would be glad to assist, either by arranging a visit to either of our offices, or by sending forms to you.”

Ben Lake added:

“We know how vital access to buses are to many older and vulnerable people in Ceredigion, and I hope that we will be able to help as many people as possible to keep this access.”

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