New Privacy Policy Introduced at TCS

Middle+School+students+during+P.E+playing+soccer.+An+exemplar+of+what+the+new+policy+requires+in+a+photo.
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New Privacy Policy Introduced at TCS

Middle School students during P.E playing soccer. An exemplar of what the new policy requires in a photo.

Middle School students during P.E playing soccer. An exemplar of what the new policy requires in a photo.

Santiago Restrepo Londoño

Middle School students during P.E playing soccer. An exemplar of what the new policy requires in a photo.

Santiago Restrepo Londoño

Santiago Restrepo Londoño

Middle School students during P.E playing soccer. An exemplar of what the new policy requires in a photo.

Santiago Restrepo Londoño, Discoverer Staff Writer

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A new privacy policy concerning the publishing of photos and videos of students will improve safety for the TCS community by improving child safety and avoiding possible legal sanctions.

After some misunderstandings about communication in Lower Elementary regarding parents and teachers, the Risks and Processes Department led by Ana Maria Lopera developed a new policy to protect students while fulfilling the legal obligations of the school.

“We wanted to create a policy that complied with Colombian law, that protects our students and creates a culture of awareness towards the risk of data misuse,” Ana Maria Lopera, Processes and Risks coordinator, said.

The policy focuses on what staff members and parents can and cannot do when taking photos or videos at school. It is specific on when and for what the pictures or videos can be taken. The guidelines establish that photos should be of children on an activity, ideally 4 to 5 students working on a clear academic purpose.

“The policy is in the best interest of students, we need to understand that the majority of the students are still minors,” Gregorio Correa, STUCO President, said.

There must be an academic context for a photo to be taken. Online posts can be made without the student’s name or any type of personal recognition. For security, photos should be shared with parents through institutional channels like Schoology or Google Classroom). While photos can be taken from a staff member’s personal device they must be deleted afterward.

“I think it is a positive thing [privacy policy] because it will protect our minors and make our communications more professional,” Juan Humberto, Senior Communicator, said.

There are strict guidelines on how photos can be taken and what can appear on them. Some of the guidelines indicate that photos at school are strictly voluntary and that students shouldn’t appear with their name or private information. Staff members shouldn’t have photos of students on their social media accounts.

“The policy itself allows photos to be taken, they just need to follow some guidelines,” Astrid Muñoz, Communications and Marketing Director, said.

The policy has already been approved and is being introduced with part of the community, specifically with the curriculum office, ASOPAF, Foundation, Columbus Life staff, ES Staff and most administrative departments at school. It will be presented to the HS and MS academic staff in the coming weeks. The policy’s effects are already taking place, especially in TCS’s social media accounts and soon they will be reflected in other communication outlets.

“I believe that this policy will help ensure the safety of our students, which is the number one concern we have at school,” Muñoz said.