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YouTubers beware. Pasco school district to crack down on unauthorized video recording

If approved, a new policy would take effect in early October.

Pasco County parents, volunteers and other school visitors soon could face greater restrictions on what they’re allowed to video record while on campus.

And those people who don’t follow the rules could find themselves kicked out.

A proposed new policy would place visitors on equal footing with students and employees when it comes to authorized uses of technology and electronic devices. The School Board adopted guidelines several years ago barring students and staff from taking or sharing of photos and videos without explicit consent, aiming to protect others’ privacy.

RELATED: Pasco School Board wrestles with cameras on campus

At the time, the actions of visitors didn’t really come into play. This summer, that absence became apparent.

A family new to the district had been posting videos of its daily life on its YouTube channel, which had more than 1 million subscribers. When back-to-school day arrived, they headed to their daughters’ two Trinity-area schools, phone camera in tow, and shared their walking tours of the classrooms and hallways.

After the video hit the internet, angry students, parents and school officials complained loudly. They worried about their children’s right to privacy, and the possibility that the school’s security might be compromised, among other concerns.

They pressed the school district to force the family to remove the video.

RELATED: YouTubers with 1.1 million followers create security, privacy concerns for Pasco schools

But top administrators found they had little leverage, even though they, too, had objections, including the family’s use of district property to advance their business venture of making money through YouTube advertising.

They warned the family that future video recording could lead to trespassing charges. But they also acknowledged they could not force the family to delete the recording from YouTube.

The family did later make the videos unavailable online. And the administration took steps to clarify in district policy that unauthorized video recording in schools is not permitted, including by visitors.

The proposal, which comes to the School Board for a public hearing on Tuesday, states that school visitors would be subject to the “same prohibitions as students and staff” in this area. It refers to other policies, which spell out those restrictions.

Those bar people from recording or transmitting audio, video or photos of anyone in a school or attending a school-related activity, without first obtaining “express prior notice and explicit consent for the capture and/or recording of such words or images.”

“This is just another protection we can put in place,” said assistant superintendent Kevin Shibley, who handles policy revisions for the district. “A lot of this is going to come down to the enforcement at the building level.”

Principals will have the authority to expel violators, and to contact law enforcement if necessary.

The board is scheduled to vote on the policy proposal at its Oct. 1 meeting. It would take effect immediately after adoption.