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Pasco school visitors face video recording ban

The proposed policy comes up for a vote on Oct. 1.
The DeLucio family of Trinity toured the Mitchell High School campus and showed the visit on their YouTube channel, which has more than 1 million subscribers. Many parents, students and school officials were not amused. [YouTube]
Published Sep. 18
Updated Sep. 18

Facing complaints about student privacy and school safety, the Pasco County School Board is taking steps to restrict video recording inside district buildings by parents, volunteers and other visitors.

Those who violate the rules could find themselves tossed off campus.

The 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 photos and videos without explicit consent, aiming to protect others’ privacy.

But the policy left out school visitors. That omission became glaring after a local family that shares daily “reality” videos of itself on a YouTube channel with 1.1 million subscribers recently posted episodes showing their daughters’ back-to-school tours.

Other parents, students and educators complained that they had not given their permission to be included, and they worried that the videos might reveal school security provisions that could put the campus at risk. They pressed the school district to force the family to remove the video.

But top administrators found they had little leverage, even though they also had objections.

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

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

No one spoke Tuesday at a public hearing about the proposed policy change. The School Board plans to take a final vote on Oct. 1.

If approved, the rule would take effect immediately.

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