Susan Close MP: prevent SA teachers from publishing images of students on the internet!

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At present, all South Australian schools are encouraged by the education department to use an internet Application (App) allowing teachers to publish sensitive information about the students in their care. This includes a student’s age, their photograph, which teacher/class they are in, and when they are in attendance at school or on excursion.

Teachers are encouraged to post students private information under the misconception that a QR code given individually to parents somehow protects those children from being viewed by ‘the public’.

If an image appears on the internet, it can be hacked, copied and redistributed. QR codes do not prevent a child’s private information from being shared publicly.

Each QR code allows parents to view photographs of not only their own children, but other people’s as well, as many of these teachers post group photos of students on this App.

I made a complaint to Minister for Education and Child Development Susan Close earlier this year about my concerns on this matter. I received a call from one of her aides who assured me that teachers must adhere to the requests of parents regarding the uploading of their children’s private information via this App.

Unfortunately there have been situations where teachers have been lulled into a false sense of security regarding the safety of the App in question. This has led some teachers to disregard requests from parents to desist from publishing their children’s private information.

Earlier this year I was privy to a photograph published via this App of two students standing alone in a public place whilst on school excursion. Both were year 1 primary students and only six years old. Their teacher took their photo from a second storey balcony at a great distance from her charges. They appeared confused and alone, and no adult care-taker appeared to be standing nearby.

One of those student’s parents had already made repeated requests to the teacher in question asking that she refrain from publishing her young son’s photo. This parent had grave and serious reasons for making this request. Despite reasonable requests from the parent, the teacher continued to breach the child’s privacy by publishing further photographs of the student via this App, citing it’s ‘safety’ as reason for doing so. The child’s parent was then forced to divulge those disturbing and very personal reasons for the child’s privacy to be respected to the principal of the school.

The principal, realising the brevity of the situation, then gave a directive to the teacher to cease publishing the child’s photograph. Despite this, the teacher made yet another privacy breach by again publishing that student’s image via this App.

According to a recent Advertiser article (13th October 2017) by journalist Miles Kemp, ‘Friends, family most common child predators’: 16.4% of child sex victims who came forward at the time of their abuse, and 24.9% of cases where victims made allegations of childhood sexual abuse some-time after the abuse had occurred, were victims of their own parents.

Therefore, a significant number of the parents receiving these QR codes allowing access to highly sensitive information about other people's children, are paedophiles. What's to stop them from sharing their QR code over the internet with their 'mates' with similar paedophilic predilections?

If you are concerned by this, then please sign and share this petition to force South Australian Education minister Susan Close to educate SA teachers that these QR codes do not prevent vulnerable student’s personal images and information being shared by paedophiles on the internet!



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