School establishes rules for social media use

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Boraan Abdulkarim

Seniors Catherine Johnson and Lexi Hilton take a selfie, keeping in mind the rules addressed in the new photo and video policy. The policy manifests itself in other aspects of Johson’s school life, too. “We now have a box outside of our hockey locker room. We’re not allowed to have phones inside the locker room anymore,” Johnson said.

Boraan Abdulkarim, Editor in Chief

An iPhone camera scans the room for a Snapchat video; it’s a relatively commonplace action. In a world where the image (still or moving) takes seconds to capture and distribute online, new concerns about student privacy and safety have arisen, and last week, students were addressed for an overview of the St. Paul Academy and Summit School photo and video policy.

We hope this policy will offer clarity, peace of mind, and establish a new standard for how we engage each other respectfully online and through social media.”

— Dean of Students, Max Delgado

The lowerclassmen and upperclassmen were divided into two large groups, where they were addressed by Dean of Students Max Delgado and Upper School Principal Chris Hughes, respectively. Preceding a comprehensive overview of the rules in question was context for the timing of their presentation; this included the consultation of school lawyers and other measures to ensure the fairness of what is being asked.

The rules themselves can be summarized by the topics of consent, content, and context. Any and every individual pictured in a photo must be aware of and grant approval for the photo or video that is being taken. These photos or videos also must not be taken with the intent to “harass, sexually harass, or embarrass another individual.”

Additionally, any photography in spaces considered private, such as locker rooms and restrooms, is prohibited.

Whether or not these photos are taken or distributed on the SPA campus, so long as they contain or could harm an individual from the SPA community, these rules apply. The consequences include subjection to “the school’s disciplinary policy, up to and including expulsion and/or legal action.”

“We hope this policy will offer clarity, peace of mind, and establish a new standard for how we engage each other respectfully online and through social media,” Delgado said.