The Flemish government has introduced new rules for anyone filming or photographing children taking part in school activities, according to the education secretariat for cities and municipalities. The rules apply to Flemish community schools both in Flanders and Brussels, though not in the Catholic network as yet.
The new rule means that photos or videos of a school musical productions or atmosphere photos of a school festival may only be published with the express permission of the parents of all children depicted. Until now, photos published by the school in for instance a school newspaper could be picked up by other media.
That’s no longer the case. However the intent of the law is not to stop parents posting videos of their children on social media such as Facebook, explained Patrick Delbaere, CEO of the secretariat. “That of course was never the intention, but it is a logical result of the law. We assume photos are being taken with the best intentions. But we can’t be blind to possible misuse, including online bullying. There were already rules in that area, but now, together with the privacy commission, they have been clarified.”
Delbaere anticipates few problems. “We assume that the majority of parents will agree to the taking of photos,” he said. “It’s part of our everyday culture. Only now we need to have permission.”