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Yearbooks and Student Annuals: Confidentiality Issues - November 2000 Revision

Note: This procedural directive was reviewed and revised in November 2010. We provide this revision for historic purposes only. Please refer to the current procedural directive.

History

Yearbooks have been available to secondary schools for a number of years. The elementary schools have in recent years also chosen to make them available to their students and community. The district's obligation to ensure confidentiality of student information extends to these publications. Questions have arisen and official complaints have been filed against the district in regard to violation of confidentiality of student rights and educational records as a result of special needs or special program students being identified as such in school yearbooks.

Questions have arisen and official complaints have been filed against the district in regard to violation of confidentiality of student rights and educational records as a result of special needs or special program students being identified as such in school yearbooks.

District Philosophy

Schools sites shall determine individually whether it is in the best interest of their community to produce a yearbook. The district has generally discouraged elementary schools from utilizing yearbooks for the following reasons:

  • safety issues relating to students being identified and abducted;
  • yearbooks are not appropriate for elementary age students;
  • and finally the cost of yearbooks is excessive for this age group.

Segregation and/or discriminatory depiction of students who are in special education are prohibited in yearbooks. Schools who choose to publish yearbooks shall not segregate or in any way differently depict students who qualify for receipt of special education on the basis of disability. Special education students will not be segregated by placement in different sections of the yearbook than non-disabled peers; labeled in any manner different than their non disabled peers, or have smaller or different style photos. Consistent formats, whether alphabetical, by class, use of color portraits, size and placement, or any other variation, must be followed for every class, and for every student. Particular attention should be given to captions, spontaneous or club pictures, and language to ensure they do not violate issues of confidentiality. Compliance with this non-discrimination policy is mandatory and is the responsibility of each principal. Failure to implement this policy violates the civil rights of our students and will be taken very seriously by the district.

Elementary Recommendations

The District suggested format for elementary schools includes:

  • A structure that is consistent so as to eliminate issues of confidentiality
  • Preferred method of placement in yearbook is alpha by teacher and grade, then alpha by class, but no mention of program or disability.
  • If a school does not choose the preferred method for individual portrayal, then placement should be alpha by students, by grade, with inclusion of special education students in appropriate grade but no program/disability mention
  • If students are to be displayed by class groupings, placement should be by alpha, by teacher, by grade with no mention of special education program.
  • Students who are in special programs should not be labeled as being in such programs
  • Inclusion students in regular classes should be placed with those classes
  • Multiage classes and students should be placed with like grade, by alpha

Secondary Recommendations

  • Student photos should be alphabetical, by grade, with no discrimination or special placement of students with special needs or in special programs
    • Consistency of format must be used for all students in placement of photo in the yearbook, size of photos, and use of color
    • Review of yearbook by principal to ensure issues of confidentiality are maintained, with emphasis on sensitivity to language, captions and/or spontaneous photos and their placement in the yearbook.
  • Student photos should be alphabetical, by grade, with no discrimination or special placement of students with special needs or in special programs
    • Consistency of format must be used for all students in placement of photo in the yearbook, size of photos, and use of color
    • Review of yearbook by principal to ensure issues of confidentiality are maintained, with emphasis on sensitivity to language, captions and/or spontaneous photos and their placement in the yearbook.

    Clubs/Activity Group Photos

    Any school-affiliated club that has been designated as such and has a school sponsor is allowed to be in the yearbook as long as consistency in format, as described above, is followed for all pictures. Clubs that are not school-affiliated will not be allowed or included in the yearbook.

    NSBA/NEPN Classification: JICE

    Cross Ref.: Board Policy A03

    Approved: November 2000

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