EDITORIAL: Go for photo finish, not finish to photography

2013-06-11T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Go for photo finish, not finish to photography nwitimes.com
June 11, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Tri-Creek School Corp. is restricting photography at school events to only those with permission -- parents and grandparents, for example -- to do so. The district is acting like an overprotective parent.

Athletic Director Patti McCormack told the Tri-Creek School Board recently she has outlined paramaters for photography at athletic events.

"People are inappropriately taking pictures of our kids. ... We actually caught three who had no right to be there," she said.

McCormack said talent scouts are not permitted to film. It's also possible some of those filming without permission might be from opposing school districts or might want to post the images online.

Parents have helped spot people filming Tri-Creek athletes, McCormack said.

"We are protecting minors from all sorts of things," school attorney Monica Conrad said. "We as adults have to keep them safe."

Safe from having people see still photos or videos of the athletes behaving properly at a competition? 

If there are people with restraining orders against them, prohibiting them from being near children, or specific individuals, deal with them accordingly. But preventing all photography unless it's by a parent or grandparent? That's unAmerican.

This is the land of the free, not the restrained. 

What the Tri-Creek officials are worried about is posting unauthorized photos on websites. But these aren't lewd photos, the kind taken surreptitiously in locker rooms and restrooms. They're just photos of athletes at competitions or practices.

Restricting photography brings up a hornet's nest of issues -- like whether a noncustodial parent should be allowed to photograph their own child, or a family friend, or just a sports fan who likes to use a camera.

Any right to privacy shouldn't be expected when you show up in public, either as an athlete, a coach, a trainer or a spectator or in any other capacity.

Tri-Creek officials should drop restrictions against routine photography, especially in this age when just about everyone has a camera phone.

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