How To Deal With Student Privacy Issues On Social Media

Brendan Schneider
3 min readSep 13, 2012

Every time I speak about using social media for schools I’m always asked about guidelines or best practices for posting student pictures online.

It’s a very important question and one that can be answered in a number of different ways depending upon your school community — here’s how we deal with student privacy at Sewickley Academy.

Parental Permission

We get parent’s permission to use their child’s image in our marketing materials. Every year there are a few families that do not give us their permission and these children are placed on a “Do Not Photo” List. We, of course, take this list very seriously and I keep a copy of it near my computer.

Best Practices

When we think of best practices with posting photos or videos we like to differentiate between content that we publish or content that we re-publish

Content We Publish

When I refer to content that we publish I mean anything (photos, videos, links to our news stories) that we create and post to social media. In this case I also take into consideration which division the child is in: Lower School, Middle School, or Senior School.

For Lower and Middle School students we do not publish, or personally identify, the names of children in photos or videos. When applicable, we might identify the group represented, e.g. Grade 4 Dance Class. An example is a photo from our Grade 5 Graduation on Facebook.

For Senior School students we typically follow the same rules as above however in some cases we will identify the students by their first name only. An example is our Class of 2012 College Choices Pinterest Board.

Content We Re-publish

When I refer to content that we re-publish I mean anything that was originally published by someone else like an article in a newspaper referencing one of our students. Typically the newspaper will print a student’s first and last name but even so, when we re-publish that content we only identify the student by first name. An example would be this newspaper article we re-published on Google+, “Academy senior to represent state at Girls Nation.”



Brendan Schneider

Brendan is the Founder of SchneiderB Media, a digital marketing agency for schools, and the MarCom Society, a community for MarCom professionals at schools.