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School nativity – danger in the manger?

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IT’S the time of year when every parent enjoys watching their little darlings perform in the school nativity play. It used to be that the show was documented by hundreds of proud parents snapping away on their cameras, but more recently school politics and privacy issues have come into play, with some schools ruling that it is unacceptable to take pictures or videos of the show.

But what is the legal position when it comes to videos and photographs of school events? Are schools able to impose a blanket ban? If you ignore the school’s photography policy, what legal action can they take against you? And if another parent shares a group shot featuring your child, without permission, can you force them to take it down.

Anthony Di Palma, Solicitor at DAS Law, looks at the photographic minefield that is the school nativity play for The Herald.

My child’s school has a photography policy which states that there is a blanket ban on taking photos at the nativity play. Is this legal?

Any owner of private property may restrict the use of photography or video equipment on the premises. If ignored, you may be asked to leave and may be deemed to be trespassing if you refuse.

I signed my child’s schools consent form stating I won’t take any photos. What legal ramifications will I face should I choose to ignore the policy?

The consent form is unlikely to be legally enforceable as a contract if there is no financial loss to the school, and there are no laws generally against taking photographs of your own or other people’s children as long as the photographs are not deemed ‘indecent’, or are likely to have the effect of harming or harassing the children.

Are there any laws against sharing group shots of my child’s nativity play photos online? 

As a best practice, it is advisable that parents should avoid sharing photographs of children without obtaining prior consent of that child’s parent or guardian. However, as long as the photographs are not deemed ‘indecent’, or are likely to have the effect of harming or harassing them, then there is nothing legally stopping you from doing so.

What legal action can I take against people that share group photos of the school nativity play on social media that include my child without my permission?

You can ask the person to remove the photograph, however if they refuse there is no realistic legal action you can take. Privacy laws under the Human Rights Act cannot be enforced against other private individuals and unless you own the copyright in the photograph, or the image is offensive or indecent, then the social media site has no obligation to remove that photo if it is reported to them.

If I blur out other children’s faces can I share school play photos online?

You don’t have to blur out children’s faces in order to share them online, as the Data Protection Act doesn’t apply to photographs taken for private use and which do not identify the child (i.e. name them). However, if you would be concerned about images of your own child appearing without your permission, blurring out other children’s faces may be a sensible step to take.

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Carmarthen: Police appeal following death of 31-year-old Harry Lloyd

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THE INVESTIGATION is continuing into the death of 31-year-old Harry Lloyd who had suffered serious injuries at Francis Terrace, Carmarthen and later died at hospital.

There is still a police presence at the property and enquiries being made in the local area.

We were called to an incident at an address in Francis Terrace, Carmarthen at around 9.50am on Wednesday, February 20.

Enquiries are on-going to establish the cause of death.

A 28-year-old-woman arrested on suspicion of GBH remains in police custody.

Here’s a tribute from Harry’s family: “We are absolutely devastated by the loss of our son, brother, nephew, cousin and friend.

“Harry was a very popular, beautiful, gentle soul who will be missed.

“Please allow us to grieve this terrible loss in private.”

The police have asked that anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by phoning 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number: 07811 311 908. Use reference: DP-20190220-098

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Care home told staff not to speak Welsh

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THERE is an investigation taking place after it was revealed that a care home had warned members of staff about speaking Welsh.

Isfryn in Ystradgynlais has Approved Headway Provider status and provides rehabilitation and support for individuals with an acquired brain injury. It has been revealed that staff were told that it would be unacceptable if clients heard employees conversing in a language they did not understand. The Accomplish Group, which runs Isfryn, has announced that it was reviewing the issue.

The Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri Huws said: “If two or more people wish to speak or write to each other in Welsh in Wales, they have the freedom to do so, in accordance with the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011.

“If someone, such as an employer, tells them that that they should not continue to use the Welsh language, they are possibly interfering with that freedom. The Welsh Language Measure gives me as Commissioner statutory powers to investigate such cases.

“From the evidence I have seen today, it appears there may be an interference with staff’s freedom to use Welsh at Isfryn, Accomplish. I will be contacting the organisation to gather more information in order to understand the situation fully. I would also like to encourage anyone affected to get in touch with my office to enable us to investigate the matter fully.”

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Plans to partially re-open Cwmduad road following landslide

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s highways team hopes to partially re-open the A484 at Cwmduad in March, following extensive work to clear and make the area safe after a landslide.

The council has been leading a highly complex operation to clear the highway and stabilise the land since October, when the landslide tragically claimed the life of a young man.

Works are progressing well, and providing things continue to go to plan, the council hopes to re-open a single lane on March 18.

To date, the operation has involved extensive clearance and reinstatement of land off the highway, with the creation of a 10 metre buffer zone; construction of a ramp from the highway to the river, to aid the recovery of lorry that was swept in with the force of the landslide; and clearance of silt from the highway.

Work currently underway includes the construction of highway support and reinstatement of the bank to the east of the highway, as well as highway drainage clearance and reinstatement.

The final stage of works – which will take place alongside the single carriageway opening – will involve rebuilding a parapet wall alongside the highway, before the road can be fully re-opened.

Ruth Mullen, Director of Environment for Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “We are pleased that works have progressed well, and we can now plan for the partial re-opening of the road.

“We are grateful for the support from the community during a prolonged and difficult period. It has been a complex project and we have continued to be mindful of the sensitivities both locally and within the community where one person tragically lost their life.

“Whilst we have worked at pace to enable the highway to be reopened as quickly as possible, the safety of the public has always been our primary focus.”

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