Parents Cop Camera Ban- Abuse Fears Hit School Sports
PARENTS have been
banned from taking photos
at Victorian primary school
Sports events in an effort to
Stop pedophiles preying on
The hardline ruling has been
Introduced to prevent predators,
posng as spectators, taking photos of children and posting them
on the internet.
The Victorian Primary Schools
Sports Association, which co-ordinates events for more than
1800 schools, introduced the ban.
Only an official photographer
employed by the association after
a police background check can
take photos of competing children.
The association's executive officer, Ken Wing Jan, said: "We make
it quite clear that there is to be no
videoing or photographing of the
kids, except by the official photographer, who has passed all the
requirements to satisfy the educacation department.
Rare exceptions may be made
for award presentations when officials are able to determine the
identity of the parent.
"Occasionally we get a parent
who wants to take a photo (of their
child) on the dais and we allow
that because we can check their
identity," Mr Wing Jan said.
The association, which works
with private and public schools,
stages about 40 competitions
every year in 18 sports, such as
athletics, swimming, football, netball and hockey.
Mr Wing Jan said the ban would
be difficult to enforce, especially
with people with mobile phones
with cameras, but ruled out a
blanket ban on mobiles.
"It Is hard to police people
taking photos because they can do
it so surreptitiously," he said.
"The obvious ones we stop,we
try to police it as best we can. We
have got huge numbers of spectators. Some of our events have got
(crowds of) 3000 to 4000.
"It is very, very difficult to control what they do ... with digital
cameras and phones, I dont know
how you stop it."
Parents Victoria president Gail
McHardy said the rule was a necessary sign of the times and fair, as
long as parents were given access
to the official photos.
"Deviant types of people have
spoilt it for everyone trying to
watch their children," Ms McHardy said. "The utmost importance is
the protection of our children."
Life-saving bodies have taken
action to restrict photography at
beach events. The policy has been
enforced this summer in Melbourne, with unregistered parents
told not to take photos.
The Secondary Schools Sporting
Association recently reviewed its
policy on photos but decided
against a hardline stance.
Sunday Herald Sun (20-2-2005)