Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008

Photos of former students removed from slideshow

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Montgomery County Public Schools removed a slide last week from an online version of a Quince Orchard High School presentation that included photographs of former students alongside data describing them as needing help in Algebra.

The presentation, delivered in July at an educators' symposium at Harvard University, was posted on a Harvard Web site without the former students' permission, according to MCPS spokeswoman Kate Harrison. It was online for about week without the school system's knowledge before an MCPS parent alerted school officials, said Harrison.

"Although we didn't violate any laws, it's certainly a reminder to us that in this day and age you have to be careful what you publish because of the Internet things are more widely distributed," Harrison said.

The presentation of about 100 slides included one with a collage of 18 former students' photographs from old yearbooks, Harrison said. It was designed for internal use and shared among teachers until it was used at the Harvard symposium.

The school system did not violate federal law because the photos had been previously published and students were not identified, she said.