Bradfield Elementary Yearbook Gets Caught Up in a Scandal
People, I don’t make this stuff up. The following e-mail went out to parents of Bradfield students just a few minutes ago.
Dear Bradfield Parents,
The Bradfield yearbook will be printed and distributed during the last week of school. The book is full of many memorable moments from this school year, and we are all looking forward to the last day of school, when the children will have their traditional signing parties.
You may have seen a series of e-mails and an online petition regarding the Bradfield yearbook, and I am writing to answer questions about what occurred.
The yearbook is an annual PTA project that is handled by volunteers. The PTA works in partnership with me, as it is my responsibility to approve all the classroom pages. This year, the classroom pages were very different. They did not include candid pictures of every child, as had been the practice for many years. I told the volunteer that if there weren’t enough candids to include all the students, the pages could be redesigned to simply include the portraits and leave out the candids altogether so no children were excluded. The PTA offered to assist the volunteer with page redesign and photography, but those offers were rebuffed. Despite repeated requests, the volunteer did not follow through with the revisions. She eventually filed a copyright claim to the version of the book that she had designed, stating that the book was not to be altered in any way without her authorization.
Needless to say, the Bradfield PTA did not want to become involved in litigation over the school yearbook, and several PTA volunteers created a new yearbook. Our top priority was to be sure our children had a book to remember their school year. In addition, we needed to act as responsible stewards of Bradfield’s hard-earned PTA dollars and ensure that those limited funds were not tied up in litigation. The school district is supporting the PTA by taking on the role as the publishing entity.
We had all hoped to handle this situation quietly, but since it has become the subject of a public e-mail campaign, online petition and copyright claim, the situation has escalated. I felt each of our parents was owed a clear explanation.
In addition, several parents were sent a link to the original yearbook, and some have expressed concerns about their children’s pictures being published in this manner. We understand their concerns and will take steps to ensure our students’ pictures and information are protected in the future.
We will continue to take steps to avoid any future conflicts regarding copyright and ownership of school projects. Bradfield enjoys a long history of partnership with its PTA, and we appreciate the many hours that have been dedicated to making sure our students receive their yearbooks.