Schools renew protest over naming children in papers

Penman does not believe children are at risk if their names are published

 

The Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph is again in dispute with local headteachers over the naming of primary school children who appear in photographs.

More than a dozen primary schools in Kettering have refused to allow the Evening Telegraph to publish the full names of children pictured in First Class – the newspaper’s annual supplement featuring pictures of new reception classes.

As a result, the Evening Telegraph has decided not to use photos of children at the schools concerned.

The paper encountered similar problems with schools in the Wellingborough area when compiling last year’s supplement – but this year those schools have backed down.

Alan Vian, headteacher of Millbrook Junior School, supports the protest. He said that several years ago improper phone calls had been made to the homes of three children who appeared in the paper wearing angel costumes.

He said: “If a child has made a sufficient achievement and the parents don’t mind, it is perfectly all right for the full name to appear. I don’t want to take away anyone’s moment of glory.

“The issue is over general shots of children who are just an example of what’s going on at the school.”

Vian argued that printing the first name, age and school of a child was sufficient information.

He added: “Nobody’s being antipress. I think we need to find common ground and a way to move forward.”

Evening Telegraph deputy editor Eileen Green said: “Our position isthat, if we don’t have the full names we don’t publish the photographs; we now get our photographers to phone ahead to the schools and check if we are going to able to use the names.”

Managing editor David Penman said: “The Evening Telegraph cares very much for its community and would do nothing to put children at risk. We believe the concerns raised are founded on a fear of crime that is not borne out by the facts.

“We feel it is more damaging for children to believe their names and faces put them at risk from attack, when the reality is that we still live in a relatively safe society.

“Tragically children are assaulted and killed by adults. But most of these terrible incidents occur in the home.

We are not aware of any incident that has occurred as a result of a newspaper article and photograph.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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