Defiant father who broke photo ban at school nativity play was threatened with arrestBy Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:13 PM on 6th December 2010
A father who tried to take a picture of his daughter performing in a school nativity play was threatened with arrest for 'breaching the peace'.
Lee Ingram had the police called on him when he told teachers he was going to defy their 'ridiculous' ban and photograph his daughter.
The 40-year-old father told the officers that he was not breaking the law - and guidelines say parents should be allowed to take pictures of their children in school productions.
Cameras banned: Imperial Avenue Infant School, in Braunstone, Leicestershire, have banned pictures at their nativity play (stock photo of a school production)
Lee's daughter, Ella, who was then five-years-old, was performing in the play in 2007 when he was threatened with arrest. This year his three-year-old son Jack will be taking part.
He said: 'It was completely ridiculous, I was extremely angry about it. It's simply not on to call the police just because a parent wants to take photos of his kids - that's taking it way too far.
'People sometimes laugh at you for saying that we are living in a police state, but we are. I only wanted to take a photo of my daughter in her school play, which everyone is saying I have a right to do.
'Everyone, that is, apart from this one teacher who is saying I can't. It's just an insane society that we are living in now.'
The school insisted they consulted parents before introducing the no photos rule.
Lee added: 'It's a completely normal thing for a parent to want to take photos of their child's nativity play.
'I went along with the ban for several years, but I felt I was losing out on recording important milestones in my children's lives.
'I tried to question it as I felt my parental freedom was being taken away. I told the school I opposed the ban and I tried to discuss it with them, but all I got was vague answers.
'I couldn't find any law against it, so in the end I just told them that I was going to take photos at the nativity.
'When I turned up, the first thing I saw was the police stood in the far corner of the school hall, obviously waiting for me.
'I asked them if there was any law stating I couldn't take photos of my child and they said they couldn't answer that, but that if I didn't stop I would be arrested for a breach of the peace.'
Mothers and fathers are allowed to take photographs at the school of children whose parents have given consent, but only after the performance has ended.
No photography: Imperial Avenue Infant School where Lee Ingram was threatened with arrest for trying to photograph his daughter
Lee said: 'I feel like I'm being demonised for wanting to have photos of my child's play.
'We seem to be living in an age of paranoia and over-reaction.
'It's disgraceful that I'm not going to have any memories of my son's first nativity. Taking a photo of him in costume afterwards is not the same.'
Mr Ingram fell foul of the rule in 2007 when he arrived at the school intending to take photographs of his daughter in a nativity play.
Headteacher Ms Pickering today defended the policy, which she said has been put in place to protect vulnerable children.
She said: 'It wasn't a decision that we took lightly.
'We have parents who want to photograph their children and those who don't want photos of their children to be taken and we have to walk a thin line and compromise to accommodate both.
'We think the experience the children have in the nativity outweighs the experience of having their photo taken.
'We have a policy at school and we're trying to have an amenable situation, taking into account the fact that there are vulnerable children at the school.'
Guidelines on taking photographs in schools have been published by the Information Commissioner's Office, which oversees the Data Protection Act.
They said the Act does not apply when parents and grandparents take photographs of their children and their friends during an event in school for use 'in the family photo album'.
The guidelines read: 'The Data Protection Act is unlikely to apply in many cases where photographs are taken in schools and other educational institutions.
'Fear of breaching the provisions of the Act should not be wrongly used to stop people taking photographs or videos which provide many with much pleasure.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1336139/Defiant-father-broke-photo-ban-school-nativity-play-threatened-arrest.html#ixzz17LbUMC2s