Teacher held for improper photography of students

Discussion in 'News' started by ducksquat, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. Dec. 11, 2006, 4:16PM
    Teacher held for improper photography of students
    Associated Press
    AUSTIN - A high school math teacher was arrested and charged with improper photography after police said he made videos and took photos of female students who didn't know they were being photographed.
    More than 100 photos appear to show "inappropriate" images of clothed female students at school and at a mall, said Austin police spokesman Kevin Buchman.
    Page White, a math teacher at Austin's Travis High School, was arrested Friday in San Antonio, said Austin police Sgt. Brian Loyd. He was released after posting a $3,000 bond.
    The Austin school district has sent parents a letter, informing them that White has been placed on administrative leave.
    Detectives are still investigating, combing through seized DVDs, CDs and other disks, Loyd said.​
    We don't know all the details in this particular issue. But, I have questions regarding what constitutes as "inappropriate". Now, I can understand "inappropriateness" in the school. I am quite sure that perhaps this teacher has mental problems. But, the part of photographing in public is a different story.
    Where do we draw the line as to what constitutes as "inappropriate" or not and whose judgement call do we make. Where do the Bill of Rights fall into place here?
  2. If I remember right, there is a Texas state law that prohibits photographing people in public places for sexual gratification. The first issue would be whether he violated that law.

    It's hard to tell from these kinds of articles what really went on. For example, he could take a whole bunch of pictures of all kinds of people, the police could comb through them and pick out all the shots of girls and report that they found over 100 pictures of girls. It'd be a lot easier to make a judgment as to appropriateness after seeing the photos.

    I remember a case here in the Dallas area where the police followed a guy around for an hour or so in some public place, then arrested him for photography. That case was dismissed just as soon as the distict attorney had a chance to look through the pictures the guy had taken. (I wondered at the time if maybe the guy wasn't also using a telephoto lens/ camera as a telescope without taking pictures of what he pointed it at.)

    It also sounds like paranoia on the school's part to be notifying parents of activity that may not in fact be illegal at all, or violate any school rules.
  3. "...photographing people in public places for sexual gratification..."

    Anything can be used for sexual gratification. As a logical next step, they should ban looking as one can see something, memorise it and then...
  4. "Butt shots" of clothed females according to http://keyetv.com/topstories/local_story_345131714.html

    The Texas law is certainly open to just about any interpretation - see http://www.aclutx.org/libertyblog.php?e=86

    I'm sure the only reason looking isn't illegal in Texas is that they haven't figured out how to make a law against it.
  5. Yeah, the Oktoberfest guy is the one I was thinking of.

    I've read several articles about that incident. But what I have never read is an actual description of the photos he took. Evidently the people actually watching him were sure he was violating the law, and the people who then looked at his pictures were equally sure he hadn't. That's why I wonder if he wasn't just using the camera as a spotting scope.

    Application of this law requires the court to divine the intent of the photographer. That may sound difficult, but then again, exactly the same thing is done in a lot of other cases. The difference between an accident and first degree murder is the intent.

    Realistically, I suspect these kinds of cases are a lot easier to disern when you see the pictures than when you read about them. Any of us might go to to some public place and shoot a lot of pictures. And if you're into street photography, you might have a lot of "people" pictures. But not that many people are going to come back with dozens and dozens of cleavage-and-butt-crack shots out of such an event, either.

    Other than the Oktoberfest guy, I haven't actually heard of anyone being arrested under this law, so I don't know how common it is. The Oktoberfest guy made the newspapers, though, which would lead me to believe it's a bit uncommon.
  6. It's a stupid law. What's next, foot fetishists being arrested for taking pictures of people's feet?
  7. I know Texas nailed Dale Witenhafer, an Arizona tourist, for "improper photography" at
    Hippie Hollow, a clothing optional swimming hole. A place that had a few months
    previously had an excursion boat going down the river capsize because everyone ran to
    the rail on one side to see all the nekkid people.

    Even without the badly-worded Texas law you can absolutely get nailed on kiddie porn
    charges for pictures of clothed minors if there is obvious sexual intent--see the Stephen
    Knox case.

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