We, the undersigned faculty, staff and parents from Florence-Carlton School want to voice our concern and objection to what we consider to be the unauthorized use of a Florence Elementary School photo in Mr. Jim Shreve's campaign for Ravalli County Commissioner.
This photo of the elementary students and staff, posted April 16, 2010, was taken five years ago by Rick Paris, a parent and photographer, specifically for the elementary yearbook. This photo, now included in Mr. Shreve's website, has been altered by changing the "We Love the Florence Falcons" banner into a banner that says, "Support Jim Shreve For Commissioner." Mr. Shreve has been inserted into the forefront of the photo.
We are concerned about the use of our school children to further one's political agenda, especially when they or their parents had no control over the participation in the picture. It is our belief that Mr. Shreve, a member of the Florence-Carlton School Board of Trustees should protect and advocate for our school children - not exploit them for a political agenda. As faculty we were under the impression the photo was for the yearbook only, not for Mr. Paris' or Mr. Shreve's personal use or gain. We feel it is a violation of privacy for all in the photo!
Mr. Shreve emphasizes honesty and respect in his campaign website and biographical information. We feel that using the photo and caption, "It's great to have the younger generation behind my campaign" implies that the students and faculty of FCS support Mr. Shreve for commissioner. It is not honest or ethical for him to commandeer a photo and speak for us.
Mr. Paris and Mr. Shreve have been asked to remove the photo. Mr. Paris responded that he owned the photo and could do with it what he pleased. Mr. Shreve refused to remove it because he would not do that for a "special interest" group. Mr. Shreve should take special "interest" in this group, because he works for us: taxpayers, parents, teachers and students!
We believe it is not ethical to:
• Use children in the public school as an advertisement for personal political gain.
• Alter a photo changing the context in which it was taken. Even worse - for personal or political gain.
• Insinuate that the employees, parents or students of the school you represent support your candidacy.
• Profess honesty and deceive the public with altered photos and implied messages.
• Use your school board member background as a qualification for commissioner, yet treat the school and public you work for insensitively and unprofessionally.
Even if this photo is eventually removed from this website, we ask that Mr. Jim Shreve and Mr. Rick Paris show us respect and honesty by admitting the picture was not an ethical choice for the campaign and agreeing to not use it in any further campaign websites, advertisements or public venue.
Signed by 32 members of the Florence Carlton School faculty, staff and parents. See list at ravallirepublic.com