“The closing of a door can bring blessed privacy and comfort – the opening, terror. Conversely, the closing of a door can be a sad and final thing – the opening a wonderfully joyous moment.” ~Andy Rooney

I am very careful about who takes pictures of my kids and what is done with them. No, I will not give you any reason for that (see my post on why I don’t give reasons) and it does not matter. What does matter is that both Pearlsky’s school and David’s school have, in writing, on their own forms, that no photos are to be taken. Simple, no?

I went to my father’s grave this past weekend. It is in a group of plots that includes all four of my grandparents, just like a family reunion, but it sucks. Hmmm, sort of like a family reunion. The sad thing is, I am the end of the line. Well, David and Pearlsky are … I am assuming they will not have progeny. My sister won’t. Hence, the buck stops here.

As you know, last week we were dealing with David’s residence destroying his life-saving amino acid, etc. Just look a couple of posts back to review the story if you want. So I dealt with that … then the grave scene and thoughts … and then this …

Email to David’s residential school …

Both myself and David’s mother have repeatedly put in writing and verbalized the fact that no pictures are to be taken of our son, David. As a matter of fact, on at least two occasions your previous admissions director, JY, personally called asking if a picture could be taken or used since the administration was FULLY AWARE that there are to be no pictures taken of our son.

It is outrageous, and profoundly distrubing, that I received professional pictures of David today. You have enabled a third party, Lifetouch, to now have images of David, AND THEY HOLD THE COPYRIGHT TO SAID IMAGES. This has not happened in the five years that David has been in your care.

Can you explain how this was allowed to happen and much more vitally important, what you plan to do to immediately remedy the situation?

Yeah, it really pissed me off, but this company can now legally do anything they want with the pictures. Again, I have my reasons for not wanting pictures, the fact that I checked “NO PHOTOS” on the school’s forms should have been respected.

I get this:

I’m sorry this happened. A and I discussed it today, and what occurred was that she was with her class on photo day then was called unexpectedly to a meeting. The aid working with David was unaware of the photography issue, took him along with the rest of the class to the gym, and his photo was taken. Your concern about copyright is understood and appreciated, and I will send out a clarification so that people understand that any photo taken by a third party is external; even if it appears that it is only being sent to the parent the ownership of copyright means it could be used for that company’s marketing.

BQ was able to speak with Lifetouch, and they have agreed to delete the photo from their records. All they need is a brief letter from one of you, which you can fax to me at the number below, stating that you want the photo deleted permanently from their records. Also, can you let me know (or include in the letter) the ID number on the photos­we don’t have the proofs here so we want to make 100% sure they delete the correct ones.

That really pissed me off. I will openly admit that maybe I am overly sensitive this week, with the amino acid debacle last week, my sensitivity to David and his not being in my care, etc. But I was not happy. I responded thusly:

It was YOUR organization that specifically violated its own rules. Why is it MY responsibility to clean it up? Who am I writing to? How will they prove they in fact destroyed the images? I have no say over the images, I never authorized them, I do not have the copyright, they don’t need MY permission to destroy them, that is so bizarre. They hold the rights to what you allowed them to do. I have no dog in that fight, at least not with them.

Why is it my responsibility to keep cleaning up the mistakes in the care of my son?

Last week your nurses allowed the destruction of 1 kg of the only medication that keeps my son alive, and I need to get some up there asap, and so far I am burdening the cost as well.

This week you allow unauthorized images of my son to be taken by a third party and abdicate responsibility for fixing it?

What am I missing here?

I blind cc’d a woman at the facility who I like, and like her opinion. She is not in the proper hierarchy for these issues, which is a good thing, actually. She is watching the emails, silently. I privately send her this:

Maybe I was a little pissed when I wrote that?

The final email form the facility comes back to me:

Your points are, as always, reasonable and valid. My interpretation is that the Lifetouch request for a parent letter is more bureaucratic than legal in nature. This is underscored by the fact they ask for letters from our principal and BQ to accompany yours… for some reason…

You’re correct, it is bizarre.

Our organization made a mistake, violated our own rule, and it is my job to delete the pictures (or at least get the copyrights) and make sure it doesn’t happen again. I view the letters as being the quickest, surest way to delete the photos today (And the letter can be a simple: To Whom it May Concern at Lifetouch, Please destroy the photographs of David and confirm their destruction with a letter to his school. Signed by you or David’s mother). I am also working to make sure that our system is more fool proof so this won’t happen again.

You’re absolutely correct that David shouldn’t have been photographed by a third party without permission, and we–especially I–apologize for that. We identified why it happened and have fixed the systemic problem that contributed to David being photographed this year, when we had been able to keep that from happening every other year. There is a solution that will allow us to have the photos destroyed immediately. We really don’t want to abdicate responsibility to you, but to pursue the option that is the fastest rectification, so that you don’t have to worry about his images being out there for extra time while B and I go back and forth with their reps trying to get them to do whatever they can to overturn their company policy that asks for a parent letter before destroying a photo ­again, I can’t imagine that rogue school administrators deleting photos that parents want is a big problem for Lifetouch, but it is what it is. I apologize for the initial problem, and I apologize for asking you to help me clean it up.

I promise this is the last time I will ask for the letter; if you and/or David’s mom don’t want to send one I understand and will take whatever measures I can to right our mistake with Lifetouch and update you on my progress.

I sent the letter.

Then the woman who (whom?) I blind cc writes (referring to the liaison I have been emailing with) …

Be easy on him, he’s a good guy. I really think you need to see all of the positive this place does. We should get together and talk about all the great things here. Unfortunately, it seems things have been negative. It’s not good to carry on that way. What can I do to help out?

Nice email. I have been on edge, especially about David. I stare at this email … “What can I do to help out?” and I know she means that. There is nothing anyone can do to help out. I sort of lost it, not angry, just frustrated, and responded …

What can you do to help?

Alleviate the guilt of my son not living with me?
Get rid of the intense disappointment and borderline anger that my ex took my son away from me three times?
Help with the guilt that Pearlsky is doing so incredibly much better at home than David is doing there?
Promise me that someone there gives a shit?
Get David to know who I am, or to care?
Explain to me what it means to be a father to a kid that can talk?
Assure me that David minimally has an acceptable quality of life?
Give me the courage to blow my brains out?

I appreciate you note, I really do. Thanks.

I don’t know if she called Social Services or is planning an intervention, but the email trail ended with her writing …

No unfortunately, I am not trained to even begin to tackle these complex issues. It is so evident you are so hurt and are such a bright man who had different plans in life. I would hope to be a bridge to help you build relationships here to open up communication. Plus an opportunity to vent and then maybe even have some laughs.

Guess I am stressed. I need a normal kid …


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