Note to Frederick County parents: you know that guy who motors around on a Segway with a homemade sign that says "PRESS" and who is constantly taking pictures of the high school cheerleaders? Make sure you know where those photos end up.
That's the message Frederick County Public Schools is sending to parents of cheerleaders and coaches, according to the Frederick News Post. They've sent notice that pictures of the cheerleaders of "questionable taste" are being posted to a series of Web sites that the Segway driver, Craig Shipp, owns.
A spokesman for the school told the paper, "At least three principals have taken action and cautioned cheerleading advisers and other coaches of girls teams about being photographed by Mr. Shipp and expressed concern about where those photographs may end up being published. We've also asked cheerleading advisers and coaches of other girls teams to exercise caution when being photographed by Mr. Shipp."
The school says that while he isn't doing anything illegal, and that he hasn't posted nude photographs, the pictures are questionable -- one parent termed them "crotch shots" -- and that they might be distributed wider than the cheerleaders and parents might like.
For his part, Shipp told News4's Chris Gordon by phone that he does take pictures of cheerleaders and posts them on Frederick.com, as well as his own Flickr site, which he said is rated "family friendly," and on another Web site he describes as being a "talent" site.
He said he does not get parental permission, and that some of the girls he photographs are under age 18. He said that if he received any complaints he would remove those photos immediately.
When he heard about a parent's complaint from a reporter at the News-Post, which he considers to be a competitor to his own Web site, he said he immediately took down the photo in question.
"I was always very clear I was there covering the event and taking photographs," Shipp told News4. "Many of the pictures of cheerleaders are posed. They are all tasteful photos."
"Until this article was published," Shipp continued, "and in fact right through this conversation with you, I have never had a complaint from a parent, and I have 30,000 photos on my Flickr photostream."
Denise Fargo-Devine, a principal in the school system, told the paper that, "My parents were upset about the photographs, and the links that go to sites that are not places where some of the parents and their daughters want their pictures. Some of the photos online are revealing, catching cheerleaders in stunts that are awkward. There are shots that are not of the squad, but of individuals and focus in on body parts."
"We don't exactly say where every time a photo will be taken where it will be put," Shipp told the paper.
He also said that most people approved of the photographs he's taken, although it's not clear whether he was counting people who may have to alert each of their neighbors when they move to a new neighborhood.
If there's one thing to take from this: Segways are creepy. Stay away, whether young or old.