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GAPPS profile images

YRDSB does not tolerate any forms of hate or discrimination. In the last school year, it came to the Board’s attention that YRDSB Google Apps (GAPPS) profile pictures were being used to spread online hate through racist imagery shared and uploaded to GAPPS accounts. These images cause pain and can make other students and staff members feel unsafe, marginalized and unwelcome in our learning environments. 

Appropriate actions were taken to address this issue, including a mandatory learning series for all students, mandatory training for all YRDSB staff, and temporarily removing access to customizing profile images. YRDSB will be continuing to implement measures that support student safety over the course of this school year.  These measures include providing teachers with ongoing access to resources and support for addressing issues of hate.

Between February 27-March 2, 2023 students will have opportunities to customize their profile pictures within parameters established by the YRDSB.  This will enable students to express or represent themselves in their profile images, while prioritizing safe and inclusive learning and working environments for all of our students and staff. 

What does this mean for my child?

  • Students will have an opportunity at designated times to select a customized profile picture that meets YRDSB guidelines.

  • Students will receive guidelines and considerations based on their grade level to support them in selecting and/or creating an appropriate profile picture.

  • This is optional. Students who do not select an image will continue to have their first initial as their GAPPS profile image. 

  • In future years, students will have two opportunities each year, during the fall and again in the spring, to change their images.

Students are also encouraged to report problematic images that perpetuate hate or cause harm by speaking with a caring adult or by making use of the YRDSB’s ReportIT tool.



September - October

Schools establish shared understandings of climates for learning with students, including a thorough review of Internet Acceptable Use and the Student Guidelines for Profile Pictures: 

Fall, Spring

Schools revisit the shared understandings of climates for learning with students, including a review of the Internet Acceptable Use and Student Guidelines for Profile Pictures;

  • Kindergarten to Grade 3 Profile Image Guidelines
  • Grade 4 to Grade 12 Profile Image Guidelines

Fall, Spring

Student/staff access to changing GAPPS profile image is open again.


Student Guidelines for Profile Pictures Examples

Choices of ImagePhoto of self (e.g. posed, selfie, etc.)Drawing or silhouette of self (e.g. hand drawn or digital picture)Name or illustration of name (e.g. phonetic pronunciation of name)Initial of your first name
Image exampleDrawing or Silhouette of Self Name or Illustration of Name


What is the YRDSB Google Apps (GAPPS) profile?

Each student has the ability to add a customized profile image to their Google Apps profile. That image will be seen by classmates and teachers on applications such as Google Meet, Google Classroom and Google Docs. 

If a student does not have a profile image, a coloured circle with the letter of your child’s first name will be seen as this is the default setting. 


Example Student Profile Image in Google Drive and Google Docs:


Example Student Profile in Google Meet:


What does my child and their teacher see for their GAPPS profile?

Currently, all YRDSB students are not able to upload custom images to their YRDSB Google accounts. As a result, your child’s profile image will be represented by an icon with their first initial. This is the default setting in all Google accounts. To help to differentiate your child from others in the class, teachers will still see your child’s full name in the various Google environments (eg. Google Meet, Google classroom). 

How do I change my child’s profile picture?

For detailed steps on how to change the profile image in your Google Profile Account.
Learn how to change your child's profile image

What did my child learn?

In February 2021, teachers used the lesson series outlined below to support your child’s understanding of their actions online and the impact these actions may have. Each lesson is based on the theme highlighted for each grade level.  

​GradeLesson 1​Lesson 2​​Lesson 3​Lesson 4
​Kindergarten​What does a community look like, sound and feel like? ​What is a virtual community? How do I belong ina virtual community? ​How should I treat others in a virtual community? ​What do I do if something online makes me feel uncomfortable? ​
​Grades 1-3​What does an online community look like? How do I place myself in it? ​​How do I see myself online? how do others see me online? ​How do I participate in an online community? ​What should I do if I see something mean or hurtful online? 
Grades 4-6​​What does a virtual community look like and how do I place myself in it? ​How do I see myself (online)? How do others see me (online)?​The Impact of Our Actions

​What can I do?
Grades 7-8​My Digital Footprint​​Behaving Ethically Online​Online Hate Rights and Responsibilities​Responding to Online Hate
Grades 9-12​Freedom of Expression in a virtual community​What does online hate look like? (overt and covert)​​Impact of actions and legal responsibilities What can I do now?​