The Times is reporting on uncertainty amongst head teachers on whether to involve police in “sexting” incidents among pupils after a case in which a 14-year-old boy was given a criminal record.
The confusion stems from the incident in which a 14 year old boy sent a naked selfie to a girl at his school via Snapchat and had the crime of making and distributing indecent images recorded against him by police. This happened after the image was brought to the attention of a police officer working at the school.
The paper is reporting that whilst some heads say that for incidents they consider due more to “adolescent stupidity” they would not risk giving pupils a criminal record, others believe rules on the reporting of potential child protection cases meant they had no alternative but to alert police.
Particular concern seems to exist at schools where police officers are based and the head of one such school, Carolyn Roberts of Thomas Tallis School in southeast London, is quoted:
“Sometimes a child will do something like this which is a stupid thing to do but it happens to become a criminal offence because of a loophole”
However, another head, Sian Carr, of the Skinners’ Kent Academy, in Tunbridge Wells, takes a slightly different perspective and is quoted:
“You have to put this under the safeguarding umbrella because you never know what might be behind this kind of activity.”
More at: Heads unsure whether to call police over ‘sexting’ (subscription may be required)
This is clearly a very difficult area for schools and the recent Snapchat criminal record has understandably focussed attention on it.
Is more clarification needed and would a change in policy be welcomed to enable pupils to be reported without fear of them receiving a criminal record?
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