Laws in Scotland banning the taking of illegal sexual images with mobile phones of schoolgirls and female teachers without their consent have failed to provide sufficient protection from male pupils. The Herald reports.
Jane Peckham, the national officer for the NASUWT teaching union in Scotland, spoke out about the harassment and abuse that female staff in schools can face. The Sunday Herald has highlighted the extreme levels of the offence in recent week in Scottish schools and covered calls for mobile phones to be banned from the classroom as a result. The images are often swapped among boys and posted online.
Peckham said: “Teachers report that the issues of sexualised behaviour and abuse is so rife in schools that its prevalence is almost dismissed as banter now, and senior management sometimes choose to turn a blind eye, accusing teachers of over-reacting if they do report it.”
While legislation criminalises the taking of such images – often referred to as ‘upskirt’ or ‘downblouse’ – Peckham said these laws were “not making an impact in the way that they should be”.
Peckham added: “In Scotland as you know the law was changed by the Sexual Offences Act in 2009 to include upskirting and downblousing as being illegal. The concern is that even when that is being reported I think there was only 11 cases that ever got to be heard.” Hundreds of such images are believed to be taken every day in schools.
To start to tackle the problem, she said: “Schools must be encouraged to monitor and record incidents against teachers and pupils that are of a sexualised nature.”
She also said all schools should have “whole school policies on preventing sexual harassment and violence” to protect pupils and teachers.
Should mobiles be banned from the classroom? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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