Exclusive: Calls for action over sexual harassment after pupils 'violate' teacher with 'upskirt' photos

13th October 2016 at 18:30
Female teachers are being subjected to a rising tide of sexual harassment in the classroom, union leaders warned this week, as details of a 'shocking' episode emerged

A young design and technology teacher has used the TES community forums to reveal how male students used their mobiles to take “upskirt” photos while she was leaning over in class.

The 23-year-old – who said she felt “violated” and “threatened” – was concerned that the images would be shared across social media.

The incident took place as she taught more than 20 boys. “My [teaching assistant] noticed a few of my male students acting suspiciously,” the teacher said.

“It turned out, after further inspection…that the boys had been taking photos of up my skirt while I…leaned over to support students [working on] computers.”

She continued: “I’m mostly worried about keeping the authority in the class, and, to be honest, I’m feeling a little violated/threatened by the boys."

The anonymous teacher said the four pupils had all been temporarily excluded with phone bans until Christmas.

She added: “I’m resigned to the fact that my a*** is likely to be all over Snapchat by now.”

'This can ruin people's lives'

Unions argue that more needs to be done to tackle the sexual bullying of teachers in schools. They say:

  • Space must be found in the curriculum to teach students about inappropriate behaviour;
  • Teachers and school leaders should be properly trained on equal opportunities;
  • Phones could be turned off in class to prevent such incidents;
  • Schools should have clear policies when it comes to sexual bullying.

They fear that pupils’ frequent use of mobile phones and social media to view and share sexually explicit pictures could be exacerbating the problem by endorsing sexualised gender stereotypes.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teaching union, said: “This is a very shocking case. It couldn’t be more serious. It’s using sexism to undermine her authority as a teacher and it’s degrading her as a woman.

“I get the sense that things are going backwards. Sexual harassment in too many places has become acceptable. These actions can ruin lives.”

This is an edited article from the 14 October edition of TES. Subscribers can read the full article here. To subscribe, click here. This week's TES magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here.

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