Unhappy snap

12th May 2006 at 01:00
On a tip-off from another student, I was horrified to find myself - or rather a part of my anatomy - posted on the website of a Year 11 boy who I teach. The image had been secretly taken in a lesson using a phone. The same website contained an image of another member of staff whose head had been digitally manipulated on to the body of a pornographic model. I confronted the pupil, who was embarrassed but not exactly apologetic. My college is dithering over what action to take while I'm left feeling utterly humiliated. It seems the only rule he has broken is to have his phone on in class.

It is unfortunate that at the same time as colleges have begun to cater for a large proportion of 14 to 19-year-olds, this same age group is increasingly being targeted by a mobile phone industry offering more and more innovative products. A recent survey concluded that one in 10 teachers regularly encounters mobile phones being misused. In one well-documented case, a teacher was filmed being attacked by a pupil. It is not too far-fetched to suggest that incidents such as these are exacerbated by mobile phone technology. Inculcated on a diet of reality TV, where people often act with impunity, students are spurred on, knowing that their actions will be immortalised at the flick of a button. A recent recommendation to schools, which could easily be extended to colleges, is to put measures in place to either fully or partly block mobile phone functions. However, this would not prevent the use of phones as cameras.

You have suffered a form of abuse, the likes of which could and should be written into college guidelines on acceptable behaviour.

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