Call for phone ban to save teach­ers from ‘up­skirt­ing’

Daily Mail - - Confidential - By Sarah Har­ris

MO­BILE phones should be banned in schools as sex­ual ha­rass­ment of teach­ers has be­come ‘rife’, it has been claimed.

Fe­male staff are be­ing sub­jected to ‘up­skirt­ing’ and ‘down-blous­ing’ – pho­to­graphs taken up skirts and down blouses – by pupils us­ing the de­vices.

Al­most one in ten teach­ers in Eng­land has been sex­u­ally ha­rassed by a pupil and sub­jected to in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour.

Now the NASUWT union has called for a clam­p­down on mo­bile phones, warn­ing they should be ‘treated like of­fen­sive weapons in the class­room’. The union sur­veyed 1,290 teach­ers and found that 81 per cent had suf­fered sex­ual ha­rass­ment or bul­ly­ing in the work­place.

Some 8 per cent of teach­ers re­ported be­ing sex­u­ally ha­rassed by a pupil, while 7 per cent said their abuse came from a col­league. Six per cent claimed the ha­rass­ment was by a man­ager and 2 per cent by a pupil’s par­ent.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) of those who have been sex­u­ally ha­rassed had been sub­jected to un­wanted touch­ing. Two-thirds (67 per cent) have ex­pe­ri­enced ‘in­ap­pro­pri­ate’ com­ments about their ap­pear­ance, while 51 per cent have faced sex­ual re­marks and 21 per cent have been sex­u­ally propo­si­tioned. Three per cent said they had suf­fered ‘up­skirt­ing or down-blous­ing’ by male stu­dents. Fe­male pupils have pre­vi­ously re­ported sim­i­lar prob­lems, with some re­sort­ing to wear­ing shorts un­der their skirts to stop it.

One teacher told the NASUWT: ‘A pupil filmed up my skirt dur­ing lessons. It was done to another teacher too. The pupil was sus­pended but then re­turned.’

Another fe­male teacher said she had been ‘slapped’ on the back­side by sev­eral male mem­bers of staff. She had also faced com­ments about her breasts and sex life. Forty-two per cent of vic­tims did not re­port the in­ci­dents of sex­ual ha­rass­ment, with many fear­ing they would not be be­lieved or that noth­ing would be done to help.

Of those who did re­port sex­ual ha­rass­ment, in over a fifth (21 per cent) of in­ci­dents, no ac­tion was taken against the ha­rasser. Four in ten (41 per cent) said the ha­rasser was spo­ken to, but the vic­tim did not feel the re­sponse matched the se­ri­ous­ness of the in­ci­dent. One in ten also said they felt they were not be­lieved.

It comes as the union also re­ported that one in five teach­ers is turn­ing to al­co­hol to help cope with the ‘phys­i­cal and men­tal toll’ of their job.

Chris Keates, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the NASUWT, said there can be ‘no place in our schools for sex­ual ha­rass­ment or bul­ly­ing of staff’.

Re­fer­ring to mo­bile phones, she added: ‘The NASUWT has ar­gued for a long time that mo­bile phones need to be treated like of­fen­sive weapons in the class­room.’

Some three-quar­ters of teach­ers cite ‘lack of parental sup­port’ as the main cause of poor pupil be­hav­iour in school. One NASUWT mem­ber com­plained of a ‘lack of re­spect from par­ents who think they know bet­ter than the teach­ers’, while Miss Keates said there were ‘a lot more re­ports of par­ents who are not work­ing with schools on be­hav­iour, and are ac­tu­ally be­ing ex­tremely ag­gres­sive’.

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