Monday, November 13, 2006

Teachers Targeted On YouTube

Teachers all over the world are increasingly becoming targeted by their students on YouTube. In Britain, teachers are demanding that something be done.
Teachers are demanding action to stop pupils humiliating them through offensive video clips and abuse posted online. Their unions say service providers should do more to police websites amid growing concern over "cyber bullying".

The insulting images and remarks are being viewed by web users without the victims' knowledge, say the teachers.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers will condemn the vilification of members at a conference in London today. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which is trying to assess the scale of the problem among its members, reports a big response to a survey it launched last week.

A government working party, including mobile phone operators and networking site providers, is to look at the issue as well as that of pupil-to-pupil bullying.

YouTube has examples from several countries of teachers being held up to ridicule. A male teacher was shown with his trousers down. In a recent case in north-east England, a pupil posted a picture of a woman teacher transposed on to pornographic material.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, said: "It is insidious , pernicious and totally unacceptable. Some of our members have horrendous tales to tell. Mobile phones and the internet have given rise to new forms of bullying which need to be recognised as being as damaging as face-to-face bullying."

Christine Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: "Bullies are being handed an increasingly sophisticated tool with which to make life a misery."

The victim of the pornographic pictures had to take time off work, suffering from extreme stress, said Ms Keates. The pupil had been suspended, although his parents had initially objected to his being disciplined because he had used the computer in his own bedroom. She welcomed new powers for schools to discipline off-site behaviour by pupils.

Some schools banned or limited the use of mobile phones. "Parents will often say they have given one to their child for safety reasons - but then there are very basic mobiles you can buy very cheaply that do not have camera facilities, which means they cannot be used in an inappropriate way."

Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "This undermines teachers' authority and needs to be dealt with."

The Department for Education and Skills said: "Heads can ban mobile phones from school if they want to and teachers can ban mobile phones if they want to. It should be treated the same as any other form of undermining authority. It should not be tolerated."
Here in the United States, schools are very limited in what they can do when students produce material off-campus and with their own hardware.

We would be very interested in knowing what, if anything, that schools can do to address this situation
See our latest EduPosts here and this date's Extra Credit Reading there.