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Year 10 boys taking inappropriate photos HELP

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by hrswingler, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. hrswingler

    hrswingler New commenter

    I'm a second year, 23 year old, female DT teacher, at a rather small country school.

    During my GCSE Product Design lesson (24 boys) my TA noticed a few of my male students acting suspiciously. It turned out that after further inspection by The Head that the boys had been taking photos of up my skirt while I was leaned over to support students a computers.

    The boys parents have been contacted, and I believe that it will result in an exclusion, but I want to know what I can do to come back from this with the class as I'm sure that all of the boys will be aware of the situation!!
    I'm also interested to know what you think about the punishment.. I'm resigned to the fact that my a*** is likely to be all over Snapchat by now!!
  2. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    The other option would be the police.
    bonxie and pepper5 like this.
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    What has happened to you is quite common: boys looking up skirts. The difference is now they try tomtske photos with mobile phones.

    Exclusion is appropriate in this situation and that should send a strong message to the boys. The boys should also apologise to you in the presence of the Head and possibly their parents.

    You should be free from harassment and free to wear what you want. However, to make your life easy at school wear trousers or skirts/dresses long enough for when youndo have to bend over to help students.

    I wouldn't say anything to the rest of the class. The exclusions will send a strong message. If you are in any doubt, ask your HoD or Head.

    At least the Head has taken the matter seriously.
  4. hrswingler

    hrswingler New commenter

    Thanks for your replies.
    It turns out that there are a group of students who all have photos of me on their phones.
    The students are going to be excluded, but I'm still concerned about to approach the class next time.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    I can understand your concerns. Which part are you concerned with? Speaking about the ways in which the excluded students behaved and the in appropriate behaviour? The Head needs to speak to every student you think may have photos on their phones. I am now thinking you might want to phone your union for more specialist advice, since perhaps it is a police matter now. Also the police will have been trained in knowing what to do in terms of speaking to the boys. Don't, however, do anything without speaking to your union and the Head.

    The next time you have this class, arrange for the Head to speak to the class with you. Although the entire class were not involved, they need to understand the seriousness of what has happened. What you have to do,however, is remain calm and professional.

    You may also want to ban mobile phones from your room.
  6. hrswingler

    hrswingler New commenter

    Pepper5 thanks for your feedback.
    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!

    I am going to contact my union at lunch, hopefully by then I should have some feedback from the Head about what he is going to do about the students.
  7. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    This is an unpleasant situation and your concerns and feelings are justified. It is very positive that the head is involved in terms of investigating and has dealt quickly and strongly with the key culprits by excluding them. As suggested, it is important that all the students with photos on their phones need to be spoken to – being part of the gang is being part of the problem and they need to learn that lesson. (This is pushed heavily by police when talking to young people).

    I would certainly move to ban all phone usage in your classroom – what is the school policy on that?

    Having the head in with you to discuss the situation seriously is a good idea, however awkward it may make you feel. I think confronting it full on is better in the long run than allowing the punishment to be handed out elsewhere. I assume the parents have been involved as there have been exclusions – did that result in apologies?

    It is important to ascertain whether the boys involved understand that what may seem to them to be a silly prank, is actually related to much bigger issues regarding safety/harassment/violation/sexism etc. It will be important for them, and for the girls in your class, to see this taken seriously and followed up fully. Whether that is by a police officer (do you have one attached to your school that can come in?) or through PSHE/assembly curriculum.

    It may be uncomfortable but ensuring that this is pursued will ultimately be the best for you in terms of maintaining confidence and authority in the classroom. This situation is testing but being strong and clamping down on them to ensure they understand why their actions are wrong in school, and in society, will best allow you to move forward. Of course, you can change your clothes to prevent it happening again but the issue is far more to do with what they consider acceptable behaviour and treatment of another member of their community and that needs to be tackled.

    Let us know what the union think and how we can help further with this.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    I can definitely understand how you feel.

    Speak to your Head about banning phones in your class. You can get a box and the students can put them in it and you can lock up the box.

    What happened to you could have happened to anyone - no one is immune. I do think the boys concerned should meet with you, the Head and their parents to apologise and to understand that their actions were wrong and that is not how to behave and their behaviour won't be tolerated. They may think it was a lark - a bit of fun. They have to understand the distress they have caused.

    After their sanctions, I don't think you will have a problem. Speak to the Head about your concerns as well.

    I work as a supply teacher and am very diligent about phones, but in future I shall be even more aware.

    At least you have another adult in the room in the form of a TA, so that is positive.

    If you need someone to speak to you can also call the Education Support Partnership.
  9. hrswingler

    hrswingler New commenter

    Thank you both for your replies.
    I have been in with the Head over lunch time. He has informed me that it was 4 students and they are all being excluded for 5, 3 and 1 day(s) respectively.
    I am however uncomfortable with the idea of the Head talking to the class with me, as I mentioned previously this is an ALL BOY class, and they are not the best behaved at the best of times.

    School policy on phones is that if you want students to use their phones in your lesson then you can allow them to - this was the first lesson that I had ever let them have their phones out and listen to music, so that is not going to happen again with this group! the boys involved have had a phone ban until Christmas so can't bring their phones on site.

    The boys have been made fully aware of the seriousness of the situation, and parents have been into school this morning meeting with SLT.

    I am getting a slight feeling that some SLT may think that I could have done more to avoid the situation or that, being the age that I am, the students don't respect me in the way that they should. I'm just feeling violated and want to vent more than anything!

    I have the class tomorrow, and I am planning an 'old school' copying out of text books, sitting in silence lesson as suggested by a HOD to regain control - do you think that this will make an impact?

    Thankyou all for your support!
    pepper5 likes this.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I agree that tomorrow that you should follow your HOD's advice and instruct them to work in silence on the work you set. This will give you an opportunity to reestablish your authority.

    They are year 10, so have plenty of work to do. Keep them on task. You could try

    Follow instructions fast
    Stay on task work
    Work without disturbing others

    Your Head has acted quickly and with authority and your HOD has given you wise counsel.

    It was a horrible thing to happen, but you have now taken steps to not let it happen again.

    Perhaps not mention the incident tomorrow and just let them get on with their work. They will get the message.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  11. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Don't take it personally. I know you must feel awful but they're stupid kids and would have done it at any opportunity rather than specifically targeting you. I would wear a longer skirt or trousers in future. It'll give you confidence that you can move and bend at will and you'll need that confidence to stamp your authority on the class again.

    Aside from that, I would carry on as normal. If they mention it, state you were disappointed by the behaviour but that it needs no further discussion. Poor behaviour will - as always - be dealt with according to the school policy. Then move back to the teaching. When the culprits come back to class, state that as far as you are concerned they have a clean slate and you can start over.
    pepper5 likes this.
  12. pennyh.

    pennyh. Occasional commenter

    Quiet work is good but make sure it is sold to them as very exam style focused so they do not feel it is pointless shutting up. Maybe link it to a test. It is horrible to have to say but freedom to wear what you like has to be thought out. 'Combat gear' for an adolescent jungle. I always had work wear -actually mostly to have jacket pockets -for keys etc. and then it was lovely to get home and change. Behaviour advice in controlling classes often cover how to angle your body so that you can see most of the class-might be difficult in your subject. Maybe you can watch a practical subject just to see how the teacher approaches this aspect. As for the phones -grrrrrrrrrrr especially watch ones.
    Good luck -you are a much needed teacher so keep going.
    pepper5 likes this.
  13. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Excellent advice in above two posts.

    Trust you got on well today.
  14. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    I hope that the lesson went well. Some useful advice above about linking the silent work to the exam but equally ensuring that the class understand yours is a practical subject and in order to make the most of the opportunities that affords, they will need to co-operate with you. For you to make the additional efforts required for them to have practical, varied lessons, they need to allow you to work without restrictions and in year 10, they are old enough to know this.

    You have done well in getting support from those above you and it is important now for you to rebuild your confidence. This could happen (and sadly probably does) to anyone and you must now try to get past it. Just because you are a young teacher does not mean you cannot gain the respect of a class.

    Be assertive in what you are trying to achieve, have well planned lessons to give you confidence and remember that you are doing a valuable job trying to support and provide opportunities for young people. Even if you don't feel it at the moment, there will be plenty of students in that class who do appreciate what you are doing and the opportunity to learn skills and create. Focus on them. Insist on following school procedures (as you have done), wear something to give you confidence that you are covered up and remove the phones at the beginning of the lesson. I know in many practical subjects there are times that students are allowed to listen to music but your class have lost this privilege and don't be nervous about stating that.

    Good luck.
    sabrinakat and pepper5 like this.
  15. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    If they are in Year 10, you are fighting a losing battle. I would have expected the ringleader(s) to be permanently excluded and the police informed. Then all phones should have been banned from schools. Your Head was weak and their actions ineffective. Your best option is to leave and find a better school.
    pepper5 likes this.
  16. katykook

    katykook Occasional commenter

    How awful for you. Whether they are silly boys or not this is a violation and a way to make you feel undermined. There was a case in the news quite recently of a man being jailed for doing something similar. Presumably those students won't be in your next lesson. It just seems to me that by making the rest of the class do less interesting work you are punishing them for something they didn't do - this doesn't always foster the best relationships as even the reasonable kids become resentful. Certainly set them individual work, but make it interesting. When you face the class just be brisk and no nonsense.
    GLsghost, pepper5 and install like this.
  17. install

    install Star commenter

    [QUOTE="hrswingler, post: 11849162, member: 2277470"

    I am getting a slight feeling that some SLT may think that I could have done more to avoid the situation or that, being the age that I am, the students don't respect me in the way that they should. I'm just feeling violated and want to vent more than anything!

    1 If slt give you this feeling again see your Union
    2 Tell other colleagues about the incident - any form of sexism from students and or staff must not be accepted
    3 The students have been excluded - are these permanent exclusions? Can you clarify with your Union if the pics have been deleted from phones? Have phones been confiscated?
    4 Are there other teachers at the school who can support you in this ?
    5 There should be a whole school policy on mobile phones anyway along with the use of them.
    bonxie likes this.
  18. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Good advice above.
  19. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I am late to this thread - someone has just drawn my attention to it.

    There is a very important point that has been missed, although some have alluded to it.

    This is sexual harassment. It's really serious. This is less-favourable treatment because of your sex, or your age, or both. Your employer is vicariously liable for these acts of sex discrimination to which you are being subjected, during the course of your employment. YOUR EMPLOYER has a duty in law to ensure that you are not subjected to this treatment at work. Would anyone be in any doubt if they were subjecting you to such serious degradation on ground of your colour or because you wore a hijab, say? Think of forms of abuse that are comparably serious and humiliating because of race or religion (I don't want to give examples here- everyone can imagine) and no-one would be wondering how to deal with it.

    It is TOTALLY unacceptable for your leaders, those who should be protecting you, to make you feel that this is somehow your fault. Whether or not your behaviour management could be developed, these boys are engaging in serious violation of you as a woman. SLT's response is completely inappropriate.

    Please involve your union at the earliest opportunity. Not the school union rep. They do not usually have enough knowledge or experience to deal with discrimination. Ring the regional office.
  20. ktloveit

    ktloveit New commenter

    Hi there
    I just wanted to say I know how you feel as I am currently going through a similar situation at the school I work at.

    I am a teaching assistant at a small secondary school in a rural setting. I've only been at the school for six months, although I've been a teaching assistant for over sixteen years. I'm not young (47) and I never dress in a way that might be considered provocative, nor do I indulge in flirty or overly friendly behaviour.

    I first encountered this male student when he was in year 9. When I asked his name he said "Mr sexy pants" I was slightly disturbed by this, but nevertheless told him that this was an inappropriate way to speak to me. I asked a few coworkers about this and was told his parents have special needs and that his home life was undoubtedly chaotic. I left it at that and made a mental note to be as sensitive to his situation as I could be and even though there were a few instances when he tried to put his hands on my shoulders while standing in front of me, I still didn't really take it too seriously and therefore didn't say anything: Was that a mistake on my part?
    From this September I have been supporting particular students in a year 10 class that contains this child.
    I don't want criticise anyone's teaching, but the class is unruly and as such, certain behaviour goes unmanaged.
    This student began to ask me lots of personal questions about my age, whether I was married, was I single etc. I have on every occasion attempted to shut these conversations down by reminding him of how inappropriate his behaviour and attitude towards me are.
    Instinctively I have since avoided any kind of interaction with him but this seems to have made him more interested and also more disrespectful towards me .
    At the end of last half term the class took a test. I was instructed of read questions to students that needed it. He repeatedly called me over and asked me to read a question. As soon as I had read the question he asked me to read another one, without having answered the first one. I told him he would need to answer the one I had just read before I would read another one. He called me back several times, trying the same thing over and over. Hard as it is for me to believe, he was leering the me and seemed to be delighting in the fact that he was making me feel uncomfortable .
    I told the class teacher there and then that I found the kid creepy and insolent. I don't think this teacher, nice as he is, really understood or took me seriously .
    Last week the situation escalated to a truly unacceptable conclusion when, after over 20 mins of repeated questioning regarding my age and making comments about how no one would marry me because I was so old and unattractive (all said behind my back but within ear shot) I told the child I would debit him for his behaviour . He wanted to know why? and what behaviour ? then other students started asking me why I had debited him. I said for them to stop sticking their nose in to the situation and then he began to make jokes about sticking his nose into my private parts.
    I was horrified and actually very emotional.
    I cried. Not in front of the kids but when I spoke to the class teacher after the class had finished.
    I was advised to report it to SLT. I did. I was taken out of all classes with that student. He was given a one day internal exclusion and they apparently spoke to his parents.
    Situation resolved?
    As far as I'm concerned, no.
    I know that external exclusions and suspensions have been given out for violent and threatening language used towards teachers. It seems that sexual harassment /bullying is not as serious an offence for this school.
    The male SLT who has dealt with it has told a female colleague (the SENCO) that although he understands that I feel vulnerable he dosent really understand what the problem is as he is a man and that eventually I will have to go back into class with this student.
    I feel totally undermined, firstly by the student but mostly by the school and it's inadequate response.
    I'm going to join unison tomorrow and ask them for advice.
    Would appreciate any suggestions.

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