‘Epidemic’ of sexual pictures sparks calls for phones ban in schools

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Mobile phones could be completely banned from local schools in the near future, if teaching union the NASUWT gains broad support.

Scottish politicians across the spectrum have lined up to agree there should be anything from much tighter curbs to a full ban on pupils using phones - thanks to what one report claims is an “epidemic” of abuse.

The NASUWT in Scotland is this week drumming up political support for a motion it aims to take the STUC conference in April, and will be presenting its argument in the starkest terms.

It’s understood the union is not specifically calling for a ban, but this weekend several high profile Scots politicians have made it clear they would support such a move.

Confirming the perspective that phone use by pupils has now become a Britain-wide problem, a NASUWT spokeswoman told the Falkirk Herald: “Yes, it has been causing problems right across the board - whether as pictures or as videos.

“For example somebody photoshops somebody’s picture on to a video”.

She added: “We don’t see the need for there to be mobile phones in the classroom, as they don’t serve a purpose and are a distraction”.

A key concern is said to be inappropriate sneak inappropriate photographs taken of female teachers and schoolgirls by boys who then share the images.

Repeated warnings that this form of abuse is criminal, carrying serious penalties, is seen as having had little if any effect.

The NASUWT says females, whether teachers or pupils, are suffering psychological harm because of a lack of action taken to control the problem - reportedly involving hundreds of offences every year - and are urging the need for tighter controls.

Holyrood’s education committee convenor, James Dornan MSP, says a full ban may be needed, and Labour, Liberal-Democrat and Conservative politicians all agree tough restrictions or a ban must be enforced,

The Scottish Government has said head teachers already have powers to control phone use, while teachers’ union the EIS is opposed to a full ban.

However the NASUWT may argue the extent of the problem demands fresh thinking and an urgent solution when it takes its case to the STUC in April - possibly armed with the strength of cross party support.