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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 December 2006, 11:39 GMT
Pupils 'should switch off phones'
Mobile phone
The union wants phones to be switched off in schools
A leading teachers' union has urged schools to crack down on the misuse of mobile phones.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said it was concerned that camera phones were being used to bully staff and pupils.

It wants schools to order all phones to be switched off during the school day and for teachers to be given rights to confiscate phones and delete images.

Local authorities have welcomed the union's guidelines.

There have been reports of youngsters deliberately winding up teachers so they can secretly record angry outbursts, or taking compromising photos or video clips of classmates.

Guidance pack

The EIS said that such technology was a serious breach of privacy and took bullying to a new level.

It said it wanted all phones to be put away during the school day and suggested that nobody should be recorded unless they gave their permission.

The union has sent a guidance pack all schools in Scotland, advising staff to look out for any inappropriate photography.

There has to be a clear and shared understanding on the acceptable use of this technology - and on the potential consequences of misuse
Ronnie Smith
EIS general secretary

The pack suggests serious bullying and harassment can be uncovered by identifying misuse of mobiles and warns teachers that they may be being photographed or videoed without their knowledge.

EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said: "Teachers have long been concerned about the potential for mobile phones to be used to bully pupils, but now the prevalence of camera phones has taken the problem to a new level in our schools.

"The potential for pupils or teachers to be photographed or videoed without their knowledge is a real concern, and represents a serious breach of privacy and personal liberty."

He said schools needed to have "robust, yet practical" procedures in place.

"There has to be a clear and shared understanding on the acceptable use of this technology - and on the potential consequences of misuse," he said.


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