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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 August 2007, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
Teachers in websites closure call
YouTube said it is working with the government to beat bullying
Teachers have called for websites such as YouTube to be shut down as part of efforts to prevent pupils and staff being bullied.

Delegates at the conference of the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) said bullying can continue outside school and work hours.

They said bullies can send abusive text messages or e-mails to victims.

A spokesman for the website YouTube said the vast majority of people used the site responsibly.

At the PAT annual conference in Harrogate, delegates heard that bullies have posted mobile phone videos on websites, showing teachers as well as pupils being attacked or humiliated.

Nobody should be subjected to such humiliation anywhere, let alone in their place of work
Catriona Tait

They backed a motion demanding that such websites be closed down.

It was proposed by Kirsti Paterson, from the PAT's Highland and Western Isles Federation, who said one teacher had been the subject of a death threat which was posted online.

She said a pupil posted a doctored picture of the teacher, headless, with the caption 'You are dead'.

She added: "In the short term, confronting this problem must be the closure of sites encouraging cyberbullying."

Catriona Tait, a newly qualified primary teacher from Dundee, said one in four pupils had experienced online and text bullying at some time.

She said: "Not only are the children and young adults in our care subjected to such torment, it would now appear that members of the profession are becoming victims of cyber-bullying.

'Important issues'

"Nobody should be subjected to such humiliation anywhere, let alone in their place of work."

A spokesman for the website YouTube said: "YouTube is a community site used by millions of people in very positive ways.

"It's also used by organisations such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to reach people on a range of important issues.

"Sadly as with any form of communication, there is a tiny minority of people who try to break the rules."

He said YouTube had joined the UK government's bullying task force, working closely with teachers unions and others.

It seems to be easier to type something hateful to a school friend rather than say it to their face
Emma-Jane Cross, Beatbullying

Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive of the charity Beatbullying, rejected the idea of closing down websites.

She said: "Calls for social networking sites like YouTube to be closed because of cyberbullying are as intelligent as calls for schools to be closed because of bullying.

"Cyberbullying is flourishing for two reasons. First, society is not adequately preventing bullying behaviour. Instead we celebrate it on television programmes.

"And secondly, it seems to be easier to type something hateful to a school friend rather than say it to their face."

A spokesman for the Scottish Executive said: "Bullying of any kind is unacceptable. The executive is committed to supporting schools, authorities and communities to prevent and tackle bullying whenever and wherever it occurs.

"As part of this support, we fund Scotland's anti-bullying service Respectme, which offers specific advice to parents and teachers on cyberbullying."

Mobile phones 'offensive weapons'
26 Jun 07 |  Education
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23 Apr 07 |  Education
Websites urged to act on bullies
10 Apr 07 |  Education
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10 Apr 07 |  Education
MP urges YouTube violence debate
19 Oct 06 |  UK Politics
Government acts on cyber-bullies
25 Jul 06 |  Education

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