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Pupil found guilty of "upskirting" teacher

While scribbling on the school desk may result in detention, one student at Enniskillen Royal Grammar School, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland has been found guilty of five separate counts of outraging public decency after taking "upskirt" videos of two teachers. 
The pupil in question was between ages fourteen and fifteen when he's believed to have captured the footage - taken on five occasions across two dates in 2015 and 2016. As he has now turned eighteen, he has been convicted and is due to be sentenced on April  9th. 
A clear message - The conviction is hoped to send a clear message in regards to respect for teachers and the understanding of personal boundaries and privacy. General Secretary for the NASUWT teaching union, Chris Keates, reiterated that teachers are under no obligation to put up with harassment or abuse of any kind. 
The boy's actions naturally were a violation of personal privacy, but his young age added an additional degree of trauma for the victims as they have had to wait for the case to be tried. 
The NASUWT union is now putting forward calls for "upskirting" to become a criminal offence in Northern Ireland - following the precedent of Scotland, Wales, and England. 
A rising problem - The rising popularity of mobile phones is leading to more and more incidents of pupils using their cameras to take indecent photographs of teachers. There needs to be a frank and open discussion between pupils and teachers, regarding the understanding of personal space, privacy, and decent behaviour. 
Convictions like this will go a long way to adding weight to the argument that "upskirting" can cause immense psychological trauma to the victim. 
The issue goes hand in hand with the rise of social media. Not only is it a case of one pupil taking photographs or videos for their own personal use. There is also an overwhelming likelihood of the footage being shared around social media networks. 
It's a problem that's going to get worse before it gets better, unless the issue is tackled head-on. With "upskirting" being deemed a criminal offence, as many hope it will very soon in Northern Ireland, it would certainly add much more weight to the discussion when trying to discourage potential offenders.
The relatively young age of the offender, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also indicates that it's a problem that needs to be addressed as early as possible.

Posted by: Josh Seddon

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