"Sexting" incident at school in Malmesbury
POLICE were called in to Malmesbury School after an indecent mobile phone image of a pupil was shared with another child.
They were alerted after the victim spoke up about the “sexting” incident last week.
Sgt Martin Alvis confirmed: “We are aware of an incident involving a pupil who decided to send an image of themselves to some other pupils. Unfortunately it is not that uncommon.”
Police and teachers are dealing with similar instances at more than one school in the area. “It is a concern to us, to parents and teachers as well.”
He said the case was being treated sensitively and was not expected to lead to formal police action. The force was seeing cases of children using webcams and phone cams without realising the consequences. Once images of them had been recorded and sent they had no control over who saw them or how they were used.
Those who shared the images were also “playing on dodgy ground. The last thing we want is for people to be put on the sex offenders register for acts of stupidity.”
Head Tim Gilson said: “It is a worry. Children are doing this all the time. It is not happening in school. It is happening at home in their bedrooms. We’re working very hard to educate them, but every so often these things happen.”
“This was brought to us by a child who made the revelation in school.” The school then referred the matter to the police under its child protection procedures. The children involved and their parents had all been spoken to.
“We need to be vigilant. We need to educate children to make them understand the risks and implications of this, but parents need to be really vigilant about what their children are doing in their online life.”
He said the school could deal with the issue to a certain extent, but when the problem was happening outside school it was difficult to impose sanctions. What was needed was open dialogue between parents and children.
Schools were doing what they could to educate children in online safety and responsibility. But “as parents and as the ones who provide their access to the internet, we do have to accept responsibility for managing that as possible. It is not easy at all,” he said.
“The schools and police are working very closely on this and Wiltshire Council is very aware of it as an issue. This is not a single school problem. It is something that is being discussed at the very highest levels.”