UK Teacher Shows Student's Swimsuit Photo From Facebook To Class Assembly To Teach Her A Lesson

from the shame-the-shamers dept

I would imagine that if a teacher wanted to convince children that the internet — which is not especially dangerous for kids — actually is especially dangerous for kids, there must be a myriad of ways to go about it. One could, for instance, simply assign a Law & Order SVU marathon for homework. What the teacher probably shouldn’t do is call a class assembly on the subject and then blast a bikini picture from one of the attending students’ Facebook accounts to everyone attending.

A 15-year-old says she was humiliated by a teacher who showed an enlarged picture of her in a bikini to more than 100 other students during a school assembly. Children at Eggbuckland Community College in Plymouth, Devon, were shown the photograph taken from her Facebook profile to illustrate the pitfalls of posting private images online. Unknown to the schoolgirl, who has not been named, staff had taken her swimwear photo off the internet. It was blown up and added to a portfolio of other pictures then shown during a packed school assembly.

What’s crazy is that this isn’t the first time this exact sort of thing has occurred. We had an almost identical story in the States roughly a year ago. There is simply so much lunacy in this to unpack, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Let’s begin with the entire premise that a fifteen-year-old girl wearing a bikini is an appropriate target for slut-shaming. I wasn’t aware that a fifteen-year-old girl was supposed to be so ashamed of her own body that she should not be pictured wearing what all kinds of fifteen-year-olds wear at public beaches all over the place. What the hell?

Add to that the trauma she must have experienced having this photo sprung on her in an assembly of her peers and used in a way to suggest she should be ashamed. It seems like the chief lesson about online safety being taught is to be exceptionally careful of the teachers at their school. A useful conversation could have been had with the students about how to use Facebook’s privacy features to keep certain images from being publicly viewed and so forth, but instead the entire focus is on one girl wearing a swimsuit. Anyone actually think that the discussion the kids were having coming out of that assembly was actually focused on their own safety?

And the response on behalf of the school, while apologetic to the mother of the young girl, is hysterical.

A Plymouth City Council spokesperson said on behalf of the school, whose motto is ‘Learning, caring, achieving’: ‘We cannot comment on the incident itself. ‘The advice given to children and parents is that it is very difficult to ensure any picture is completely private and it is important to positively manage their online identity and profile and think carefully before sharing personal content.’

It sure didn’t seem like a whole lot of thought went into sharing the young girl’s personal content, so maybe it’s time to review your own lessons?

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Comments on “UK Teacher Shows Student's Swimsuit Photo From Facebook To Class Assembly To Teach Her A Lesson”

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56 Comments
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Perhaps the mother needs to raise the very serious question of why an adult is trolling childrens pictures online.
Why one in a swimsuit was selected, perhaps one should investigate if this was done on school owned computers, and do any of the images qualify as child porn.
They wouldn’t want to be the school that enabled a pedophile would they?

Lesson – No matter how much power you think you have, there are ways to take you down by turning your own methods against you.

Perhaps next time they should consider if the zeal to teach a lesson doesn’t go far over the line and teach a much different lesson about those with power abusing that power over someone.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“But either that photo was one she was ok with the world seeing or it was not.”

This statement completely avoids addressing the problem with the school’s action here. The reason she was humiliated was not because everyone saw the picture. It’s because the picture was used to publicly humiliate her. Context is everything.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You were perfectly okay with using your credit card to purchase things online, why are you mad someone else is using it now?

Perhaps she never intended an adult to see the picture, let alone decide to turn her into an example.

Perhaps she needs to find who took the picture, if it wasn’t a selfie, and file a copyright lawsuit. This image was taken and used without any consent and the person who did so was paid for doing it. The school should have to answer for why they provided a platform for this infringement and why they do not have a DMCA agent to accept service of the notice.

Stupid should hurt, because sometimes that is the only way to make sure the lesson is learned.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think the teacher has a point here, evidenced by the students reaction.

If there is any sort of “humiliation” from this picture then it’s due to the picture being somehow more public. As far as I can see the student OK’d it for every one of her friends and teachers to see when she uploaded it.

tl:dr if you are not happy for an image to be seen by anyone and everyone don’t publish it on the internet.

Goyo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If there is any sort of “humiliation” from this picture then it’s due to the picture being somehow more public.
Or maybe it’s due to the picture being used “to illustrate the pitfalls of posting private images online” and “to suggest she should be ashamed”, not just “the picture being somehow more public”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes, what she’d done was used as an example of why uploading stuff you don’t want everyone to see is a bad idea. No, The only person who brought shame into this is Tim, you’re mixing up source and opinion.

At the end of the day if this stops those students from uploading pictures they’ll later regret then the lesson was well taught.

AJ says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“pulling up a slightly embarrassing photo and pressing the point home that actually the entire world has access to this pic is a very valuable lesson.”

A valuable lesson no doubt, but the method of instruction was absolutely horrible and demonstrated a complete lack of judgement by the teacher, and over-site by the administrators. They could have easily shown a non-embarrassing photo and achieved the same goal.

“This was an error of judgement: the member of staff had not intended to cause any embarrassment’.”

Even the school admits that it was “an error of judgement”.

G Thompson (profile) says:

I for one recommend giving the Eggbuckland Community College’s teachers & staff details as well as the Plymouth Council members details to 4chan to see what ‘private’ pictures they can find not just on Facebook but from anywhere.

These pictures should then be given to the world so they too can decide if they want there personal photos shown in an ABSOLUTE public and niche forum too.

As for those who think it’s ok for the picture to be shown to a WHOLE school full of the image owners peers, then they should also consider the copyright and defamatory actions that could also be commenced against the school. No fair use in the UK, Privacy laws are highly specific especially when related to minors, and unless they got specific permission to show the picture in this way then they have no authority, whether the picture was available as world viewable on facebook or not.

Ninja (profile) says:

It is a pity that at this age one usually have a lot of insecurities and surely isn’t mature enough to deal with such an incident in an epic way. Bragging about how hot she is and that the old hags (aka: teachers) in school were just jealous (the women) or pedos (the men) would have been epic. Sure she should sue for the ‘shaming’ even in this case but it would be twice as epic.

If you could have your older-self experience in your teenage body things would get pretty epic around Earth (though truth be said each age range has its own awesomeness).

AJ says:

FIRE THEM ALL

My moral compass just exploded. Not only does this teacher need to be fired, everyone involved that didn’t speak out should be fires as well. Teachers are in a position of power. They are partially responsible, along with parents, for the education and emotional development of these children. Public shaming of a child (not that being in a bathing suit is shameful) under ANY circumstance should never be allowed, much less condoned. WTF were they thinking??!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: UK Swimsuit Kerfuffle

That very much depends on who is defining what is child porn. Some of those people driving the law making seem to think that any photograph of a child, and especially any of ‘partly clothed’ children, is of interest to a pedophile, and therefore pornographic.
The UK nanny state has become somewhat extreme on child protection, to the extent that making any physical contact with a child for whom you do not have responsibility, or photographing kids in public, puts people in danger of the police taking action against them.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: UK Swimsuit Kerfuffle

“Without sexual content or at the very least nudity*, it’s not child porn.”

I don’t know about the UK law on this, but in the US, this is not true. What makes something “child porn” has a large subjective component — if the intention is to cause sexual arousal, it’s child porn. Whether the actual content is overtly sexual or involves nudity is not necessarily important.

Even so, the intention in using the particular picture involved in this story is clear, and it’s clearly not child porn.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 UK Swimsuit Kerfuffle

Even so, the intention in using the particular picture involved in this story is clear, and it’s clearly not child porn.

The nature of the picture, and not its use, is what determines whether it is porn. Further its use in this case can be considered as using it as an example of a pornographic picture, i.e. do not post picture like this because …

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 UK Swimsuit Kerfuffle

What makes something “child porn” has a large subjective component — if the intention is to cause sexual arousal, it’s child porn. Whether the actual content is overtly sexual or involves nudity is not necessarily important.

“Section 2256 of Title 18, United States Code, defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age).”

http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/citizensguide/citizensguide_porn.html

Jeremy Lyman (profile) says:

An Object Lesson.

“So class, we should all be very careful of what we put online, as it may be taken advantage of in a way what violates our feelings and rights. Like I’ve just done with Samantha. …Right, Samantha?

[child sobbing on corner]

“Next on the list is bullying. Timmy, you look like a dweeb. Go put your head in the toilet and flush it twice. Micheal, give me your lunch money and stand right here so I can punch you in the stomach.”

[whimpering, a punch, and a child falling to the floor]

“Very good. So what have we learned today class?”

[Unison:] “Don’t mess with Miss Wormwood or she’ll mess with you.”

Anonymous Coward says:

There's no lawsuit here

While the teacher’s actions were stupid and arrogant, they were not:
(a) child pornography – there is clearly no sexual intent involved. Screaming “child porn” at every photo of a kid under 16 is not a healthy reaction.
(b) copyright infringement – copying an image for educational purposes is permitted and dumb though the instruction was, the exception applies to bad educational instruction as well as to good.
(c) otherwise actionable – this kid isn’t going to sue anyone over this. Even if she had a cause of action, her damages would be trivial and pursuing the claim would cost more than its value.

The only way this teacher is going to be punished for through the ridicule of the public and their colleagues. Which is rather ironic…

Anonymous Coward says:

given that facebook dosn’t allow for minors pictures to be posted publically, unless she lied about her age on her accout, the picture wasnt actually “public” and one of her “friends” explicitly betrayed that trust. if anyone should be shamed it is the teacher, especially given that they weren’t even entierly correct.

Learning that “friends” can betray your trust is an especially important lesson to learn. Some of those “friends” may have power over you in a “real life” setting. Say, your boss. Or your government.

Or if you must insist on a villain in this piece, a teacher. “Slut shaming”? Hyperbole. Will the 15 year old forget this incident? No. Will it “scar her for life”? Unless she’s a particularly sensitive snowflake, no. … unless your definition of “scarring” includes “reacting to future situations with a memory of past trauma”.

I don’t particularly approve of the event, but not because of the trauma to the one girl. I’m not approving of it because it singles out the one (or the several). It could be watered down to show “generic dumpy girl in swimsuit”, or made better “we’ve pixelated this sexting picture we ‘fond on facebook’ because otherwise it would be pornography”. You bet they’d pay attention to the picture. And then you say “we forwarded the original of this picture to the parents of the poster. Was this picture yours?”

tqk (profile) says:

Brits.

I think all this says to me is (many?) Brits are continuing their penchant for being insufferable prudes, in public.

There must be more to this story than I’m seeing. I suppose it has something with being “singled out” for whatever reason, but I can’t see any reason why the kid should feel ashamed for posting a swimsuit photo. I wish the kid had just stood up and demanded of the teacher what exactly was so bad about what she’d done. What was it that the teacher was saying was so worth calling the kid out on?

This reminds me of that multi-year fiasco the US had over Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction.” The complainers are saying a lot more about their prudishness than the target of their disdain should take away from it all.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Brits.

I suppose it has something with being “singled out” for whatever reason, but I can’t see any reason why the kid should feel ashamed for posting a swimsuit photo.

She was embarrassed because the teacher showed a photo of her as an example of something that the students shouldn’t do.

I wish the kid had just stood up and demanded of the teacher what exactly was so bad about what she’d done.

That’s easy to say from the perspective of an adult, but it’s not so easy for most kids to publicly challenge authority figures like that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hey now guys, are we sure that this isn’t some poor girl’s nightmare that somehow transposed itself onto the mortal plane? Did anyone’s teeth fall out? Did she get a test that she didn’t study for? Because that would more fucking since than a teacher in this day and age bullying a student over a picture.

I have a beautiful 14 year old daughter with self-image issues, and can’t imagine anything like this happening to her.

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