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UK.gov tells websites to stop bullies

Unhappy slappers

Videos of schoolyard bullying should be blocked from websites, secretary of state for education and skills Alan Johnson said today.

Speaking at the national conference of the NASUWT teaching union, Johnson said the internet had allowed bullies to prolong the ordeal for their victims by following them into their homes.

This "cruel and relentless" harrassment has become so bad it is causing teachers to leave the profession, he said.

Johnson's speech comes as the government's "Respect" agenda is pushed out, along with a new catchphrase for education. As well as the three R's of reading, writing, and arithmetic, there are now another three: rules, responsibility, and respect.

Under Respect, teachers have been given new powers to confiscate the mobile phones used to record bullying videos, but, Johnson said*: "There is a wider responsibility upon the providers of the sites which broadcast this material. These are big companies we are talking about: they have a social responsibility and moral obligation to act.

"I am therefore calling on the providers of these sites to take firmer action to block or remove offensive school videos, in the same way that they have commendably cut pornographic content. By removing the platform, we'll blunt the appeal."

In his speech, Johnson announced another Respect measure that will allow teachers to physically restrain unruly pupils.

He said disruptive behaviour is affecting half as many schools as it was in 1997. ®

* As written in the final transcript of the speech before Johnson delivered it this afternoon

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