Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised

Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised



Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised

Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised From strangers entering online classes and hurling abuses to students demanding teachers to send them their photos, harassment against teachers has been mounting.

From strangers entering online classes and hurling abuses to students demanding teachers to send them their photos, harassment against teachers has been mounting.

Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised From strangers entering online classes and hurling abuses to students demanding teachers to send them their photos, harassment against teachers has been mounting.
Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised
From strangers entering online classes and hurling abuses to students demanding teachers to send them their photos, harassment against teachers has been mounting.

Last year, when the pandemic necessitated the shutting down of schools, several instances of teachers being harassed online were reported in Kerala on the day the state government started online classes for the first time. 

Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised From strangers entering online classes and hurling abuses to students demanding teachers to send them their photos, harassment against teachers has been mounting.
The teachers had to face lewd remarks and hundreds of trolls directed at them, even as they were navigating online teaching for the first time themselves. 

Now, over a year later, as the second academic year has begun virtually in the state, teachers have seen no respite in this regard. In fact, it has only intensified.
Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised From strangers entering online classes and hurling abuses to students demanding teachers to send them their photos, harassment against teachers has been mounting.

Under the Kozhikode Rural Police limit alone, five cases have been registered over the past few months, ranging from strangers spreading sexually explicit content on the online class and messaging platforms of schools, to showering abuses on teachers. 

Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised From strangers entering online classes and hurling abuses to students demanding teachers to send them their photos, harassment against teachers has been mounting.
Speaking to TNM, some of the teachers shared their experiences, explaining how traumatising the situation is. Earlier in July, when Sangeetha (name changed on request), a teacher of Naduvannur Higher Secondary School in Kozhikode district, received call after call from her students’ parents complaining about someone sending abusive messages on the class WhatsApp group, she was shocked.

“ Imagine over a hundred parents calling one after the other asking what was going on. 

There was no class on that day and I hadn’t checked WhatsApp. Some people had gained access to the group and they were talking to each other over voice notes using abusive language. 
Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised From strangers entering online classes and hurling abuses to students demanding teachers to send them their photos, harassment against teachers has been mounting.

At one point, their attack was against me, asking to make them admin of the group,” the teacher says. 

She adds that the culprits even threatened her on the group, asking to send them her photo and saying that they have her profile picture.

“ It was so traumatising. Students and parents are witnessing all this and the language they used was so abusive that I cannot share it. I did not go to work for a week after this incident,” Sangeetha says. 

The teacher suspects that the culprits gained access to the group through the shared link of the WhatsApp group.

“ Only when I experienced it, I understood how traumatic this is,” she adds.

Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised From strangers entering online classes and hurling abuses to students demanding teachers to send them their photos, harassment against teachers has been mounting.
Santha, who teaches at a government aided school in Kozhikode district, says that a male colleague of hers experienced a similar situation while he was taking class through Google Meet. 

“ The class was for class 8 students. When one of the ‘students’ started to sing and talk randomly in between classes, the teacher asked him which division he was studying in. 

To this, he replied abusively. Soon the teacher had to stop the class,” Santha says. 

However, Santha says that her colleague did not file any complaint. 

“ He (the teacher) was sure that it was not students from the way they talked. 

He was traumatised and feared that he might again be attacked if he filed a complaint,” Santha says.

Sugath, another teacher, experienced a senior school student entering one of her classes and disturbing it. 

Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised From strangers entering online classes and hurling abuses to students demanding teachers to send them their photos, harassment against teachers has been mounting.
She says that such instances instill a sense of insecurity among the students and teachers alike.

While many teachers file complaints with the police, officials say that in most instances, it is difficult to track down the miscreants as they use VPNs and other softwares that enable them to mask their identity and location. 

Speaking to TNM, the police also added that in most of the cases, the incidents occured in high school and plus two classes.

“ We cannot be sure, maybe some students themselves could be posting the links (for classes and groups) in some social media sites. 

In some cases, we have traced links of the class groups to some public Facebook groups. 

In one of the cases, the link leaked out after a student’s father accidentally forwarded it to a public group,” explains Sathyan Karyad, Sub Inspector of the cyber police station in Kozhikode.

He also points that teachers need to be cautious when sending links for classes and groups to their students. 

“ In most of the cases what we see is that, instead of adding each student individually to a group, which could be a time consuming process, teachers create links and share. 
Harassment, trolling during online classes has left many teachers traumatised From strangers entering online classes and hurling abuses to students demanding teachers to send them their photos, harassment against teachers has been mounting.
Even while conducting classes on Google Meet, instead of instantly creating links while scheduling meetings, there are some measures we can take to control who all will have access,” the Sub Inspector says.

Recently, the Kozhikode Rural Police held an online awareness programme on how to create meeting links in a safe way, which they say led to more teachers coming out with complaints of harassment on the online platforms.

In July, the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) created a G-Suite provision that schools can register for, for free. 

The government has said that sensitive data of students and teachers will be secure as KITE will have master control of the data. “ So far, this is found to be secure,” Sugath says.

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