A GAY Scottish teacher claims a senior school leader is using Linkedin to sexually harass young male teachers.
John Naples-Campbell, a teacher from Dyce Academy in Aberdeen, claims he was approached on LinkedIn by a senior colleague in the profession – who is married.
According to Mr Naples-Campbell the conversation quickly turned “sexual and awkward” as the man enquired about his “a**e” and “bulge”.
Mr Naples-Campbell, who is also an equality and diversity teacher trainer at Aberdeen City Council, alleged the unnamed individual used the same technique to harass a young probationer teacher and at least one other gay teacher.
He stressed that the ‘school leader’ is not from Dyce Academy or an employee of Aberdeen City Council.
In the Times Educational Suplement (TES) Scotland magazine, Mr Naples-Campbell wrote: “At first I laughed it off, but he became quite persistent, this shouldn’t be happening in education, I thought – we’re professionals, we have integrity – so why is it happening?
“His fascination with what I was wearing, the bulge in my jeans and how my ‘arse’ looked made me feel physically sick, as my partner sat upstairs unaware.”
He continued: “I said to him that I thought it was unprofessional and awkward that this was happening over LinkedIn. He apologised and suggested we move to WhatsApp (as if in his mind, that made things more casual).”
Mr. Naples-Campbell said he is not the only male teacher to be targeted by the school leader.
After speaking with another teaching professional on Facebook he found that he had been contacted by the same school leader and suffered similar harassment.
The male teacher described the ordeal to Naples-Campbell as “persistent and predatory.”
Mr Naples-Campbell wrote: “Like me, he had also approached my friend via LinkedIn, where the conversation became persistent and, in my friend’s word, predatory.
“We discussed how unprofessional the behaviour was, but I also found out that the leader in question was married, which threw an added obstacle in the mixture.”
Nevertheless, Mr. Naples-Campbell did not go to the GTCS (General Teaching Council for Scotland) as he felt it was not his place to reveal the sexual orientation of the school leader.
He also felt reporting this incident may hinder his job prospects in the future.
Mr Naples-Campbell admitted: “My gut was saying ‘Phone the GTCS’, but my head was holding back. I can’t be responsible for outing someone and I believe that, even with this horrible situation, telling someone about your sexuality or gender identity must always be a personal decision.
“The GTCS is there to protect us, to make us accountable, but you still fear repercussions – fear of losing your job, that you will be passed over for a promotion, of losing credibility, of being branded a troublemaker, of being blackballed in our industry.”
Mr Naples-Campbell posted his experience on Twitter to raise awareness of the problem.
Soon afterwards the school leader deleted him as a LinkedIn contact.
However, Mr Naples-Campbell was later contacted by a probationer teacher.
Mr Naples-Campbell said: “Two weeks later, a probationer contacted me: a similar discussion, similar language, similar uncomfortableness. But he didn’t want to report it, (to GTCS) as he had just been given a contract with the council that the school leader works for.
“He was trying to downplay it and minimise the situation until I said ‘If you were a woman, would this be acceptable?’
To which he responded “no”.
Mr. Naples-Campbell sent out a warning to the school leader. He wrote: “Be aware that you are making people uncomfortable, that what you are doing is not correct, and just because we are men, it doesn’t make it any less acceptable.
“As a school leader, you should have vision and values – not be abusing your role to meet some sort of fantasy.”
The GTCS declined to comment on the individual case, but said: “Our Code of Professionalism and Conduct for teachers’ sets out the key principles and values for registered teachers in Scotland. This includes maintaining appropriate professional boundaries and avoiding improper contact.
“GTC Scotland is committed to maintaining and improving teachers’ professional standards and protecting the public, and we investigate and make decisions when allegations are made about a teacher’s fitness to teach.”
A recent survey by the NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) revealed more than eight in 10 teachers believe they have suffered sexual harassment or bullying in the workplace.
Sexual harassment in education can come in many forms from sexual jokes and favouritism, to sexual bribery and favours.
As a result of these incidences 43% of teachers have suffered a loss in confidence in their practice.
A further 38% are believed to be suffering on-going anxiety due to sexual harassment.