Tamluk, July 13: A surprise check by teachers of an East Midnapore school revealed that 36 students of Classes XI and XII had pornographic content in their cellphones.
The authorities of the co-educational school in Egra have summoned guardians of the 36 students tomorrow, when they would be advised on “how to discipline their wards”.
The surprise check last week was prompted after a teacher saw a boy taking pictures of a girl on his cellphone in the class. The teacher asked the boy to hand over his phone and found several “obscene images and videos” after checking the contents.
Although the state government does not have any guideline on carrying cellphones to classes, watching pornography is illegal for minors. “Watching pornography is prohibited for all in cyber cafés and in public places. Most of the students in the school would be less than 18 years in age,” a police officer said.
According to a senior education department official, at least 20 students in two schools in Haldia and Tamluk in the district were served show-cause notices over the past few weeks after pornographic content was found in their cellphones.
The headmaster of the Egra school said the mobile phones of the 36 students had been seized.
“We found out about the mobile phone contents by chance. After the teacher saw the boy taking pictures on his cellphone in class, he seized his phone and found it contained several obscene videos and images. Then, we carried out the check. We will speak to the guardians of the 36 students tomorrow and advise them how to discipline their wards,” said the headmaster of the school, where most of the students belong to farmer families.
The absence of a government guideline on carrying cellphones to schools made several teachers debate the need for a clampdown. A teacher of an ISCE school, where mobile phones are barred, said: “It totally depends on the school. See, Internet has its advantages and disadvantages. But strict discipline will have to be enforced. If you buy your minor son a cellphone, you need to guide him properly.”
All the 36 students whose cellphones were seized were boys.
Mahmud Hossain, a Trinamul zilla parishad functionary in charge of education, said he would write to education minister Partha Chatterjee requesting him to ban the use of cellphones in schools.
“It’s alarming to know that boys this young are downloading pornography on their mobile phones. We need to have a guideline on carrying cellphones,” Hossain said.
Education minister Partha Chatterjee told The Telegraph: “Let me get the letter. I will then look into the matter.”
The headmaster of another school in Tamluk said he had served show-cause notices on 12 students in the past one month after their mobile phones were found “full of pornographic pictures”. The headmaster said the students were warned that they would be given TCs in the future.
“The parents of three of the students did not turn up despite being called repeatedly. Later, I visited their homes. All of them are labourers. They bought their sons second-hand mobile phones for around Rs 500 each. They are oblivious to the ill effects of mobile phones,” the headmaster of the Tamluk school said.
Aloke Patra, a Tamluk-based psychiatrist, said guardians need to be more careful about their wards during adolescence. “Otherwise, there are chances of them going astray. Watching pornography may have serious repercussions on the adolescent mind,” Patra said.