Teachers fear pupils will cough and spit at each other in new coronavirus bullying tactic when schools reopen to all

'BULLY' pupils who say they have coronvirus have been coughing and spitting at each other in class, teachers say.

It's feared the problem will get worse when all students are back in schools from September – and members of staff are being targeted too.

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Secondary school teacher Nik Jones told LBC: "I know one colleague who was seriously upset when that happened to her because she's got a young child who is very seriously ill."

The English teacher, who lives in County Durham, said the colleague was "really rocked" by the disgusting incident.

Mr Jones said teachers, pupils and their families could be put in "quite serious danger" by spitters.

"It'll only take one or kids to do that who genuinely have the coronavirus, and all of a sudden we're in a situation where that school, those students, those staff members and the families all attached to that school are in quite serious danger," he said.

Coughing and spitting offences have shot up by 74 per cent during lockdown in England and Wales.

Mr Jones, who is also joint District Secretary for the National Education Union in Durham, fears some pupils will use it as a way to bully their peers.

"Horribly, it'll be one of those trends that people want to have a bit of a laugh with," he said.

"There's a very real chance that any student who does express a fear about the virus won't feel brave enough to talk about those fears in a sensible way, because those fears will be used as a bullying tactic.

'IT'S A SERIOUS DANGER'

"I have no doubt about that, unfortunately.

"The difficulty will be, because we're expected to have everybody back in September at the minute, we're not going to have enough staff to manage that as well as we'd like to. I doubt very much any school will.

"It probably won't happen in the classroom. It'll happen in the corridors, it'll happen in the toilets, the changing rooms, out on the field, and we're not necessarily going to be there to stop that.

"It's inevitable, I think."

The warning comes after teachers were told that more kids will misbehave when schools return because youngsters have been away for so long.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will today unveil plans to get all children back in class from the beginning of the academic year in September.

Schools will be told to update their behaviour policies to include punishments for breaching the new hygiene or “bubble rules”.

And teachers have been told that some of the most vulnerable youngsters are now much more likely to misbehave as they struggle to get back into structured learning.

Officials from SAGE have previously said: "A cohort of children have experienced a shock to their education which will persist and affect their education and work outcomes for the rest of their lives."


 

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