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Teaching union’s outrage over upskirting pupil getting role at open night after suspension

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Enniskillen Royal School

Enniskillen Royal School

Timothy Boomer

Timothy Boomer

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Enniskillen Royal School

A former student who filmed up the skirts of two of his teachers acted as an open night guide for prospective pupils transferring from primary school three weeks after returning from academic suspension, a teachers' union has said.

The NASUWT said it is "flabbergasted" that Enniskillen Royal Grammar School allowed Timothy Boomer (18) to hold the position of responsibility at the event on February 1, 2017.

It also claimed that, when the issue of the student being made a guide was raised, one of his victims was moved to another campus for the open evening.

The union has also said that Boomer was made a prefect for moving image arts by the school.

On Wednesday Boomer was found guilty of five charges of committing acts that outraged public decency.

The images were taken on dates between February 2015 and September 2016, when the defendant was aged 14 and 15.

Three of the five charges related to one woman, and the remainder to the second.

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"The school made him (Boomer) a guide for the open night three weeks after he returned from his suspension over the filming," said Justin McCamphill, NASUWT national official.

"Timothy volunteered to be a guide and show the kids and their parents around.

"And when the issue of him being made a guide was raised, the victim was moved to another campus for the evening.

"It's as if the teacher was being punished.

"The union believes that he should not have been appointed to that position; that in doing so the school rubbed salt into the wounds of the two members of staff.

"It seems that the school was putting him in a position of honour that they shouldn't have been. We are flabbergasted that the school would decide to give this position to him, as well as making him a prefect for moving images. They were not showing due regard to the health and wellbeing of the two victims."

In addition, the union said the school awarded Boomer prizes in music and moving image art, and claimed that the two teachers stayed away from the prize day event in 2017 in case they encountered him.

Mr McCamphill called for the school to apologise to the teachers, adding that all schools should learn from the case. "This school and every school needs to learn from this experience," he said. "The use of technology in schools, and particularly mobile phones, has made all teachers vulnerable, so schools need to be robust in protecting employees from this type of abuse."

The union official said that Boomer's victims feel vindicated by the guilty verdict, and plan to lobby for a law change here.

Currently 'upskirting' is not an offence under criminal law here.

Legislation states that an act of a lewd, obscene and disgusting nature must happen in a public place with the possibility persons might witness the activity.

"The teachers are feeling happy that the experience that they went through has now been acknowledged by the court," Mr McCamphill added.

"They have had to endure two and a half years to get to this stage. They want to use their experience to lobby for a change in legislation in Northern Ireland to make upskirting a specific offence in criminal law.

"If this was to happen in a private place, or there had been a pupil and a teacher in a room by themselves, the law wouldn't protect them.

"The members want Northern Ireland to have the same legal position as in Scotland, where non-consensual upskirting is an offence. It has also just come into law in England and Wales.

"Our law is a bit behind the times.

"Our members want to speak to MLAs about the law in Northern Ireland, which needs to change to protect women."

Enniskillen Royal Grammar School declined to comment on any of the allegations yesterday.

Principal Elizabeth Armstrong said: "As this matter is still subject to proceedings it is not appropriate to comment."

Boomer is set to be sentenced on March 12. While the case was heard last month at Strabane Youth Court, judgment was reserved, with the ruling issued on Wednesday at Enniskillen Youth Court.

The court heard the facts were not disputed, but Boomer denied his conduct amounted to criminal activity. He was not present in court on Wednesday, in contrast to both of his victims, who attended and were supported by the NASUWT.

Handing down guilty verdicts on all counts, the judge said he and the panel held the images were "lewd, obscene and disgusting".

In a statement Boomer said he was "deeply sorry for the distress, worry and pain I have brought about by my actions".

He said: "I want to express my regret and remorse for the hurt I have caused to my teachers. It was a wrong, horrible thing to do and at that age I stupidly and wrongly thought it was a daredevil prank, which I genuinely meant no harm by.

"I recognise how wrong I was and that my actions have had a devastating impact on my teachers and also my parents and family.

"My regrets will be with me for the rest of my life."


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