Image: Cammeraygal High School teacher Eric Wong has pleaded guilty to filming up the skirts of his female students.
By CHRISTINE LAI
High school teacher Eric Wong has pleaded guilty to filming videos up the skirts of teenage girls. Wong is a science teacher at Cammeraygal High School and filmed inappropriate content of his female students without their consent in his classrooms.
The Cammeraygal High teacher was found with over 300 photographs and 90 videos of female students that had been taken while he was supervising his classes.
In December last year, a 16-year-old student came forward and told school administrators that she believed her teacher had attempted to take videos of her as she completed a survey at his workbench after class.
The teenage student bumped into a whiteboard and found a hidden mobile phone directly pointed at her after completing the work at his bench.
Hundreds of photos seized on teacher’s personal devices
Following the 16-year old’s report, Wong’s items were seized, and police officers allegedly found 90 videos of female students from grades 10-12 where he had secretly filmed up their skirts and down their school shirts during science experiments.
Police seized another computer where an additional 300 photos were found. Wong was arrested a few days following the incident.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Wong invited the female student to the front of the classroom at his work bench and directed her to his laptop where she was required to work.
Upon the student’s completion of the task, the young girl moved backwards and bumped into a free-standing smart board. When the student knocked and moved the smart board backwards, she noticed the direction that the mobile phone had been facing was purposely placed on the ground, leaning in an upwards position.
Wong’s immediate response to the phone dropping involved him picking up the device and saying he left it there before the class.
Principal notifies parents of ‘serious criminal charge’
Cammeraygal principal Kathy Melky issued a letter in December last year relating to the incident, alerting parents, and caregivers of a “serious criminal charge” that had been laid by NSW Police against a staff member at the school.
In the letter, publicised by The Sydney Morning Herald, Melky attached a statement from NSW Police and assured parents that the staff member had been stood down and barred from entering school grounds.
A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Education stated that the investigation was ongoing and there were serious concerns about high school students safety and privacy in the wake of this news.
Reports from the NSW Police described Wong’s actions as harmful, and specifically targeted female students. NSW Police described Wong’s actions as “brazen”, “predatory” and “opportunistic behaviour” that preyed on female school students in his science and STEM classes.
“The accused walks up next to or behind the female student and whilst talking to them or observing them undertaking their science experiment, the accused discreetly positions his mobile phone in position to film the private parts (buttocks, anus, groin) underneath the female students’ pleated school dress,” NSW Police wrote.
“We are deeply concerned by this matter and relieved it is approaching a conclusion in the courts. We have been working closely with NSW Police since the allegations were made…The safety and welfare of students are our top priorities and wellbeing support has been provided to students at the school”, the NSW Department of Education spokesperson said.
Dangers of predatory behaviour online and in-school
The predatory behaviour is a large breach of trust of young high school students and extremely harmful to their schooling experience.
The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, an organisation that primarily functions to triage reports of online child sexual exploitation, received more than 36,000 reports of child sexual exploitation in the 2021-22 financial year alone.
According to the ACCCE, each report contained images and videos of children being sexually assaulted or exploited for the sexual gratification of online child sex offenders.
In the past 12 months alone, the ACCCE has reviewed more than 217,000 media files that relate to reports of child sexual abuse and exploitation. Increasing reports of online child abuse, and instances of filming sexually inappropriate videos of underage students at schools have necessitated a need for further provisions in place to protect minors.
Wong has since been suspended without pay by the school and has pleaded guilty to two charges. The science teacher is due to be sentenced next week.