TRYING to stop young people from going to school is not something you would normally expect of teachers.
But staff at Wheatley Primary School and neighbouring John Watson special school have been doing just that.
They have installed a high-pitched Mosquito device to discourage unruly youths from hanging around outside the school gates after dark.
The controversial gadget emits a loud, high-frequency tone which is only audible to under-25s and forces them to move out of range.
Both schools invested in the device for the Littleworth Road campus over a year ago after youths began vandalising buildings and littering.
Last night, the headteacher of John Watson School, Sally Withey, said the gadget had solved the problems and teenagers were no longer gathering under a canopy near the school entrance.
Mrs Withey said: “We’ve had the Mosquito for getting on for 18 months.
“There seemed to be very little for youngsters to do in Wheatley and they were congregating around the school and we had minor vandalism and litter problems.”
She confirmed that Wheatley Primary School had installed a device too and added: “It has worked. If we’ve had an evening meeting, it’s not usually on
“But when the school is closed, they have no business there, they are not meant to be hanging around. It’s wrong for them to be used in shopping centres because toddlers would be affected by them”
“I don’t agree with them being used anywhere at any time. They have to be used for a particular purpose.”
Karen May, finance officer at John Watson School, said: “We had a number of incidents of vandalism and damage to our buildings, with things through the windows. It was all overnight, not when the school was open”
“It has worked perfectly. We haven’t had any problems since”
“We have it on a timer so it comes on in the evening and weekends so it doesn’t affect the children in the day.”
The device has been branded ‘degrading and discriminatory’ by human rights organisation Liberty.
James Welch, Liberty’s legal director, said: “The Mosquito is an unregulated, untested sonic weapon that blanket discriminates against children and young people.”
“It is all the more galling that a school would think it appropriate to install it on its grounds. Liberty is seeking to challenge its use in court and we urge anyone affected to get in touch.”