Study Finds One in Five Teachers Abused Online by Parents and Pupils

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22nd April 2014 12:05 - Education

According to a recent survey by the NASUWT union (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers), one in five (21%) teachers said that negative comments had been posted about them on social media sites and online forums.

Among these, almost two thirds (64%) said that the comments had been made by pupils, more than a quarter (27%) said that they had been posted by parents and the rest said that these had been made by both pupils and parents.

The survey, which questioned more than 7,500 teachers, shows that just over three fifths (61%) of the pupils posting the comments had been aged between fourteen and sixteen years old, with a third (35%) saying these youngsters were between eleven and fourteen.

Around a fifth (21%) said that the youngsters responsible were sixteen to nineteen years old, while three per cent said that they were between seven and eleven.

Of teachers who did report to school management, two fifths (40%) said no action was taken against pupils and half (55%) said no action was taken against parents. Where abuse was reported to the police, more than three-quarters said no action was taken against pupils or parents.

Among respondents, a quarter (26%) said photos and videos had been uploaded online without consent. One teacher cited “We constantly have to trawl though YouTube, Facebook and Twitter for posts and videos”.

Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said comprehensive guidance on schools and internet safety had been done away with by the current government on the grounds it was bureaucratic.

"Teachers are often traumatised by the attacks made on them through social media… Schools need policies which prevent abuse and identify sanctions which will be taken against parents and pupils who abuse staff in this way.

Schools should also be supporting staff in securing the removal of the offensive material from social media sites and encouraging the staff concerned to go to the police."

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