‘Who wants Miss to die?’ Teachers speak out about social media abuse

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“Who wants miss to die? Click like.” This comment – posted by a 12-year-old school boy on Facebook – is just one example of online abuse being experienced by teachers in Scotland.

The NASUWT’s annual Big Question Survey Scotland has revealed that 68 per cent of Scottish teachers have had insulting comments about them as teachers placed on social networks.

The union’s general secretary, Chris Keates, said that many of the comments were “too obscene to repeat”. She added: “Teachers’ performance, appearance, sexuality and their families are all now apparently considered fair game.”

At its annual conference in Scotland last week, the NASUWT launched a quick guide for teachers to help them understand what they can do if they are being targeted.

The survey of NASUWT’s Scottish members revealed stories of pupils sending sexually explicit text messages to teachers, parents posting abusive messages on Facebook, and digitally manipulated images being posted online.

The survey found that 25 per cent of teachers have had videos or photos taken of them by pupils without consent, while 44 per cent have had insulting comments made about them by parents. 

The majority of abuse comes via Facebook, although Twitter is also often used and the majority of teachers said they did not report the abuse because they did not think any action would be taken.

Ms Keates added: “Teachers are having their health and wellbeing damaged and their confidence to continue to teach sapped by this abuse. 

“While pupils are the main perpetrators, there is growing evidence that parents are now using the social networks, particularly Facebook and Twitter.

“When we reach a point where a child thinks it acceptable to post on Facebook ‘Who wants Miss to die? Click like’ – it is clear that serious and urgent action needs to be taken to end this cyber-bullying.

“We believe that as a minimum all schools should be required by government to have within their discipline policy a protocol for dealing with abuse of technology which makes clear that they will take a zero-tolerance approach to this issue.”

The NASUWT has a keeping safe checklist which is available online at www.nasuwt.org.uk/keepingsafe

 


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