UK & World News
Teachers Subjected To Online Abuse By Pupils
Children as young as seven are posting insulting online comments and threats against their teachers - but many school staff are too afraid to report the abuse, according to a survey.
The poll, conducted by the NASUWT teaching union, suggests that both pupils and parents are using social media sites to make allegations of inappropriate behaviour and comment on classroom performance.
Teachers told researchers they had been subjected to a range of offensive posts, including racial abuse and comments about sexuality.
In one case, a teacher said: "I had a video taken from the corridor while discussing a report card with another pupil. I was then accused of calling the pupil a bitch when I did not."
Another said a parent had told them they were "a nasty teacher, telling me to go 'home"'.
And a third said they had faced a false allegation that they had punched a pupil.
But many teachers are afraid to report online abuse, often because they did not think anything could be done, or they did not think it would be taken seriously, the survey suggests.
Of those that reported comments made by a pupil to a headteacher, around 40% said that no action was taken against the pupil.
The survey found that 21% of teachers surveyed said that negative comments had been posted about them on social media sites.
Of these, 64% said that the comments had been made by pupils, 27% said that they had been posted by parents and the rest said that these had been made by both pupils and parents.
The poll showed 61% said that the pupils posting the comments had been aged between 14 and 16, with 35% saying these youngsters were between 11 and 14.
And 21% said that the youngsters responsible were 16 to 19, while 3% said that they were between seven and 11.
NASUWT's general secretary Chris Keates said steps need to be taken to protect teachers from abuse.
"Teachers are often devastated by the vile nature of the abuse they are suffering", she said.
"Schools need policies which prevent abuse and identify sanctions which will be taken against parents and pupils who abuse staff in this way."
:: NASUWT questioned around 7,500 teachers about the use of technology between February 21 and March 10.