Fifth of teachers bullied online by children and parents

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UNION bosses say a fifth of teachers have been the victim of online abuse both by parents and children.

The report by the NASUWT, said online social media is being used to insult, intimidate and smear staff in schools, and some of the attacks were from pupils as young as seven.

Education chiefs on Wearside say any such abuse should be treated seriously and teachers need the support of schools and headteachers.

Councillor Robert Oliver, Sunderland’s Tory spokesman for education, said: “Online abuse of teachers should be treated the same as any online abuse and reported and acted on, but this needs strong headteachers and strong trade unions to defend teachers. It is becoming more common due to the increase in the use of social media, but in many cases the comments can be traced and the offenders punished.”

Sarah Lake, Wearside divisional officer for the NUT, National Union of Teachers, said: “I have no direct reporting of pupils abusing teachers online, but I believe I’ve heard of two cases in the past year of parents sending verbal abuse to teachers via social media, and in both cases there was an immediate expectation that the school would help deal with the situation.

“I’d always recommend teachers keep their details private through the highest possible privacy settings.”

The NASUWT surveyed 7,500 members and found a quarter of the online insults were from parents.

Abuse included attacks on teachers’ appearance, competence or sexuality, and more than a quarter included videos or pictures taken without the consent of the teacher.

The report said less than half of the incidents were reported to the school or police, with teachers often feeling too embarrassed, and, of the attacks reported, headteachers took no action in more than 40 per cent of cases.