Teachers: ‘Our pupils are targeting us on social media’ with more than a quarter victims of abuse

 

Teachers are facing an increasing barrage of “vile” sexual abuse, unfair allegations of incompetence and videos of themselves taken without their consent being posted online by their pupils, according to a report seen by The Independent.

The survey of 7,500 teachers revealed that more than one in five (21 per cent) reported having adverse or derogatory comments posted about them on social media – from parents as well as children.

“Abusive and highly offensive language is common, accompanied by remarks about teachers’ appearance, competence or sexuality,” said a report out today, conducted by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT). Poor behaviour in the  classroom is enough to persuade many teachers to quit but the added element of online abuse taking place inside and outside the classroom is adding to the pressures of the job.

In one case highlighted by the report, a pupil tweeted: “You are a paedo and your daughter is a whore.” Another pupil said on Facebook that he wanted to kill his teacher – and invited fellow pupils to join in. The majority of comments by pupils, 61 per cent, came from 14- to 16-year-olds. However, there were two recorded from four- to seven-year-olds. The sites used by the pupils included Facebook, Ratemyteacher, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat.

In one case, a picture of a drunk person who had passed out and resembled a teacher was posted, with a comment telling fellow pupils it was their teacher.

Of the comments posted by pupils, 47 per cent included insulting words or phrases, 50 per cent had comments made about their performance as a teacher, and 26 per cent had videos or photographs posted without their consent.

Of the parents’ comments, 57 per cent were insulting, 63 per cent criticised the teachers’ performance, 7 per cent involved threatening behaviour, and 7 per cent were videos or photographs taken without the teachers’ consent.

In addition to this, 6 per cent involved allegations of inappropriate behaviour with children and 3 per cent inappropriate behaviour with parents.

One teacher said of the abuse: “I was so upset by the allegations and comments from kids who had seen it all... that I ended up being off work with stress, on antidepressants and having to see a counsellor.”

Union leaders are urging schools to support staff in approaching social media websites to secure the removal of offensive material and encouraging them to go to the police.

Of those who complained, 11 per cent went to the police  – but three-quarters of these said no further action had been taken against either pupils or parents, although they had received a sympathetic hearing.

“Teachers are often devastated by the vile nature of the abuse they are suffering,” said Chris Keates, general secretary of NASUWT. “Teachers are often traumatised by the attacks made on them through social media.

“Some have lost their confidence to teach once they see foul and personal remarks made by pupils in their classes and have left the profession.

“Others have been so disturbed by the comments that their health has been affected.”

Meanwhile, teachers’ leaders will warn today that they face a “home invasion” of emails from heads and senior management, which sometimes arrive in the early hours and demand that action be taken by the recipient before the start of the school day.

Ms Keates cited one case where a teacher received an email at 2.15am demanding action by 8am, describing it as “unacceptable harassment and pressure”.

“Teachers even report receiving emails from school management at midnight on New Year’s Eve with a message reminding them of the work they must have completed by the time the new term starts,” she added.

She urged all schools to adopt a policy and protocol on the appropriate use of emails to avoid further stress being placed on teachers.

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations should be regarded as an offensive act
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
people
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Hydraulic Power Pack Design Engineer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I recruit for contract mechanical design...

SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

SCO Supervisor Electrical

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client based in the Midlands is looki...

Ecommerce Executive

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Ecommerce Executive Working with an...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices