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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before