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Head teachers report bullying via social networks

Schools wasting resources monitoring social media

A fifth of UK head teachers say they’ve been the victim of bullying via social networking sites, according to figures from the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).

Britain’s biggest head teachers’ union said more and more schools were turning to the police to deal with violent threats posted online.

One in five head teachers reported that they’d been victimised, via these sites, by pupils, ex-pupils and parents. 

Over 1,300 head teachers responded anonymously to the poll which was carried out last month.

To find out everything you need to know about social networking websites, read our beginner’s guide

Speaking at the NAHT’s annual conference in Brighton last week, Russell Hobby, the union’s general secretary, said: ‘It can be just a matter of pupils and parents posting that they don’t like what a head teacher wears or it can be a campaign to get rid of a head.

‘There is anonymity for those who post online and they often seem to think that what they are writing isn’t really real because it’s on a website.’

The union also claims schools are now wasting valuable hours monitoring social networks and sites such as Wikipedia for abusive comments made against their staff.

Sue Street, the director of e-learning at Harrow High School in north London, said: ‘Schools now need someone to check new media and the amount of time this takes is disproportionate.

‘We’re having to have long conversations [with website owners] in the US to have things taken down.

She said increasingly pupils were recording their classmates and teachers in lessons. This is also about what happens to that footage,’ she added.

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