PM says online bullying of teachers is ‘an issue we need to look at’

Written by Emilio Casalicchio on 1 November 2018 in News
News

Theresa May suggests government will consider taking action on teachers and pupils who abuse teachers via social media

Parents and pupils who bully teachers through social media could face a tougher approach from the law under plans hinted at by Theresa May today.

The Prime Minister suggested a scheme being rolled out to protect emergency workers from violence could be expanded to those who work in schools.

Ministers this week unveiled plans for a “zero tolerance” approach to violence against healthcare staff, including fast-tracked prosecutions and better systems for workers to record assaults.

Recent statistics from the Labour Force Survey showed secondary school staff were three times more likely to face violence at work than the average UK employee.

Meanwhile, one in three teachers are said to have faced abusive behaviour from parents and children on social media.


 

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During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Tory MP Gillian Keegan said she had met school leaders in her Chichester constituency who had “been subject to violent attacks by pupils or parents”.

She said: “As the Government launches its NHS violence reduction strategy today, would my Right Honorable Friend consider what else we can do to protect our teachers in the valuable work they do?”

Mrs May responded: “I am certainly happy to look at the issue she refers to… what I assume is physical violence or attacks that teachers have been under. I myself have also seen cases where teachers have come under considerable harassment and bullying on social media as well, and so I think this is an issue that we do need to look at.”

Over the six years to 2015-16, there was an average of 8,000 attacks on school staff per year, the BBC revealed when it obtained a copy of the Labour Force Survey in March.

A separate survey by the Nasuwt union found police took no action in almost half of the online abuse cases they were alerted to.

The Government published advice at the start of the year about how schools can support teachers who face bullying on the web.

About the author

Emilio Casalicchio is chief reporter for PublicTechnology sister publication PoliticsHome, where a version of this story first appeared

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