Teach­ers are bul­ly­ing vic­tims too

Na­tional Union of Teach­ers

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPECIAL REPORT -

THE teach­ers’ union has called for more support for teach­ers to tackle this 21st cen­tury prob­lem.

County sec­re­tary for NUT An­nette Pryce said sites such as Face­book and Twit­ter al­low peo­ple to make ‘hit and run’ com­ments they would not make in real life.

And it is not only chil­dren who suf­fer at the hands of cy­ber bul­lies. Teach­ers do too.

She said: “It en­cour­ages a mob men­tal­ity.

“It is also im­por­tant to recog­nise that very dif­fer­ent rea­sons lie be­hind the bul­ly­ing.”

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures by Stonewall who in­ves­ti­gated bul­ly­ing, one in four les­bian, gay and bi­sex­ual young peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence ho­mo­pho­bic cy­ber­bul­ly­ing and one in 10 are bul­lied by text mes­sage.

Schools are al­ready set­ting up cy­ber safety groups, but Ms Pryce said more could be done to support teach­ers.

“More pro­vi­sion for per­sonal, so­cial and health ed­u­ca­tion (PSHE) train­ing and statu­tory sex and re­la­tion­ships ed­u­ca­tion will al­low schools to equip stu­dents with the per­sonal skills they need to keep them­selves safe.

“The im­por­tant thing to do is to ed­u­cate their stu­dents about stay­ing safe on­line, and there is an ur­gent need for train­ing pro­vi­sion from the Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion (DfE).

“There’s no ex­cuse for the DfE pass­ing the buck when any anti-bul­ly­ing group could tell you that train­ing is the key to em­pow­er­ing teach­ers to deal­ing with var­i­ous types of bul­ly­ing.”

Ms Pryce added the prob­lem is not just con­fined to stu­dents.

“Teach­ers are of­ten the tar­gets of on­line ha­rass­ment at the hands of their pupils through web­sites such as www. rate­myteacher.co.uk.”

The web­site al­lows chil­dren to com­ment on a teacher’s abil­i­ties and can of­ten lead to abu­sive posts. She added: “Most schools have poli­cies which ad­vise teach­ers and other staff to re­strict ac­cess to their Face­book pro­files and Twit­ter ac­counts.” Ms Pryce said of­ten cy­ber bul­ly­ing will need po­lice in­ter­ven­tion, but a class­room teacher needs to en­sure a pas­toral or se­nior leader was made aware.

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