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Head teacher's attempt to cracking down on social media use by parents

(223 Posts)
TamaraHiddlestoned Thu 22-Sep-16 21:27:42

Does anyone have experience of a primary HT trying to limit parents' discussion of school standards & behaviour on social media?
Our HT wants to prevent any mention of the school or staff by any parent & in any context.
Aside from the impracticalities of this, and assuming that no laws are broken, does the HT actually have any power to do this?

Thanks for helping me to understand!

Woodacorn Thu 22-Sep-16 21:52:59

Not sure if he could enforce it unless it was an official school site but I would agree with the HT request myself.

Haggisfish Thu 22-Sep-16 21:58:53

I'd support ht in this, too. Any issues people have should be discussed with school, not on a public forum.

EarthboundMisfit Thu 22-Sep-16 22:00:33

Our HT tried, and failed.

Blue4ever Thu 22-Sep-16 22:00:58

If children / parents are names I suppose it could be considered as cyber bullying. If staff members are named it could be considered as intimidation. I think it's morally wrong personally. It's his job to protect his staff.

EarthboundMisfit Thu 22-Sep-16 22:01:45

She suggested laws were being broken, and was rebuffed firmly by two law professors among the parents.

queenofthepirates Thu 22-Sep-16 22:03:24

Seems as though they are creating things to talk about on social media by asking you not to!
No, the HT cannot enforce a social media ban without a court order.

TallulahTheTiger Thu 22-Sep-16 22:05:18

I don't think that it would be fair or appropriate to discuss individual staff members on social media. Would parents be happy if they or their child was discussed don't? (Not a teacher by the way, flat mate at uni was!)

TallulahTheTiger Thu 22-Sep-16 22:05:37

Random don't there!

CauliflowerSqueeze Thu 22-Sep-16 22:12:05

and was rebuffed firmly by two law professors among the parents.

Fucking hell. Arrogant, up themselves parents who feel they can slag schools off while they "firmly rebuff" the person in charge. What a delight they sound. Why don't they stick their petty little gavels up theit arses.

twofalls Thu 22-Sep-16 22:13:20

Our HT asks that we discuss any problems with the school or teachers with the school. This was following a mum campaigning against a teacher on social media and that teacher having 6 weeks off with stress and anxiety.

It's fair enough, if you have a problem be an adult about it. Not go tittle tattling on FB.

twofalls Thu 22-Sep-16 22:14:07

Quiet agree cauliflower.

BiscuitMillionaire Thu 22-Sep-16 22:14:53

I think I can guess what CauliflowerSqueeze does for a living. grin

Wolfiefan Thu 22-Sep-16 22:16:37

Surely it's not on to slag off the school on social media? Have a problem with the school? Take it up with the school?! confused

Wigeon Thu 22-Sep-16 22:21:58

This page is helpful.

Surely there's a world of difference - morally and legally - in posting on social media "Mrs Bloggs is a terrible teacher" and posting "I don't like X School's new uniform policy". I can understand schools trying to prevent defamatory or libellous comments against individual members of staff, but I don't see how there is a legal ban against saying negative things against an institution such as a school. Surely there's a free speech issue here? Why should hundreds of people be banned from saying anything negative about a public institution? I work for a public institution which many many many people write very negative things about all the time. Which isn't particularly, pleasant but there you go.

It may of course be far better for a disgruntled parent to take their complaints to the school itself, or in general fairer to the staff for them not to write them down (but of course there's no suggestion that a HT would seek to prevent parents talking to each other in a negative way about the school). And if I worked in a school it would be pretty annoying if I heard people were gossiping about it on social media. But that doesn't mean the school should seek to control general comments.

I should say that I have in fact never posted anything negative about my DD's school, and nor do I plan on doing so, but I would deeply resent any attempt by a HT to censor me. Comments against individual members of staff are completely separate and I agree not appropriate (legally or morally) to be posted online.

Stillwaitingforthesummer2come Thu 22-Sep-16 22:31:12

How has the ht informed parents of this? Some schools have a home school agreement which patents sign.

Stillwaitingforthesummer2come Thu 22-Sep-16 22:32:21

I mean parents!

lifeofsiam Thu 22-Sep-16 22:47:44

The HT doesn't have any power to stop social media discussion.

However, defamatory comments could be legally actionable as they would be in any walk of life.

And, it seems sensible to request that parents raise any concerns with the school in the first instance rather than take to social media to have a moan.

CauliflowerSqueeze Thu 22-Sep-16 23:38:39

"Oh Giles! Are you coming to bed or not? It's gone midnight, and you'll be hopeless in the morning at the Old Bailey!"

"Sorry, darling, I'm just firmly rebuffing a few more people on Facebook. Mrs Celialumptious Smythy-Horlicks planning to sue the school - her daughter Clarissa-Clipclop was not only asked to close a door today, but apparently her science teacher didn't set the homework according to the homework timetable! It's all kicking off at St Frothybottom School"

PerspicaciaTick Thu 22-Sep-16 23:44:10

We talk about our primary school a lot of social media, mostly stuff like "What is the Y2 homework?" or "Little Johnny in Satsuma class has lost his jumper please can you keep an eye out for it?". It is very useful and saves the school time and effort answering the same questions repeatedly. Plus the parents give answers outside school hours and at weekends.

I think the HT is foolish to try and ban this sort of conversation.

Haggisfish Thu 22-Sep-16 23:54:13

Presumably this is not the sort of chat it is though!

PerspicaciaTick Fri 23-Sep-16 00:09:29

The OP talks about any mention of the school in any context being banned - which would cover exactly that sort of chat.

PovertyPain Fri 23-Sep-16 00:22:55

I'm not a teacher and don't have any teachers in my family and I agree with cauliflower. What kind of arrogant prat wants to name and shame teacher online. They would be the same ones that would be the first to scream about cyber bullying if it affect their children.

Haggisfish Fri 23-Sep-16 00:33:33

Well, I imagine school must have had some cause to want to ban social media chat. They can't exactly say 'you can talk about nice things, just don't mention teachers names', can they?

CauliflowerSqueeze Fri 23-Sep-16 06:54:23

Asking about lost jumpers and homework will not be what the issue is. That kind of forum is helpful.

It will be people stirring.. creating bad feeling and hostility towards the school rather than working with them and contacting them with queries. It's those people who fester away like a little cancer, needling away every day with complaints about things and trying to whip up support.

Things like:
"Does anyone else think the cover teacher for year 5 isn't good enough? I know Mrs Jones is having a heart bypass and can't be in for 5 weeks but honestly. Feel so sorry for new lady but really!! Apparently the class is out of control!!! Thoughts?"

"Ha!!! Just gave the HT a piece of my mind in reception!!! He called my daughter Fran and he knows full well I don't like nicknames!! Screamed at him for 10 mins lol that told him!!"

"Just got a letter about a trip costing £12 in 6 weeks. I prefer to have 3 months' notice though?! Do you agree? Shall we start a petition!!"

"Don't want to name names but a certain someone and we all know who, really upset my daughter today. Some people need to teach their kids not to push in the lunch queue. Just saying"

"My daughter said her that teacher had to collect a piece of paper from the next door classroom and the class was left unattended for 23 seconds (yes lol she timed it!!) I can't decide who to complain to first, can anyone advise?!!!!"

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