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TA posting controversial views on social media

(23 Posts)
WorriedofMiltonKeynes Thu 23-Mar-17 11:18:36

Would appreciate any views....

I'm a Governor in a local primary in a village. We have a TA in school. She's good with the children, and mre often than not, she's great.

However, she has some very unconventional views on a wide range of topics... In particular, she is very engaged with conspiracy theories and 'Illuminati' type stuff. Now, her views are her business, but it often spills onto social media. Her posts oftern rile me, but of course, I can 'unfollow' her. For example (and what's prompted me to post here) today, she's been posting about the London attack yesterday, and how it's a 'false flag' (i.e. was faked in effort to distract from other things going on that government/security services etc want hidden).

Now this has made me really angry, as of course, it's BS, and hugely insulting to people and families involved IMHO. I've had a quick look at any DofE (etc) guidelines, and can't find anything to help... but is this inappropriate for a TA to be posting? I feel I may be over reacting, as I know all manner of views must be tolerated (albeit with a heavy sigh), and just because I disagree, does that make it something she shouldn't do?

We live in a small village, where we all know each other. To my knowledge, her views have never been raised with the children (trigger for definite action I think), but is it a matter of time? Even so, is it appropriate?

Advice greatly appreciated.

UsedToBeAPaxmanFan Thu 23-Mar-17 11:22:22

I think that as long as it's clear that it's her personal page rather than a job-related one, and she doesn't post anything which is discriminatory against a certain group, then there's very little you can do. People are entitled to their beliefs, however bizarre, as long as they are legal and that they don't impact on her role as a TA (and you've said they don't).

Neolara Thu 23-Mar-17 11:26:10

It might be worth flagging to the head and asking her view on where this sits within the school's "itc acceptable use" policy. There should be one that covers staff as well as kids.

vaginasuprise Thu 23-Mar-17 11:28:09

She is allowed a differing opinion.

She probably doesn't even care what your opinion is, be like the TA Opwink

WorriedofMiltonKeynes Thu 23-Mar-17 11:28:27

Thanks, very sensible words. I do worry that one day my 7 year old will come home with some idiotic (in my view) conspiracy theory... And I knew the TA had previously posted such things and had done nothing. blush

ZilphasHatpin Thu 23-Mar-17 11:30:32

She can post what she likes on her personal FB page! She hasn't incited violence or racism agansit anyone has she? Has she posted homophobic comments?

DragonFire99 Thu 23-Mar-17 11:30:46

If you're a governor, I'd definitely talk to the Head about it. There should be an internet policy use for staff and the head might take a dim view of this. Best to ask!

At our secondary, staff are advised not to have parents as Friends on FB.

WorriedofMiltonKeynes Thu 23-Mar-17 11:38:04

Thanks all. I agree it's her personal page, and whether I like it or not, it's her view. I worry about the connection to school... she's gone crazy on posting this morning. But though she shares some things from what I would consider to be far right and (occasionally) anti-Semitic sites, she never voices or shares these kind of views explicitly.

Think a quiet chat with the head, just so she's in the loop.

roundthehorn Thu 23-Mar-17 11:43:14

I think if she's working in a school her fb page should be set to friends only so that parents and kids have to be accepted as friends to see what she posts and as a matter of common sense pupils should not be given access.

Feenie Thu 23-Mar-17 12:48:15

But though she shares some things from what I would consider to be far right and (occasionally) anti-Semitic sites, she never voices or shares these kind of views explicitly.

Screenshots, head and chair. Sharpish.

Feenie Thu 23-Mar-17 12:58:07

From the Teaching Assistant Standards. Unlike the Teacher Standards, they aren't statutory, but your Head will be having a serious conversation with her.

WelliesAndPyjamas Thu 23-Mar-17 13:03:17

Are you seeing the posts because you are FB friends with her? Or are her posts public?

Does her FB page make any reference to the fact she works for the school? Or is it just common knowledge?

Is there a Social Media Policy in place for school staff?

This is a day-to-day-running-of-the-school matter so it would be for the HT to decide what action to take, if any. Nothing wrong with screenshots and a chat though, as he/she may not otherwise be aware.

Wellthen Thu 23-Mar-17 13:08:47

The expected standards apply to in school. If you have no evidence that she ever allows these views to impact her work then she can post what she likes. A TA could be a member of the edl and still be a professional and excellent TA.

She shouldn't be friends with you on fb to be honest if you're a parent.

xxmumxx Thu 23-Mar-17 13:11:42

Controversial views? Why? Because you do not agree with her?
It's her personal page, she can write whatever she wants, if it bothers you unfriend her, no need to be fake and pretend to like her...
People have different views, respect it!

WorriedofMiltonKeynes Thu 23-Mar-17 16:11:33

xxmumxx. Totally agree, think I've said that... just because I don't agree doesn't mean she can't think it. Doesn't make me right either, but they are, empirically, controversial standpoints.

Her job is on he FB profile. I also know about guidelines, but it's a very small community and we all know each other...

Thanks for advice all. It's appreciated.

Beelzebop Thu 23-Mar-17 16:31:37

Are you seeing this because you are a Facebook friend? Although I can't say that I would agree with her views I dont see what it has to do with her work. As long as it isn't talk that can be directly related to school, staff, parents or pupils it's her own business. Unfollow her, that way you remain friends but dont see her posts.

jamdonut Thu 23-Mar-17 16:51:43

As a TA myself, I would never post anything that could be damaging to the school, but I think I am allowed my own opinions and discussions. My settings on FB are for friends only, but I do occasionally add my thoughts to things that are public. Anything to do with school we have a staff page that only staff can see...We might add pictures of our social nights out but no parents should be able to see them.
When I became a TA I ditched all the parents I knew on FB who had children in the school, except for those who were staff.This is the norm amongst our staff. I think if you are a parent governor, you ought not to be FB friends with her.

But to be fair...Do you really think your child will come home with a conspiracy theory???? Do you think a 7 year old has those sort of conversations with the staff in school???!

I think you are being a bit unfair, to be honest.

HostaFireAndIce Thu 23-Mar-17 16:55:14

She can post what she likes on her personal FB page!

Not necessarily. The school I work in has a very strict social media policy, which includes not posting 'controversial views' and not being friends with parents or colleagues (!), nor posting anything which could identify where I work.

Saucery Thu 23-Mar-17 16:59:46

Highly unlikely she would discuss it with the children. The best thing you can do is inform the Head so they can see if anything contravenes the Acceptable Use policy and I would Unfriend her too as you are not there to moderate her FB feed.

WelliesAndPyjamas Thu 23-Mar-17 17:04:29

If her school is named on fb as her workplace, pass it on to your HT to decide what needs doing.

admission Thu 23-Mar-17 20:55:03

It is not what she has posted as much as what she might post. By that time it is too late and the reputation of the school may be damaged.

She does have, whether she likes it or not, a need to keep within the professional boundaries of her profession. So I would ensure that the head teacher is aware of the situation. It is their responsibility to check that things are not getting out of hand and to tell the TA what she can and cannot do with regard to her Facebook page.

Sansculottes Thu 23-Mar-17 20:56:32

I would expect any governor seeing any member of school staff linking on social media to a racist anti Semitic site to inform head teacher in writing immediately.

WelliesAndPyjamas Thu 23-Mar-17 21:03:48

OP, I understand the small village, small community issue, being a governor and a parent in a small village school. Don't worry about defriending, it isn't realistic when so many relationships overlap...if I unfriended all the fellow parents I have on FB just because I am a governor, it would come across as quite weird to my many local friends 😂 Friendships matter more to me than my volunteer role, to be honest!

As per my previous posts, if the school is visibly linked to her posts, even if they are not Public, it is a matter to pass on to the HT, who can decide on a course of action, being the manager of school staff. If your school doesn't already have a social media polciy for staff, I would highly recommend looking in to that. Your LA should have a suggested one to get your governing body started.

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