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Teachers making derogatory coimments about pupils on Facebook

(54 Posts)
BobGarage Mon 14-Sep-09 12:19:26

Hi,

I'm hoping someone can give me some advice on this, its a long story so bare with me...

At the end of the last school term my partner added one of the other parents at the school as a friend on Facebook. This was to keep in contact with her and her child as both ours and her child were moving up to secondary school after the summer holidays. The other parent also happens to be a teaching assistant at the school.

Once added as friends we noticed her status talking about how she was disapointed she'd missed the kids last week of a school as she was ill. In response to this was a comment made by my childs teacher, publicly slagging off my child. A few hours after becoming friends on Facebook the comment had been deleted and a few hours later the teacher in question had deleted her facebook account.

We had taken a screen shot of the comment and delivered it along with a letter of complaint to both the head teacher and the chair of governors.

That was in the first week of the summer holidays and so it was only responded to today. The response from the school to make the teacher write an apology saying she didn't mean to make the comment and stating how much she had loved teaching our child.

We are, understandable, upset over the publically visable comments made by the teacher in question and to be quite honest don't believe the teacher means one word of her appology for a single minute.

Following the arrival of the appology we have spoken to the chair of governors this morning over the telephone, stating we were unhappy with the way this incident was seemingly being brushed under the carpet with a brief, meaningless appology. His response was a simple "she's appologised and so the matter is closed".

Does anyone have any advice as to what we can do next? Obviously we do not consider the matter closed with a brief, meaningless appology. We have the screen shot of the original comment, plus now, an admission by the teacher that she did write the comments about our child.

A number of friends have suggested we make local and national newspapers aware of the situation. However, really, we'd rather not have our childs name splashed accross every paper in the land.

We are stuck now as to where to take the issue, any suggestions would be welcomed.

Thanks

muddleduck Mon 14-Sep-09 12:23:54

Sorry to hear that you've had such a horrible time.

I'd focus on the outcome. What do you actually want to happen? Then you can go about working out the best course of action. To be honest I'm not quite sure what else you want to happen here.

sweetheart Mon 14-Sep-09 12:25:19

I think before you take any further action you need to consider what you want the outcome to be or how you see this being resolved?

What action did you expect the school to take?

thedolly Mon 14-Sep-09 12:27:02

Forget it and move on.

piprabbit Mon 14-Sep-09 12:29:29

BobGarage,

I understand that you have this situation very upsetting, I'd feel the same way. It is difficult to believe that the apology is as heartfelt as you would like - although the speedy disappearance of the teachers FB account suggests they realised they were in the wrong from the outset.
However, please consider carefully what you hope to achieve by pursuing the matter further. If the apology is not sufficient, what sort of action are you hoping will be taken? A public apology in assembly? The teacher being sacked? The teacher being placed in the stocks and pelted with rotten tomatoes? You need to be clear in your own mind what you expect a reasonable resolution to be.
As you say yourself, there is a good chance that by taking this further, you will actually end up causing additional distress to your child.

I suspect that in your shoes, I would probably walk away with the apology and the moral high ground.

RnB Mon 14-Sep-09 12:30:10

The teacher will be cacking her pants. Let that be enough for you and move on. She won't do it again

OrmIrian Mon 14-Sep-09 12:30:51

Sorry to hear this sad Was you child very upset?

What do you want? Do you really want her to lose her job? She has apologised. You can't make her mean it.

Umlellala Mon 14-Sep-09 12:31:58

Horrible sad

I agree though, what do you want to happen? I'd suggest she is absolutely mortified, and won;t do it again. Your child won't be in her class this year will he (if so, I'd suggest not perhaps... although she'll prob be extra nice to him...)?

Hopefully she has learnt her lesson aand will be careful about what she publishes on the internet too.

jellyhead Mon 14-Sep-09 12:35:19

I would ask if she faces any disciplinary action at the school.
It was a stupid unprofessional immature thing to do .
Nhs staff are facing being sacked for posting pictures of themselves 'lying down'on facebook in a game that is played. Alot of employers take any irresponsible postings on facebook really seriously.
The teacher shows such a complete lack of sense doing that it is incredible and I would be so upset if it had been my child.

Jujubean77 Mon 14-Sep-09 12:41:47

I think you need to leave it now and put it behind you - what more do you want?

Jujubean77 Mon 14-Sep-09 12:42:42

If you push it further you will make school a real battleground for your child.

thedolly Mon 14-Sep-09 12:44:06

Why would the child know anything about it?

I don't understand what is so sad about all of this. It was an indiscreet comment from one colleague to another. The fact that it was swiftly removed would have been enough for me. Anything else just rehashes the initial sentiment which actually is better of brushed under the carpet.

Umlellala Mon 14-Sep-09 12:48:04

Well, I would have hated to read that about my child. But no, the child shouldn't really know about it.

I think if she seems to realise that it was a shitty stupid thing to do then leave it.

Stayingsunnygirl Mon 14-Sep-09 12:50:00

Thinking about what the OP might want to get from taking this matter further, I came up with a couple of options.

One - a face to face meeting with the teacher so that the OP can express how upset they were about the comment, the teacher can apologise properly, and the OP can see that the apology is sincere.

Two - that the teacher should reactivate their facebook account and post an apology - something along the lines of, 'In an early Facebook posting, I made an unpleasant comment about one of my pupils. I am genuinely sorry for that comment and for any distress it caused.' This would mean that the people who saw the initial comment would also get to see the teacher apologise.

jellyhead Mon 14-Sep-09 12:52:13

I think a face to face meeting is a good idea

Umlellala Mon 14-Sep-09 12:56:16

me too

annh Mon 14-Sep-09 13:04:33

You haven't actually indicated what further outcome you hope to have from this situation? What exactly do you want if an apoogy isn't good enough. I know you feel that the apology you have been given is too brief and not heartfelt but why would another apology be better? Also, I think oyu are naive to think that the newspapers will be interested in this single comment about your child. It would need to be a lot more serious before they would run a story on it.

Bucharest Mon 14-Sep-09 13:05:35

I'd bloody well hope she is cacking herself.
I'd want her to get the sack.(and tbh, I'd imagine it to be a sacking offence)
But I'm a revenge kind of girl. I know it doesn't solve anything, t'is just the way I am. You do me wrong, I do you wrong back, but better.
A face to face sounds like one way of obtaining some degree of satisfaction.I can understand the school wanting to move on, particularly as your child has gone to a different school now, but I'd still want my pound of flesh.

buy1get1free Mon 14-Sep-09 13:12:16

Having been through something similar myself at my dc'c school, I would advise you to accept the apology and move on. I went much further than yourselves which led to the dismissal of the teacher concerned and since that day my dc has had noting but a very hard time sad I pushed for her departure and got higher authorities involved - had I known what the outcome was going to be for my dc, I would have let it drop.

buy1get1free Mon 14-Sep-09 13:13:39

Oooops, just noticed your dc has moved on .... I'll take that back then

BobGarage Mon 14-Sep-09 13:32:03

hi,

thanks for everyones responses.

in answer to the (multiple) questions, "what do we want". The honest answer is I have no idea. Something more than a mere written apology. I was sort of hoping someone on here would have prior exierence and say the school should be doing x or y in a situation like this.

Our child doesn't know the comments have been made. They is too young for a facebook account and when we found the comment we decided not to tell them about it.

we have already called the head master to ask for a face to face appology. the head master is out of the school today, so we'll wait to see if he calls back on that one.

OrmIrian Mon 14-Sep-09 13:34:56

If he doesn't know I would personally leave it at that. An apology should surely be to the child, not you?

SomeGuy Mon 14-Sep-09 13:38:52

what did she actually say? This seems like very destructive behaviour on your part. The teacher made a comment she regretted, and took immediate steps to minimise its impact.

I am not sure what more you want.

FacebookIsMyEnemy Mon 14-Sep-09 13:39:23

Op - it must have been horrible to read a horrible comment about your child. Can I ask what the comment was?

But imo there are two issues. The first is that a teacher made a comment about your child. While this is obviously upsetting, realistically no-one can expect that no teacher will never say something bad about a child. The second issue though is that she made the comment on facebook, and this is where the issue lies really isn't it?

The fact remains that the comment was deleted within hours and the account shortly after that. Her indiscretion has been to make the comment on facebook, and she rectified that within hours of doing so.

Had she made numerous comments about numerous children over an ongoing period I could see there being grounds to take the issue further. But one comment which was deleted quickly and for which you have received an apology is not IMO grounds for a sacking/disciplinary, especially given she has now deleted her account altogether.

Given your child has now moved on, I think you should move on as well...

PortAndLemon Mon 14-Sep-09 13:43:08

I don't think there's any point taking what? it further if you don't know what you want to achieve. And no one here can tell you what you want.

You're not satisfied with an apology because you don't believe the teacher means it. Is there anything she could do to convince you that she meant it, or is an apology just never going to satisfy you?

Do you want the teacher sacked? Do you want the school to ban teachers from using FB at all, or to issue stricter guidelines?

If you don't know what you want to achieve, then I'd let it go and accept that the teacher is a bit of an unprofessional git

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