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Parents targeting teachers with online abuse, union finds

Parents and students are increasingly targeting teachers with racist, sexist, homophobic and abusive comments on social media, according to research by the NASUWT teaching union.

A survey found that 60 per cent of almost 1,500 respondents had been victims of negative comments online, up from 21 per cent last year.

And there had been a "significant" rise in comments made by parents, the union said, with the proportion of teachers who had been abused online by parents at 40 per cent, up from 27 per cent last year.

Teachers had also had false allegations and malicious slurs targeted at them, the poll showed. It follows a similar survey by the ATL teaching union last week that showed a rise in false accusations

One teacher said a fake Facebook account had been set up in their name by Year 11 students. “Sexually inappropriate conversations were posted by someone pretending to be me,” they said.

One teacher said examples of abuse included “how I looked, the size of my nose, that I was ugly, that my husband could do better than me.”

One teacher said they had been called “useless” and an “old fart”.

In one case, a parent said that a teacher could “shove his teaching methods up his f****** arse”.  

Some 34 per cent of teachers had videos or photos taken of them without consent and posted online by pupils, compared with 26 per cent in 2014.

For those incidents where a pupil was responsible and had been reported to the headteacher, 42 per cent said no action had been taken against the young person.

However, where incidents involving pupils were reported to the police, the proportion where action was taken had increased to 30 per cent, up from 23 per cent in 2014.

One teacher responding to the survey said they had not reported comments because they did not want to “inflame” the situation. Another said they did not believe their school would “care or be supportive”.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “It is deeply worrying to see that the abuse of teachers has risen by such a huge margin this year.

“Equally concerning is that it appears that more parents are the perpetrators of the abuse. The vile, insulting and personal comments are taking their toll on teachers’ health and well-being and undermining their confidence to do their job.” 

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