Teachers are increasingly being abused online by their pupils’ parents – with growing numbers forced to endure personal insults, sexual smears and even threats.
New research shows that parents – rather than children – are the driving force behind a sharp rise in the number of teachers complaining of being abused on social media.
The study highlights how parents are using Facebook to post sexist, racist, and homophobic comments about their children’s teachers. Some of the posts falsely accuse school staff of being paedophiles or having sex with pupils. Teachers complain that their appearance, competence and sexuality are regularly mocked online by parents.
Many schools are reluctant to take action to halt the abuse for fear of further provoking the parents, it is claimed. The results of the survey by the teaching union the NASUWT will increase fears that teachers are facing increasingly unbearable pressures.
Most of the rise appeared to be due to an increase in the number of parents abusing teachers online; 40 per cent of teachers reported abuse from parents in the past year, compared with 27 per cent in 2014.
Over a third of teachers had videos or photos taken of them without consent and posted online by pupils, compared with 26 per cent in 2014, and 15 per cent had threats made against them by a parent. The overwhelming majority of comments were posted by secondary pupils, mainly on Facebook.
While the vast majority of teachers did report the abuse from pupils or parents to their employer, the social network or the police, the study found that little was done.