Web abuse of teachers should be crime

A TEACHING union has called for pupils to face criminal charges for abusing their teachers on the internet.The Suffolk branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) likened the comments posted on websites, internet chatrooms and blogs to a physical assault in the classroom.

A TEACHING union has called for pupils to face criminal charges for abusing their teachers on the internet.

The Suffolk branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) likened the comments posted on websites, internet chatrooms and blogs to a physical assault in the classroom.

Examples of the abuse in Suffolk include homophobic comments, profanities and false allegations against clearly identified teachers. The NUT in Suffolk is now drawing up guidance with its legal advisers on how to deal with the incidents and will soon be sending it out to schools in the county.

Suffolk county secretary Martin Goold said there were currently isolated incidents but around six schools were experiencing a “serious problem”.

He said: “I think pupils are looking at it mainly as a lark and a joke and are not realising that it is extremely serious behaviour for a child and the school has to take action.”

Mr Goold said the pupils could face action for libel or harassment and said the problem websites were those where comments were not subject to a time delay nor vetted.

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The advice drawn up by the Suffolk branch is now being considered by the NUT's legal department and will go before the next branch meeting on June 28.

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