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Help & Information

Information for School Staff

Harassment and bullying for school staff at work is totally unacceptable and requires immediate, firm action by employers, employees, and trade unions.

It can result in difficult working conditions, undermine health and safety, and produce feelings of isolation, despair and even fear. In extreme circumstances, it can lead to school staff leaving a workplace or even leaving the profession altogether.

Bullying of school staff can take place by senior management, colleagues, governors, parents and even pupils and in some cases, the bullying may overlap.

According to the NUC, some forms of bullying and harassment are perceived by staff to be difficult to challenge and harder to report because of the acceptance of some forms of bullying behaviour as ‘normal’, such as sexual harassment of female staff by pupils. For example, women teachers commonly report that they are encouraged to ignore sexist language and the sexist or sexual content of language between pupils or directed at them because “boys will be boys” or because “it’s a joke”. This is totally unacceptable, and all forms of harassment and bullying behaviour needs to be reported and dealt with immediately.

For some school staff, pupils have also targeted their teachers and other teaching professionals online, creating online posts that ridicule, harass, or otherwise bully staff on social media sites, such as TikTok and Instagram.

In a recent report by Ineqe, ‘The nature of these posts includes photographs of staff taken by students using their mobile phones or harvested from the personal social media profiles of staff.  Some include defamatory comments and serious allegations about the staff members, others include videos that mock or criticise them, and some expose personal information.

It is worthy of note that posts in some cases reflect online sexual harassment, through the usage of sexualised commentary and inappropriate/illegal photography, such as ‘upskirting’ photos.

Posts such as these may be seen by the student as a ‘joke’ or ‘prank’, but the consequences. For those who are harassed or bullied, the high levels of stress and anxiety actions like this can cause, may lead to long term mental health issues and for the perpetrator, posts that contain criminal content could result in legal action and negatively impact on their education and future life choices.

 

For School Staff experiencing harassment and bullying online:

  • Don’t respond to any online bullying behaviour. Take screen shots as evidence, making sure to include usernames.
  • Speak to your manager as soon as possible and report the incidents to the platform.
  • Speak to the child’s parents and explain what has been going on.
  • Check the existing school behavioural policies to establish next steps. Ask for further support from your school or contact the Professionals Online Safety Helpline.

You should consider reporting to Police when:

  • Cases involve aggravating factors, including threats, hate crimes, allegations of abuse or sexualised harassment and ‘upskirting’
  • The bullying or harassment is impacting your wellbeing, reputation or working relationships.
  • The abuse is persistent, anonymous and is not being removed by the platform.

Even if members of School Staff have not been affected by online bullying and harassment, it is important that all schools take action by:

  • Ensuring all school staff have stringent privacy settings on social media sites and are checking these settings regularly.
  • Re-visiting school policies and making sure they have clear and effective procedures for dealing with such incidents, including the use of camera phones to take photos of school staff inside the classroom and on school grounds.
  • Making all school staff aware of the process they should follow if they are bullied or harassed by students (or anyone else within the school) and how to access support.
  • Clarifying expectations on behaviour and conduct at school as it relates to students, teachers, images, and the use of mobile phones at school.
  • Regularly delivering appropriate training to students, parents and all school staff that covers E-Safety (including social media use). Ensure everyone is aware of what will happen should things go wrong.

BulliesOut have a free e-mentoring service for anyone wishing to communicate by email to one of our trained counsellors or mentors. Click here to access the service.

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Need to talk?

If you are being bullied or are concerned about someone who is, you can receive help and support from one of our trained Mentors through our e-mentoring service.

If you would like a Mentor to email you, please contact: mentorsonline@bulliesout.com

If you would rather speak to someone over the telephone, you can call Childline on: 0800 1111

For any community-related issues, such as anti-social behaviour, we would suggest contacting your landlord, the local police or your local environmental health department (where applicable), as we are unable to deal with these types of complaints.