Union calls for school staff to be protected from cyberbullying
A teachers' union has called for school staff, as well as pupils, to be protected from cyberbullying under new legislation.
The government today launched a new scheme aimed at protecting pupils from bullying via mobile phones, the internet and email, or 'cyberbullying', after finding that up to one in five pupils is being bullied this way.
However NASUWT, the UK's largest teachers' and headteachers' union, has called for the guidelines to apply to school staff as well, due to increasing reports of staff being harassed by pupils using these methods.
"Cyberbullying and harassment, whether of pupils or staff, is unacceptable and should be met with zero tolerance. It can destroy health and careers," said general secretary of NASUWT, Chris Keates.
"Too often when challenged about their children's inappropriate use of technology, parents regard it as harmless fun or claim that it is nothing to do with the school because home computers and e-mails were used."
The provision in the Education and Inspection bill which gives schools the power to discipline pupils for incidents off site would help with tackling the problem, the union said.
The union advised schools to ensure that cyberbullying was mentioned explicitly in their discipline policies, making it clear that a zero tolerance approach would be taken.