St Neots schools get tough on abusive messages on Facebook

SCHOOLS are getting tough on �parents who leave abusive messages about teachers on Facebook – even �threatening to report the matter to the police.

Crosshall Junior School, in Great North Road, Eaton Ford, looks to be the first in Huntingdonshire to send an e-mail to �parents stating that derogatory remarks about the school and staff would not be tolerated on social networking sites.

A parent with two children at the school, who wished to remain anonymous, said the letter followed parents’ complaints on �Facebook about another letter from the school asking children to conform to its �uniform rules.

She said: “One of the comments was ‘How can they complain about pupils not adhering to the uniform when some of the teachers dress up like slappers’.”

The letter was drafted and agreed with the St Neots Schools Forum, a body that includes the majority of the town’s schools, and asked parents to avoid using social �networks for their concerns and instead to use the schools’ formal and informal �procedures to register complaints.

The letter stated: “Any comments on any social networking sites that disparage any member of staff in his/her professional capacity or expose them to ridicule, will be taken seriously and referred to the police, who could take action.”

The parent said: “They are trying to restrict our freedom by threatening us with police action.

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“Perhaps the people should stop writing about the school but this is not the way to stop them.

“I have spoken to parents from other schools, but no one else seems to have got a letter, just us.”

A Crosshall spokesman said: “We sent out the letter as agreed in the schools forum. I’m not sure why we seem to be the only school to have sent out the letter. I don’t know if there was a timescale and we were quickest.”

A spokeswoman for the schools forum said the letter was something that some of the schools’ headteachers had asked for and was the “weaker” of two letters which had been prepared.

She said: “People leaving messages on Facebook is an ongoing problem facing schools. They wanted to pre-empt the problem.”