High school teachers are increasingly exposed to online abuse on social media platforms, such as tick tock and Instagram.
Now they are calling for tougher action by the Department of Education to ensure the problem is effectively addressed.
The subject will be raised at this week’s Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) annual conference.
A motion for debate points to the “continuing attacks on teachers, physically, verbally and online” and calls for a review of department policies “to ensure the protection of teachers within the framework of health and safety legislation.”
Adrieanne Healy, a teacher at St Dominic’s, Cabra, Dublin, said online bullying and harassment of teachers is a growing problem, often through the use of fake accounts. She said teachers can be attacked professionally and “there’s all kinds of sexual harassment and things like pictures of teachers’ heads put on other bodies. You feel very vulnerable.”
Ms Healy, a maths, science and biology teacher and a member of ASTI’s standing committee, said the frequency with which the topic has been raised in this forum is “incredible”.
She said one problem is schools’ lack of uniformity in dealing with complaints, as “some teachers are given full support while other teachers are left in the lurch”.
She is also concerned that teachers who have been victims of online bullying are not entitled to physical abuse leave, as this only applies if the physical assault has occurred in the course of a teacher’s job.
It’s not just teachers who are campaigning for better protections against students’ inappropriate social media behavior towards teachers.
A few months ago, the Joint Management Body (JMB), which represents about half of the country’s secondary schools, wrote to the Ministry of Education to take action. It followed a significant number of reports of explicit, offensive and harmful videos on social media, particularly on TikTok.
It said the videos typically linked to the school or individual teachers through a variety of online accounts.
The JMB conveyed “serious concerns” to the department and TikTok about “the very adverse impact this has had on many schools, particularly on teacher well-being and administrative time.”
It called for accelerated means for schools to be able to report issues on social media so the process is as straightforward and effective as possible. It wants social media organizations to be more responsive in terms of the speed and efficiency with which concerns are addressed.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/you-feel-vulnerable-teachers-face-growing-issue-of-online-abuse-from-students-41562297.html ‘You feel vulnerable’ – Teachers face a growing problem of online abuse by students