Pupils’ robbery film puts teacher on sick leave

Sites like Facebook are used in cyber bullying. Picture: Getty
Sites like Facebook are used in cyber bullying. Picture: Getty
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A TEACHER from the Lothians has been driven to take extended sick leave after mocked-up CCTV footage which showed him taking part in a violent robbery was spread online.

The incident is one of the latest examples of a growing wave of cyber-bully attacks on teaching staff by pupils and their parents, union bosses have warned.

Leaders of the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA) confirmed they were aware of “at least” ten cases of cyber-bullying in Edinburgh and the Lothians, but said this was the “tip of the iceberg” as opportunities for abuse had grown with increased use of smartphones and tablets.

Threats of violence posted on social media sites and false Facebook pages detailing illegal sexual acts committed by teachers were among the reported attacks.

Margaret Smith, who has just stood down as SSTA president, said: “I know of at least ten cases in Edinburgh and the Lothians of varying degrees of severity.

“These range from parents saying they’re going to have a person’s job, to one case I know of in Edinburgh where a false Facebook page was created showing a teacher engaging in all sorts of nefarious sexual activity with under-age pupils of both sexes.

“I am also aware of one teacher in the EH area who has been off work for a 
considerable length of time after being targeted in a 
particularly sophisticated attack, where the bullies obtained CCTV of a violent robbery and substituted the teacher’s head with that of one of the perpetrators.”

Ms Smith warned that the health consequences of such attacks could be severe and said the level of humiliation suffered was so high that ­victims were afraid to talk ­publicly.

“After I gave a speech on this issue at the recent SSTA congress, lots of people came up to me afterwards to say they were glad I’d raised it because it had happened to them or a friend of theirs,” she said.

“There has to be support for teachers and recognition that they are the victims.

“They should not be expected to face pupils involved in that sort of abuse, for 
whom exclusion should be an option.”

A city council spokesman said: “Threats, intimidation and harassment of teaching staff will not be tolerated in any shape or form.

“We will take the strongest possible action against anyone committing these offences.”

Scottish Government officials said they planned to introduce measures to address cyber-bullying.