Social Media And Schools In The Spotlight Again

January 18, 2012 12 Comments
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Sixth-form union members are to meet with one of Peterborough’s top education chiefs after expressing concern over the suspension of two students for comments made on Twitter.

Oh? And what sort of comments?

Stanground College punished two of its pupils in December after they posted comments on the social networking site.One of the students, Chloe Fuller (15) sent a Tweet about an altercation between a Year 7 pupil and a teacher on December 9 which led to a police response.

This is the ‘altercation’ in question:

The incident happened at the school, in Peterborough Road, Stanground, at about 12.30pm.A police spokesman said they had been called by staff at the school because of a Year 7 pupil acting in a “rowdy and disorderly” way.

The spokesman said: “We were called by staff at 12.32pm, to try and calm a situation at the school down.

“There was a Year 7 pupil who had been in an altercation with a teacher.

“There was no arrests that were made and no-one was injured. Only one officer attended the scene.

“The boy was being rowdy and disorderly but had already calmed down and was in a classroom by the time the officer arrived.

“He was then taken home by his father. The officer didn’t actually have to take any action in the end and the incident was over by 1.40pm, when the boy left. It is very rare for us to be called to a school for an incident like this.”

Is it really? Judging from the comments at Insp. Gadget’s blog, they are often called to stuff like this.

A spokeswoman for Peterborough City Council said: “There was an incident during the lunchtime period which was quickly resolved.“Lessons went ahead as usual during the afternoon.”

Other students weren’t so blasé…

A parent of two pupils at the school said one of his daughters had contacted himabout the incident.He said: “My daughter phoned me up and said she was very scared about what was going on.

“She said a boy in the first year of the school had been involved in an incident with a teacher and then ran out of the room.”

So, what did this student send on Twitter that so horrified the management?

Chloe’s Tweet, posted moments after the altercation, read: “Lunchtimes are never dull at Stanground College! The funniest chase I have ever seen!”.Chloe was excluded after being told by the college that the content of the posting had “brought the school into disrepute”.

Strange! I can’t see that it did.

And they don’t seem to know how either:

The college would not comment when asked how Chloe’s Tweet had brought the school into disrepute.

What about the other Tweet?

However, the college did say that the Tweet about the school by the sixth former, who was excluded for two days, contained a “highly offensive” swear word.Principal Alison Story said: “The exclusion was for this reason and was not connected with the incident at the college.

The student’s family has worked closely with the college and supported the action taken and the student has agreed to not post derogatory comments in the future.”

Good little drones they are raising at that school! I’d have told them what I did in my own free time and not on school property was no business of theirs!

But, what of the incident that caused the issues in the first place?

Stanground College would not comment further on the punishment received by the Year 7 student who had the altercation with the teacher.

The college don’t like to say much, do they? Perhaps that’s why they worry so much about clamping down on others free speech..?

Anyone else wondering just how these Tweets came to their attention in the first place? Is someone monitoring all communication on behalf of the college?

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12 Responses to Social Media And Schools In The Spotlight Again

  1. January 18, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I’d have told them what I did in my own free time and not on school property was no business of theirs!

    This being the appropriate response. Schools and businesses are getting far too fond of poking about in affairs that are none of their business, frankly.

  2. January 18, 2012 at 11:37 am

    All organizations think they “own” people these days.

    • January 18, 2012 at 11:46 am

      And they need to be reminded sharply and repeatedly if necessary, that they do not.

      • January 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm

        They have us by the short and curlies though LR.

        • January 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm

          Not necessarily. My employer has a policy that says I can’t talk about them. I have, though. I’ve just been careful. Pseudonymous posting also helps as does being fairly general in one’s comments.

  3. Tattyfalarr
    January 18, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Two whole press articles, lots of comments by various people, tweets and internet blogs. All about “something” that no one…not directly involved and merely reading about it…has a frickin’ clue.

    Absolutely Outstanding ! The Ministry Of Truth would like to offer you all a job. ;)

  4. mikebravo
    January 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Will not be long before we have plod in our schools like the land of the free.
    Then they can arrest these unruly pupils on the spot like last weeks report of a girl being carted off in Texas for putting on perfume in class (after being called “smelly” by other pupils).

    head in hands.

  5. Dave G
    January 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that there is ‘sniffer’ software that enables the user to filter for known phrases and words and flag all occurences. The Government has it, why not their departments?
    What we need is a concerted swamping of the sites in question by ALL the pupils – plus any interested (or mischevious!) concerns – to make the schools position untenable. They can’t suspend EVERYONE! Although I’m sure they’d try…..
    So-called authority figures like this school are the real bullies when they can ‘pick on’ someone like this.
    By their own actions they bring themselves into disrepute and ‘class action’ is a way to illustrate this point.

    • January 19, 2012 at 9:40 am

      You make a valid point about disrepute. We see it elsewhere. Usually in sport where people are accused of bringing the game into disrepute, when, in fact, it is the absurd over the top reaction to a minor offence that does the damage rather than the original infraction that otherwise would have gone unregarded. This school’s behaviour is disreputable, the pupil’s original tweet was innocuous.

  6. Tattyfalarr
    January 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Will not be long before we have plod in our schools

    We already have under the Safer Schools Partnership. According to official figures on the government justice website there are 450 police officers currently permanently based in UK schools. My son’s (single sex) secondary school officer has been there since 2006.

    Oddly enough my daughter’s (also single sex) secondary school…a quarter of a mile up the same road…doesn’t. Make of that what you will.

  7. julie fuller
    January 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Hi,Everyone

    I am mum to chloe who the story is about, and we very much appreciate peoples support on this matter as our fight continues to have this exclusion removed from my daughters school records.

    Chloes comment (tweet) could of meant a number of things to anybody who read it at the time, we feel that in no way did this comment bring stanground college into disrepute,which was the reason given for the exclusion.

    Stanground college are bringing themselves into disrepute for allowing this saga to continue,when asked by myself and a local reporter as to how chloes comment did as they acused,they choose not to comment….why is this i ask ??

    As a family, we will take this matter as far as we can to have this exclusin removed from my daughters records,in the meantime we are awaiting a response from stanground college in regard to a appeal, i will not let them use my daughter as a scape goat which is what they have done.
    We are very gratefull for all positive support, thankyou . ;-)

    • January 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      Chloes comment (tweet) could of meant a number of things to anybody who read it at the time, we feel that in no way did this comment bring stanground college into disrepute,which was the reason given for the exclusion.

      Quite right. As reported, the comment was innocuous and the sort of thing anyone might say. The college brought itself into disrepute here. And, frankly, it cannot be stressed enough, what we say in our own time is nothing to do with places of work or education providing there is no libel involved. There wasn’t in this case, so the suspension was inappropriate and the negative publicity entirely the responsibility of the college.

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