Beware social media the printed page!
… during a hearing at Hull Magistrates’ Court yesterday, it emerged Miss Roberts and former head teacher Debbie Johnson – who was also accused of being involved in the conversation – had been cleared of any wrongdoing during an investigation by Hull City Council.
Yes, this is the now-infamous case we noted here. The original story turns out not to have been one of ‘that scurrilous social media’ after all, more one of ‘those thick and inbred (but cunning) Hull parents’…
The court heard the online exchange, which had been put up on sheets of paper outside the school, was found to be extracts from two different conversations cut and pasted together.
Puts rather a different complexion on things, doesn’t it?
It doesn’t excuse her subsequent actions, though:
At the time, the city council refused to reveal the outcomeof the internal inquiry, except to confirm both teachers had resigned.Miss Roberts was yesterday fined £250 after admitting ordering DNA and chlamydia testing kits be sent to the homes of people she believed were responsible for the fake Facebook conversation.
But wait! She’s a victim, really she is:
Now, for the first time, she has revealed how the events of the past few months have taken a toll on her health, leaving her depressed, suffering panic attacks and seeking counselling.”I have psychologically blocked a lot out,” Miss Roberts told the Mail.
“I mentally shut down. At times I did not want to get out of bed.
“It was that desperate.
It was very hard and psychologically draining. It was so traumatic to be accused of insulting children you feel fondly for.
“To this day I still have a great fondness for them. I taught them for a year-and-a-half.
“To be wrongly accused of anything is awful but to be wrongly accused of insulting children was awful when that is just not in your heart.
“The conversation was harmless banter, friendly banter over rugby.”
So…if you knew you were in the right, why resign?
“It was with a heavy heart,” said Miss Roberts.”I was considered a good and outstanding teacher so to leave under these circumstances was very, very hard.”
You were considered a ‘good and outstanding teacher’?
You know…I find that the saddest thing of all.
Where’s the robust, coherent defence of her corner? Or even the dignified silence?
Instead, she reacts like a sulky teenager, plotting some sort of pathetic childish revenge on those she feels have wronged her…
She says she snapped and in a moment of madness broke the law by maliciously sending the testing kits to members of staff at the east Hull school, as well as a parent.”I was desperate and at the end of my tether,” she said.
“What more did people want from us?
“Short of us taking our own lives, what more could we give? That’s how we felt.
“What I did was a mistake, I’m happy to admit that. It was out of character and the actions of someone who was not in the right frame of mind.
“It is a tragic set of circumstances which has led to it taking a year for the truth.
“Now I have a criminal record.“
Yes. Because you broke the law.
It’s a very unedifying story, with no clear winners or real out-and-out villains, and certainly no heroes.
What it does show, clearly, is just how tawdry and pathetic so many of these local newspaper stories really are, and (once again) just how lacking in maturity and judgement and dignity so many people are, even in once-respected professions like teaching.