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Paul Sakuma/AP
Bullying

28 students suspended for 'Liking' explicit post about teacher

A Co Limerick school has suspended 28 students after liking a Facebook update referring to a teacher’s personal life.

A SECONDARY SCHOOL in Co Limerick has suspended 28 students after they ‘Liked’ an update on Facebook containing an explicit reference to one of its teachers.

Colaiste Chiaráin in Croom suspended each of the students for two days after they pressed the ‘Like’ button under an image, which included explicit comments about one of the schoolteachers’ private lives.

The image was posted by an administrator of a page, who could not be identified – but the discovery of the offending item by school authorities led to the decision to suspend each of the students who had endorsed the content by pressing the thumbs-up icon underneath it.

School principal Noel Malone told the Limerick Leader that the offending content was a breach of its acceptable usage and anti-bullying policies.

“It is a highly sensitive matter,” Malone said, claiming that both parents and senior management of the school had been “very supportive” of the decision to suspend the students who had ‘Liked’ the post.

“If it was their child or themselves, they would expect the school to act swiftly and fairly when it comes to something like this,” he added.

The Limerick Leader said some of the students were suspended for two days last week, while others served their suspensions yesterday and today as they were outside the school on work experience last week.

The Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland said it would not comment on individual schools, but said it was “vital that students understand there are boundaries in relation to what they can post about any individual (including their teachers) on these platforms”.

“Material which constitutes malicious gossip, harassment, humiliation or defamation can have a serious  impact on a teacher and potentially serious repercussions for students,” said spokeswoman Gemma Tuffy, who pointed out that anti-bullying policies existed to protect staff as well as students.

“Schools must make it clear to students that unacceptable material may be traced back to the perpetrator, even if posted anonymously.”

Read: Rabbitte: ‘Bullying didn’t come in with the advent of the internet’

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