Teachers being subjected to 'appalling levels of abuse' on social media
TEACHERS across Northern Ireland are being subjected to "appalling levels of abuse" on social media, according to a union.
The Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) said false accusations, sexual comments, images and bullying were among the forms of abuse faced by members from parents and pupils.
The union said it receives a "shocking" number of calls from teachers being subjected to social media abuse through group messaging or comments on online posts.
Speaking at its northern conference in Belfast, Paul Groogan from the INTO said there is currently no agreement in place between employers and unions to support teachers.
"Our office is taking calls from teachers and principals who are desperately seeking support in how best to deal with barrages of comments which are critical of their professionalism," he said.
"These professionals are the topic of group chats, mostly among parents, which is shocking in itself.
"They believe these chats are blackening their character, lowering their self esteem and causing an unwarranted level of additional stress.
"It is our job, as Ireland's largest teachers' union, and also the job of employers, to put a halt to this which is why we are working towards a social media agreement between employers and unions.
"There needs to be an agreed document with the employers which holds all parties to account, be that parents, pupils or other teachers engaging in such abuse online.
"By doing this we are striving to ensure teachers are properly protected from social media abuse. This is a major concern and it must be dealt with."