Should the Times Educational Supplement allow teachers to cyber bully pupils?

Probably not a question you have ever asked yourself.    I certainly hadn’t.   Until today when I saw this link tweeted by @lagosmum.  Please take five minutes to read it:

The blog belongs to @clairelouise82, a mum of  three, one with Aspergers.   Though actually this is not an issue relating to Aspergers.  It is relevant to all of us as parents.

I read that post and was utterly appalled.  I tweeted @lagosmum saying I wanted to do something and then searched on Google for The Times Educational Supplement.   Lo and behold they are indeed on Twitter as @tesconnect and @timesed.

So I sent them a tweet:

Mummybarrow:  @timesed Wondered if you might like to comment on (link as above).  Why has this thread not been removed? 

TESconnect:  @mummybarrow  Thank you for bringing this to our attention – we have now removed this thread from our forums.

Hoorah.  Quite right.

Then I got this:

Timesed:  @mummybarrow  We’re sorry you’re offended, but our website is for teachers — a place they can blow off steam providing they don’t ID anyone.

Timesed:  @mummybarrow  Clearly we wouldnt defend every comment.   But if teachers defuse a situation with a joke it’s better than disciplinary action.


“A joke”?  Is this a joke:

Imagine that was your child.   Do you like to think that when you drop your child at the school gates the teacher might go home that evening and write about them on a public forum in that way?

I am not saying that our children are angels but do they deserve this?  Is it appropriate for a teacher to see a public forum as a place to vent?  And this is a public forum.  It is open to all who wish to join, not just teachers.   Shouldn’t they moan to a partner or friend over a glass of wine, in private?

Teachers who have trained and chosen to go into this profession.

I am confused as to why a thread that has stood on that website for over three years has been removed the minute I brought it to their attention and yet ten minutes later they are defending its existence.

Which is it?

From the responses I have had to this Twitter conversation this afternoon I am not alone in my feelings of revulsion to the TES stance.

I have friends who are teachers and I cannot imagine them logging on to this website and posting about a pupil in such a way.  If they did I think I would have to question our friendship.

I would really welcome your thoughts on this, please do leave me a comment below.



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  • As you know, I was disgusted by what I had read and then quite impressed that TES had removed it so promptly without any fuss. But then WHY would they defend themselves? In fact, it is not themselves they are defending, but the teachers who have posted their comments. They should not be supporting or defending these people-they are not teachers. Teachers do not call their students names, make them feel ‘small’ or humiliate them. Diffusing a situation with a joke? I’m sure as hell the student doesn’t think it’s funny. If their behaviour is that bad, then maybe disciplinary action would be better than making ‘jokes’? It doesn’t matter if they were venting or sharing, or whatever. Or even how old the student is. And it doesn’t matter who they talk to. The problem is that they are educating children and no child deserves to be spoken to or treated in such a manner.

  • Spot on – teachers can moan at home to the significant other like the rest of us. Never on a public forum.

  • I have used the TES website in my previous existence as a teacher but am disgusted with this. Firstly that teachers are posting it like you say why not talk about over a glass of wine with friends etc… but posting on a public forum where anyone can read it and secondly that a teacher could act like this – I spent years training to be a teacher and at all points then and since I have had moments where I am pushed to the edge by pupils behaviour but I am the adult and the professional and never ever over step the mark – the students need a role model that can show them what should be done and not be on the same level as them.

  • Whilst I can understand the frustration of some teachers and can even understand them wanting to vent at home after a particularly trying day at work, I just simply cannot get my head around them posting it publicly or the use of the word retard in public or in private at any time. I think it’s that that is more upsetting and vile.
    Absolutely disgusting, am horrified that anyone would use this as an insult.

  • Another Horrfied mums of twins one of whom has complex Special Needs

    There is NO PLACE for THE WORD RETARD EVER !!!! FULL STOP and for the Times to pass ir off as a Joke unbelievable !!!!!!

    Horrified Surrey Mother .

  • Hi

    I am horrified by what has been said, as a teacher I am mortified that another professional could behave like that and then boast about it on a public forum. I also know how easy it is to forget how public these forums are, I was being bullied by other professionals which effected my mental health and still does to this day, I vented on a forum and was caught out by my boss, matters became significantly worse for me after that and I doubt eventhough I was good at what I did that I will ever recover.

  • I am absolutely gobsmacked/horrified/disgusted and lots of other words! Teachers should never be proud of behaving in this way and absolutely never defended for it! How do they expect that boys (and lots of others) behaviour to improve if his teachers behave in the same way that he does, surely all that is going to teach him is that his authority figures feel that’s an acceptable way to behave and treat others.

    Lil man has just started pre-school and while I’m absolutely sure that all his current teachers will set him a good example, I am already worrying about high school, maybe it’s time to look at home schooling!!

  • As a teacher I am outraged that a fellow colleague could write such awful things about one of their pupils. There is never a need to call any child or adult a retard. This makes my blood boil as a teacher should never ever disrespect a child. As a teacher you are meant to instill values and all this teacher has done is cement in this child’s mind they are worthless and this cycle will continue. I am truly angered by this and I think it should be removed.

  • i have just read the thread and i am truly discusted, its left me worried to evan send my child to school as i know my son isnt the easiest child at times but i would never expect him to be subjected to abuse like this from the teachers, im very gratefull to the woman responsible for exposeing this for us mums to see… I think there should be stricter guidelines when assesing teachers for the job especially when working with our young children while they are at such an impressionable age and the teachers play a big part in a childs confidence as they spend roughly 30 hours a week with our children, a childs confidence should never be knocked by a teacher….. this whole thing to me is just absolutely SHOCKING!!!!