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Omagh teacher speaks out on social media abuse

TEACHERS across the North have become the target of an “appalling” level of social media abuse, according to a local representative of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO).

This issue is causing an unwarranted level of additional stress to teachers who are being personally targeted by the false accusations, photographs and sexual comments posted online.

However it is not just students who are culpable for these cruel and derogatory comments, as incidents involving parents have also been detected.

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Omagh teacher Paul Groogan, a trade union official with the INTO said, “We have graphic images posted of teachers superimposed on them and we have a form of bullying going on where parents are putting together Watsapp groups against individual teachers or principals.

“It’s a very stressful and very intimating thing for someone to get their name posted up on social media regardless of what their job is, and to have to face these accusations. It really has to stop.”

The INTO – which is the largest teachers union in the North with over 7,000 members – receives complaints of this nature on a weekly basis but there is currently no policy in place with employers to tackle the issue.

Mr Groogan, a teacher at Holy Family Primary School in Omagh, said an agreement between
employers and unions must be put in place urgently to help support staff.

Until then, he urges parents to use the correct complaints procedures set out by their schools.

“That is the problem with social media platforms, there is no legislation monitoring them, there’s nothing put in place,” continued Mr Groogan.

“It is despicable and I would be appealing to parents to follow the proper procedures in schools.
“There’s no need to put things up on social media platforms.”

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