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Headteacher warns parents over comments on social media

By Sue Austin | Chirk | Education | Published:

Parents have been urged not to post malicious comments about a school or its staff on social media.

Ysgol y Waun in Chirk. Photo: Google StreetView.

The headteacher of Ysgol y Waun in Chirk has warned that he will take “appropriate legal action” should more negative or derogatory comments be posted online.

Parents at the school have been sent letters from headteacher John Roberts saying there have been negative comments about the school or staff posted on Facebook and other social networking sites.

Mr Roberts has asked parents to refrain from posting malicious or derogatory comments and has warned that if it continues he will liaise with Wrexham Council’s solicitors so that appropriate legal action can be taken.

The letter which has itself been posted on Facebook by some of the recipients, asks parents to reply to acknowledge its receipt.

In it Mr Roberts says that a ‘very small’ number of parents or carers from school have been posting negative comments about the school and/or staff on social networking sites.

“It is a source of great concern to all staff and the governing body because the school truly has an open door policy,” he says.

“Writing a letter of this nature is most disappointing but it has been necessary for me to do so to safeguard pupils, responsible parents, the staff and the school.

“When any derogatory or malicious comments about the school are posted on websites by parents this will be reported to me. I will liaise with the county council’s solicitors so that appropriate legal action can be taken.”

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The letter has been posted on Facebook leading to comments from parents and others, some saying people should be able to voice their opinion while others have pointed out that comments can be libellous.

Speaking about the decision to send the letter, Mr Roberts said: “We have had an overwhelmingly positive response from parents.

“Our letter, quite simply asked parents to sign an acknowledgement slip – stating their agreement with some basic principles outlined within the letter itself.

“I would encourage parents to make an appointment to come into school to discuss their concerns with members of staff – with this approach we can resolve issues quickly and effectively.

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“Parents and members of the wider community may be under the impression that headteachers/senior leaders work alone and yet this couldn’t be further from the truth. Headteachers share good practice regularly at cluster meetings, local authority meetings and forum meetings.

“By signing our letter parents are not entering into any form of contract. They are simply showing their agreement to a set of basic principles that encourage all of us to use social media to promote positive relationships within our school community.”

Two parents from other schools, including an un-named school in Shrewsbury, said they too had received similar letters.

Chris Mathews, Shropshire Council’s commissioner for education improvement and efficiency, said: “Headteachers may have written to parents and carers regarding these matters but Shropshire Council would not necessarily expect to be copied into such communications. Headteachers may also have sought advice from their professional associations.”

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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