Social media defamation and complaints

Negative comments, criticism and defamation on social media can be a nightmare for schools to handle. We can be alongside you, providing specialist advice to guide you through the situation.

Polly Kerr, Cambridge
Polly Kerr, family and school specialist in Royston

People complaining about teachers and schools on social media is a tricky one for schools to navigate. It can cause great upset to individual teachers and given the public nature of the criticism, the spin-offs with pupils and other parents and colleagues can compound the problems.

Our services

We can help you with:

  • Putting in place a robust complaints procedure 
  • advising whether the comments are defamatory
  • deciding whether and how to respond.

How should schools handle online abuse against staff?

A press release from the Department for Education in 2014 stated that reports show that 1 in 5 teachers face online abuse from pupils or parents. Schools should provide training to teachers as part of providing a safe working environment. Here are some guidelines:

  • do not respond online
  • turn off the social media comments function to prevent further comments
  • report incidents to a line manager or senior member of staff
  • keep a screenshot as evidence
  • if it’s from a parent, ask them to remove the comment and use the complaints procedure; also invite them to come in for a meeting, if appropriate
  • try asking the social media network to take it down, if that fits with their policy
  • some posts are serious enough to be referred to the police
  • provide training for teachers and office staff on handling aggressive people

The Department for Education provides useful guidelines: dealing with bullying advice.

We’re here to help

You’ll find our team of education lawyers friendly and easy to talk to and we understand the ins-and-outs of education law. 

Our education law team is based in:

Cambridgeshire: Cambridge

Essex: BrentwoodChelmsford, and Saffron Walden

Hertfordshire: Bishop's Stortford and Royston 

But we can help you wherever you are in England and Wales.

Call our specialist education solicitors on 0808 231 1320

Make an enquiry today

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