Anger at anti-headteacher Facebook hate group

A TEACHING union has called for greater control over social networking sites after more than 300 youngsters joined a group set-up to criticise an Essex headteacher.

James Hore

A TEACHING union has called for greater control over social networking sites after more than 300 youngsters joined a group set-up to criticise an Essex headteacher.

Hundreds of pupils from the Colne Community School and College in Brightlingsea were in a Facebook group calling for the principle, Nardeep Sharma, to leave.

Many of the comments on the site's message board were highly abusive about Mr Sharma who took over from Terry Creissen in 2007.


You may also want to watch:


The site, which featured a picture of Mr Sharma and has since been shut down, stated: “If you have an issue with Nardeep Sharma then voice it here!

“We have a right to free speach! and lets just watch them try to hold us back! [sic]

Most Read

“If every pupil joins this group then what are they going to do expell the whole school?” [sic]

Yesterday the group had 314 members and abusive comments about other teachers in the school had been added, but when the EADT contacted Facebook for a comment, they decided to close the site.

Jerry Glazier, general secretary of the Essex National Union of Teachers, said a balance needed to be found to prevent staff from being subject to abuse.

He said: “I think there is a danger in these social networking sites and it is very easy for people to submit information or make comments which go largely unchecked.

“It raises serious questions about the digital age as these comments, once made, are often largely there forever and accessible.

“I don't think people have thought this through - about the impact on individuals, communities and schools - about the potential damage it can do.”

Mr Glazier said abuse on such websites could “spread like wildfire”, going largely unchecked.

“It is up to individual headteachers to decide what they want to do about such comments in terms of the impact but I think it is about getting the balance right,” he added.

The EADT contacted Mr Sharma yesterday but he declined to comment.

When he became principal he said: “It is truly exciting to be appointed as the new principal of the Colne Community School and I am very much looking forward to being part of the community.

“The young people of this community deserve the very best and I am confident that the school will reach new heights.”

Mr Sharma started his career in Buckinghamshire, before moving on to jobs in Surrey, Coventry, Birmingham and Sheffield.

Last night a Facebook spokeswoman said: “We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others.

“This group violates our terms and so it has been removed.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus