New DCSF guidance on cyberbullying of school staff

On the 15th April, 2009 Childnet International and the DCFS launched new guidance on Cyberbullying in relation to ‘Supporting School Staff’. This new document builds on the 2007 Safe to Learn Cyberbullying guidance, and provides advice for employers of school staff – Local Authorities and governing bodies. It also offers advice for school staff about keeping themselves and their personal information safe. This important advice was written in consultation with the DCSF Cyberbullying Taskforce, and with the support of the leading school employee unions and professional associations.

Every individual has a right to be respected at their place of employment and bullying of any kind is a violation of that right, so I hope that this guidance is used by all staff members and schools to prevent cyberbullying of staff and reduce the harm and hurt it can cause.

Bullying of any kind is harmful and, as it evolves alongside technological advances we see new forms, such as cyberbullying, making their mark. I know children are not the only victims of this humiliating form of bullying, school staff are too. That is why this guidance has been produced specifically to help and support school staff tackle cyberbullying. It provides straightforward advice and will help school staff know their rights and the powers they and schools have to deal with cyberbullying”  Ed Balls MP, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

This new Guidance adds to a range of other resources Childnet have produced for schools to help tackle cyberbullying, including the Let’s Fight It Together DVD, the Digizen Interactive Programme, the “Safe to Learn – Cyberbullying” guidance, and the summary document – “Cyberbullying: A whole-school community approach”.

The new guidance and Childnet’s Cyberbullying resources can be found here

This new guidance comes after a recent survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the Teacher Support Network which found that one in seven teachers say they have been bullied by pupils and colleagues through text messages, emails and social networking sites and almost one in five teachers said they knew of colleagues who had become victims.

The survey of 539 school and college staff found that of those who had suffered cyberbullying personally, 63% had received unwelcome emails, 26% had offensive messages posted about them on social networking sites, and 28% were sent unwelcome text messages.

Most of the reported cyberbullying – 44% – was done by pupils, but 28% of staff said a manager or colleague was behind it. The survey also highlighted the effect cyberbullying has on its victims, with 39% saying their confidence fell, 25% saying it made them a less effective teacher and 6% saying they were forced to take sick leave because of resulting illness or stress. Nearly two thirds (62%) were not aware of any cyberbullying policy at their school.

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