Are You Targeted by Inappropriate Social Media Comments?
Some Basic Tips and Advice for Teachers
Incidents of parents, students and others targeting and harassing teachers and administrators online (cyberbullying) are a significant source of concern for NLTA members. At the low end of the spectrum, it doesn’t feel great to find out that someone has been saying “not so nice” things about you. However, one person’s nasty rant can quickly become a widespread, well known and permanent attack on a teacher’s or administrator’s character and reputation due to the persistent and pervasive reach of social media.
Other information and advice for teachers
- CyberBullying — from the NLTA Policy Handbook
- Cyberconduct and Electronic Communications – Important Information and Guidelines for Teachers — Infosheet No. 26
- NLTA Policy on Social Media
- Social Media for Teachers
Situations like this should be assessed and addressed on a “case by case” basis, and NLTA Programs and Services staff are available to assist teachers experiencing difficulty in dealing with this type of matter. However, the following are some basic guidelines for teachers who find themselves the targets of inappropriate or abusive online conduct:
- make a hard copy and/or screen capture or otherwise save any offensive messages, comments, posts, images, texts, videos, etc.;
- when possible, block further contact and/or prevent continuing communications;
- request/demand that offensive material be removed immediately, stating that it is unacceptable and inappropriate. Do not further engage the person who is targeting you online/in writing as this may escalate the situation;
- if the cyberbully is a student, contact the parents and involve your school administration to ensure that proper consequences are put in place, in keeping with school district policy (e.g. Safe and Caring Schools, NLESD Social Media Policy);
- if the cyberbully is a parent, request a meeting to discuss the issue and to reinforce the proper channels for parents to communicate and address concerns with appropriate school staff;
- if the situation is severe and/or the inappropriate communications continue, advise and seek the support and involvement of your school administration;
- report abuse/inappropriate use to the administrator of the social media platform in question and ask to have the post(s) removed. For example, there is a “Report Post” option for Facebook posts; the Snapchat website has a reporting function under the “Community Guidelines” heading; and, you can select “Report Something” under “Terms” and also under “Privacy” on the Instagram website, etc.;
- seek school district support for matters that cannot be resolved at the school level;
- some things that are posted online may be considered criminal acts – if there is a question as to whether this is the case, or if you feel your personal safety is at risk, you should contact the police;
- teachers/administrators should contact a staff member in Programs and Services at the NLTA if actions taken to address the situation are ineffective and/or if you need further support or advice.