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Online abuse 'unacceptable': Teacher secures parent apology over Facebook comment


St Joseph's Grammar School, Donaghmore / Credit: Google Maps

St Joseph's Grammar School, Donaghmore / Credit: Google Maps

St Joseph's Grammar School, Donaghmore / Credit: Google Maps

A Department of Education official has said online abuse is "unacceptable" after a Tyrone teacher secured an apology from a parent.

A libel case was taken by Tyrone teacher Roisin Corr after a message was left by the parent of a pupil on the Facebook page of St Joseph's Grammar School in Donaghmore, where she works as the head of music.

The Dungannon Herald reports an apology from the defendant in the case was read out in court by her barrister, and that no damages were sought in the case.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said it was "unacceptable for anyone to be the subject of offensive comments on social media".

"Anyone who posts comments which are offensive, bullying or intimidating should be reported to the associated social media platform eg Facebook or Twitter," the spokesperson said.

"In addition, individuals who make offensive comments can be blocked, removed and banned from any social media account."

The Department does not have responsibility for monitoring schools' social media platforms, and individual schools are responsible for their own policies.

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Schools receive advice from the Department in the form of circulars, which lay out guiding principles for keeping pupils and wider school community safe online. 

Some of the recommendations include developing safeguarding procedures; regularly auditing staff training needs; issuing online safety advice; and operating a risk register to highlight where data security might be breached.

St Joseph's Grammar School was contacted by the Belfast Telegraph but declined to comment at this time.

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