Teachers warned over keeping in touch with students by e-mail

TEACHERS are being harassed and subjected to false allegations from pupils by e-mail, a leading education union has claimed.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) warned some of its members had been suspended because of the false claims.

One teacher was suspended for months when a pupil made a fake claim against him after the teacher stopped e-mail communication because he felt it was becoming inappropriate.

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Many are also blurring the boundaries by communicating through informal methods such as instant messaging.

Guidance from the profession's regulator, the General Teaching Council Scotland, advises teachers not to use social media such as Facebook or communicate through such sites or texting except in essential circumstances.

But with the snow closing schools for up to a week before Christmas and older pupils sitting crucial prelims, many teachers were keen to keep in touch to help with studies.

Ann Ballinger, general secretary of the SSTA, said the harassment by pupils was now a "significant concern".

The union issued advice today on its website claiming the situation had worsened as teachers worked from home and tried to maintain contact with students especially those who would take national examinations next year.

Mrs Ballinger said "In certain cases, teachers have become subject to harassment by certain misguided elements who have obtained e-mail addresses.

"The SSTA advises members never to use personal email to contact students."