BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Education  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 29 November, 2002, 12:33 GMT
Teachers' chatroom death threats
PC user
Teachers vented their frustrations online

Teachers using an online "virtual staffroom" have been making death threats against the children in their care.

One fantasised about using "a large handgun ... to blow the head off of the first pupil who has failed to shut up/do homework/sit properly at their desk/speak politely to me."

Another wrote of her satisfaction at having "vengefully" reduced a six-year-old child to tears.

A shocked parent who read the messages said: "What would we think of children posting this sort of stuff about teachers? Children have been expelled for less."

Breach of conditions

The messages were written in the Staffroom forum on the website of the Times Educational Supplement (TES) - available for anyone to read.

People have to register on the site to write messages, but can then post what they like under a pseudonym.

The site's conditions of use include not posting material which is, among other things, "unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive".

Alerted to the threatening messages, the TES on Friday removed the "distasteful" remarks and said it would be warning some of the contributors about their conduct.

Machete

The discussion was started by someone using the name "dossonsupply" who asked: "If you had complete freedom in the classroom what would you do to make your class behave, the more extreme the better."

This brought the response: "I think I would nail their hands to the desk, tie them in their seats and liberally use gaffer tape around the mouths.

"I may also keep a machete handy and talk about how Saudi Arabia gets it right!!"

The gun threat came from someone who wrote: "I'm far simpler of mind:

"A large handgun, which is used to blow the head off of the first pupil who has failed to shut up/do homework/sit properly at their desk/speak politely to me.

"Followed up with a quiet: 'Anybody else wish to follow [inset name]'s example?' "

Others took up the theme.

At one point a contributor using the name "leatherpatches" referred to the discussion as "obviously a light-hearted and humourous [sic] thread where people are saying things they don't really mean".

He or she added: "I'm not sure I could ever hit a kid, no matter how bad they are. Or even cause them any physical harm at all, via any means."

Legal constraint

To this someone responded: "I have never hit my own children ... and never hit children when I was able to early in my career.

"I don't really believe in it BUT in the past five years in particular I have had very strong urges to do so and might well have indulged in them if it hadn't been for the law."

And another: "I confess to having had an itchy palm once or twice in my career but I'd never dream of applying it. The thought appals me.

"However, the other day I reduced an awkward six-year-old to tears by not letting him have the milk carton he wanted ...

"This is the real confession: he'd been a thorough nuisance all week and I felt vengefully glad to see him blub."

Another also advocated "sharp blowdarts so that the drug would enter their system quickly".

She went on: "This is beginning to sound like one of the favourite staffroom topics of conversation I had in my last permanent post when I observed that we'd never had a serial killer teacher.

"And, unlike Shipman, no-one would need to question our motives."

Removed

Although the debate might not have been serious, the point has been made that the boys expelled from a school in Surrey for making death threats against a teacher were reinstated in part because they did not mean it.

That did not stop the then education secretary, Estelle Morris, from demanding their removal from the school.

There was no immediate comment on the messages from the Department for Education.

The deputy editor of the TES, David Budge, said: "These people are simply doing what some teachers might do in a pub after school, venting their frustrations by playing a silly fantasy game.

"Nevertheless some of the remarks are distasteful. I regret that they have appeared on our website but it's difficult to monitor every one of the vast number of comments made in these discussion groups.

"We have now removed the offensive remarks and will be issuing warnings to some of the contributors about their conduct."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Head of the NUT's education department, John Bangs
"This is an expression of frustration"
See also:

08 Nov 02 | Education
23 Apr 02 | England
29 Oct 99 | Education
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Education stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes