Goring head teacher’s call for parents to police Facebook

West Park head teacher Peter Neale ''W03246P9
West Park head teacher Peter Neale ''W03246P9

A SCHOOL head is urging parents to police their children’s use of Facebook after an underage pupil set up a page inviting classmates to make “inappropriate” comments about a member of staff.

Peter Neale, head teacher of West Park Middle School, Goring, issued the plea after becoming increasingly concerned about cyber-bullying by pupils.

He called for increased vigilance after dealing with four incidents of students sending inappropriate messages to other youngsters.

Mr Neale said Facebook had failed to take his concerns seriously, claiming the hugely-popular social networking site appeared “uninterested” when he complained.

Blocked

Facebook said it could not comment on individual cases but added: “There is no place for bullying on Facebook.”

West Sussex County Council blocked access to Facebook in schools, but many Worthing youngsters had their own accounts.

Mr Neale said: “The terms and conditions of Facebook state that users should be 13 years or older.

“However, it is clear there is no real control.

“Many parents do not monitor their child’s Facebook pages and, sometimes, we are notified of incidents of cyber-bullying or inappropriate comments being made to others.

“In the past 12 months, I have dealt with four incidents of inappropriate messages being sent to other children.

“I have also dealt with an incident where a page had been set up about a member of staff which invited inappropriate comments to be written by pupils.

Reporting

“West Park is not alone in dealing with these sorts of incidents and schools have to be vigilant.

“I would be happier if I was sure that Facebook took our concerns seriously, but when I tried to contact Facebook, the response was that greater information was needed to review the material and take action.

“Despite sending Facebook as much information as I could, they failed to take any action against the users.

“I would ask that parents help by making sure children use the sites appropriately.”

Facebook said in a statement it wanted to assure people user safety was a top priority and specific information could be found at www.facebook.com/safety.

It added on the site had a “robust reporting infrastructure” with links on most pages for users to report instances of bullying or nasty behaviour.