Monday, May 25, 2009

Scottish teacher who tweets about students, including three with Asperger's, being investigated

From BBC News:

A Scottish teacher who posted messages discussing her pupils on a social networking website is being investigated by her employers.

The secondary teacher in Argyll and Bute is understood to have posted up to 38 updates a day on the Twitter site.

One said: "Had S3 period 6 for last two years...don't know who least wants to do anything, them or me."

Argyll and Bute Council said it has a policy of blocking the use of social networking sites in all its schools.

It is thought the language teacher, who has not been named, may have accessed the site via her mobile phone.

Council officials were investigating whether she had put sensitive information on public display and whether it was during work hours.

A council spokeswoman said: "Social networking sites are blocked in all schools as policy.

"This has always been the case and applies to all council staff and not just teaching staff."

She added: "The teacher in question is not facing disciplinary action, although the council is looking into the matter."

Twitter has become the latest social networking phenomenon.

It is a micro-blogging site where people post short messages, known as "tweets", online using up to 140 characters telling each other what they are doing.

It has been popularised by celebrities including Stephen Fry.

Some of the "tweets" posted by the teacher in the last month included one that read: "Have three Asperger's boys in S1 class - never a dull moment! Always offer an interesting take on things."

Another said: "The thought of having some of my S4 beyond exam time doesn't bear thinking about - for them as well as me I suspect."

The timing of the messages indicated that some may have been posted during school hours.

One read: "Depute came in while I was logging on."

Argyll and Bute Council policy states that teachers may access professional blogs which have educational value but are not allowed to have their own blog.

However, the teacher in question has a blog on which she said she had been too busy using Twitter to update it recently.