Dundee pupils have been warned they could face police action if they post abusive videos about teachers on TikTok.
In a letter to parents head of education at Dundee City Council, Audrey May, said pupils who posted “unfounded anonymous claims” on the video sharing platform could be prosecuted or face civil action from staff targeted.
She urged parents to discuss the issue with their children to ensure they were aware of the consequences of publishing content which could cause “anxiety and harm”.
Videos could cause “reputational damage”
In a letter sent to all parents of children in Dundee schools, Ms May confirmed reports had been made regarding abusive videos posted on TikTok.
These have included images of school staff in Dundee taken from online sources or even recorded in school alongside statements which could cause “reputational damage”.
This, Ms May said, had caused anxiety and harm to school staff.
She wrote: “You may have heard reports in the media about young people mis-using TikTok.
“I would ask for your support in discussing this issue with your young person, so that they understand fully that posting unfounded anonymous claims about any adult in school does not only cause anxiety and harm but may also involve police action and even the pursuit of civil action by the individuals targeted.”
I seek your support in working in partnership with your child’s school, to ensure that they conduct themselves responsibly online.”
Audrey May, head of education at Dundee City Council
Ms May also warned the content could been seen by prospective employers and asked for parents to support schools in their efforts to clamp down on abusive behaviour online.
She added: “Many employers, universities and colleges look at potential applicants’ online activity as part of their selection process and I seek your support in working in partnership with your child’s school, to ensure that they conduct themselves responsibly online.”
Dozens of TikTok accounts created
The warning to parents and pupils comes after a Courier investigation found that dozens of accounts have been created for secondary schools in Tayside and Fife.
Some videos appeared to contain unfounded allegations of misconduct, as well alleging relationships between faculty members and also appearing to mock the personal appearance of teaching staff.
The Courier did not name the individual schools affected so as not to direct readers to the content.
At the time, a Dundee City Council spokesman said school staff should be able to go about their work without fear of abuse at any time, and said they work closely with school staff and offer support and guidance.