Cyberbullying of Teachers On the Rise


There have been many accounts of the terrible consequences when teenagers cyberbully other teenagers. But teachers also face bullying online. According to the BBC, a study from Plymouth University has found that one-third of teachers say they have been the victims of cyberbullying, with the majority of those claiming online abuse being women.

What’s more, while 72 percent of the abuse came from students towards teachers, the remaining percent came from parents.

The study found that 35 percent of teachers said they had been subjected to online abuse. Researchers used testimony from 377 teaching professionals in an anonymous internet-only survey, with some participants detailing the psychological distress they had felt as a result:

One teacher said: “I eventually had a breakdown in the summer holiday needing an emergency doctor to be called out – as I had become suicidal.

“I had intensive support from the mental health unit via my GP, a new telephone guidance service that really helped me plus medication which was a great help, and still is.”

A teacher also reported being falsely accused of inappropriate behavior with a student:

“I was questioned by the police on one single occasion and released without charge, caution or reprimand… I also ended up in the care of a psychologist to help me deal with the loss of self-worth, depression and the urge to commit suicide,” the teacher said.

While most of the online abuse occurs via chat over social networks, students are increasingly setting up Facebook pages “specifically to abuse teachers.” Students have also posted videos on YouTube of teachers in the classroom with less than kindly commentary. Sites like can contain abusive comments — indeed, one could say that such rating sites are to some extent inviting abuse, as the sites give students a forum to “air their feelings” about teachers (and professors, at

Professor Andy Phippen, the author of the report, said the findings reveal a change in how students and their parents address problems at school:

“It seems to a subset of the population the teacher is no longer viewed as someone who should be supported in developing their child’s education, but a person whom it is acceptable to abuse if they dislike what is happening in the classroom,” said Prof Phippen.

“Clearly some people are viewing social media as a bypass to the traditional routes (head teacher, board of governors) of discussing dissatisfaction with the school,” he added.

The Telegraph says that, in 70 percent of cases, senior administrators offered little recourse and “unions and the police were unable to resolve problems.”

While Phippen’s study is specifically about teachers in the UK,  teachers in the US and elsewhere have had to contend with similar issues. The internet, we all know, is a powertool for learning and communicating, but not all that is communicated is positive, to put it lightly. The media has reported many accounts of teachers expressing inappropriate sentiments about students in public online fora and social media sites. Equal attention needs to be displayed towards students and parents using online sites for similar reasons. Teachers needs more backing and support from administrators who need to understand that when such abuse occurs online, it may well be carried over into the classroom in terms of students’ behavior.

Most of all, with the start of the school year right around the corner or even here for many school districts, it’s a good time to start a discussion (online and face to face) about the powers and dangers of online media and about how words can not only hurt; accusations about individuals posted online, whether true or not, can have repercussions in the real world on real people.

Social media and other online sites are here to stay: It’s more than time to educate everyone about using them responsibly and respectfully.


Related Care2 Coverage

Matt Damon Defends Teachers: “A Teacher Wants to Teach” [VIDEO]

Teachers In Missouri Banned From Being Facebook Friends With Students

Justice for Phoebe Prince: First of Six Teens is Charged in Bullying Suicide Case

Chicago Schools Make Cyberbullying A Crime

7 Ways School Is Hazardous to Your Health

Photo by English106


Carole R.
Carole R.4 years ago

It is very sad how out of hand this has all become. Just another way for people to be mean, disrespectful and hurtful to each other. I am now off Facebook. I just don't need or want to be part of it anymore.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran4 years ago


Tim Cheung
Tim C.5 years ago


Fa'izah J. A.
Jauharah Andrews5 years ago

Public and private schools teach students about social pecking orders and that the wealthy elite have the right to do and say what they want and everyone else is beneath them nor are they worthy to breathe the same air.

We've all had teachers we didn't particularly like; those were usually the teachers that insisted that we pay attention and actually do the work. No doubt there are some that shouldn't be teaching but the best way to handle that is through proper channels, not by posting things on-line.

John Ses
John Ses5 years ago

people make problems not the technology that is used, a need for consequences

Clare E.
Clare Canfield5 years ago


Nicole B.
Nicole B.5 years ago

I have to say I believe it's more about the kids being taught respect than it is anything else. When I was in school there were teachers I loved and teachers I didn't. One in particular was more like a grandmother to me and I still think of her a lot. My son has had teachers like that and I think it's wonderful! He has some of his previous teachers on his Facebook page and it's great to see how much they care. They still check with him (and other students) to make sure they're doing well and to be there for them if they need help or advice of any kind. I wouldn't change that for the world! If all kids were taught how to respect their teachers they could have these kinds of relationships too. How many of us have said "my teacher so and so was such an inspiration to me". The way things are going now our kids will miss out on that!

colleen p.
colleen p.5 years ago

public schools also teach kids about social pecking orders. and approperate social protocal and antics.

Julimar C.
Julimar C.5 years ago

Agreed, Teri. I often wonder what the heck is going on with parents nowadays. My parents are retired teachers, and in their last years I could see the enormous difference between students today and students when I was a kid. Now it is almost acceptable for students to walk all over their teachers. I am definitely against teachers abusing their students, but I also believe children need to respect their teachers, and it's up to the parents to reinforce that. Sometimes parents will blame the teacher, the principal, the government, anyone, except themselves. You want your kid to behave, to focus more on studying, to get better grades? Try to do some better parenting and you might achieve that. This has nothing to do with public education. My parents worked in public schools, I was a public school student, and had much better teachers than many of my college peers who went to private schools. Besides, not everyone can afford an expensive college. Everyone has the right to have an education.

Teri H.
Teri H.5 years ago

all I have to say is there are some very sad and angry people on here. But to the subject of teachers being harssed by students and parents. What the hell is wrong with these people? First off my parents would have kiiled me if had done anything like this to a teacher. My parents did not make my bow down to my teacher, if the teacher did something wrong or treated me wrong my parents were right there to defend me, but they did require me to have respect for my teachers. I also had to have respect for other students. My parents did not tolerate bullying in any form, and I will not tolerate it from my 7 year old. There is something really wrong with the world today when parents do not punish their kids for being bullies some of them encourage it.