Teachers lose appeal over online posts

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TWO special needs teachers sacked for posting comments about pupils on Facebook have lost their appeal against dismissal.

Sarah Carter and Sandra Barnes were sacked from Greenacres School, Barnsley.

They appealed on the grounds it was disproportionate, but an employment tribunal found both unsuccessful.

The Sheffield tribunal heard Mrs Barnes wrote about a pupil looking like ‘Peter Pan’ and suggested taking him to the top of the town hall to ‘see if he can fly’.

In comments to other users, Miss Carter said she had a list of people she would take there and talked about selling tickets so others could watch.

She posted ‘we could do management first’ and ‘wouldn’t it be lovely, no management or kids - the perfect school’.

The pair insisted their accounts were set to private and the comments were jokes.

However, the tribunal heard the headteacher, who was not their Facebook ‘friend’, read posts.

The women said they thought the comments would only be seen by people they knew, who would know they were joking. Mrs Barnes said: “I don’t believe any reasonable person would have believed these comments were serious. Of course we weren’t going to see if somebody could fly.”

Both women claimed Facebook could have changed their privacy settings without them knowing.

Both declined to comment after the case.