Teachers made pupil comments

Sarah Carter (left) and Sandra Barnes (right) of Greenacre School, Barnsley, after facing their tribunal in Sheffield. The pair were sacked for making inappropriate comments about pupils on Facebook. (Photograph by Jonathan Pow | http://rossparry.co.uk)
Sarah Carter (left) and Sandra Barnes (right) of Greenacre School, Barnsley, after facing their tribunal in Sheffield. The pair were sacked for making inappropriate comments about pupils on Facebook. (Photograph by Jonathan Pow | http://rossparry.co.uk)
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TWO special needs teachers sacked for posting comments about pupils on a social networking site told a tribunal they thought their accounts were private.

Sarah Carter and Sandra Barnes were sacked from Greenacres School in Barnsley, after they posted on Facebook.

Mrs Barnes said she was ‘letting off steam’ while Miss Carter said the posts were ‘jokey fun and harmless banter’.

An employment tribunal in Sheffield heard the head, who wasn’t ‘friends’ with the women, read comments.

One of the women was also ‘friends’ with a pupil, who could have seen the posts, causing distress, the court heard.

The pair are appealing against their dismissal on the grounds it was disproportionate.

The court heard Mrs Barnes wrote about a pupil who looked 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’d take to the top of the town hall and talked about selling tickets to others so they could watch.

She posted: ‘We could do management first’.

Miss Carter, who works in child care, wrote: ‘Wouldn’t it be lovely, no management or kids - the perfect school.’

Asked by barrister Edward Legard if she thought her comments could have brought the school into disrepute, Mrs Barnes answered: “I don’t believe there was any potential for disrepute because I didn’t believe my Facebook account was on a public setting.”

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

The hearing continues.