'Criticise and humiliate Yarmouth people, and they will hit back' - ex-headteacher enters abuse debate
PUBLISHED: 06:08 29 September 2018 | UPDATED: 07:48 29 September 2018
Archant Norfolk © 2014
An ex-headteacher at Great Yarmouth High School has suggested online abuse of the current principal stems from his attitude to the town.
On Friday we reported how teachers are routinely being abused by parents on social media.
Barry Smith, head at Great Yarmouth Charter Academy, described how fake allegations about him taking photos of children had been spread online.
Mr Smith also slammed the way the school was run before he arrived.
He enforced a strict behaviour and uniform policy when he took over in September 2017, which proved unpopular with some parents.
In response to his comments, Wendy Missons, who was head at Yarmouth High from 2012 to 2015, before it was renamed Charter Academy, said: “One thing I learnt quickly about Great Yarmouth was its pride and its toughness in the face of adversity.
“Criticise and humiliate Yarmouth people, and they will hit back. And that is what is happening.
“Mr Smith has consistently criticised the old High School and some Yarmouth families.
She said that Mr Smith should not alienate the town and should consider how he could rebuild relationships with the community.
Mrs Missons added that Mr Smith was right to highlight the abuse teachers suffer.
She said this had increased massively with social media and she had been a victim of it while at Yarmouth.
“I left after an allegation of financial misconduct was dropped when no evidence was found,” she said. “I remember clearly how word spread that I had been sacked (no, I wasn’t); and an acquaintance living 200 miles away told me with glee how he knew I now lived in a villa in Barbados.”
None of that was true.
Mrs Missons added: “Those in the public services – education, NHS, social services and others - have very few ways of countering the scourge of social media.”
An Inspiration Trust spokesman said: “There can be no excuses for abusing teachers - or anyone else - online.
“Teachers sometimes need to take decisions that are not immediately popular with pupils or parents. It is perfectly possible to disagree without sinking to the kind of abhorrent personal abuse we see from a tiny number of people online.”