A headteacher has suspended three pupils after they set up a Facebook group attacking her dress sense.Not on school equipment. Not in school time, as far as I can tell.
So where this power-crazed fool gets off on thinking she has any right to take this action I can't say...
Elizabeth Hitch was so incensed by comments on the social networking site that she threatened dozens of others at Beaumont School, St Albans, with disciplinary action.Oh, boo-hoo! Grow a thicker skin, love.
She then fired off letters to parents of students who had participated in the discussions, claiming that the remarks were 'offensive' and some were 'illegal.'
The education authority said that the Facebook site amounted to 'cyberbullying.'
However, Mrs Hitch's actions provoked uproar among students at Beaumont, which caters for 1,200 pupils aged 11 to 16.Well, quite. Probably only the 200 members of the group were even aware of it; now, as a result of her overreaction, it's in the national media.
One parent claimed his daughter had posted a 'fairly innocuous' comment on the site - but he now feared she could be suspended.
'Mrs Hitch couldn't just have taken a joke and handed this discreetly,' he said.
'This has blown up in her face in a rather unpleasant way. Everyone is talking about it and the children are furious.
'They're annoyed at the fact that their freedom is being invaded out of school. I think it has got totally out of hand - she has handled this appallingly.'
Still, showing the kind of modern 'leadership' she somehow expects the pupils to respect, she's made sure she doesn't need to stick around to take any of the heat:
Mrs Hitch is currently on leave but both the school and her staff said the situation was far more serious.Oh, good grief..!
Deputy head Martin Atkinson said: 'This was an act of malicious communication online directed at the headteacher, which was dealt with in accordance with the school's behaviour policy and in consultation with local police.'
Chairman of Governors, John Ingamells, said: 'This sort of behaviour and language is completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated in school.'Feel free not to tolerate it in school all you like. In fact, if you want to bar the kids from accessing Facebook during school hours on school equipment, that's your right, and most people would back you on that.
But you do not own these children's lives. It is not for you, or anyone other than their parents, to say what they can or cannot do outside school hours, so long as what they do is not illegal.
The school added that the headteacher had written to the families of pupils involved in this incident to express her serious concern at the sites pupils are accessing and contributing to on the internet.Let's hope those parents who received such a letter promptly wrote back to tell this hectoring, power-crazed woman exactly where she could shove her 'serious concern'...
Angry students and pupils have used the page to lodge their protests at Mrs Hitch's actions.Well said.
One anonymous user wrote: 'A headteacher that displays such a lack of ability to laugh at themselves and who feels she has to stifle this type of freedom of expression with unpleasant letters should maybe expect more fun to be made of her than most.
'Nothing of what has been said in this group is illegal. It is neither malicious nor defamatory, but simple childish humour.'
There's a lot of debate over whether modern children know more about their rights than their responsibilities, but it certainly seems as if they are well aware that the right to free speech is under constant threat from the likes of this woman and the notice this current government is likely to take of their 'concerns'.
Let's hope their parents are similarly well read.
Certainly, there's no point in relying on the readership of the 'Daily Fail', as comments are massively in favour of the headmistress, with calls to prevent pupils from using Facebook altogether, castigating the parents, demanding that children have more respect for authority, etc. Probably, some of them are the same people who rail against government surveillance and the rise of the offence industry.
But then, it's always different when your ox is gored, isn't it?