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Colleague facing disciplinary? FE/HE social media policy

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by powerpack67, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. powerpack67

    powerpack67 New commenter

    Right, to set the scenario...

    We work in a HE/FE college. Won't mention any names or departments.

    A female colleague, who has been in post for around ten years, middle aged (so yes should know better) and possibly faces disciplinary action for some rather stupid things that she has done.

    Her time-keeping and attendance have previously been questioned but the problem really began around autumn of 2018. She posted a picture from the film 'Bad Teacher' on Facebook and it was viewable by all users as she posted it as her cover pic. The pic featured the wording "bad teacher", "she doesn't give an F" and "eat me". In the comments to this pic, former students commented and a complaint was made to the college. Supposedly from a parent (her wording). This colleague was called into a meeting with HR, with a union rep present. She is not a member of the union though. She says no action was taken against her and that HR found the whole thing trivial (again her wording) but had to take some action and a global email was sent to all staff reminding them about relationships with students and social media.

    Incredibly, a couple of months later, a petition appeared online that named this lecturer and our college. This was posted by a former student, after a conversation with this colleague and the opening goes along the lines of "This petition is to support the professional credibility of ------- who works at -------- . Her teaching style not only complies with the rules and regulations but creates an advanced level of understanding amongst her students."

    The petition stayed online for about 3 weeks and received a comment on it from someone claiming to be another colleague and was basically badmouthing her. The colleague who the petition was about contacted the student and asked them to remove it but the wording and her explanation of what happened showed that she had canvased the idea of this petition, supporting her, to this student.

    I asked why she felt the need to do this but she is adamant that she was not under investigation or facing disciplinary action at all.

    She then went on long term sick leave and is due to return to work next week. I think it is fair to assume that our employer now knows about this petition, obviously they have not contacted her about it whilst she was on sick leave. Her stress levels have increased substantially as her return to work approaches, she has been spring cleaning her Facebook account and removing all the students that she had added as friends on there. All the settings are now locked down to strictest privacy etc. She phoned her manager to ask about her sick leave and was told to speak to HR and also on another routine call to her manager she was informed that HR were listening in. This freaked her out somewhat and does sound a bit sinister.

    Just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on whether she is likely to face a disciplinary over this and likely outcomes etc? Or has anyone had any previous experience of problems with social media in FE/HE colleges. There is possibly more to this story but she doesn't always give the full, honest account of what has taken place. A lot of playing things down etc.

    Posted this elsewhere on here and been accused of making it up. Can 100% confirm it is all true, sadly.

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