Leeds: ‘Students used Facebook to organise fights’

FACEBOOK FURORE: Swallow Hill Community College in Wortley is trying to get to grips with a Facebook problem.
FACEBOOK FURORE: Swallow Hill Community College in Wortley is trying to get to grips with a Facebook problem.
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A LEEDS school has issued a Facebook warning – and suspended several pupils – after the social networking site was allegedly used to organise fights between gangs of pupils.

The headteacher of Swallow Hill Community College in Wortley has written a letter to parents –and put a statement on the school’s website – after admitting Facebook and text messaging had been used in a “malicious” way by pupils against each other.

One teacher at the school, who asked not to be named, told the YEP: “There was a huge brawl last Monday and several other fights. It was organised via Facebook and text messages. It began as a case of bullying and it escalated. Some troublemakers have used it as an excuse to fight. There is a police presence at the school all the time anyway. It’s a disturbing atmosphere at work at the moment.”

A statement on the school’s website asks parents to “reinforce a strong message to your children regarding the use of Facebook”.

“It has come to my attention this week that some students are using Facebook and text messages in a malicious way to spread misinformation and rumours about other students in school,” acting headteacher Gill Knuttson says.

“A number of students found to have been involved in such activities have been excluded from school for a longer period of time. We will continue to deal with any such inappropriate behaviour in a swift and effective manner.

“We are asking you to support your child and the school by encouraging them to use Facebook in a responsible way as a positive communication tool.”

Ms Knutsson added in a statement to the YEP: “Following an incident in school, four pupils have been temporarily excluded. We are aware that comments about the incident may have been made on Facebook and have written to families to ask them to encourage their children to use social networking sites positively. We take the education, safety and behaviour of our young people seriously. Since the exclusion there have been no other similar issues.”

aisha.iqbal@ypn.co.uk