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Deteriorating parental behavior on social media causes stress and heavy workloads, school principals say | Politics of New South Wales


School principals in New South Wales they say they need urgent help to cope with the increasingly bad behavior of parents on social media, and online congestion and slang matches create unnecessary stress and increase workload.

Almost 90% of NSW School Heads said in a 2021 survey by the NSW High School Board (SPC) that “hate campaigns on social media” from parents affect their well-being and take their time.

SPC President Craig Petersen said parents forgot how to solve problems face-to-face or over the phone, and this created a precarious situation for directors who were threatened and demoralized.

“If I have problems with school, I’m not necessarily going to call the office and make an appointment with the principal, I’m just going to push the school, teacher or principal on Facebook,” he said of his parents’ behavior.

“Once it appears on Facebook and people start connecting to it, suddenly we can no longer manage this situation.

“You can easily end up with a relatively minor issue that could be easily resolved by taking not just hours, but in some cases days.”

Principals reported that parents sparked inappropriate discussions about everything from individual teachers and planned field trips to deviations, deductions, and departmental decisions.

When principals need to respond to the fact that students use social media, this is usually due to incidents between students, while with parents often attacking the school, teachers or the principals themselves.

Ongoing grievance processes mean that when there is a congestion on social media, each parent needs to be contacted and considered separately, which adds time to the problem.

While a similar number of principals reported problems with parental behavior online in the 2019 survey, the council says anecdotally that the problem worsened during the pandemic.

Vladula High School principal Denise Lofts has run schools for 13 years and said parental behavior has deteriorated, noting that vaccines have been the main focus of the outbreak.

“People [used to be] comes in and yells in your office. Now they don’t. They go and shout on the Internet, ”she said.

“I deal with things I’ve never had to deal with, in terms of people’s inability to be reasonable and controlled.”

Petersen called for special social media staff for schools so teachers and principals could return to their jobs.

“In most schools, we will use a member of the teaching staff to create our website and manage social media,” he said.

“Appoint people who have experience in managing finances, assets, social media – all that is happening in this survey that takes us away from work.”

Lofts – also the vice president of the board – said directors need access to support and advice at a time when they are “targeted”.

“It ruined many good directors.”

Speaking after a roundtable with teachers last week, New South Wales Prime Minister Dominique Perrotet noted that he seeks to increase the number of school administrators to reduce the burden on school staff.

“Our teaching staff spends a lot of time on areas of management that we need to look at,” he said.

“Every company has administrative staff, so business can do business. We need our teachers to focus on teaching, not catch up. ”

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The survey, the first since 2019, also found that 80% of directors face increased stress and workload due to lack of resources, and nearly a quarter of directors plan to retire within three years.

Opposition leader Chris Mins described the poll as “sober reading” and called on the government to address the directors’ concerns.

“Excessive burnout and extreme stress should not be an accepted part of a teacher’s job, and the government should recognize the seriousness of the problems and address them,” he said.

Asked for comment to Education Minister Sarah Mitchell.


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