A member contacts the OECTA Provincial Office after discovering that her picture and some unflattering personal remarks about her professionalism have been posted on YouTube. She wants to have the material removed from the website immediately and to take legal action against those involved.
Situations like this can be devastating, but teachers in such circumstances are advised to maintain their professionalism throughout the process. Members are advised never to take matters into their own hands. They should seek assistance and support from their local unit president and bring the matter to the attention of the administration in her school. The principal should ask for an investigation by the school board. The principal should also notify the police.
This posting of harmful or cruel text or images using the internet or other digital communication devices is a form of harassment, commonly referred to as cyberbullying. Police need to be involved to determine who made the posting, because the identity of the person or persons involved determines the extent to which action can be taken by various agencies, including the laying of criminal charges.
If students are involved, the school board should make it clear to everyone that this conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, by disciplining those involved under the board’s existing Safe School and Harassment policies.
Recently, a school board’s right to discipline students involved in such activity has been questioned, due to the absence of a clearly defined policy. For this reason, OECTA has written to all school directors urging all Catholic school boards to establish policies that address personal electronic devices. OECTA has also asked boards to ensure that adequate firewalls are in place in order to prevent this activity through school board computer equipment.