Suspension for Facebook 'slur' teacher as school governors apologise over 'inbred' insult
A TEACHER has been suspended over insulting comments posted on Facebook.
Nyanza Roberts, a teacher at Westcott Primary School in east Hull, has been told she cannot teach pupils until an investigation into her apparent conduct has been completed.
As exclusively revealed in the Mail, three teachers from the Westcott Street school, including Miss Roberts, and head Debbie Johnson, appear to have been involved in a Facebook conversation during which Miss Roberts referred to people in east Hull as "thick" and "inbred".
Another teacher referred to Year 5 and Year 6 pupils queuing in a discount store.
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Mary Wallace, chair of governors at the school, has issued a sincere apology to parents for "any offence caused by these remarks".
The apology was made in a letter sent home with all pupils.
The board of governors has also handed over responsibility for the investigation to the local authority, in the interests of impartiality, according to Mrs Wallace.
Vanessa Harvey-Samuel, head of localities and learning at Hull City Council, said: "We are taking this very seriously. We will be investigating the matter thoroughly and appropriate action will be taken."
The investigation is expected to be completed sometime next week.
Following the investigation, the council is expected to review its policy regarding social networking sites and, depending on the outcome, issue new guidelines to schools.
Emma Bywood, 30, of east Hull, has two children at the school.
She said: "It's right that Miss Roberts has been suspended. She should have been suspended on Monday.
"It should be thoroughly investigated. Nobody has admitted anything in the letter and it's an apology from someone who hasn't done anything.
"The chair of governors shouldn't be left to apologise for it."
Emma Lamb, 27, of east Hull, has a seven-year-old son at the school.
She said: "It's about time she was suspended. I'm glad they are doing something instead of brushing it under the carpet."
Copies of the Facebook conversation were attached to fences close to the school in protest about what was said. The document sets out a conversation, apparently started by teacher Stuart Clark, in which he stated he was "fed up of bumping into children in town".
During the conversation, "Nyanza Roberts" replied: "by town, do you mean top end of holderness road?
"That's bout as far anyone in east Hull goes.
"No wonder everyone is thick....inbreeding must damage brain development."
"Debbie Johnson" then said: "You're really on one today mrs... !! Xx."
"Nyanza Roberts" replied: "Haha, I'm actually in a good mood.
"If anyone reading this is offended, then get a grip."
Another teacher, "Jane Johnson", then said: "Massive queue of Westcott year 5/6 kids in poundland! x".
In a statement earlier this week, Miss Johnson said the comments were being "taken seriously" but had been "taken out of context".
She said: "The full detail of the conversation was banter about rugby from both sides of the city."
Hull City Council leader Steve Brady today said teachers could bring the council into disrepute by posting offensive messages on Facebook. He said: "The danger of things like Facebook is people put instant opinions down. Loose chat is dangerous.
"I would remind everybody involved in schools or any of the council's services that they have a responsibility to the reputation of the council.
"If the allegations are correct, it definitely brings the council into disrepute."
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