School threatens to sue parents after they used Facebook in ‘defamatory’ way

CREDIT: This story was first seen in The Telegraph

A school has threatened to sue parents after they used Facebook to accuse teachers of failing to stop bullying, The Telegraph reports.

Solicitors acting on behalf of Brockhill Park Performing Arts College in Saltwood, Kent, wrote to parents saying the school would “have no option other than recourse to legal action” if posts which were “potentially defamatory” continued to be published.

The posts in question accused the school of a lack of action in dealing with cases of alleged bullying. The letter from the school’s lawyers claims the posts contain “misleading and inaccurate information” while being “critical of the school and specific staff members”.

Parents writing on Facebook claim the action to “silence” them is heavy-handed. Some parents had claimed their worries over bullying have been dismissed and not been dealt with satisfactorily, leading them to post about the issues on social media.

The letter has sparked even more anger among parents online, who claimed they had not been contacted by the school before the threats of legal action were made. It is not known how many letters have been sent out but at least three parents say they have received them.

The letter sent by Brockhill’s solicitors Baileyfields and shared by parents online says the firm had been instructed by the school in relation to public Facebook posts.

It reads: “The messages you have posted relate to alleged bullying at the school and are critical of the school and specific staff members.

“The school takes the welfare and protection of its pupils very seriously and is disappointed and most concerned to learn that you have decided to publish and threatened to publish further in the public domain, misleading and inaccurate information about the school and its handling of any complaints of bullying.”

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Parents are being told the matter will end if no more posts with “inaccurate and potentially defamatory matter relating to the school and its staff” are published. The school and Baileyfields have both refused to comment further on the matter.

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