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Teacher reprimanded for calling parents “idiots”

BY Gerry O'Hare
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

Suzanne McGurl, a teacher from West Lothian has landed in hot water after accidentally emailing the parents of one of her pupils, calling them “idiots”.

The maths teacher also accused the pupil of laziness, alleging that she did not do enough work in class and had lied about work she had done. 

It is understood that the email was intended for a one of the teacher’s colleagues, but was sent to the pupil’s parents by mistake. Ms McGurl has been reprimanded by the General Teaching Council for Scotland and given an official warning which will stay on her record until March 2014.  

This case serves as an apt reminder to employees to be careful what they commit to writing and to check who the recipients of emails are before hitting the send button. It also gives comfort to employers that action can be taken in relation to staff who breach IT policies in this way. We would recommend that you review your IT policy to ensure that staff are clear about what they should be writing in internal and external emails, so that the rules are easily enforceable in the event of a breach.

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