Academy calls in police over internet prank

St George's Academy in Sleaford. EMN-151011-093804001
St George's Academy in Sleaford. EMN-151011-093804001

A Sleaford school has reported an ‘internet warrior’ to the police for covertly recording a telephone conversation involving a staff member and posting it on social media.

Wayne Birks, principal of St George’s Academy, has taken the action after what he described as ‘one or two isolated incidents’.

St George's Academy Principal Wayne Birks - contacted staff to protect colleagues. EMN-151011-093741001

St George's Academy Principal Wayne Birks - contacted staff to protect colleagues. EMN-151011-093741001

He said: “Very offensive comments have been made about school staff on social media and a school telephone conversation recorded, filmed and posted on social media without warning or consent.”

He went on: “The effect of these incidents has been very distressing for hard working staff whose first 
priority is the welfare of our students and therefore I contacted the local police in order to protect colleagues under 
current telecommunications legislation.”

The complaint comes after self-styled ‘internet warrior’ Chrisy Morris, a 40-year-old boxing instructor from Maldon in Essex, contacted the Sleaford Standard to say he had recorded and videoed a telephone conversation he had with a member of staff at the school, posing as a prospective parent enquiring about the academy’s policy on long hair for boys.

The answers he received appeared to contradict the case of 11-year-old pupil Harley Leedham, whose story was reported in The Standard (September 30) having been sent home with instructions to cut his hair, which he was growing for a cancer charity. He was later allowed to return to school.

Mr Birks told The Standard the academy works hard with students to ensure their behaviour is of the highest standard. “Part of this work is to ensure that students understand what is and is not acceptable use of online communications,” he said. “I am determined to ensure that my colleagues are protected from the tiny number of people who misuse this form of communication and cause significant offence to those who serve the public with enthusiasm, dedication and commitment.”

Mr Morris, who is to appear in a TV show exposing injustices, said he had made the video after another parent had brought it to his attention. “I rang the school to see what happened and they said there was not a problem with long hair,” he said. “Boys should be able to have long hair as much as girls.”

He said he had also spoken to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “The incident was reported to us and investigated, the result of which was that no criminal offences were found to have occurred. The person who instigated the issue has been spoken to and words of advice were given.”