Crypt School wages war on Twitter abusers
ONE pupil has been suspended and three people handed a bill for legal costs over insults about a school on the web.
It comes after remarks and allegations about teachers and pupils at The Crypt School were made on social networking site Twitter.
One boy has been suspended over the comments and at least three other people, believed to be former pupils, have been handed a bill of £680 each by the Gloucester boys' grammar to cover its legal costs.
They sought advice from lawyers over the comments, known as tweets, and passed on the bill. The four people have also been asked to remove the comments.
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Hundreds of tweets about The Crypt were made by past and present pupils on Twitter with some going as far as abusing teachers and staff at the Podsmead school.
Richard James, chairman of the school's governors, confirmed one pupil had been suspended.
And he added that three of those making comments from outside the school had been sent a letter and told to cover the cost of legal advice.
"The board of governors of The Crypt School view the use of social media to insult, abuse, bully or defame a student, a member of staff or the school with the utmost seriousness," he said.
"Should that occur, the governors would require the headmaster to respond to such incidences vigorously within the school's disciplinary policies.
"Should anyone not a member of the school community use the social media with the same intent, the governors will pursue those individuals through due legal process."
The comments, under the hashtag #controversialcryptmoments, ranged from memories of relatively harmless pranks and mishaps, to serious allegations about teachers and staff at the school, which is the oldest in Gloucester.
Mr James said: "We will do whatever it takes to ensure people's reputations, and make sure people are not bullied in this way.
"Those who have defamed or made cruel comments, we will pursue. We would simply wish to retrieve our legal costs."
Yesterday, one contributor posted: "The Crypt School have took [sic] legal action against me omg [oh my god]".
Between them they suggested making donations to the Crypt School Association instead.
But the school took a harder line.
Yesterday afternoon one was asked on Twitter about the action by the school.
He posted: "says what we put that was offensive then tells us we are libel [sic] for defamation and says the demands they ask for."
He said they "have had to remove offensive material and they (Crypt) have asked for £680 in expenses in seven days."
Headteacher Jonathan Standen is expected to address pupils in assembly about the matter this morning.
Ribston Hall High School headteacher Amanda Chong confirmed a similar incident involving 40 pupils happened at the Stroud Road school before the last half term.
"I wrote to all the parents, pointing out that the comments bring the school in to disrepute and if they were employed, doing that would get them the sack," she said.
"The comments were removed. What Crypt has done is the right thing."