Teachers fired after using Slack to insult pupils

Teacher in classroom

Teachers at a school in Rhode Island have been fired after screenshots of their messages on Slack were leaked in a mass email.

According to reports from the Providence Journal, an email containing screenshots of Slack message in a Google Docs file was sent last Monday to everyone associated with the school, including teachers, staff and students at Blackstone Valley Prep High School, Cumberland, Rhode Island.

Around 18 pages of chat messages were leaked. One message was from a teacher that called a student with spelling problems a “******* idiot”. According to the leaked message a 16-year-old student spelt writer Ta-Nehisi Coates' name "Tonahese quotes."

The student told the Journal that when she found out about what the teacher said, she started crying.

“I guess he just doesn’t like me, and I guess none of the teachers like me at all,” said the pupil.

Other teachers at the charter school, which is the equivalent of a free school in the US, also referred to students as “dumb”, "idiots” and “toxic”. Academic performances of some students are joked about within Slack chats.

In an open letter to students and parents, Jeremy Chiappetta, executive director of Blackstone Valley Prep said that following the comments made about students and families, an internal investigation was launched and is ongoing.

“Blackstone Valley Prep ended its relationship with three high school teachers after confirming the allegations were, in fact, true. They are no longer employed at Blackstone Valley Prep,” he said.

He added that the school now had “a great deal of work to do to build trust in our community”.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.