Published: January 3, 2012
Highbridge pupils raise concerns over school gossip website

Concerns have this week been raised about a social networking website on which pupils at Highbridge's King Alfred School are making offensive comments about each other and staff.

The 'Little Gossip' website allows people to post offensive comments, which users can then rate as true or false.

One concerned parent has contacted to say pupils are suffering "homophobic, racist and sexist abuse" on the site and she wants it removed and shut down.

The website has been running since November 2010 and is based overseas, making it difficult for parents, pupils or teachers to take action.

Somerset County Council spokeswoman Elizabeth Kulh told this week: "The Council is concerned that the website allows and encourages unattributed comments to be made which could be harmful or hurtful to individuals concerned. In the Council’s view, this does not promote responsible behaviour or good relations between students and the comments posted will be drawn to the attention of the head teacher."

The site's founders say it was launched "to encourage deep, meaningful conversation."

Emma-Jane Cross, from the Beatbullying group, said: "This site in question is particularly worrying as it seems to have the sole purpose of identifying and victimising vulnerable young people."

"This is unacceptable not only from the point of view of child protection, given that children’s locations and schools are listed on the site, but also as yet another example of the prevalence of cyber bullying in our society."

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