A WOKINGHAM schoolteacher said that his Twitter account was hacked after a message was posted last night urging Conservative supporters to kill themselves.
Minutes after polls closed on the general election on Thursday, December 12, the tweet appeared on the St Crispin’s teacher’s personal feed, purporting to be from him. As he says his account was hacked, we are not identifying him.
It read: “Who the ****ing hell is voting Conservative in this day and age??? Take a good hard look at yourself and then ***ing well kill yourself!!!”.
A Wokingham Paper reader who alerted us to the tweet said: “I understand times are divisive but we can not have teachers writing tweets which tell people to kill themselves because of how they voted for; on a public forum like Twitter.
“Children should not be taught by people of that disorderly character.
“Suicide is an issue affecting so many young people around the country, if a teacher thinks that some people are less deserving of help because of their personal beliefs, that would be a disaster.
“I am absolutely appalled that a school would have a person like that teaching children.”
However, Ginny Rhodes, headteacher of St Crispin’s in London Road, where the staff member teaches, said that he was extremely distressed that his Twitter account had been hacked and did not share the sentiments in the offending tweet.
And she added that it was an opportunity to remind people about the pitfalls of social media.
She said: “Earlier today, it was reported by a member of staff to the school that he had been made aware that his private Twitter account had been accessed by another person.
“The Twitter account was taken down with immediate effect and the member of staff is very distressed and of course does not hold such unprofessional opinions.
“The school has contacted the Wokingham Conservative Association to make clear that this was a false Tweet.
“It is a sage reminder to everyone about the vulnerabilities of social media.”
Samaritans on call this Christmas
Members of the Samaritans are gearing up for a busy festive season, but assure people that they are there for anyone struggling to cope. Its service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, responded to more than 300,000 calls for help.
Last year, it said that it had 1,650 volunteers on duty for Christmas Eve and 1,475 volunteers on Christmas Day, each handling around 12 calls during their shift.
The charity said that callers shared a wide range of personal challenges from mental and physical health struggles to family issues, relationship problems and isolation and loneliness.
In the Reading Samaritans branch, 85 volunteers responded to 2,059 calls from those in need during the 2018 Christmas period. This year will see the branch open again throughout December including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Listening volunteer and Reading Samaritans Branch Director, Ali Chapman, said: “Christmas can be a particularly heightened time for people who are experiencing difficulties. There is so much pressure and a perception that everyone is having a great time with friends and family, but the reality is, this doesn’t apply to many. That’s why I volunteer to listen at Reading Samaritans on Christmas Day.
“Mental health struggles, isolation, trauma and suicidal thoughts don’t take a break just because it’s Christmas Day, in fact they can be amplified, so if I can do my bit to help someone else who needs the time and space to talk, then I am happy to do so
“When your caller thanks you for being there, it’s a special moment that makes it all worthwhile.”
Samaritans can be called for free, any time, from any phone on 116 123. Alternatively, email email@example.com
Reading Samaritans appeals for help
The charity is asking people to send a Christmas gift to help Samaritans continue to be there for those who need emotional support. Making a donation for as little as £4.99 will help Samaritans answer a call for help from somebody struggling this Christmas – and change someone’s story for the better.