College suspends 17 students over ‘discriminatory’ Twitter post

Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

Seventeen Hartlepool Sixth Form College students were suspended for two days after endorsing a discriminatory Twitter post featuring one of its overseas students.

They liked or shared the picture which contained a comment deemed racist by college leaders.

Our students are educated on the importance of challenging discriminatory behaviour and language and fully understand that we cannot and will not tolerate anything less.

Principal Maureen Bunter

The offensive post is understood to have been created on Twitter by a former college student but featured the picture of a current foreign student.

Principal Maureen Bunter said its action demonstrates it will not tolerate any kind of discrimination and expects all students to live up to its inclusive ethos at all times.

She said: “An issue was reported on Monday afternoon by a student of the college to a member of staff, regarding a post on Twitter, which included a comment that was deemed discriminatory. We have since taken action to suspend 17 students for two days.

“We have a responsibility to our students, and to the wider community in Hartlepool to ensure that we deal swiftly with issues of this kind, and leave students in no doubt of just how seriously we take discrimination of any kind.

“Our students are educated on the importance of challenging discriminatory behaviour and language and fully understand that we cannot and will not tolerate anything less. Every student deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy, and to learn in an environment that is both inclusive and non-discriminatory, and students and their parents have our commitment that we will always defend and uphold these values.”

The suspended students are due to return to college today.

Ofsted commended the college’s strong culture of inclusion and respect in their most recent inspection.