Primary school teacher sacked for teaching pupils TikTok dance

TikTok app
TikTok app

A primary school teacher was sacked after she taught pupils as young as nine how to do a TikTok dance.

Georgia Rogers was fired after bosses found she had “condoned” under-age students using the social media site – which bans children aged under 13.

She was also accused of breaching the school’s safeguarding procedure by failing to report her pupils’ use of the app, an employment tribunal heard

The hearing was told that on a later occasion, the pupils asked another teacher if they could film a TikTok video and when they were told they could not they said: “Well Miss Rogers did.”

The teacher was fired after an investigation into her conduct.

She sued the school for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination and despite an employment judge saying the investigation into the TikTok allegation was “flawed”, her claims were rejected.

Video recorded using school iPad

Employment Judge Victoria Butler said Miss Rogers, who started teaching at West Grantham Primary Academy in Lincolnshire in September 2019, was “undoubtedly a committed teacher who enjoyed her job” with a previous “unblemished disciplinary record”.

The hearing was told that on the last day of term in July 2021, the pupils in the teacher’s year five class “wanted to show her a TikTok dance”.

Miss Rogers “agreed” and said she would teach them the moves as she used to be a dance teacher. She recorded the dance on the school’s iPad.

The tribunal noted this video was not uploaded on to any social media site but highlighted how it was “evident” that the children had been “viewing TikTok”.

The hearing was told that after the summer holidays, it then emerged that Miss Rogers had also been sending “borderline unprofessional” messages to one of her students and her mother through Dojo, an online platform used by the school.

In the messages, Miss Rogers sent the pupil a photo of her nails and told her mother: “Bless her, I just love her” and “Send her my love”.

Soon after these messages “came to light” in September, the teacher was suspended.

Further allegation about TikTok

The tribunal said there was a “further allegation about TikTok” in October that year.

During her disciplinary hearing, Miss Rogers said that “whilst she was aware the children were viewing TikTok, Facebook and Instagram, she explained to them that it was not appropriate to make a TikTok video in school”.

The teacher said she showed them how to do a dance they had seen on the app properly using her dance teacher background and videoed them using the school’s iPad.

But Miss Rogers “did not log” the pupils’ use of TikTok as a safeguarding concern, despite knowing that the legal age for using it was 13.

On March 10 2022, the teacher was dismissed as the investigators found Miss Rogers’ overall behaviour amounted to gross misconduct.

In being dismissed, Miss Rogers was told: “The panel therefore felt that this could be seen as condoning pupils to use a social media site that was not appropriate for 10 year olds.

“Furthermore, despite knowing that the students were using TikTok you did not raise this as a safeguarding concern, which you acknowledged you should have done.”

Miss Rogers later sued for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination, claiming she was suffering from PTSD.

Judge Butler concluded that the school’s investigation into the TikTok allegation was “flawed” and as a result the allegation itself did not result in “gross misconduct”.

However, the tribunal found dismissing Miss Rogers in relation to the other allegations was the “reasonable response” and her claims were not upheld.