TikTok teacher fired for showing students how to dance on social media platform

West Grantham Church of England Primary Academy
The teacher was fired from West Grantham Church of England Primary Academy -Credit:James Turner/Lincolnshire Live

A primary school teacher has been dismissed after she taught her pupils TikTok dances, an employment tribunal heard.

Georgia Rogers found herself out of a job following an incident on the last day of term in July 2021. It emerged that her year five class expressed a desire to show her a TikTok dance, which led to her participation.

The tribunal heard that Rogers was terminated for violating the school's safeguarding procedures by not reporting the children's use of TikTok. Employment Judge Victoria Butler described Miss Rogers as "undoubtedly a committed teacher who enjoyed her job" and noted her previously spotless disciplinary record.

The teacher began her role at West Grantham Church of England Primary Academy in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in September 2019.

Upon her dismissal, Miss Rogers was reprimanded with the words: "The panel therefore felt this could be seen as condoning pupils to use a social media site that was not appropriate for 10 year olds. Furthermore, despite knowing the students were using TikTok you did not raise this as a safeguarding concern, which you acknowledged you should have done."

Further testimony revealed that on another occasion, when the pupils were denied permission to film a TikTok video by a different teacher, they protested, "Well Miss Rogers did", reports the Mirror.

This photograph taken on April 19, 2024 shows a man holding a smartphone displaying the logo of Chinese social media platform Tiktok in an office in Paris (Photo by Antonin UTZ / AFP) (Photo by ANTONIN UTZ/AFP via Getty Images)
TikTok's age limit is 13 -Credit:AFP via Getty Images

After the summer break, it was revealed that Miss Rogers had been engaging in "borderline unprofessional" communication with one of her students and the student's mother via Dojo, a digital platform utilised by the school. Among the numerous messages exchanged, Miss Rogers sent a picture of her nails to the pupil and telling her mother, including "Bless her, I just love her" and "Send her my love".

EJ Butler commented: "She referred to [the pupil] as sweetheart and did nothing to discourage the communication which she knew came directly from the pupil as well as her mum."

Subsequent to these revelations in September, Miss Rogers faced suspension. The school then conducted an investigation into several 'allegations'. The tribunal noted there was a 'further allegation about TikTok' that surfaced in October.

At her disciplinary hearing, Miss Rogers acknowledged that while she knew children were active on apps like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, she had advised them that creating social media videos at school was "not appropriate". She leveraged her background as a dance teacher to show them the correct way to perform a dance they had seen on TikTok, recording it on the school's iPad.

Despite this, she failed to record the pupils' engagement with TikTok as a safeguarding issue, even though she was aware that the legal age for its use is 13. The list of allegations against her included that teachers were 'encouraging pupils to watch Newsround, which regularly featured articles relating to TikTok'.

The primary school educator challenged the decision, presenting evidence which she believed showed 'the school promoted the use of TikTok'.

She took the school to a tribunal for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. Despite an employment judge criticising the investigation into the TikTok allegation as 'flawed', her claims did not stand.

The panel found the school's decision to sack Miss Rogers over the other complaints was the "reasonable response", therefore, her claims remained unwarranted.

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