POLICE are investigating claims school pupils set up a malicious social media account to harass their teachers.

A source close to the school contacted the Echo with concerns which were confirmed by police.

A number of pupils at King Edmund School, Vaughan Close, Rochford, are understood to have posted on the social media site Instagram with the account and the abuse spreading quickly.

The source said: “Students at the King Edmund School created an Instagram page dedicated to mocking staff through posts.

“More than 300 individuals were following the page before it was taken down.

“Some posts suggested inappropriate behaviour from teachers, while others were poking fun at the authoritative nature of others.

“The school has taken the view that this is a personal attack on the school and its staff.

“The school has contacted safeguarding authorities and union representatives to determine a course of action.

“The school was advised to contact the police and pursue the creators for hate crimes.

“These so-called memes, for a lot of young people, are like the equivalent to newspaper comic strips which are notorious for spitting in the face of authority.”

A spokesman for Essex Police confirmed a probe was ongoing. He said: “We are investigating allegations of malicious communications and harassment, which were reported to us on May 17.

“The reports relate to social media accounts and enquiries are ongoing.”

Terry Cutmore, vice chairman of Rochford District Council, said: “If this is proven to be true, it is a shame they feel they have to take these routes to decry the teachers.

“I think it is shocking that we are getting these claims. I think it shows we need to be up to date with social media and the affect it has on our society.

“Our teachers do a fantastic job and we need to support them.

“This is not what they need.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101.

King Edmund School declined the chance to comment.