POLICE Scotland has just concluded assessing WhatsApp messages shared within a group of teachers about pupils, finding there was no criminality.

The National has obtained the 2018-19 message transcripts, and can now reveal their contents. One such remark, “I could quite happily have stabbed [name] with a pencil” made headlines throughout the UK in 2022. However, the extent of the disturbing messages involving a group of teachers in Aberdeenshire has not been revealed until now.

Children are referred to by their first names, mocked and insulted. Parents are disparaged. One participant even tells the group they “must all agree” with them if there is an investigation. Young people with conditions such as ADHD are discussed with disrespect.

Aberdeenshire Council hired Mhairi Grant, who is chair of Highland Child Protection Committee and a former Police Scotland chief inspector, to review the shire’s handling of the matter. She released her report in 2022, and called the messages “indiscreet”.

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Grant said at the time: “I do not find that the messages themselves or any commentary therein gave cause for concern that a particular child or children in general had been harmed or were at risk of harm.”

She decided parents should not see the messages – a decision many disagreed with, including the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland.

The following are direct quotes from the WhatsApp teachers’ messages. Names have been removed to prevent identification of vulnerable children or those talking about them.

The Pencil-stab comments in full

“… That mum has no idea how much input you give to them and the rest of that class. I could quite happily have stabbed [name] with a pencil this morning.”

“Lol. I’ll swear you were with me

at the time if you want to do it

next week!”

“Hahahahash deal”

“I feel bad you’re getting the backlash for their last teacher not caring they were stabbed.”

“NB [teacher] still doesn’t care they was stabbed.”

“Hahahahah they are one annoyinh [sic] kid.”

“They are. I really try with them but I find myself getting wound up. I hate the way they loll across the table. Hangs on to the table and chairs for support. I think I did say to someone their lack of muscle tone worried me.”

“They are always where they shouldn’t be”

“Stabby McPencil Facebook”


“I bet the pencils were blunt as well [smiling face].”


“I’m laughing because guess who stabbed [name] with the pencil”

“Ha Pencil”

No danger?

Along with the teacher’s remarks they would “happily stab” a pupil with a pencil, and the fact a young person had been with a pencil, the group discusses a child who had absconded from school. Arguably this child was in danger; there had been nothing to stop them wandering away from school alone.

“Has [student’s name] been found?

“Yeh, the police got them on XXXX Road I think”

“Absolute goat!”

“How did [student’s name] get out?”

“Coat on, out the front door”

“Yeh, football club was on”


But physical harm is not the only form of danger or abuse pupils face. The following teachers’ remarks hardly reflect a gentle, compassionate nature:

“I had primary 1 have a little accident today”

“At least you didn’t scare the [sh*t image] out of them.”

A lack of empathy for those with special needs

Teachers should be well trained and empathetic towards students with different abilities and conditions including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In late November 2023 an Aberdeenshire Council spokesperson said: “ The [Mhairi Grant] report confirms there was nothing in the messages which would indicate that any of the children had a disability.”

And yet ADHD is frequently mentioned.

In the remarks above a teacher says they “hate” how a student “lolls” on their desk and must hold on to chairs for support; this certainly seems to indicate a possible disability.

This is how students including those with special needs were discussed in the WhatsApp group:-

“Omg… massive catchup. [Teacher’s name] you are sych [sic] a good teacher amd [sic] its not your fault that they are little morons.. they are so lucky to have had you. [Student’s name] is still a nightmare by the way.”


“I’ve had kids with rampant ADHD who were completely different kids with lots of daily exercise. Maybe the sedentary / TV / Xbox lifestyle hugely exacerbates it”

“I think so [teacher named] Really though, it used to be said ‘There is always one in every school’ now it’s heaps in classes.”

“I do completely believe in it, as a biological condition, but also think you can mitigate many biological conditions.”

“I just don’t think the way it’s being dealt with is correct. Too many are being diagnosed with…”

A teacher may have recently been on a visit to a different country per this exchange:

“Just wondering… do they have kids with ADHD and lots of autism there?” [unclear what location was meant]

“But if they went to school it would be noticeable or maybe they are hidden. I am curious because there was not this type of behaviour (or hardly any) not so long ago in this country. Just trying to understand if it’s our society or is it everywhere?”


“There’s a significant danger that after this much wine I could get myself rather publicly fired for sarcastic replies to said tweets” [unsure which tweets are referred to]


“Just read the tweet for today. [student’s name] is a complete little sh*t and their photo is on receiving [an award]. Nearly every kid in the school does that!!”

“Let’s praise the badly behaved children. Totally get why you’re fizzing.”

“Makes me so angry when the likes of them does something that most of the others do all the time and they get praised.”

“Great message for the other kids”


“All I can say is Oh my F…. God. That child does not know the meaning of the word respect!!!”


“They go over and above to ignore everything I say”

“They are a bunch of disrespecting little [sh*t image]s”

“Um don’t think it’s you”

“And if the biggest little [sh*t image] thinks they will be [doing a craft activity] they have another think [sic] coming!!”

Parents Disrespected

The teachers in the group also discussed parents:

“Intelligent, good people very rarely have children who are consistently disruptive in school.”

“Not unheard of, but rarely.”



“Oh dear… Gutted, I think [student’s name]’s mum has blocked me and unfriended me.

“You should send her a friend’s request for a laugh.”

“She could be a bunny boiler!!!!”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Extensive inquiries were carried out and have now concluded with no criminality established. Any new information will be assessed appropriately.”

Nick Hobbs, head of advice and investigations for the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, said: “The commissioner’s office raised a number of concerns with Aberdeenshire Council about this case from 2021 onwards.

“We repeatedly made clear to the council that the children’s rights issues engaged went beyond simply child protection and engaged rights to education, to non-discrimination and to privacy.

“Of particular concern was the failure to tell the children and their families about the WhatsApp messages, either at the time or subsequently.

“This decision denied their right to complain, to seek redress and to receive an apology from the council.”

“We were disappointed that the council’s independent review did not properly engage with any of these issues and that our office was not permitted to contribute to the evidence gathering.

“We have called for Aberdeenshire Council to deal with any future incidents in a more rights-respecting manner.”

lIf anyone has been affected by this situation and has any comments or information, they are welcome to get in touch with The National