14/08/2014 12:54 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Headteacher Abused After Banning Parents From Smoking At School Gates

A woman lights a cigarette outside a cafe in Burgos on January 2, 2011 following the introduction of a new law today banning smoking in all bars, restaurants and public places. The new law bans smoking in all enclosed public spaces, including bars, restaurants and nightclubs and makes it illegal to smoke in children's parks or anywhere on school or hospital grounds.AFP PHOTO/CESAR MANSO (Photo credit should read CESAR MANSO/AFP/Getty Images)

A headteacher has become the victim of a 'hate campaign' after she banned parents from smoking at the school gate.

Susan Papas was sent in to turn around Selsdon Primary School in south London after it was deemed as failing by Ofsted.

Shortly after her arrival in September, she asked parents not to smoke outside the school gates, as, she said, 'some may see this as setting a bad example'.

The Express reports that Mrs Papas then came in for abuse from parents - with some even starting an anonymous petition called 'Get the bitches out".

Mrs Papas also endured vile messages on her blog, and had parents threaten to stage a smoking 'picket line' outside the school.

The teacher said that she had expected 'some resistance' to her stance on smoking, but told reporters she had not bargained for 'nastiness and threats'.

"I just want to make sure the children do well. All this unpleasantness is a handful of parents. I think for a long time they have been allowed to bully the other parents, so it was time to take a stand," she said.

Mrs Papas said another member of staff and another parent brought her attention to the petition after it was posted through their doors overnight.

"Two people, a parent and a member of staff, told me that an anonymous petition had been put through their door overnight. Apparently it was headed Get The Bitches Out.

"It was aimed at me and one of the deputies. I asked around and discovered that some parents were planning to line up across the school gates with cigarettes and form some sort of smoking picket line.

"I guess it is inevitable there would be some comeback but what is really puzzling me is the nastiness of it and over things that seem so ridiculous."

A group of parents had also threatened in messages online to 'smash up the van' belonging to a mum who had been asked by Mrs Papas to sell cakes in the playground as a weekly treat for the children.

Cake-maker Donna Mullings had been approached to make and sell her produce on Fridays after school.

"One woman did say to me that she didn't want an argument with her child in the playground over having a cake," Mrs Papas said. "But they are priced at 10p or 20p and surely they will have the same problem every time they take their child to the supermarket. It just seemed ludicrous."

Mrs Papas said she thought the abuse that was appearing on her blog about the cakes was 'unreal', as parents compared the health implications of eating them with the dangers of smoking.

She said she had never before 'experienced the level of negativity and bad manners displayed by a handful of parents here' and urged any parent who had been sent the petition to hand it in to the school's reception.

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