Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Another Brick in the Wall - Part Deux

Exasperation Rules! OK?

With uncommon regularity, reports of teachers suffering abuse at the hands of pupils appear in the local press.

For example: Teachers have demanded proper protection as a survey revealed a shocking catalogue of physical and verbal abuse launched against them every day by children in Norfolk's classrooms. - EDP

Sounds familiar? It should do, for I have commented on this before.

See http://malkauffman.blogspot.com/2007/02/another-brick-in-wall.html

This is becoming what I call a Quarterly Story: i.e. four times a year it will appear in the press and nothing will be done, therefore, it will appear four times the next year.

Almost 150 incidents were recorded in a week chosen to provide a snapshot of some of the extreme behaviour that goes on in the county's schools. Among the incidents recorded were foul-mouthed racist and homophobic abuse, physical attacks, assaults with objects, threats of violence and verbal attacks by parents. - EDP

Charmed, I'm sure.

The survey by three Norfolk teaching unions paints a chilling picture of the intimidation and fear endured by people who are trying to give the next generation a good start in life. Some teachers said they were so ground down by the constant abuse that they were looking to quit the profession. - EDP

Sound familiar?

The latest findings show an extraordinary lack of deference to teachers and raise serious questions about Tony Blair's much-heralded Respect agenda.- EDP

Lack of deference? I'd be surprised if any teachers complained of a lack of deference! I would hope they would only want and expect the amount of respect people performing a public service are entitled to.

Colin Collis, Norfolk secretary of the NASUWT, stressed that some schools did not have a problem, while others dealt with incidents very well.

But he said: "I would like to know what makes youngsters think it's okay to abuse their teachers.

"I think it's a disgrace that they feel they are in a position to do that. Part of the problem is that they don't believe there are any consequences for doing it.- EDP

Yes, Colin, congratulations, you have identified the problem! The questions is: what consequences are you recommending?

"We are in discussions with the county council about it. It's not about getting at the council - we want to work with them to find solutions.

"One of the things I'm very unhappy about is the number of times an incident was reported and there was no proper follow-up by the management. That's not good enough." - EDP

Great! Let's have some discussions! That will solve the problem, oh yeah!

Tony Mulgrew, county secretary of the NUT, said: "The issue of it not being dealt with properly is a big factor in people leaving the profession." - EDP

So, Tony, what makes you think some more discussion groups will help?

Mr Collis added: "There needs to be proper support to our members under the duty of care.

Excellent! What I don't understand is why, if and when their staff are assaulted, the NHS policy is to call the police and prosecute. Why don't schools do the same? Don't they have the same duty of care? Obviously not.

  1. At the county's joint consultative committee in January, union leaders and school bosses agreed that all schools should display notices like those in doctors' surgeries and hospitals, warning parents and pupils that verbal or physical attacks would not be tolerated. - EDP

Excellent! They have read my mind! Now convince me, let's see a prosecution. You can't have it both ways. If assaults are happening all the time, prosecute them. It's not rocket science!

Lisa Christensen, director of children's services: "We have an expectation that everyone working for the county council should be treated with dignity and respect and work was already under way on a county wide behaviour strategy. - EDP

I am so comforted. Just what we need – another discussion group. You're in the hole lads – stop digging!

My solution is simple. Expel pupils who assault, verbally or physically, either their teachers or other pupils. Give them a week off. Twice. Then, permanently. Let them and their parents come to school and beg to be let in.

I think it's called Zero Tolerance. Dashed good idea!

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