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An epidemic of allegations

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Cooperuk, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. Cooperuk

    Cooperuk Senior commenter

    I have found myself in an impossible situation....it's like being in a Kafka novel.

    I have been accused of 'inappropriate physical contact' by a student. It's not a child protection issue. It's apparently a safeguarding issue.

    Firstly - I have no idea what it could relate to. I have not had any form of physical contact with any student.

    I was informed of the allegation and immediately suspended, pending an investigation.

    I am not allowed to know what I have been accused of, when or where it supposedly happened, or who has accused me.

    The school are investigating. I am not allowed to return to work until contacted with the results of this investigation.

    I spoke to the union rep at the school. I was told that I am the third teacher this half term (only four weeks!) to have been accused of similar and that there have been many accusations like this by students across the school during the academic year. The rep described the number of letters from the SLT to staff they've seen (and subsequent suspensions) as being as numerous as "confetti".

    It seems it has become a game for students to play, in the full knowledge that it can cause massive problems for the staff concerned. The SLT are not discouraging it by dealing with the students when allegations are disproved.

    I have contacted the local area union rep and am waiting for a reply.

    What the hell is going on in teaching today?
  2. secretteacher2357

    secretteacher2357 Occasional commenter

  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    AIl can say is 'good luck' - by contacting your Union you should get good advice. As far as I know (so check with Union) you are not allowed to contact any colleague* except for one person - not a line manager - who should be chosen (by you as well as the school) to act as a conduit for contact. If this is still the case (it used to be) make sure you get someone sympathetic to you.

    * So if you are friends with any colleague on Facebook, then take action to avoid any 'contact'.
    jlishman2158 and pepper5 like this.
  4. Cooperuk

    Cooperuk Senior commenter

    It's like some sort of nightmare.

    How can this sort of thing be allowed to happen? I know that allegations need to be taken seriously, but when a school is facing an epidemic of them, surely it points to a flaw in the system.

    What if I can't prove my innocence? What if the child is crafty enough to have made something up that I cannot prove false? What happens if I have no witnesses to support me?

    It feels like I am guilty until proven innocent.
  5. Cooperuk

    Cooperuk Senior commenter

    BTW - I don't have a Facebook account nowadays and never had colleagues on it when I did.
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I would hope that your Union (in collaboration with the other Unions represented at your school) would be up to speed with the situation at the school, given the record of allegations you know. I'd be asking them the questions you ask here, to be honest.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
  7. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    That's wise.

    But do be careful - I know of a teacher who was accused of 'contacting staff' whilst suspended because he gave back a tool he'd borrowed from the caretaker (long after school hours as well...)
  8. Cooperuk

    Cooperuk Senior commenter

    I did ask the questions...I received no satisfactory responses.

    The school just investigate each one 'by the book' and damn the consequences for the staff.
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. Cooperuk

    Cooperuk Senior commenter

    I don't have any personal contact details for any member of staff at the school. I prefer to keep work/home very separate.
  10. collinssteve446

    collinssteve446 New commenter

    Courage Cooperuk. From recent posts it seems many teachers are noticing this " epidemic" too. Yup. There is something rotten in the state of Denmark.
  11. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    If you haven't already done so then make sure you contact the union at regional or above level, not just your school rep, you need much more support than they are able to give.
    This link provide the statutory guidance that schools must follow. The relevant part is Part Four which starts at paragraph 145 on page 40.

    Paragraphs 152 and 153 give information which relates to your instance about how much information is given to the accused person.

    The problem here is that, if the police are likely to be involved, then the information coming back to you is going to be limited or non-existent. This is because, the LADO has to consider what happens if the case goes to the police. The police seem to have a policy of "no information what-so-ever" so that you can't come up with a false alibi. (This was the way the detective put it to me and I heard almost the exact same words used by a policeman on one of those real life crime TV shows) This makes it very difficult for the accused.

    In my case, it was three months, just before the interview with the police, when I eventually found out what I was accused of. Fortunately, I was able to show that the allegation was impossible.

    What annoyed me was that, at no time before this, was I allowed to "have my say". The LADO judged the case as "the kids word against mine" when they didn't actually know what my word was.

    I wish you all the best and remember to hang to the one thing that you know: "your innocence".
  12. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    You will need to know what the allegation is so that you can prepare yourself. You are innocent so don't fret the truth will come out. What are the reasoning's for you NOT being told ?
  13. Cooperuk

    Cooperuk Senior commenter

    Not being told is apparently necessary so I cannot use the details of the allegation to identify who made the allegation.

    It also, unfortunately, means I cannot defend myself.

    If, as often happens apparently, the child has a 'witness' who is prepared to lie for them, then I am screwed.
    jlishman2158, pepper5 and BelleDuJour like this.
  14. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Contact the Education Support Partnership as well since they must have a lot of experience with this sort of situation and will be able to give you some support and advice. Call them every day if you need to - don't try to go through this alone.

    Stay strong. You are innocent and you have to trust that justice will be done.

    The students making the allegations should have sanctions for making this trouble for you - it is a serious matter that the SLT need to nip in the bud. If I were SLT and after an investigation found out that students have made this sort of trouble, they would be excluded.

    Really sorry this has happened to you so close to the end of the school year or indeed at all.

    People's lives and livelihoods are not games.
  15. Cooperuk

    Cooperuk Senior commenter

    I can't even think of anything I have done which could have been misconstrued as wrong.

    It's an impossible situation...I can't sleep properly...am drinking heavily to try and get to sleep...tried to go out of the house yesterday and had a panic attack. I'd not had that happen for a couple of years.

    Think I will end up leaving teaching now - no way I want to risk this sort of situation in future.

  16. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi again

    Call the Education Support Partnership today if you are able to. You need help and support and they have trained professionals to be able to help you take one day at a time and to support you each day. Call them every day if you need to as that is why they are there. in addition to listening they should be able to advise you to some extent on where you could legal advice in addition to your union.

    Call your union every day if you need to. Make a fuss. If there is a history of this type of thing happening in your school it is serious. It is not acceptable to leave you in limbo.

    The students involved need to be accountable for their actions.

    Try to stay calm and not drink to go to sleep as the alcohol will make you feel worse and you need your strength.

    Do not worry as this will be resolved, but it isn't enough for SLT not to take action and you should get the union to threaten them if there has been evidence of them not taking appropriate action against any students who have made false allegations.

    Please phone the Education Support Partnership or email them - details pinned on the top of this board.
    jlishman2158, TCSC47, knitone and 4 others like this.
  17. Alice K

    Alice K Occasional commenter

    Thinking of you. Stay strong in this difficult situation. Teaching has become a minefield and we are all vulnerable. The truth will come out.
  18. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It's a malicious allegation. Don't torture yourself with what you might have have been deemed to have done.

    Thinking about whom you might have pieced off will be more likely to lead you to the culprit.

    This needs to go from school rep to region. Make sure it does. I'm sure it will. Just remind your rep. You don't have to do anything or justify or explain anything. It may not even come to that. If it's a blatant lie then they will discover you weren't even where they said you were at the time. Take some deep breaths and remember you occupy the moral high ground where the truth resides. The little liar will be exposed.
  19. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    And most importantly, when the lies have been exposed, the liars need to be sanctioned ; it is not acceptable just to say "Oh they didn't mean it. They are only children".
  20. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    I agree with you, but I can see why it doesn't happen.

    If the child admits to lying and making it up, it is (almost) proven it is false. However, often these things go nowhere because it's the child's word against the adults and there's no evidence. If this was the case, should the child be sanctioned? What if it WAS true? What if a child was abused by a teacher and there were no witnesses either way; they may be put off reporting it knowing there would be a sanction should it not be proved.

    We had a spate of this last year, with a number of children in the same year group making allegations, largely against one member of staff. All were found to be unfounded or malicious. I have no idea what the solution is, and I feel very sorry for the OP
    jlishman2158, agathamorse and pepper5 like this.

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