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breach of confidentiality

Discussion in 'Personal' started by nadolig, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. Can members help me out here and give me some advice? I would be so appreciative.

    I was erroneously prescribed medication for insomnia which my GP, last September, advised I should stop taking, resulting in a long list of side effects - for 5 long months - one of which was depression - the reason for sick leave written on my sick note. I was unhappy with this, given that the ensuing depression was merely a secondary and predicted response to my then current medical treatment, but the GP assured me that it was all he could write on my sick note.

    I returned to work this year in February 2011 and was horrified to discover that pupils had been informed that the reason for my sick leave was that I had been depressed. Comments such as, "You can't tell me what to do Miss, they told us you went loony" and" We were told you went to the nuthouse" were regular features of my teaching day. Colleagues approached me informing me that their students had told them, "We were told Miss (X) had had a mental breakdown". Further taunts ensued, leading me to believe that the (apparent) reason for my sick leave had been both entirely misrepresented but nevertheless, leaked to staff and students.

    I have a meeting next week to discuss the situation with my Head, who is aware of the above. My dignity and professional confidence have been completely undermined and I'm most concerned about a decent reference. I am not sure, at this stage, that I have the confidence to apply for further posts.

    Can members advise me what I am to do and what my rights are? I've been teaching for 18 years now, with an unblemished record of excellence and dedication.

    Thank you so much,
  2. I would suggest you approach this very carefully and make sure you base your concerns on facts, not assumptions. I say this because having taught for 18 years, you will be well aware that pupils can say things that are very untrue eg 'Mrs X told me it was OK to wear my nose piercing' when in actual fact it was not the case at all. This then goes on to it being repeated elsewhere when it turns into 'I got my nose pierced because Mrs X says it isn't against the school rules'...... and so on and so on. (I am well aware that this is a very minor example and not reflective of the severity of yours)
    What I am saying is that the pupils remarks may be nothing at all to do with a breach of confidentiality and that it could have evolved from small talk and hearsay to wicked attacks and vicious rumours.
  3. Thank you for your response, lovelylouboutins,

    I appreciate your caveat. Indeed, when the first few comments were made, I was initially cautious, well aware of the situation you indicate and mindful too, of the nature of students' perception of such situations. However, comments have been so regular and across the Year 8-11 spectrum, it is no more a coincidence that so many pupils have used a wide range of synonyms for "depression" that I cannot ignore.

    In addition to my original post, I would like to point out here that my return to work timetable - promising 84% teaching timetable and the rest, cover periods, has never been delivered. I have been reduced to an unnecessary - and sometimes unwanted - classroom assistant. I have been excluded from Departmental and formal Staff meetings and have not been invited to discuss my return to work on any level.

    Finally, "vicious rumours" must surely be sourced from somewhere. And I can think of much more serious reason why a teacher might be away for 5 months.

    Thank you for your response. I appreciate your comments.

  4. I wish you all the luck in the world and I hope this horrid situation gets sorted for you. I hope you took what I was saying in the way it was intended. I was not suggesting that you were assuming (you are but that isn't the issue and is probably justified) but that it is always good to approach these meetings with facts and then use assumptions rather than just say 'this MUST have happened'. I know I am sounding clumsy!!
  5. ditwee

    ditwee New commenter

    Consult your union, and take their advice if given.
  6. I sometimes think GPs are ****** nuts.
    When my husband died my GP insisted he could only cover my absence by putting 'debility' on my sick note.
    OC went ballistic having called me for an interview and assured me this was carp.
    I swear, In the waiting room waiting room while waiting for my appoiontment I was chatting with a man who had a neck collar, his arm was in a cast the type with a frame that holds your arm at an angle to your body and a full ankle to thigh leg cast.
    He'd been called for an 'explain your absence' meeting, he was a fireman.
    Oh how we laughed.
  7. It's going to be really hard for you to prove that someone has breached confidentiality like this, as I think SMT will swear blind that it's just kids rumors, even if it isn't. I think they'll tell you that it's your fault for not being able to handle it properly as well. I would union up, quickly!

    I really hope your SMT don't do the above and take this seriously though. You'll know better than me what their reaction is likely to be, I'm really just showing you the worst case scenario.

    The Edudicator
  8. Thank you so much for all of your support, advice and personal perspectives regarding my current situation. I have taken ALL of your words and responses on board. I hope very much that my forthcoming meeting with my Head this week will be a positive one.
    Kindest wishes to you all,
  9. Do think about what you need the head to do to move on from here and make your life easier and how you want the head to deal with the attempted bullying by the students.
  10. jacob

    jacob Lead commenter

    Consult your union, asking them for legal advice. Better to phone their head office than go through your school rep.

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