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Can anyone help...?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Typewritergal, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. Typewritergal

    Typewritergal New commenter

    A week before half term I was verbally assaulted by a male student in my lesson. I won't post the whole speech but it included plenty of, "f*** off, you f***ing b**ch, you shouldn't even be a f***ing teacher," etc. I ordered the student to report to the head but he refused and stormed out the classroom. I went after him and said I would walk with him to make sure he did go straight to the head. We made our way to the staff room but at the last minute he told me to F off again and left the building. I returned to the classroom, closed down the lesson and immediately reported what had happened. The boy was called in and suspended. Following his suspension he made a series of malicious allergations about me including that I pulled him down the corrider, shoved him, and that when we arrived at the top of the stairs I tried to pull him down the stairs.

    I was immediately told that I was under investigation for inappropriate behaviour; although considering the student's history, the college had decided not to suspend me. This has been a traumatic process for me which has included a catalogue of errors made by HR.

    Today I got the outcome of the investigation and it was that the claims were unsubstantiated. This implies that there was not enough evidence to judge whether I was guilty or innocent. The report clearly states that the whole alleged incident was witness by, firstly, the other students in my lesson and, secondly, buy another teacher in the corridor and two students who also happened to be in the corrider. All witnesses testified that I did not assault the boy and that we didn't even go on the stairs.

    I am devastated that they have ruled 'unsubstantiated' rather than 'malicious allegations'. It seems so very clear that the student invented these claims with the intention of causing me harm. They were not merely mistakes in his memory but completely made up. Therefore, provable with evidence, that they were malicious.

    I am meeting my Union rep tomorrow with the intention of starting a grievance towards the college. I am also going to my GP as I feel so anxious, distraught and overwhelmed by this.

    Any guidance or advice would be gratefully received x
  2. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    I'm sorry I can't offer any practical advice but I didn't want to read and then not say how sorry I am to hear this has happened to you. How awful. Sending lots of positive vibes your way and hope that the Union can help.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  3. Typewritergal

    Typewritergal New commenter

    Thank you so much x
    smartledore123 likes this.
  4. Cooperuk

    Cooperuk Senior commenter

    I'm gobsmacked by this - several witnesses confirm that the 'assaults' did not happen and still the decision is to categorise it as "unsubstantiated".

    Weak SLT who don't want to exclude a student? Want to avoid bad publicity?

    I'd say it was unbelievable, but unfortunately it's only too believable that this sort of rubbish occurs.

    Check your home insurance policy and see if you have legal cover - you might be able to use that if needed - it usually includes employment advice/cover.
  5. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Agree with the above advice. Good luck with challenging such a weak and useless SLT.
  6. Typewritergal

    Typewritergal New commenter

    Thanks for your reply. I am in my first year of teaching and the whole system is new to me so I wanted to get a reality check on whether I was overreacting to the decision not being upheld as 'malicious'.

    I am guessing that if the claims were concluded to be malicious the student would have to be asked to leave for gross misconduct. The college seems to be driven by retention of students figures etc; I think it's a financial thing.

    Your support is appreciated.
  7. Izzy121

    Izzy121 New commenter

    Yikes! Was there no cctv anywhere?

    Yes, I think you're quite right to push for the wording on that to be changed, esp if you're in your first year. Definitely use your Union & keep pushing.

    On a separate, but related note, do you have any support with behaviour management? My first thought, on reading your account, was that you should have had a more senior member of staff available to help you - you shouldn't have felt you personally had to escort the student, if he'd been verbally abusive, someone should have been available to call on.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  8. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Your SLT should have been 'called', e.g. via email or sending another student to SLT - that was the policy in my last school (a grammar) and I did have to do that several times (or emailed my HOD to come in asap). If there is no policy, then demand one. It's not just for your own safety, but for all.

    How sad....:(
  9. Typewritergal

    Typewritergal New commenter

    There is no CCTV inside the college, only on the outside. I have had it confirmed today that the investigation report will stay on my records for ten years. I should make it clear that the report states I did nothing wrong other than escort the student to the staffroom. My frustration comes from the judgement that the claims are not malicious. The report says that what the student said happened did not happen, but that his allegations were not 'malicious'. I cannot see how they can be read any other way than malicious. If the report concluded malicious all evidence of the investigation would be removed from my records.

    I have met with my union rep now and am looking at bringing a grievance against the Head of HR and the Investigating Officer. This is all unfamiliar territory for me. I have never been told the policy for dealing with a student like this. I just acted from instinct rather than knowledge. In hindsight I can see that I put myself in a vulnerable situation and would not make that mistake again. A painful lesson way to learn this lesson.
  10. Typewritergal

    Typewritergal New commenter

    I am new to this profession; so new that I do not even know what the acronym SLT stands for. I teach in a College of Further Education so perhaps it differs from grammar school policy.
  11. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    SLT = Senior Leadership Team. What @sabrinakat is referring to is the behaviour policy which most (if not all) schools have - in many of them, the procedure for staff to follow if a student is behaving so badly that the teachers believes additional support is required is that a member of the SLT on duty (often called 'on call') is summoned, usually by phone or sending another student to fetch them (when I was a head, sending an email for this purpose would have been a slow way of getting a reaction, but each school to their own).

    If your college doesn't have such a policy, it really ought to be provoked into developing one soonish - your union might be the best way to get this done, rather than you sticking your head above the parapet.
  12. Typewritergal

    Typewritergal New commenter

    Hi again
    I have just found out the student is coming in for his disciplinary tomorrow. He will obviously be disciplined for unsubstantial allegations rather than malicious allegations. I believe malicious allegations constitutes gross misconduct and so withdrawal from the course.

    Please share any knowledge you have about this as a matter of urgency so that I can get this stopped if possible.
  13. Typewritergal

    Typewritergal New commenter

    Thanks for your reply. Can you see my latest post for urgent advice I need. This is all happening so fast my head is spinning.
  14. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Isn't this specific to your college, i.e. not something anyone else can actually comment upon? There isn't a 'national' disciplinary code - is there?
  15. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    If the student is being disciplined for "unsubstantial allegations" (why is this obvious - did sombody tell you as it does not seem obvious from what you have said so far?) then it is clear that the school believes him to be lying. Adding "malicious" to the charge is moving on to his motivation rather than the facts of what happened. If the true facts of the case are placed on your record, then I can't see how you can argue for removing them. I am not sure what good taking it further will do you, however annoying the whole thing is.

    That being said, I don't understand why the wording of the charge against the student should change things in this way. Either wording shows that he is guilty of lying. I hope that he is dealt with appropriately for putting you though this.
  16. Typewritergal

    Typewritergal New commenter

    In an investigation there are four possible outcomes.
  17. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I would get out of that college ASAP if it was me. Out ******** rageous!
  18. Typewritergal

    Typewritergal New commenter

    Thanks for your comments. In my college allegations can result in one of the following four outcomes: Substantiated: there is sufficient identifiable evidence to prove the allegations. False: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegations. Malicious: there is clear evidence to prove there has been a deliberate act to deceive and the allegation is entirely false. Unsubstantiated: this is not the same as a false allegation. It means that there is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation. The term, therefore, does not imply guilt or innocence.

    In my case there is enough evididence (from witnesses) that this was a deliberate act to deceive and that the allegation is entirely false. Unsubstantiated is the wrong outcome as there is plenty of evidence, in the form of witness statements. It is the appropriate outcome for the allegation, which is why I care about it being reflected as such.

    I do not wish to have this allegation as a blot of my record because the wrong conclusion was stated.
  19. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Unsubstantiated allegations and malicious allegations are a different ball game

    Malicious are definitely made with intention to harm, and the events did not actually happen

    Unsubstantiated allegations may have happened.

    Make sure they are referred to as malicious
  20. Typewritergal

    Typewritergal New commenter

    They are funding my teacher training and there is a policy that states if I leave the college I have to repay the fees. Also: it is my hometown college; where I have lived most my adult life, and where I went before returning to university to complete a degree. My colleagues are fabulous and the work is highly rewardingly. Up until this horrible incident, although overworked, I was happy. I do not want to simply jump ship and let the college carry on failing. I would prefer to stay and make it better. It is a great place but the HR side is bordering on criminal. When I spoke to the Head of HR about this today I was told that they was no compliments procedure and that I needed to accept the decision and move on.

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