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Definition of "criminal assault"?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by mniakpr, May 17, 2018.

  1. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I find all parties in this story have gone completely bonkers. You are not exempt yourself-you detail how last week you were told not to touch the children. Your focus seems to be on the fact that shouting occurred, rather than the fact that you should not touch the children.
    Therefore the earlier (very good) post by @catbefriender , about how a lack of training mitigates you if you are in trouble, is perhaps irrelevant if you were expressly told the week before not to touch the children.
    If the HT puts the two incidents together, forgive me, but you come across as a bit thick skinned. You were told not to touch the children, and shortly after you cut a child's hair. The hair, for me at least, is merely unfortunate, but the hair after the sunscreen is someone who was warned but didn't actually listen. Sorry.
  2. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    I was very careful to avoid the adjective "criminal" in my post 18, if you mean as in can be arrested by the police for it then I also agree with 'my posterior'. However it can be career ending and stroppy parents and HTs exist.
  3. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    The issue is, parents sue SCHOOLS, LEAs and MATs because that is where the money is. They could even go to the newspapers with it. So if the parents dig their heels in, after the OP has been dismissed, it could go on and on.

    A savvy no claim, no fee lawyer, or a legal aid lawyer or someone from Citizen's advice could throw the book at the HT and threaten legal action in which the HT would be advised to offer a settlement to make it all go a way. The HT is going to have to beg, grovel and constantly apologise, which HTs don't like to do.

    On this rare occasion I actually feel for the SLTs:oops:
  4. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I feel more for the child...OP stated they were already an anxious sort.
    Hmmm, wonder why now...?
  5. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Good point, especially if there is now drama at home, as anxiety in children is often related to their genetics and home environment and if bad things are said about said school, it will make it difficult for the child in school and may affect her learning.
  6. nomad

    nomad Star commenter


    Rubbish! A foreign body in a child's eye, including sunscreen, is a potential danger to a child's welfare...

    ... whereas something stuck in the hair isn't.
    bevdex likes this.
  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Something in hair - not time-critical - a call to the parents would seem sensible, so that they could come and deal with it, or agree to the school's proposal. A bath/shower might well have done the trick. Looking silly for the afternoon isn't as bad as having a gap in your hair for the next few weeks - especially if going to family wedding in that time!

    Parental reaction - assault is a bit over the top, but I can see why they're cross. A fulsome apology and the school making it clear that they've taken measures to ensure this sort of thing doesn't happen again will hopefully calm them down.

    Anything chemical in an eye ought to be going to the school first aider, who will probably have a proper eyewash. Yes, a tissue might well do in some cases, but better safe than sorry.

    For you - think very hard before any physical intervention. Yes, there are going to be cases when it is the best course of action, but it's going to be rare that you can't at least check with another nearby member of staff that they agree.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  8. GladRagsAtMidnight2017

    GladRagsAtMidnight2017 Occasional commenter

    Nope, getting sunscreen out with a tissue is what is the issue. You should just flush the eye with saline solution or water. Using a tissue introduces another foreign body, which could scratch the eye and cause damage.
  9. revstevew

    revstevew New commenter

    Sorry to say I would echo the more serious side of the conversation, talk to your union or a solicitor asap. Whether or not this is assault I don't know, however it is certainly not something that should have been done, even if you asked the child as they are too young to give consent.

    There are cases, not involving schools and involving more hair, where this has been seen as assault:-

    Ask a moderator to remove this and seek professional advice asap.
    nomad likes this.
  10. sabram86

    sabram86 Occasional commenter

    There are days when I realise how odd schools are and this is but one more of them...

    I am not lawyer but battery (assault is causing fear of unlawful violence) is nullified by consent. Obviously, children do not have the capacity (legal or personal) to consent to some activities, but I do not think this falls within that remit. Cutting out a chunk of goo from hair is surely something a child can consent to - even a very young one, I imagine.

    The OP should have asked some bigwig what the best course of action was, but this would not occur to many normal people. They may have even felt this was the only course of action given the great emphasis placed on children's feelings.

    Schools? I'm just glad I'm away from them!
  11. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Many years ago foster carers weren't allowed to do a lot of 'normal' things without asking permission, such as cutting a child's nails or getting their hair cut. Eventually someone realised that this was a completely ridiculous, impractical and untenuous position and now we can, except in certain circumstances, do any normal thing that a parent would do. It seems odd therefore that a school can't do the same. If I'd been that child I'd have wanted rid of the dough. How can a school possibly operate if every member of staff has to check with a higher member of staff before doing anything? Because that's where this is leading. Stupid fear and ridiculous over-safeguarding are leading us to a completely mad world. I find some of the comments on here really sad. I'm so glad that when my children were at school teachers were humans and allowed to be such.
    geordiepetal likes this.
  12. Catjellycat

    Catjellycat Occasional commenter

    I think, as others have pointed out, there are religious and cultural significance to hair. So to assume it’s okay to whack a chunk out, is very miissguided.

    I’m the best kind of parent you’re ever going to have in a school - I don’t care about reading books being changed and I smile at paint down a new coat. I have only once asked to speak to a teacher in all my children’s schooling (because my son was distressed about a speaking part in assembly he had). However, even I would be a bit agog at someone cutting my child’s hair. I wouldn’t rant and claim assault but I think even I would have to point out my unhappiness.
    FrankWolley likes this.
  13. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Yes, so you'd consent to anything. However I find it difficult to believe that a good application of shampoo in the bath wouldn't work, and the child wouldn't know that - so it's not informed consent.

    I guess the problem is that although cutting the hair might be the solution adopted by some parents, it wouldn't be the solution adopted by all parents. So although schools can act in loco parentis, there are perhaps times when parents should be consulted.
  14. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    The key issue here is that the HT was not consulted who would ask the parents

    The OP overstepped the mark.

    I've noticed they've not returned.

    Hopefully they are talking to their union and it will be sorted.
  15. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    I am glad this thread has been posted. It's a reminder to me that, ever time we put ourselves in the close proximity of pupils we are putting ourselves in a myriad of potentially vulnerable situations. I already knew that, but it is a welcome reminder. Being in a rough school at present, the reminder is even more welcome.
    geordiepetal likes this.
  16. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    You are vulnerable if you choose to ignore an instruction not to touch the children and act without recourse to management.

    Which the OP did.

    If she'd been given permission only for the HT to kick off, SLT would be in the wrong.

    If the child had made an allegation and cut the hair herself, that would be wrong and deserves a fair investigation and sanction for the child, and fair treatment for the OP.
  17. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    Maybe all that is true, but I suppose I was making a more general point about our actions and decisions on the spur of the moment. It's not always possible to have a hotline to SLT in all situations, but I accept that in this case it would have been the preferred option.
  18. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    You’ve learned the hard way that staff don’t stick together and that ‘safeguarding’ is an insidious, pernicious term what basically means anything you do in any situation can be construed as career threatening. Orwellian it is.
  19. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    How does any of this nonsense fit with school haircut rules? If a child doesn't 'consent' to having their hair cut in a style which is in keeping with the school's rules would you consider it some kind of human rights issue if they couldn't then come to school? I don't know where all this is going. There are adults and there are children and sometimes the adults have to behave like adults and just do stuff. I can't bear hearing useless parents arguing endlessly with little Johnny who doesn't want to put his coat on in the pouring rain. Either put it on him or let him get wet but it's doing children no favours to let them control everything, in fact it's unkind. And I would have been grateful to a teacher who tidied up my child's dirty hair, and for crying out loud, how could it be an issue? It grows back! There's no suggestion the child was a Sikh. I bet we all do things every day which children would object to, like making them do work or line up or not play all day. Why is hair so special?
    geordiepetal likes this.
  20. TidgyPudding

    TidgyPudding New commenter

    You clearly had good intentions but I can’t understand why you didn’t phone the parent or for advise from SLT. Regardless of how distressed the pupil was her life was not in danger and you could have waited. I do understand how the parent feels (although charging criminal damage is over the top), I would have been exceptionally cross if you did this to my child. The pupil will have to spend a while with a chunk of her hair missing which will continue to cause the distress you tried to protect him/her from intitially.

    I do feel for you because your intentions are good.
    Flanks and FrankWolley like this.

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