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If a student swears at you, what happens in your school?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by alfieroberts, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. sorry, don't know why my computer does this sometimes!

    I teach in a rough school with mainly young, white parents. I get complaints from other parents about language that they hear used in the line whilst the parents are waiting to come into Nursery, some of our parents cannot get through a sentence without using the f word.

    One of our rules for parent helpers has to be "be mindful of the language you are using in front of the children. They are only 3 and 4 years old and swearing is not appropriate".

    Some of our parents have been heard to say they will "batter" their own children for forgetting to give their snack money into us! - at 3 years of age!!!I really think some parents have lost the plot as far as what is bad language and what is not.
    MarieAnn18 and pepper5 like this.
  2. swear at an ordinary class teacher, maybe some time in isolation if we are lucky. Certainly no apology.

    Swear at SMT and 5 day exclusion.
    MarieAnn18 and pepper5 like this.
  3. Ceri EB

    Ceri EB New commenter

    Generally my school does tend to support teachers on this issue, but it is totally inconsistent. I think it depends on how much of a fuss the teacher makes unfortunately.

    I once had a pupil call me a T.I.L.F (Teacher I'd Like To ****) to my face. Nothing was done! My friend's response was that at their International school in Japan, a child who made remarks like this was excluded. Not only that, but the entire family was deported from the country.

    As the pupil above was not punished they made similar remarks to me on another occasion. Thankfully, after I made a lot of fuss the HT backed me up and told the pupil I would be bringing in my union and contacting the police if they ever made similar comments again.

    Part of the problem with swearing or foul language around school is that neither SLT nor the pupils themselves realise what they're actually saying half the time...
    henrypm0, MarieAnn18 and pepper5 like this.
  4. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    Do you work at my school?
    They will, if picked up by myself or a couple other members of staff, reach our final consequence- loss of play.
    The HT will give the same, or send them for a cosy chat with the Learning Mentor or will do the chat themselves.
    Rarely will they be asked to apologise. Never will they be even temporarily excluded. The HT sees it as a release of frustration or anger, and something we have to take and 'shrug off' in our role.
    No consideration at all is given for the well-being of the teacher or adult. Always it is the child, even when such verbal abuse is repeated.
    I understand children have issues but I feel there should be zero tolerance on swearing at adults, particularly when adults in my schools do nothing to provoke and remain calm and respectful at all times.

    MarieAnn18 and pepper5 like this.
  5. In my school we are told to assess whether the student is directly swearing at us in a malicious way or if the student is frustrated with the situation and therefore swearing at the situation - this of course is utter rubbish and only applies if you are not a member of SLT!!

    I have found the solution to students swearing in my room though and i have only actually been called on this once. I had a year 7 student call me a "f***ing b***h and to go and **** my mum" so i calmly went to get the cordless phone from my office, called said childs mother and told her what had been said (in front of my class) and got the mothers permission to rince the childs mouth out with soapy water - which i did in the break time that followed my lesson. needless to say word got round the school very quickly and swearing has all but stopped in my room.

    My head teachers reaction to the incident was to pat me on the back say well done but please not to do it again. I personally think that my way of dealing with it was much more effective then the school policy of 1 day in exclusion (which is currently out of action due to lack of staff to man it and has been for the whole term)
  6. paulie86

    paulie86 New commenter

    I was swore at in my first week: told to **** off. The child got half a day in inclusion. But like many previous posters my school is very inconsistant over sanctions, depending upon who has been swore at. [​IMG]
    MarieAnn18 and pepper5 like this.
  7. When I was teaching in an American high school in an inner-city environment, we handled it this way: if a student swore, we judged it on 2 different criteria. The first was: is it a case of conversational swearing? The second was: is it a case of confrontational swearing? The first (conversational) was never punished. The second (confrontational) was punished by an in-house suspension for 3 days. The difference was the INTENT, not the word. If the kids were just engaging in routine conversation with another student or the teacher and used swear words, no punishment was necessary or given. If the student were using the swear words in a confrontational, threatening, racist, or disrespectful manner, there was a punishment. It can be summed up by this scenario: the kid says, "Wow! I really f***ed up on that history test!...no punishment at all. But if he/she said, "F*** you, Mrs. Smith! I F***ing hate you!" then the punishment would be given. I am proud to say that I never had to discipline a student even once in my career for confrontational swearing! Granted, the CONVERSATIONAL swearing was an extremely common (almost daily) occurrence. But that was not punishable, and I would not have even considered writing a student up for it. I think this approach is entirely justified and a good idea. Especially at the high school level, let the teens swear conversationally! After all, they are only words!
    neddyfonk likes this.
  8. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    I got sworn at once and slt investigated it. They got to the bottom of things and found out I'd got it all wrong again.

    Apparently the student wasn't swearing at me but talking to his mate. That cleared it up nicely.

    I'm just not sure though why the student in question had called his mate a fat bald **** when his friend was as thin as a rake with a full head of hair. As the only bald man over 16 stone in the room i foolishly leapt to the conclusion he was talking about me.
  9. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter


    Yep, I've seen that one used again and again over the years.

    SLT seem to go out of their way in many schools to find excuses to let any student off doing anything, instead of doing what they should do and hold them to account without exception, apply a meaningful sanction and then up it if they do it again. Constantly letting students off like this is not helping the little bast**** learn lessons and take their place in society, and it undermines the teachers.

    Another reason to retire early ....
  10. Norsemaid

    Norsemaid Lead commenter

    The same thing happens in our school. It's a joke , or would be if it were funny , but alas for students and teachers alike it's not .
    Certain students get consequences then the serial offenders are excused.
    I'm seriously concerned that certain students will end up in serious trouble once in the "real" world . We are not doing them any favours at all.

    Meanwhile m teachers are blamed for "provoking " said student e.g., please open your book and start your work or I've given you a warning next time there will be a consequence .

    All it does is undermine respect and authority. We will reap what has been sown .

    And why does this happen? Because leaders in school are afraid of the statistics and data that would make them a failing school. It's a bad joke .
  11. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    What is even more appalling to me is when students lie and say they haven't done something when they know full well they have.
    henrypm0 and MarieAnn18 like this.
  12. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Depends who they swear at.
    SMT = fixed term exclusion
    HoD = internal exclusion
    Basic teacher = s0d all.
    henrypm0, binaryhex and MarieAnn18 like this.
  13. feather

    feather New commenter

    Dear Teachersin some inner city schools in England, Scotland and Wales

    When I read these posts I realise this situation has not changed since I left and sued through the criminal injury compensation scheme. I since went into law and have found out which laws an employee - and that does include teachers - can use to deal with the serious acts they face. Further the techniques of undermining you as a credible witness by management are legendary, you will not realise this is happening, but the police will. That is how teaching left me angry, and wanting to know how situations should have been dealt with. Here are a few pointers - Do not trust the union get your own solicitor and when I mean your own solicitor do not use the one given to you by the union. At some point the union will stop the action without informing you and you will be left wondering why. Tell any other firm that you want totally independent advice. Use a solicitor well away from the town where your school is located.

    If you have a protected characteristic quote The Equality Act 2010. Research the provisions in this Act. If a swearing abusive patient would not be treated by a doctor why should the swearing abusive pupil or student be taught by a teacher. The so called tough backgrounds of the disruptive and violent will not help the children from tough backgrounds who want to learn and prosper. Don't ever be fooled by the management speak which means I can't be bothered its not me in that classroom. Its you and you must protect yourself. If its making you ill speak to your doctor immediately, if you are assaulted report it to the police immediately and ensure its in the accident book. Check the listing yourself. Make a claim through the criminal compensation scheme. The school I was in had the headmaster removed. Last but not least stand up for yourself.
    pepper5 likes this.
  14. evivyover

    evivyover New commenter

    If a student swears at a member of my dept they write action request form which goes.to HOD, form tutor, HOY and behaviour slt. They would get put in seclusion. I would then place them in another class (preferably another year groip) until student has apologised to teacher in a meeting.
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi eivyover

    Sounds like a fair and effective system to me. The student has a chance to apologise and restore the relationship thereby learning from their mistake.
  16. good boy

    good boy New commenter

    In my old school if a student says shut up to a teacher they would be removed from alll lessons while investigations are carried out, thereafter get 3 days exclusion and need to apologise to the teacher (as long as the teacher had not provoked the student)
    pepper5 likes this.
  17. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    How long ago was that good boy?

    I have had things FAR far worse said to me than that as a supply teacher, but if I get an apology then I am surprised.
  18. hs9981

    hs9981 Lead commenter

    pepper5 likes this.
  19. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    I wouldn't use your tactic, but it did make me smile.
  20. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I went back to read the article posted above which was posted eight years ago.

    I truly hope Mr and Mrs Harvey have been able to rebuild their lives and they are o.k. now.

    There are still many classes like the one Mr Harvey was teaching still today.

    He was in a class without a TA carrying out experiments with Bunsen burners and had a badly behaved student in the class.

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