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Laser Pen issue

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by LINGUIST2, Nov 28, 2018.


    LINGUIST2 New commenter

    A laser pen was being used in my class. The pupil was after some investigation caught and reprimanded - the parent was also informed - no exclusion just a ticking off. I mentioned it to my union as a matter of Health and Safety. However now my HT is making me feel bad saying I should not have told union about it saying it was a matter of discipline and for him to deal with. I really wasn't keen on his manner and the way he spoke to me. Any thoughts?

    BetterNow likes this.
  2. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    You asked the union for advice on a H&S matter which could have had consequences for you or for your students.
    HT is wrong, this is not solely a discipline matter.
    If he raises it again, ask what procedures should be followed to prevent a similar incident arising.

    LINGUIST2 New commenter

    Thanks for your quick reply. He said to call him direct but a lot of the time the SLT are never in.
    pepper5 likes this.

    LINGUIST2 New commenter

    I am fairly new at the school and think it's a way to show who's boss!
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    There was nothing wrong in seeking advice from the Union in a H&S matter.

    Can I ask, what colour was the laser light?
    phlogiston, BetterNow and pepper5 like this.
  6. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    The incident happened, it was dealt with, although you give no detail at all on this.
    You went to your union about this and clearly your HT got to know this fact somehow.

    But you miss lots of your story.
    Did you speak to your HT before speaking to Union about this child being reprimanded? Did you make any additional request that the item be located and confiscated? Did you get your eyes checked out and discover some damage through a qualified medical person? Did you request to not have that child in class until they had given up the item. Did you insist that the child's parents were told of potential dangers with these things?
    Clearly you were not happy about how it was all dealt with-did you take that issue to somebody in school? And is there a problem with the school policy for dealing with such items? Did you check this, and then insist on action according to it?
    If you answer is "no", then your HT has every right to be miffed at you.
    The Union are there to advise, sure, in this case it went beyond that because clearly the HT has been made to know of contact with them. HOw? Did you tell him? Why?
    And if not, did they contact him? Why? Seeking what outcome?
    Using your union is supposed to be when you have pulled out all the stops.They are supposed to step in when things go wrong, but I cannot see what has gone wrong here. I am not condoning use of lazer pointers or pens in class, but I am saying there are always layers of protest to go through in house before resorting to union advice or intervention.
    You need to make a much bigger noise about this at school first, rather than running to somebody else and making a noise because you can, but your post reads as if you really did not do that.

    Maybe I'm wrong, it's very brief in detail...but why would you just "mention it" to your union. What were you seeking to achieve by doing this? It just sounds tattle tale-ish rather than a move to resolve anything intractable, sorry.

    LINGUIST2 New commenter

    Thanks for your reply and perspective on this. I appreciate it.

    LINGUIST2 New commenter

  9. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Any teacher has the right to speak to their Union at any time. I would now be speaking to ,y Union about the comments the HT made (maybe asking them to keep this confidential, but as evidence in case HT starts targeting the OP in future...)
  10. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

    I suspect the issue is that there was no punishment but just a reprimand. Do you seriously think that is acceptable?
  11. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Please read my post-I have said nothing about whether what the student did was acceptable or whether the consequence was acceptable or not.
    And I have also not said it is wrong to seek union advice.
    What is wrong here is the third step that the HT has clearly had some contact with the union about this somehow.
    My point is that if a sanction is unacceptable it is not an automatic course of action to take it to the union. Deal with it in house first. Check the behaviour policy and challenge those who have failed to apply it. Then check the H&S policy, and either highlight it's inadequacy or direct somebody to it and urge them to act.
    OP does not indicate any of this was done or considered. They simply indicate something dreadful and then "mentioning" it to the union.
    It's like telling tales, rather than an actual effort to resolve the issue.
    The issue being
    They may be expected to teach the child again without reassurance
    They may have suffered injury
    They may have felt the behaviour policy was not applied and they were left at risk.
    They may have spotted a gap in the H&S policy that needs addressing.

    All of these things ought to be taken higher in the first instance, not outsourced straight away.
    Then if no correct outcome, you could speak to the union.
  12. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

  13. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Don’t see the issue - a kid brought a laser pointer in, it was dealt with (redardless of the seriousness of the sanction) and nobody was injured in any way.

    On the assimption that it hasn’t happened again and was a single incident, I don’t see this as a H&S issue, let alone what any union are supposed to do about it.
  14. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    It seems to me what you're really upset with is how the HT spoke to you. Not about the laser pen itself.

    Maybe they were unecessarily brusque. Or maybe they felt that they had dealt with it, and that's that.

    If you're fairly new to the school, maybe they do have an issue with what they perceive as someone trying (to them) to undermine them. Chalk it up to experience and move on.
  15. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Laser pens can blind and you always get the easily led pupil who will respond to a dare to shine it in their eye with the result of permanent vision loss. These wretched things can be shone from one side of the room to another, along the length of a corridor, across a playground or between classrooms. You did the right thing.
  16. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

    If the pen had been directed towards another child would the head have acted differently when faced with a parental complaint?
    Shedman, phlogiston and BetterNow like this.
  17. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    I worked in a school some years ago where there was simple policy on laserpens. The Head took it off the pupil and crunched it under his size 12 boot. Simple, effective if not entirely correct. No parent ever complained.
  18. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Whilst it never happened to me, if anyone had ever pointed a laser pen at me I would have considered it to be an attempted assault and the very least I would have done was use reasonable force to disarm them, immediately. Then I would have removed the batteries and put them out of the student's reach before reporting it as an attempted assault and I would expect it to be dealt with as such. I wouldn't rule out destroying the laser device on the spot to ensure others' safety.

    No different to if a child attempted to blind me with a sharp object.

    My eyesight is far more important to me than any consequences of explaining my actions to SLT or parents.
    Shedman and FrankWolley like this.
  19. tall tales

    tall tales New commenter

    Your union, your call - can’t for the life of me understand other posters endorsing your head trying to censor you.
    Also, how did the Head find out? Did you ask the union rep to speak to the head? Did you give permission for them to speak on your behalf? If not, I’d have a big issue with them over confidentiality.
    These pens can be dangerous:I remember years ago a member of staff suffering permanent damage to his eye caused by a pupil with a lazer pen.
    install and Shedman like this.
  20. Elly40

    Elly40 New commenter

    Personally, I would do an on call at my school. However, I'm in a school where the teachers professional judgement is not questioned. I would then (as HoD) request a day in isolation as health & safety, to prove a point, do parents have to be informed.

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