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Personal possessions

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by jellycowfish, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. jellycowfish

    jellycowfish New commenter

    I'd like some advice please. To cut an extremely long story short, I was given no option but to take a Compromise Agreement last Oct, and leave my school. Various bits and pieces of my personal possessions were dropped off at my house, while school items were collected, but there were several outstanding items that I could remember, (and probably just as many that I couldn't!). I compiled a list of known missing items, sent it to the school via my Union rep and HR. Some items were returned via HR, but only a fraction of those missing. I have contacted HR on several occasions, as has my Union rep, to remind them about my outstanding items, but they have reported back that the Head and Ch of G have 'done the best they can' and no more stuff will be forthcoming. I reckon I have over £200 worth of things at the school, plus the 100's of home-made resources that I've accumulated over the years. I've even tried going through my MP, but after one letter to HR, he now says he is not the person to help me.
    Can my HT and C of G act in this way? Do I have no right to retrieve my things? I have never been offered an opportunity to go into the school to get my stuff (not been allowed in since Jan 2010). Surely this counts as stealing? Any advice on what I could do next would be gratefully received. Now on JSA and can't afford to replace missing items.
     
  2. QFE

    QFE New commenter

    Can't offer any advice really, but I was in a similar position. I lost a few hundred quids worth of kit because it was assumed it was schools (ie. no budget, so pay for it yourself) - unlike the yard duty raincoat left on my peg. To be honnest, the whole experience ensured that they could keep the damned stuff. Wouldn't go back for any reason, though strangely, the way things are panning out, I'm sticking it to them in other ways....MOOOAH, HA, HA.....
     
  3. jellycowfish

    jellycowfish New commenter

    I have receipts for some of the books, but was told 'just because you have receipts doesn't mean they're in school'. So no, I can't prove they are mine. Neither could they prove that some of the stuff I had from school was theirs, but they still expected it back. I have put up with 2 years of bullying and harrassment, persecution and false accusations from the HT - I'm damned if they're going to steal from me too. I had thought of going to the press, but don't think it would be a good career move!
    As for my list, most of it seems invisible to the HT. Perhaps I need a solicitor.....
     
  4. I really sympathise with you; was in same position myself. Do you have any ex colleagues who could help you out? I had one whom I trusted and she kindly did some subtle hunting around and got back most of my resources. Might be worth a try
     
  5. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    If you really want to take it further then contact CAB and see what your legal position is. I know that it is hard, but maybe a better option is to move on from this?
    I was told the best revenge is to live well (and let them know it!) and it is good advice.
     
  6. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    I would advise against this. You put them in a very awkward position. How can they be sure that the resources do "belong" to the OP?
     
  7. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    ...I know a great harassment/workplace bullying lawyer if you need one!
    I am so sorry to hear you have had this awful experience. With no-one to hold these Heads to account, they can, and do, get away with so much.
     
  8. my books all had my name in and were in a specific place that i could tell my colleague but i take your point
     
  9. jellycowfish

    jellycowfish New commenter

     
  10. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Why should you let it go? Because the only one hurting over this is you. It is a decision only you can make though.
    Teacher Support Line are a great place for support.
     
  11. jellycowfish

    jellycowfish New commenter

    Perhaps when I eventually find another job and feel a little more confident in my teaching abilities, more secure, even a slight increase in self-esteem and start to feel appreciated by a school, I'll be able to start putting all this behind me and stick 2 fingers up at my ex HT. At the moment, I can't.
    Thanks for advice re Teacher's Support Line - may use in the future but currently undergoing counselling via NHS, so ok at the mo.
     
  12. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Hope it works out for you.
     
  13. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    and that proves they are yours? I can write my name on any number of things, it doesn't prove ownership.
     
  14. Sadandconfused, I'd ignore some of these cynical posts from people, which serve no purpose except to make you worry more. I'm sure that your friend there will trust you when you tell them that the books, which have your name in and are where you left them, are yours.
     
  15. langteacher

    langteacher New commenter

    I have read through this thread and i don't see anything cynical or unhelpful. It may not be what you want to hear but employment law often isn't and it stinks but that's just the way it is. Let's say you tell this friend where they are etc, he / she gets them for you and is then accused of theft. I know it sounds extreme but all that is needed in Employment law is reasonable belief i.e. the employer thought that the friend was stealing school property and there is his / her job gone.

    What does the union say on this matter?
    If you are not in a union (have only read it quickly so apologies if I have missed anything) you can check with your house insurer, they often have a section for employment issues, may not cover you for everything but you may be able to get some free advice
     
  16. jellycowfish

    jellycowfish New commenter

    Not sure if you're confusing sadandconfused with me - my named stuff has come back to me, but there is other un-named stuff of mine in school.
    Yes, I'm in a union, and the rep has been working equally as hard as I have to recover my items. HR won't listen any more, they have said to the rep that the HT and Ch of G are refusing to budge on the matter. And there was me thinking that the Authority had employed the HT, not the other way round. HR have now washed their hands of the matter.
    Rep has discussed going to the police and to the press but that's really a last resort - her advice was to write to MP to see if he had any influence. MP wrote to HR who fobbed him off, and now he's not really interested in taking it further.
    Hadn't thought of house insurance - but to be honest, (and I'm being over-stubborn about this, I know), it's less about the money, and more about the school giving me back what's mine.
    Thanks for all the advice.
     
  17. langteacher

    langteacher New commenter

    I didn't mean to claim on your insurance for the possessions.
    Some household policies have an extension on the policy whereby you can get employment advice.
    Worth a try
     
  18. jellycowfish

    jellycowfish New commenter

    I didn't know that - will look into it. Thanks!
     
  19. After I was dismissed, I went in with friends to collect my things, after school. I only took things I'd paid for myself, including displays (which I took down that had my personal items on it), the books in my classroom library, etc. but did not take things like the RE resources I'd bought out of pocket for the school, because they were low on Jewish religious resources.
    A short time after the second school-based hearing (appeal), I received a letter from HR demanding a return of salary they'd paid - about a week's worth beyond the dismissal date.
    I wrote them back stating in a list all the things I had bought and left at the school, which came to about 3 times what they wanted back in salary.
    I further wrote my union rep (who was a doll, I must add - she was amazing!) that if they wanted the money, they would get it in US$5.00 checks, which would cost them 8 pounds to cash - one a week till it was paid off.
    They settled for keeping the stuff.
    I would suggest you simply contact a solicitor, pay a fee to get him or her to write a letter to the school demanding the return of your possessions and threaten that charges of theft will be filed if they do not do so. Make sure to specifically name the items you want back, of course.
    You have a right to file in small claims court (if you have one over there, still) in order to get that back. When I was there, I recall it was something like 80 pounds to file a claim, but I could be confusing that with something else.
    A solicitor is the way to go, though, in my opinion. Check your house insurance for THAT aspect, as well.
     
  20. jellycowfish

    jellycowfish New commenter

    Thank you Slieber - that sounds like a good plan. I'd forgotten my rep mentioned about going through the small claims court - she was going to look into it and get back to me, I need to chase that up.
    I am a fairly new poster, and saw your '6 years on...' thread. I am full of admiration for you in sticking to your guns and eventually winning your case. If you could give me a link to the thread where it all happened, I'd be really grateful, to see how you went about it. I feel I've been treated appallingly, and the knowledge that all the school advisors know what a bully my ex-HT is, the fact that the school pastoral advisor was approached by other advisors to get her to deal with the situation, and she literally turned her back and walked away - the fact that the Chief advisor for the authority, HR and all other relevant people know what the HT does, and yet condoned her actions and allowed her to force me out. The Ch of G who then left because he 'was fed up of all the lies and deceit' of the HT, but was too weak and ineffective to do anything but ask 'how high?' when she said 'Jump'.
    I did nothing wrong, but seem to be completely unable to get justice - to see how you went about it may really help me to fight my case. Thanks in advance.
     

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