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pregnant and violent child in class

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lelliott2, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. lelliott2

    lelliott2 New commenter

    I am heavily pregnant and a boy at our school with Downs Syndrome tries to punch and kick my belly each time he sees me. He shouts aggressively and is known for being violent. He has a new TA who is not restraining him and I am concern for my safety and the safety of my baby. I see the boy once a week for an intervention group only and originally when I voiced a concern the SENCO agreed to remove the boy from the group for now, but management, his class teacher and his TA are trying to make me teach him anyway. They suggested management do a risk assessment to see if I am at risk which is really frustrating as my word should be enough! He has tried to hurt me 3 times in the last 2 weeks. I really don't feel safe with him there. What can I do?
  2. BehaviourQueen

    BehaviourQueen New commenter

    I'm sure I'm right in saying you should have had a risk assessment done when you were so far along? Bour staff always did. Your unborn child is the most important. I'd get advice from your Union
    Laphroig, bevdex and pepper5 like this.
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Refuse to teach him. Draw up your own risk assessment. Refuse point blank. Walk out if you have to. Warn them first. But do it. You have to.
    Laphroig, susanrk, theworm123 and 7 others like this.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    That is awful lelliot2

    Take the above advice from GDW and BQ. Call your union in the morning and as GDW says, refuse to teach him and as GDW suggests, warn them first.

    What an awful place to be. I would look for another job.
    Laphroig and grumpydogwoman like this.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Slap the form on their desk at 8am.

    If you have the template at your disposal at home via the network do it now! Email it.

    Risk? High.
    Consequences? Severe injury to unborn child and/or expectant mother.
  6. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    Contact your union.
    Refuse to teach the child. Retire to the staffroom when you would normally teach him.
    If you are put under pressure to teach the child, ask for it to be put in writing. Then respond to it in writing. Making it formal will make them think again. Still don't teach the child. If this makes you anxious, stressed or depressed, see your GP and get signed off.
    Laphroig, sabrinakat, bevdex and 5 others like this.
  7. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    There should be a risk assessment in place before you enter a classroom with him. From what you've said the child's actions are clearly a hazard, the likelihood of something happening and the potential severity of harm are both high which means the risk is very high. Your workplace have a responsibility to put measures in place to protect you and they clearly have not done so.

    Somewhere in the building there should be a big grey poster with the H&S legislation on it. On the bottom right, it should have both the name of the person responsible for H&S in school and the contact details of your local H&S government contact - phone the latter first thing Monday. Actually, you can probably just google for the contact.

    Refuse to have the child in class until then - if you have a TA, send him out to work elsewhere in the meantime.

    You are absolutely in the right here and your school is being negligent in not having already assessed the risk and put measures in place.
    Laphroig, bevdex, pepper5 and 2 others like this.
  8. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Whatever else you do, you must notify your Head in writing that this is happening, and also send a copy to your SEN coordinator and Child Protection coordinator. Then notify your union rep.
    Several years ago I had three violent children in my class. Punching, kicking, throwing and threatening with weapons. I recorded each incident in the Behaviour Log and would complain to the Head on a daily basis.
    When the situation eventually blew up, the Head (and SLT) denied knowing about the seriousness of the situation.
    One child in now in secure residential accommodation.
    The second has been permanently excluded and is now taught at home.
    The third is now going to a special school for children with Asperger's.
    The poor Head was kept completely in the dark and had no idea.

    Apparently it was all my fault !!!!!!!!!
    pepper5 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  9. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Page 2 of this one

    Write everything down. Fill in the risk assessment. Emphasise that in your professional opinion, it is a matter of time when rather than "might" (and even might is too risky). Inform the head that if the child comes in you walk out, and that if this is any time other than first thing Monday morning it is no longer your responsibility if the group is unsupervised because you have warned them that this will happen.
  10. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Whenever a member of staff notifies me that she is pregnant the first thing that I do is to draw up a risk assessment. Usually they are straightforward and we both agree on its content.

    Therefore one should have been done regardless of your problem. I would speak to your Union but I would refuse to teach the child. I cannot believe that this child is allowed any where near you if he keeps trying to punch you in the stomach. A HT has duty of care to his staff.
  11. TrueFaith

    TrueFaith Occasional commenter

    Goodness me!

    When my wife was pregnant with our eldest, there was a child that she was told by the head to walk away from him as soon as she saw him...

    I can't believe that people would consider trying to make you have such a child in your class when you are expecting (whether or not you should expect to be assaulted by a pupil in the first place is surely a different manner).

    As others have stated, get a risk assessment together, even if it is not on the LA/School approved template stating that there is a high risk of injury to yourself and your unborn child.

    Be sure you keep escalating this until the child is removed from your group!
    pepper5 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  12. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    He tried to hit you? Downs syndrome or not, that is an offence in law.

    Whilst I agree with all the above comments about involving the Union, giving the school your risk assessment, refusing to teach him after having told the HT (at 08.00 tomorrow) etc. I'd also add that if he threatens to hit you, or actually does hit you, you will involve the police.

    They might not wish to be involved with the child, but that could lead to social services investigating the school and will fire a warning shot across the bows of your foolish & complacent HT.
  13. eleanorms

    eleanorms Occasional commenter

    When I was pregnant my lovely headteacher wouldn't let me near any child with so much as a hint of a rash and I was allowed an extra "comfort" break in afternoon. Totally agree with all others, very politely refuse to teach him. Immediately.
  14. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    You are not a martyr. You are a professional doing a job.

    I agree totally with @FrankWolley This is a criminal offence. The ht also has a duty of care to you.

    If it is as you say you refuse to teach him. End of.

    I would put this in an email now to the HT so they can sort something out.

    Oh, and s0d what his class teacher and especially the TA think. Like the health and safety call has anything to do with them. They aren't either the person at risk or the person who will carry the can (ht) if things go wrong.
  15. tall tales

    tall tales New commenter

    Agree with all of the above: absolutely on no account be in the same space as this child. Your school seem to be courting a lawsuit. Best wishes
    install, pepper5 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  16. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    Your first priority MUST be your unborn baby. If you think, as you clearly do, that having this child is a risk to the baby, then you should not allow yourself to be in the same room as that child.
    pepper5 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    If a significant health and safety risk is identified for a new or expectant mother, which goes beyond the normal level of risk found outside the workplace, you must take the following actions:

    Action 1: Temporarily adjust her working conditions and / or working hours; or if that is not possible
    Action 2: Offer her suitable alternative work (at the same rate of pay) if available; or if that is not possible
    Action 3: Suspend her from work on paid leave for as long as necessary to protect her health and safety, and that of her child.
    However, the Employment Rights Act 1996  provides that, where appropriate, suitable alternative work should be offered (on the same terms and conditions) before any suspension from work.

    Methinks kicks and punches to the belly do not constitute a normal level of risk.
    Laphroig, GeordieKC and pepper5 like this.
  18. TheOtherHalf1

    TheOtherHalf1 New commenter

    Act on the good advice given above now.

    If your school is a Local Authority school make sure that you also report the attacks (all of them) on the Authority's Health and Safety form. This will go to the HS person in school who will have take action, or they will pass this on to the HT, but more importantly the form should also then be sent to the Authority. You may want make a photocopy and send it yourself.

    Please make sure that everything is done officially - in writing.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  19. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    @lelliott2 I hope you have not or will not let this student into your lesson this week. Please do not further risk the health of your unborn baby.
    senlady and monicabilongame like this.
  20. senlady

    senlady Senior commenter

    I have not had the chance to read all the replies but this post sent waves of horror through me.

    In my first pregnancy I worked in an SEN school and had a particularly challenging and violent young boy in my class. The headteacher did a pointless risk assessment and left me and my team to get on with it day to day. I should have stood up to them and I should have contacted the union. I was in my second year of teaching and not in a great place and I didn't. This boy did not particularly target me but he was a permanant and definite risk and completely unpredictable. My team and I tried to manage things between us to keep me safe but we were all on a knife edge and it sent everyone's stress levels sky high 24/7.

    I went into premature labour in school 7+ weeks early and my son was born the next day. I was fit and well in every other way and my consultant told me the most likely cause was the undue stress and he also told me I probably had a case to take against them. I didn't. My second and third labours were both post full term and I was in different employment.


    Thankfully my son was fine. BUT DON'T RISK IT!

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