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students have complained about me

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lancaster2011, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. They have gone to the HOD, and said that I have been bullying them. I'm distraught. I have to attend a meeting with the HOD and deputy head after easter to investigate this.
    It all seems to have come from some comments that have been taken completely out of context, like for instance they have said a child with special needs has been bullied by having his low ability referred to, I have said things like "come on, you have written five words, I wonderi that can be five lines by the end of the lesson," but it's been said in a jovial tone not nasty or bullying and it's just a child of below average intelligence which is most of my classes to be honest not say a child with down's syndrome where I can see it might be misunderstood.
    My union say go to the meeting then get in touch, but I am so worried.
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Ahhh these things happen. Are the HOD and DH good and decent people generally? If so, it will probably be a quick chat to get your version. Maybe talk to your HOD tomorrow and see if there is any possibility of having the meeting before the holiday?
  3. How are you expected to relax during your break if you are worrying about that? Have you got a union rep at school you can take into the meeting?
  4. thank you minnieminx, I feel a bit more reassured now. I am on a temporary contract there so know I am vulnerable. HOD is nice but she really does listen to the students and she will say things like "i know you may not have intended to bully but the student still feels bullied so we need to think how we can put this right" but I can't help but feel I have been set up a bit, as the girl who complained did so after I gave her a detention for talking in a controlled assessment then being really rude when I reminded her what the rules were. the other one is that I've been nasty to a child with a brace, all I said was to a boy who complained they were hurting him that I had them and they were sore at first but that soon went, I honestly can't think how that is nasty, but maybe he thought I was drawing attention to them? I don't know. So worried.
  5. emmadrg

    emmadrg New commenter

    Gosh, this all sounds like a storm in a tea cup, especially the boy with the brace. Unless you said it in a very sarcastic tone then how on earth can that be nasty. When a student with a sore ears after having them pierced was complaining about how much they hurt, I said, "oh get over it, I got mine done when I was your age and yes they hurt, but the less you fiddle with them the less they will hurt". No complaints.
    This girl who has complained sounds like a bit of a vindictive little madam. Tell your HOD and Deputy about the detention and controlled assessment stuff.
    It won't be easy to relax, but do try to chill a bit over the holidays, and definitely take a union rep in with you to your meeting.
  6. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    It is a cheap and cowardly trick to keep you waiting for over two weeks.
    See if you can get the meeting rearranged for this week, and take your union rep along. Otherwise you're outnumbered 2-1. And if your HoD is as wet as you describe, you'll need a witness.
  7. HI, this sounds all too familiar to me. I cant give too many details here... who knows who's reading these??? I work in a special school and I have had complaints which verge on the ridiculous to the downright false. I know how you feel, I cant begin to tell you how many nights sleep I have lost. All I can say is write everythng down, I now have a little book where I write ANYTHING and EVERYTHING down which could be misconstrued . Its verging on paranioa. Glad you have been in touch with the Union.
    Could I ask, do you have any support for this student who is struggling, do you have any help in preparing differentiated materials for them. I know its hard work but it may make things easier for you. Have you looked at the resources section? Chat to trusted colleagues, if they are honest we have all struggled at times, they may be able to give you some support.
    I'd like to add that my son has Downs Syndrome, he can be 'stubborn' and I do understand your difficulties, however, he thrived in his mainstream school and learned to be the independent young man he is now, there is so much more to learn than the obvious curriculum- how to be 'street cred, how to be more confident, how to go to the counter and ask/ sign for sausages and chips please, how to share a joke and laugh with me mates. Don't beat yourself up , it's a hard job and all you can do is your best. It's nearly Easter. Hurrah!!
    Anyway, all the best.
  8. Kate, I think the poster is saying that the child is SEN because of general low ability and that he doesn't (for example) have Down's Syndrome or another very marked learning disability, where friendly teasing could be seen to be taking the mickey a bit nastily. You sound a lovely laid-back Mum, though [​IMG]
    It is horrible when things like this happen, and they do happen quite frequently sometimes, especially when you're new to a school. Good Heads and HODs will support you. Poor ones will try to appease the child and/or parent. Things always sound worse when taken out of context, anyway. At my last school, the Head of MFL got in hot water after screaming "ARE YOU ***?" at a child. Not appropriate, but when you learn that the child in question had hurled a great big heavy sports bag filled with books over a landing, nearly hitting a girl in the sixth form who was in a wheelchir and a pregnant German teacher, it can be at least understood. Yours is nothing like that bad, clearly, and I don't think you've done anything wrong at all.
    My advice would be to take someone with you and to stay calm and not get defensive. You haven't done anything wrong from what you've said. Try to make it clear you're sorry if the child was upset but not sorry for what you said - make it their issue, not yours. For instance, for the boy with the brace you could say, "It's a shame Jim is sensitive about people mentioning his brace. I assumed, since he told me it was uncomfortable, he wanted me to show some sympathy and understanding which I did by sharing a brief ancedote of a similar experience I had when I wore braces as a teeanger. Obviously I won't do this again if Jim would prefer me not to, but I do think it might be wise for someone to have a chat with Jim about not bringing up topics he feels sensitive about, if he's going to get this upset. Does he have a good relationship with his form tutor? Could they perhaps do this?"
    Good luck and try not to worry. I know that is easier said than done, but you haven't done anything wrong or awful. I hope it works out well. x
  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I would definitely talk to the HOD and let her know you are worried. She will probably say exactly this sort of thing (it keeps parents happy) and then tells you not to be daft and definitely not to worry. The leaving it until after Easter can also imply that it really isn't all that serious. If it was deadly serious the meeting would be more urgent.

    Definitely have a chat with the HOD and probably put your mind at rest. Or give you more clues as to what to be worried about and then you'll give yourself the holidays to speak to your union and be prepared.
  10. Yes, talk to the HOD early, ask to have the meeitng before the holiday.Ask if you should be bringing along the union rep.
    But do not accept that you did anything wrong., even if they say, that everyone can move on if you simply apologise.An apology is not needed for what you said. The test is not whether the pupil (or the class) took exception, to what you said but whether a reasonable person would.
    I would add that even this gov't expects schools to protect staff from malicious complaints and so I would expect the HOD and HT to protect you from this baseless complaint. If this thing is accepted by the school today, then it is you this week, but it could be them (or anyone else) later.Would a reasonable person be offended by what you said? No.
    Take notes of anything that is said.
  11. I would pre-emp the meeting with a clear statement similar to what you have written here.

    Start with explaining the girls detention etc

    Detail each incident

    I take it that the complaint is from the original girl who is complaining that you didn't in fact bully her but that you bullied two other children.

    Did the two other children complain? If not its clearly an issue with the one girl.

    Request a clear show of support to nip the problem in the bud. It's not in anyone's interests to indulge false allegations from students, and this is what your situation amounts to. Request a serious consequence for the girl in question as a clear indication that exaggerated or false allegations are dealt with very seriously.

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