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Unfairly accused ... don't stand a chance

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by byronipuss, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. byronipuss

    byronipuss New commenter

    A mother has accused me (to the head) of pulling her five year old's arm ..... ***???? This little boy wants his mummy all the time and is hardly ever in school. I have only taken him twice and gone out of my way to be kind, make him laugh, include him in my teaching, letting him get ready for home first and be first in the line to go home. Mum's own experience of education has been very negative and she can neither read nor write. I am a supply teacher. The headteacher has been really lovely and supportive but, at the end of the day, a formal complaint has been made - which has to be reported to the appropriate authorities. There have been no witnesses (because it didn't happen), there are no marks on his arm, the mother won't speak to me direct and allow me to speak up for myself. She has taken the boy out of school and says he will not be coming back ... She has her own agenda. I am obviously a scapegoat and I won't be going back to that school (which I loved and, dare I say, they loved me) It's her word against mine so I don't have a leg to stand on. This begs the question ... What earthly chance do we stand if a student or parent takes a dislike to us or decides to use us as an excuse for something they could not easily do otherwise (she' wants her little boy to move to a school nearer to his siblings) How well I know that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. The whole business stinks.
  2. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Actually, from your description I don't think you are going to be in the mill too much. It sounds as if the school are well aware of all the context, I also wouldn't be surprised in social services were in the wing somewhere.

    Obviously the school must treat every complaint seriously, but assuming everything you say is a fair reflection, and you conduct yourself well, there is even a chance the school will like you more than before!

    I have worked with a parent this year who has, in writing, withdrawn her son from the school 3 times already! If you have a good head these things are worked out easily.
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    If you pulled a fiver year old's arm enough to hurt him, there would have been marks and bruises also screaming. You just happen to be an easy target.

    Have you phoned your union? I would ring them and speak to them just for peace of mind, but as Flanks said the school are probably well aware of what the context is.

    Was there a TA around who could vouch for you? Not that you did anything, but just another adult to say they didn't see anything amiss.

    Supply teachers are particularly vulnerable to false accusations, but it happens to permanent staff as well.

    More needs to be done to provide sanctions against those making false allegations.
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    On a slightly different tack, I'd ask, quite seriously, if a parent who cannot read or write is fitted to bring up a child in 2018...

    I'd say there should be a report to social services as the child of illiterate parents won't be able to thrive & disadvantage will be passed on down the generations!
  5. install

    install Star commenter

    The accusation is false. You are innocent. See Union. Continue to be professional and to hold your head up high. Are their any cctv cameras that might help prove your point?

    Also refuse to have anything to do with the pupil or the parents. Make sure there are always adult witnesses around you as much as possible. A false accusation by a parent - as @FrankWolley points out - may also be a sign of something else.
    byronipuss, Piranha, pepper5 and 3 others like this.
  6. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    I think you make a brilliant point Frank, but actually it’s these people who are now classed as ‘vulnerable’ who the system works for.
    byronipuss, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  7. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Just wanted to add my sympathy and best wishes.What a horrible thing to happen. Union. Now.
    Good luck.
  8. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    ...so he already had the message he gets what he wants from you.
    Moving forward, assuming this comes to nothing; you need to be letting kids get in line first for working hard, being nice, making progress. For effort. Not as a concession because of a professed need or as a preferential gesture..That gesture can be taken on board as an indicator of being special for the wrong reasons in a tiny mind, and this is maybe what happened. Presumably in the moment when he alleged you to have pulled his arm, he was waiting for something preferential to happen, and it didn't.
    You wont have noticed it, but he did. A farmed snake who had already been given a little rope.
    You are way more vulnerable to this sort of treatment as a supply teacher, not the sordid ease of allegation per se, but the ease with which a school may say "don't come back".
    Although that stings, it is par for the course in supply. You now need to focus on wresting some sort of reference from this HT, which ought to be fine. You did nothing substantiated, you're just looking for something else, and best of all, you say they liked you.
    You'll be fine. You will.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
    byronipuss likes this.
  9. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    OP has said they will not be going back to that school.
    That is the crux of the dilemma.
    byronipuss and pepper5 like this.
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    It really stinks. a genuinely painful situation.
    However, I cannot agree that your union can advise in this. You are a supply teacher, and you will have a virtual zero notice period from both sides, maybe slightly longer for yourself to them.
    This is why schools take supply. They know that if anything is alleged, they do not need to investigate. They have no compulsion to keep that person. They can legitimately please parents by "disappearing" staff over night, and to that member of staff they are not obliged to give a reason.
    Even if you were to present to your union the fact of the allegation, the school is perfectly within their rights to just respond that you were generically surplus to requirements. The Union would be relevant if the allegation had led to anything in terms of procedure eg a disciplinary meeting, or some sort of black mark to your name. But no. You were "simply" disappeared as per contractual terms.
    Reading the supply teaching forums on here, there are plenty of voices who uphold the standpoint -just keep the kids in the room, don't interact much, watch your back. And I suppose it is because they have been bitten in the same way at some point.
    It is not uncommon. It is not about you, it is about what the school benefits from by using supply. Expedience.
    Sorry this happened.
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    We know. You miss the more important point. Should a case be made they may need to prove their innocence. The false accusation and being unfairly accused is in fact the crux of the matter - as stated in the header .:cool:
  12. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    That is not relevant to my point.
    You suggested they no longer interact with the person or parent in question.
    Which does not apply since they have left.
    byronipuss likes this.
  13. install

    install Star commenter

    Exactly. And who knows if they might just meet that parent/that child again elsewhere? Many students I teach talk of seeing teachers and supply teachers in the local shops. Indeed, the crux of the matter is stated clearly in the header. Have you read the header? Proving one's innocence - if it comes to it - may be necessary here :cool:
    byronipuss likes this.
  14. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    how horrible, sending you love and sympathy
    byronipuss, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  15. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Procedure. OK. The complaint will have to be investigated. It won't take long. No witnesses to support the mother. No marks. No evidence. Are there any other adults who've seen you be a bit "handy"? Do you have a rep for it? I'm guessing not.

    Has the school refused to have you back? Why do you say you won't go back? Go back! If at all possible. Don't avoid the place. Don't be embarrassed. The mother is a bit of a (technical term) mischief-making nutjob. You have to put it down as "just one of those things".

    Highly annoying. But nothing can come of it as you did nothing wrong.
    byronipuss, pepper5, Pomza and 4 others like this.
  16. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

  17. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    I hope it all blows away and very soon and and in the interim keep yourself busy, busy. There must be some remedial/non educational/non cerebral stuff to do around the home, the bathroom repainting, the gardening, tidying, workouts, reading silly books, shorting out your wardrobe, just doing stuff to keep your mind out of negative thoughts otherwise you may become pray to negative influences such as over eating, smoking, alcohol etc.:oops:

    Ring up the Education and Support Partnership and/or Samaritans and have a good 'Why me?/This SO unfair moan' and await the next adventure in this game called teaching in the 21st century where you are damned if you do and damned if you don't and damned whilst you hesitate on what to do.o_O

    And remember to keep smiling and don't let the Barstwards or in this case the Barstewardesses win by bringing you down:)
    byronipuss and pepper5 like this.
  18. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    My understanding is that they are asked to not go back.
    I looked again, and it's true-it is not clear whether they choose to not return or whether it is at the behest of the school, but I do know that with supply teachers generally if something like this happens then the door is closed on them, not as a mark of guilt, but as a mark of demonstrating that they have dealt with the allegation.
    If that is the case, it is far more important to make sure a reference is secured than to force the issue of this situation being unfair-if you expect to be in a place long term and then suddenly are not, the chances are that you will have to source another income pronto.
    agathamorse, byronipuss and pepper5 like this.
  19. byronipuss

    byronipuss New commenter

    Thank you Flanks. In all my years of teaching it's always been the parents who've been able to give me sleepless nights x
    agathamorse likes this.
  20. byronipuss

    byronipuss New commenter

    The school have not refused to have me back BUT I am effectively suspended (though they haven't used that word). To cut a long story short, the HT rang me on Friday, (first of all, she asked me if I was OK - she has been so lovely and supportive) then she told me that the mother had put in a verbal complaint, that the chair of governors was going to ring her and then ring me - which she did - only to say that, despite the absence of evidence or witnesses, and the fact that no member of staff had a bad word to say about me ... the incident would still have to be reported to the authorities. She added that, had I been a permanent member of staff, I would have to be suspended ... which means that I couldn't just go back in any case. (This was a shock to the HT, I'm certain, as she'd been talking about me going back on Tuesday - I have a funeral to go to on Monday) Honestly, I feel like a criminal and really anxious all the time ... as if the police are going to come round at any time or something.
    agathamorse likes this.

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