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What parents should and shouldn't be allowed to say

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Halogirl, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. I am a bit fed up this morning. Yesterday I removed a pupil from a lesson as he was disrupting the rest of the class. This came after warnings, referrals to tutor, moving seats and an attempt to reason with the pupil. (This is fairly normal procedure at my school) This morning I get accused of discrimination from the parent as the boy was supposedly only asking his neighbour which page they were on (we don't even use a textbook!) and clearly I was just picking on the boy. The parent actually used the word "discrimination". I am really fed up with what teachers have to go through. Surely in any other workplace if a claim of discrimation was made and disproved, there would be fairly serious consequences?! I'm 3 years into teaching and I know I'm a good teacher and I work so hard for the job, but parental input and ability to mouth off with whatever accusations they like are seriously making me reconsider this career. I dpn't want to have to put up with this kind of treatment!!
     
  2. I am a bit fed up this morning. Yesterday I removed a pupil from a lesson as he was disrupting the rest of the class. This came after warnings, referrals to tutor, moving seats and an attempt to reason with the pupil. (This is fairly normal procedure at my school) This morning I get accused of discrimination from the parent as the boy was supposedly only asking his neighbour which page they were on (we don't even use a textbook!) and clearly I was just picking on the boy. The parent actually used the word "discrimination". I am really fed up with what teachers have to go through. Surely in any other workplace if a claim of discrimation was made and disproved, there would be fairly serious consequences?! I'm 3 years into teaching and I know I'm a good teacher and I work so hard for the job, but parental input and ability to mouth off with whatever accusations they like are seriously making me reconsider this career. I dpn't want to have to put up with this kind of treatment!!
     
  3. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    And you are very right to be annoyed. This is an unfortunate side effect of the marketisation of public services- misinformed parents treat the school like Tescos, or some kind of commercial supplier, which entails the right to complain about any minutia and expect to be treated like the customer, ie King.

    Alas, this is not so. Schools aren't hotels for children; they're institutions of learning and education. Any school with a bit of fire in its belly will respond politely but firmly to nonsense like this- we don't exist in CSI Hackney, and we aren't required to provide High Court levels of proof to back up our actions, otherwise we would never be able to work at all.

    The parent should be asked to decide if they wish to make a formal accusation, or withdraw it and apologise. If they choose to make it formal, they should be warned that in the event of the investigation finding against the pupil's version, high levels of disciplinary action will follow- after all, accusations of discrimination are very serious, job-threatening potentially. I suspect most kids and parents might back down a bit more if they saw the school was prepared to take their childish threats exactly as seriously as they imply.

    In the meantime, ignore the complaint and set normal punishments and sanctions. If the parent complains again, they should be advised that they chose to send the child to the school; if they don't like it, withdraw and go somewhere else. Otherwise, shut the Hell up. Politely, of course :)

    Good luck

    http://twitter.com/#!/tombennett71

    http://behaviourguru.blogspot.com/
     
  4. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Hi Tom,
    Though I agree with most of what you say, I have a little bit of an issue with your diagnosis of the root of the problem:
    First of all, part of the education sector is, and always has been, "in the market" and it doesn't tollerate this sort of behaviour from parents.
    Secondly, neither does Tesco's. You can't go into a Tesco's store and make false accusations against members of their staff without consequences. At the very least, you're likely to be banned from the store and it's quite possible you'll be banned from all their stores.
    And if the conduct is criminal, the police will be called and even if the police won't refer to the DPP, Tesco's will consider taking on the case privately.
    The failing in education isn't because of the "marketisation" - it's because of the failure by management to require the same standard of our "customers" that every other part of the public (or private) service requires.
    Abuse a staff member in a hospital and you may well find yourself denied treatment; abuse a prison officer and do more time.
    Abuse a teacher and get a few days off ... (at worst).
     
  5. Thank you both for your positive replies, confirming what I thought- I just needed a bit of sympathy and support! Luckily I have been supported by school, but only as far as "Miss X is perfectly happy and comfortable with how she disciplined X, any further queries, please feel free to contact her yourself." I'm in a private school, so woe betide if parents are even a smidgen unhappy with our "service"!!
     
  6. I agree with Tom, that attitudes like this from parents are entirely down to applying market forces to education. In fact, plenty of the **** teachers have to take is down to this. Thanks, Tories.
    I'm sure you have done this but. All I would do would be log the complaint and what exactly happened with whoever is your senior.
    Currently I work as an LSA and one of my children is an extremely disadvantaged but also, sorry to say this, extremely horrible boy. The way he speaks and behaves towards me is unbelievable - threats, racist abuse, personal insults - and I wouldn't tolerate it from any other child; but this boy's violent past means the whole school is treading on eggshells around him. Today he glibly informed me that he knows I tell the SENCO how he talks to me, but that he just tells lies his way out of it so I should stop wasting my time. I absolutely dread going to work and log everything that happens, taking notes to my line manager after every incident (so, every lesson, then). Sometimes I feel like I'm going over the top but he's a very damaged, angry, sneaky, manipulative child and I think: what if he accused me of something? HORRIBLE. But what can you do but make it your boss' problem?
    Also, back to parents, I'm horrified at how many appallingly-behaved children are given a detention, only for their parent to ring the teacher (often ****** and blinding): I know my rights, I know my child's rights, you have no right to keep him after school, he says you're picking on him, etc etc etc. Absolutely maddening.
     
  7. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    So why didn´t this change when The Labour Party took office in 1997 ? Fourteen years ago ;yes I know things changed again recently.

    I´m all for berating the Tories. Blaming them too. But let´s be fair. The Labour Party deserves its full and well deserved share of the praise.
    Count yourself lucky if you still have recourse to this strategy. Most bosses I know make sure that all the **** and all the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the chalk face staff. Count yourself very lucky indeed.
     
  8. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    I would have replied to the parent that I was discriminating against her son - I always pick up on pupils who are being disruptive.
    If you have further problems with her child misbehaving it may be worth ringing her before her darling son gets home to make sure that she is aware of what he has done before she can hear the biased view of her son
     
  9. Kelloggs

    Kelloggs New commenter

    In my school, parent is king - regardless of whether the child is violent or whatever, the parent will always be believed over the teacher's version of events. Totally unfair, and unrealistic in my view, but if a parent complains that their child is being picked on, then the teacher is reprimanded and told to lay off said child, regardless of if said child is actually kicking off in the classroom.
     
  10. But you were discriminating, you were treating him differently because he was misbehaving. You will coninue to dicriminate whenever he. or any other child misbehaves. Thank the parent for telling you about him telling lies as you don'tuse a text book and ask the parent whether they will punish him themselves for that or would like you to address it with him in the next class.

    If the parent means race / sex / whatever, then explain it is very serious and that they need to put a letter into the head teacher outlining what the discrimination was.
     

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