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What to do when children deny unkind behaviour?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Ems82, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. Working in Primary, I often have children complaining about how others have been unkind to them. Most of the time it is dealt with without problems as the child admits to their misdemeanor! However, I have a group of boys who I'm having trouble with because they deny everything.

    Last week, a girl came up to me and said that a certain boy had pushed her and said a swear word on the way out of assembly. I asked the boy about it and he was very sulky, saying "I didn't DO anything!" over and over again. This situation is quite frustrating as sometimes I suspect they HAVE done it (particularly when a trustworthy child complains) but I cannot just accuse them when I haven't seen it happen.

    What do you do in this situation? You can't just accuse them with no evidence except another child's word, but at the same time I feel it's unfair on the child who has complained if nothing is done. I usually say something like "well you know inside if you've done this and you know what the right thing to do is," and sometimes that will work and they will apologise. However this doesn't always work. Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Don't even ask them if they said it. If the children were coming out of assembly then it's highly likely other children saw/heard what happened. Tell the perpetrator that you know that they said/did something that broke the school rules (they'll start to worry that another adult overhead them) and ask them what they plan to do about it. In addition, keep banging on about 'honesty being the best policy' in PSHE/circle time through role play and class discussions.
  3. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    You can't accuse someone of something you didn't witness, unless you have other reasons to: justice demands that you don't punish people for allegations that are unproven in any way. If you know the kids involved you can make a judgement. But in the absence of certainty, you can still ask the alleged perpetrator with a strong hint that 'if this happens again I'll take action.' That way you communicate your boundaries without actually potentially punishing someone for no reason.

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