John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
  Jailed: teacher who snapped (tip of an iceberg)
I find this story particularly sad. It is really the tip of an iceberg of problems with disrespectful behaviour across the country. For all that ASBOs and such mechanisms offer some slight hope to people terrorised by yobs they are not the real answer.

For the real answer we need to look at why patterns of behaviour are developing such that there are continual aggressive incidents across the country. Yesterday I drove across central London in a taxi and saw an aggressive row which was on the verge of serious violence (people pushing each other).

There are a number of difficulties. Most lie around the desire of some people to act in such a way as actually is designed to irritate others.

Part of this lies in how schools operate. The government's obsession with the rights of the parents of yobs means that teachers have to run around justifying reasonable actions they have taken to deal with indiscipline.

Those children learn that blagging gets results and that if they behave irresponsibly then all that happens is that they get more attention.

Tony Blair's Speech (March 3 2005) includes the text:
"However, on these foundations a fundamental system-wide change is taking place which we will take forward decisively if re-elected. Step by step we are putting 'parent power' at the heart of the education system - giving all parents, not just a minority as in the past, the choices and opportunities needed for their children to succeed."

They did this previously when they forced a school I know to readmit a boy expelled for attacking a classroom assistant. Such acts are so damaging to the discipline in the school that they have effects beyond the single act.

The first priority for education has to be to maintain discipline in the class. This means that parents of yobs would not have the same amount of 'parent power'. At the moment they can give the system the runaround.
 
Comments:
What government obsession with the rights of the parents of yobs . Are you spending too much time with Mike Whitby?

I seem to recall a Liberal Democrat party which opposed the anti-social behaviour legislation in parliament and claimed that the use of curfews on young offenders 'restricted freedom.' Only a few weeks back, Charlie K promised that serving prisoners would get the vote.

There's a problem here that is broader than just schools, but that part of your post is misleading.

It is fair to be concerned about how appeals are decided, but natural justice suggests that their should be a review mechanism for a decision that can have a far-reaching effect on children.
 
Without accepting the rest of your post I accept that there needs to be a review mechanism. However, this mechanism should not be one that is skewed to undermine discipline in schools.
 
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