To ask who should pay for replacement guitar?

(175 Posts)
SoldierKatnissEverdeen Thu 14-Mar-13 18:55:33

Just want to canvass your opinions on the following situation...have tried to write the post without letting on which side I am coming from to get an unbiased opinion.

Today at school a guitar got broken. The child who owns the guitar is very upset. The child who broke the guitar is also upset. Both children are in yr 5 so aged 9 or 10.

The guitar was broken by a child doing that thing that boys do, of running, dropping to his knees and skidding. Didnt have enough control to stop himself and ended up falling forward with his full body weight on the guitar snapping it where the neck meets the body. It was a complete accident rather than a malicious act. The child apologised without any prompting.

The guitar was in the designated place, which tbh wasn't a great place. There was a teacher in the hall at the time, who didnt see it happen. I expect she was dealing with other children at the time.

The teacher does not know what the sch policy is for this type of situation and the head was unavailable.

My query to you wise lot, is who should pay for the guitar to be replaced?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 14-Mar-13 18:56:22

The parents of the child who was messing about and broke it.

bloodyschool Thu 14-Mar-13 18:58:08

Them parents of the boy who broke it.He didn't do it on purpose but he was being reckless and out of control in a room where he knew instruments were being stored

bloodyschool Thu 14-Mar-13 18:58:34

The parents , not 'them parents' lol

bloodyschool Thu 14-Mar-13 18:59:26

However just how you would get them to pay I don't know.

Euphemia Thu 14-Mar-13 18:59:37

It was a complete accident.

No it wasn't, the child was behaving in a wholly inappropriate manner in the school. He should pay for the guitar.

So one boy was messing about and the 'designated place' does not protect it from accidental damage?

If I were the parent of the guitar owner, I'd be asking the damager and school to pay half each.

Greenkit Thu 14-Mar-13 19:00:00

The parents of the child who broke the guitar....unless the school has insurance?

The parents of the boy who broke it.

GrumpyKat Thu 14-Mar-13 19:01:26

Speak to the head. Sometimes the school will pay for it, but otherwise I would say the parents of the child ho broke it.

bloodyschool Thu 14-Mar-13 19:03:17

which party are you?

lunar1 Thu 14-Mar-13 19:05:31

If my son broke something in that situation I would replace it.

Blu Thu 14-Mar-13 19:06:01

If my child broke the guitar under those circumstances I would offer to pay immediately. If it was my child's guitar that was broken I would hope for the offer of replacement, but wouldn't be surprised if it was not forthcoming. Might then look at household insurance, or ask the school if their insurance covered it as it was one of their pupils who broke it. Also if they ask children to bring them in they should provide safe storage, perhaps.

All vey unfortunate. It's your guitar, isn't it?

BeeBopDingALing Thu 14-Mar-13 19:06:44

The parents of the boy who broke it should pay.

SoldierKatnissEverdeen Thu 14-Mar-13 19:06:56

Bloody: I will say which party I am later, I just want to see what people think first.

NomDeOrdinateur Thu 14-Mar-13 19:07:36

The school - the storage arrangements and supervision were more at fault than the 9 year old behaving like a 9 year old, IMO.

NomDeOrdinateur Thu 14-Mar-13 19:07:59

(Although I'd offer to pay, if my child broke it!)

StuntGirl Thu 14-Mar-13 19:08:19

The parents of the child who broke it.

toddlerama Thu 14-Mar-13 19:10:58

The Destroyer should pay

scurryfunge Thu 14-Mar-13 19:11:46

Is the guitar expensive enough to be insured without paying a huge excess?

Euphemia Thu 14-Mar-13 19:12:15

the 9 year old behaving like a 9 year old, IMO

Oh come on - this is at school! Nine year-olds know that that behaviour is not acceptable! He could easily have bashed into a person rather than an inanimate object.

Viviennemary Thu 14-Mar-13 19:13:20

The parents of the child who broke it should pay for the replacement. Nevertheless, why was such behaviour allowed by the school. Do these children not know that musical instruments should be treated with care as they are expensive. Also look into any insurance coverage in place.

DoJo Thu 14-Mar-13 19:14:59

Another vote for the skidder's parents.

The parents of the boy who broke it.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Thu 14-Mar-13 19:15:36

It was an "Avoidable" accident, it could have been avoided if the boy who broke it was being careless, hence the parents should pay for it.

StuntGirl Thu 14-Mar-13 19:16:04

toddlerama grin

GregBishopsBottomBitch Thu 14-Mar-13 19:17:00


inkyfingers Thu 14-Mar-13 19:17:42

Well it can't be the parents of the child who owned the guitar!!

Head teacher will have policy/protocol. Lessons were on school site, so some responsibility. May go halves if storage/supervision wasn't good.

I'm not sure. Presumably both children were messing about. Or did the other child take the guitar without permission?

TeamJavert Thu 14-Mar-13 19:18:50

The parents of the boy who broke it.

Pancakeflipper Thu 14-Mar-13 19:19:51

Another vote for the child who broke it.

I know it was not out of spite and I do feel sorry for them but it's broken as a consequence of their silly behaviour. Harsh but they have to realise you sort out the mess you make, be accountable etc... Which is a good lesson for junior school age.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 14-Mar-13 19:20:11

The parents of the child that broke the guitar should pay. Presumably the child knew that running and skidding in school was not appropriate behaviour, but he chose to do it anyway.

But saying that, I would want clarification that the children were being adequately supervised, (as in enough teachers to supervise the number of children present when they weren't all sitting down) and if not, I'd expect the school (not the member of staff) to pay.

inkyfingers Thu 14-Mar-13 19:20:43

What kind of answer are you hoping for?

bloodyschool Thu 14-Mar-13 19:20:44

Thinking about it again, I think the school.
Parents are not liable for something their child breaks unless they (the parents) are in someway negligent.The boy was under the schools supervision , the guitar should have been out of harms way.The only 'non-child' who has been negligent is the school.

NomDeOrdinateur Thu 14-Mar-13 19:22:05

Euphemia - for some reason I thought the accident took place at lunch time, which influenced my answer (since most kids do stupid things then without thinking first, although few of them end in breakages). No idea where I go that from - possibly my own primary school experience! Apologies, OP - I'm now entirely on the "parents of the boy who broke it" team.

clam Thu 14-Mar-13 19:22:17

Of course the parents of the boy who broke it. But a hundred quid says it'll never happen.

LynetteScavo Thu 14-Mar-13 19:22:30

I have a 9yo boy in Y5. If he did knee skids in the school hall and broke a guitar belonging to another child I would expect to pay for it.

If my child's guitar was broken, I would hope the parents of the child would pay for it. I may well be enquiring what the schools insurance policy says about such things.

If the guitar was privately owned the parents of child who broke it.

If the guitar was school property not so clear. The guitars should be in a safe place and the child shouldn't have been allowed to mess around like that, also presumably there is some insurance cover or a contingency fund for broken items.

Ds1 has broken things at school/respite (windows/mirrors) by headbutting them and I have never been asked to pay (in fact in both cases they were apologetic to me!)

SecretNutellaFix Thu 14-Mar-13 19:22:52

The parents of the boy who destroyed the guitar should pay.

By nine, children should know that arsing around like he was is not appropriate during class time. I am assuming it was during class?

INeverSaidThat Thu 14-Mar-13 19:23:09

The skidded parents should pay. However the other parents should be as nice and as reasonable as possible. Maybe accept a second hand replacement if they can find a good one.

RooneyMara Thu 14-Mar-13 19:23:11

how much is it query with this is why was a decent guitar in school in the first place?

Talkinpeace Thu 14-Mar-13 19:23:12

Parents of child who broke it
owner have "accidental damage" on their household insurance with a low enough excess

Ted Nugent guitar slides should not be attempted with an actual guitar until older grin

SecretNutellaFix Thu 14-Mar-13 19:24:56

Because learning on a decent instrument makes learning more of a pleasure than on a cheap crappy one, Rooney.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 14-Mar-13 19:25:24

The parents of the boy who broke it.

Arsing about in the corridor is not appropriate at school. Reception children know this. Yes, children sometimes break the rules, they are children. But they need to learn that there are repercussions.

The boy should also have to do some sort of punishment.

WeAllHaveWings Thu 14-Mar-13 19:26:14

Not sure who is actually responsible/negligent but if it was my child I would offer to pay as he was doing something boys his age know they shouldn't be doing.

INeverSaidThat Thu 14-Mar-13 19:27:05

Ok OP , you can tell us now as it is almost a unanimous vote for getting the boy who broke it to pay. I am betting you are the parents of the boy with the broken guitar.

Did you have it insured?

Corygal Thu 14-Mar-13 19:28:22

The parents of the 9 year old - win, win.

TidyDancer Thu 14-Mar-13 19:28:38

I agree that unless the school were particularly negligent, ie no supervision for a long period, then the parents of the boy who broke the guitar should pay.

The boy who broke it, but only within reason. If it was the guitar equivalent of a Stradivarius then I wouldn't expect it to be paid for in full.

RooneyMara Thu 14-Mar-13 19:29:44

I understand that. It's just you can get quite useable ones for about 40 quid, for children, and I wouldn't send anything worth more than that in to school with my 9yo.

Older kids yes; having experienced two broken guitars in the last month or two I do not trust 9 year old boys!

Revengeofkarma Thu 14-Mar-13 19:31:33

The child who broke it, which for the record I think is your child, should pay. Or rather his parents should.

There's already too much blame shifting here.

Kid was messing about and was old enough to know better (and no, I've not seen boys do this inside halls at school. Particularly with a teacher nearby, even if not paying attention. I've not even seen them do this outside at break time.)

Teacher may have been occupied with other children but child was old enough to know better. Teacher didn't break it!

Guitar may not have been stored in best possible place, but was out of the way and stored until child old enough to know better decided to mess about. Repeatedly, from the sounds of it. So with guitar stored initially out of the way in a place where messing about child knew where it was, he opted to mess about anyway.

Consequences here are more than apology. Why should the family whose kid wasn't messing about and whose kid put the guitar in its designated spot pay for it? Sounds to me like the breaker wants an "Mumsnet said I could get away with not paying" excuse and you're not getting it.

kinkyfuckery Thu 14-Mar-13 19:31:55

If there is no insurance in place (owner or school) then I'd say the boy who broke it/his parents.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 14-Mar-13 19:32:26

The circumstances surrounding the whole thing make a difference.

Was this lesson time or lunch time? Was it a private guitar lesson facilitated by the school, or is there a reason for the guitar to be in school that is directly related to school. If the former, then the school has less responsibility than if it were the latter.

RooneyMara Thu 14-Mar-13 19:32:29

In fact ds's last one was from a music shop in town and cost £10 because it had a (repaired) crack in one edge - it didn't affect the sound or handling, was a really lovely soft little guitar to play, I was happy playing with it, and my own guitar was around £200.

twooter Thu 14-Mar-13 19:33:26

I don't think the parents of the slider should. Yes he was messing about, but normally it wouldn't have caused any bother. It's just I unfortunate that the guitar was in the wrong place. I would say the school, or split three ways.

cocolocopoco Thu 14-Mar-13 19:34:09

I think your kid broke the guitar, OP.

Just pay. It's the right thing to do. How much is it?

sneezingwakesthebaby Thu 14-Mar-13 19:35:22

I think the school should pay. The designated area wasn't great if children were allowed to tit about there unsupervised.

whattodoo Thu 14-Mar-13 19:36:05

The skidder.

littlepeas Thu 14-Mar-13 19:36:12

If I were the parent of the child who broke the guitar I would pay up without question - of course I would, I can't imagine that anyone would do otherwise. Are there seriously people out there who would not replace an item broken by their child, regardless of what it is/what it is worth? I feel sorry for the boy who broke it, as they were obviously just messing around pretending to be rock star - possibly the boy who owns the guitar was also skidding around with it - but he broke it and that's that.

Areyoumadorisitme Thu 14-Mar-13 19:36:40

Another vote for the parents of the boy who skidded into it and broke it. Accidents happen but someone has to pay and he's the most appropriate one.

I would also hazard a guess that that's you then OP?

whattodoo Thu 14-Mar-13 19:36:40

I wonder what Judge Judy would say?

A 9yr old boy (unless he has SEN) will know not to mess about like that, particularly by the instruments. If the school hasn't got a separate music room then it must have thought the hall was acceptablr but presumably every child is warned not to go near them).(my 9yr old puts his guitar straight into the music room in the morning so no only small groups going in there at a time with music teacher).

My guess is that he got upset partly because he KNEW he had been soon something against the rules and would get in trouble for it, as well as feeling sorry for the breakage. Clearly the breaker's parents need to pay, and should pay what the guitar cost.

LittleMissFantabulous Thu 14-Mar-13 19:37:44

If it isn't insured it shouldn't be in school. The parents of the boy who broke the instrument should pay. If the owners/school have insurance that will cover it the parents of the child that broke the instrument should offer to cover the excess.

KeyToYourHeart Thu 14-Mar-13 19:38:18

Did the owner know that the other boy had the guitar? Did he give him permission to run and skid with it?

ENormaSnob Thu 14-Mar-13 19:39:07

The one that broke it should pay.

fairylightsinthesnow Thu 14-Mar-13 19:40:10

twooter by your logic, any speeding driver who causes an accident shouldn't be held responsible because it was just unfortunate that a person / another car got in the way! 9/10 is old enough to realise right from wrong in this situation, the fact that he apologised straight away is testament to that.

Revengeofkarma Thu 14-Mar-13 19:43:36

Whether or not the owner of the guitar had insurance, the breaker should pay. Why should the owners insurance premiums go up for who knows how long because someone whose kid was screwing around and whose parents don't believe in consequences think they don't have to pay to replace it?

No wonder the kid was screwing around. His parents don't care enough about his behaviour to deal with consequences.

lougle Thu 14-Mar-13 19:44:00

The school, because the parents leave the boy in loco parentis while he is at school and therefore it was for them to make sure he adhered by rules. He didn't, but he is too young to remedy it himself. Therefore, the school replaces said guitar.

I'm torn between it being the schools responsibility and the parents of the skidding boy. If the school is insured for accidental damage to belongings on their property, then maybe they should pay up - also because the guitar was in the 'designated place' which clearly wasn't actually out of harms way at all.

But on the other hand the skiddy boy was messing about and broke the guitar, whether he meant to or not. So maybe his parents should pay.

The one party who shouldn't have to be out of pocket is the boy who owned the guitar and his parents.

Lueji Thu 14-Mar-13 19:44:52

It depends.
Why was the guitar in the school?
And why was it not in a protective case?

If my son takes valuable items to school, I'll make sure the chance of them being damaged by an accident is remote.

However, I assume children are not supposed to run around and skid in the hall, at the risk of injuring other people and property.

I'd say 50s between owner and the one who broke the guitar. If I was the parent of the one who broke it, I'd offer to pay for it. If I was the owner, I'd accept about half.

crashdoll Thu 14-Mar-13 19:45:26

The parents of the 'messer arounder' should pay.

SheepNoisesOff Thu 14-Mar-13 19:46:06

The one who broke it, definitely. Whether messing about or not.

Let's say I was using a friend's mobile phone and I dropped it, completely accidentally, and broke it. I would expect to pay for the damage. The fact that it was an accident wouldn't change that at all. Nor would it matter whether or not I had permission to use the phone. If I broke it, I would expect to pay - whether or not I was legally required to.

complexnumber Thu 14-Mar-13 19:47:20

Why should anyone else, other than the boy who broke it, pay?

Come on OP, what's your stance?

Lueji Thu 14-Mar-13 19:47:27

Having said that, if I was the parent of the boy who broke the guitar, I'd make him pay me back what the guitar cost.

KeyToYourHeart Thu 14-Mar-13 19:49:27

I agree that the breaker should pay ...

But I do think if the owner gave him permission to do that with his guitar then he is slightly at fault too.

But yes if that was my child I would still offer to pay.

Or if money was a problem for them then offer to pay half.

ZZZenAgain Thu 14-Mar-13 19:49:34

the family of the boy who broke it. THe school must make different arrangements for instruments in future though. Why are they not in a locked room or large locked cupboard if there are not too many in use?

ImAlpharius Thu 14-Mar-13 19:49:39

The parents of the child who broke it should pay for either a proper repair job or new guitar, whichever is cheaper Both sets should be talking to the school about finding a better place to keep instuments.

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Thu 14-Mar-13 19:50:45

The parents of the boy who broke it should pay

It was in a designated area and even if that area wasn't very secure he shouldn't have taken it and messed around with it

I have a son the same age and if he did this I would expect to pay and he'd get a massive bollocking

trixymalixy Thu 14-Mar-13 19:52:11

Agree with everyone else. The parents of the boy who broke it should pay.

ZZZenAgain Thu 14-Mar-13 19:52:35

don't think he took it but skidded and crashed into it

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 14-Mar-13 19:56:12

I'm confused - did he slide with the guitar in his arms, or slide and crash into the guitar?

Was the guitar in a protective case?

Maryz Thu 14-Mar-13 19:56:14

This happened in ds's school, but the circumstances were slightly different.

Firstly the guitar wasn't in a case and wasn't where it should have been, but was leaning up against a wall in by the lockers where they all hang around. It was knocked by accident.

Secondly, the guitar only had a small crack, but the parents refused to either send it for repairs or show it to the boys who had allegedly broken it.

Thirdly, the parents of the boy whose guitar was broken went and bought a new guitar for four times the cost of the three year old basic guitar, and then billed the boys who had allegedly broken it.

In this case it depends exactly on where the guitar was. If it was in a designated place then either the messers (or the school) are at fault. But why wasn't it in a case?

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Thu 14-Mar-13 19:56:23

Ahh sorry I got the wrong end of the stick blush

If the boy just crashed into it but wasn't holding it then to me that is much more accidental and that would make big difference to who I would think would be liable to pay

Maryz Thu 14-Mar-13 19:57:41

Oh, and the same day as the guitar was broken, ds2 left his ipod on a window sill while he got his books out, it was hit by a thrown rugby ball and the screen cracked.

I debated buying him an upgraded ipad and billing the boy who threw the ball. But I'm not a bitchy mother from hell.

MamaMumra Thu 14-Mar-13 19:59:34

Is the guitar privately owned? DS rents his from the school and I'd still offer to pay but I think the school should perhaps assume some responsibility.

I agree with the poster who said it depends on circumstances but think I'm probably in the minority here.

Euphemia Thu 14-Mar-13 20:01:02

did he slide with the guitar in his arms?

Are you envisaging a budding Pete Townshend, Caja? grin

FakePlasticLobsters Thu 14-Mar-13 20:01:10

The parents of the boy who broke it.

The designated place might not have been great, but the guitar would still have been safe there if the child hadn't been sliding about and crashed into it.

The school might have had some responsibility if the boy had tripped and fallen on it because they weren't stored safely, or if the guitar had just fallen down on it's own.

But he was running and sliding on his knees, and I know that's something children like to do and I'm not condemning him for it, but he was still the person responsible for breaking the guitar.

HollyBerryBush Thu 14-Mar-13 20:03:41

Well the ages come in to play here. School will not have the insurance. Presumably the guitar owner will have insurance as the guitar travels to and from school. Insurance pays. It would be nice if the affordability of of the parents of the child who broke it could pay the excess that will be levied for a claim.

littlepeas Thu 14-Mar-13 20:03:45

I assumed that the boy was holding the guitar too! I thought they were sliding around pretending to be rock stars, you know, how they do!

SoldierKatnissEverdeen Thu 14-Mar-13 20:03:54

Quick reply in between dc's going to bed.
Thank you for all your responses.

My dd is the guitar owner.
The guitar was in sch due to having a lesson during the day. The children had just finished choir after sch club, in the main hall, (rather than a corrider hall) and the guitar was against the wall with dd's other bags, ie book bag and lunch bag. It was a protective case, but not a solid one. All the other childrens things were along this wall too. He was skidding to the wall to get his stuff as choir had finished.

I cannot afford to replace the guitar. it was a gift from dd's godmother. I dont know the exact cost but would guess between £80-100.

Dd is distraught. When I collected her, my reaction was incredibly reasonable in an attempt to console her. Saying its only a guitar, not your wrist or ankle. The boys mums reaction was immediate 'where was the guitar?' ready to deny any responsibility. I don't know this mum at all, so can't guess at how she will react in the longer term.

While I cant help but think I shouldn't be out of pocket, if my ds broke something in the same manner, it would stick in my throat to pay...but perhaps it would bring home to me that I needed to teach him to stop doing silly things....

However I would have made a point of apologising to the child and the mother, but she made no eye contact at all.

littlepeas Thu 14-Mar-13 20:06:20
scurryfunge Thu 14-Mar-13 20:07:25

I think you will have to rely on the mother's good will to replace the guitar. I had a similar situation when my son was younger and a child deliberately snapped his glasses. The school refused to disclose the parents' details so I couldn't recover the cost.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 14-Mar-13 20:07:36

It was definitely his fault. The mother is probably mortified. I would see if you can get a meeting between her and the school and you going on to sort the whole mess out.

The boy needs to apologise to your daughter. And he needs to be doing chores to pay his parents back for his silly behaviour.

Maryz Thu 14-Mar-13 20:09:00

Yes, she should have apologised, as should the boy. But accidents happen and she may not have the money either.

I would have thought that a 50/50 split would be fairest, but it doesn't look as though you will get that. You might also be able to get one second hand.

MamaMumra Thu 14-Mar-13 20:09:20

She should have apologised at least. Someone has to pay to replace it and it shouldn't be you.

Can you speak to the Head tomorrow. Sorry for you DD sad

ihearsounds Thu 14-Mar-13 20:09:27

The parents of the skidder should cough up and pay. It wasn't an accident because his behavior was inappropriate to begin with. Shouldn't be running and skidding. He could have easily knocked over a much younger child. If walking past the instrument, and tripped over shoe lace etc, then that would have been an accident.

Depending on how many children where in the area at the time, in relation to adults, then the school might have to review their policy on supervising pupils.

Scholes34 Thu 14-Mar-13 20:09:47

I think about the cello we had at school and where the school stores them. They were stored well out of the way at primary school. At secondary school, instruments were piled up in a room. Decided we wouldn't risk our cello in there, despite having insurance.

I think the school has some responsibility, as they designated the "safe" area.

If it's an expensive guitar, it should have been insured. Indeed, any supplier of musical instruments would have provided details of appropriate insurance - ours specifically covers instruments taken into school. This should at least have alerted the parents of the owner of the guitar to the fact that insurance would be a good idea.

I certainly wouldn't send a musical instrument to school without it being insured, if damage to it would cause a major problem/expense, so I think I'm concluding that the owners of the guitar should negotiate with the school.

littlepeas Thu 14-Mar-13 20:10:00

I don't think the mother ought to be mortified - these things happen and it wasn't done maliciously - but I do absolutely and without question think she should pay up. It is just the decent thing to do.

Maryz Thu 14-Mar-13 20:10:07

And a hard/padded case would be a good investment. Being leant against a wall isn't a safe place, sadly.

MamaMumra Thu 14-Mar-13 20:10:13

WMS (what Maryz said)

Euphemia Thu 14-Mar-13 20:10:42

I would ask to speak to the teacher who was in charge, and/or the HT to ask what they're going to do about it.

To be honest, the storage location doesn't sound very safe. Anyone could have kicked the guitar by accident, or tripped and fallen onto it.

At the very least, the school needs to review that.

From the other parent's reaction, I think you'll sing for the money. sad

Shocked at your "blame the school" attitude, lougle. Yes, it's always the school's fault, isn't it? hmm I bet you're (or will become) the stereotypical nightmare parent who marches into school if their child is in trouble and refuses to accept responsibility for their child's behaviour in school.

I would be horrified if my child ever misbehaved in school as i have brought my kids up well and they know how to behave. if my child knowingly broke the rules i would back the school up all the way. Then my child would also be in more trouble once they got home.

Why are we getting these parents on a parenting site who refuse to take responsibility for their children's behaviour???

She should pay up. The full amount. Her DS shouldn't have been skidding across the Hall, whether there was a valuable musical instrument stood against the wall or not.

Scholes34 Thu 14-Mar-13 20:14:43

Was it in the place the school tells you to leave instruments? It doesn't sound safe at all. Our primary school had a separate room where instruments were carefully stored and it was always the last thing you picked up before leaving school.

HollyBerryBush Thu 14-Mar-13 20:15:41

Not everyone has the affordability to pay - the Op herself states its £80 but she cant afford to replace it herself. How would you expect another parent to pay for an accident? It would be nice if they could, but the choice of putting a meal on the table or paying for a guitar, I know which I'd choose.

As I said, insurance should cover it. The article is clearly being transported either by car or foot, and accidents happen. That is what insurance is for.

littlepeas Thu 14-Mar-13 20:17:06

Things like this make me feel all down in the dumps tbh. I can't believe that there are people out there who try to wriggle out of paying for something broken by their child. They should be thinking 'my ds broke that little girl's guitar, she is upset, it is our responsibility to replace it', but instead they are thinking, 'bugger, how can I get out of paying for that?'. Sad sad sad.

RustyBear Thu 14-Mar-13 20:17:27

Our school insurance policy has an excess of £250, so if you ask the school to pay, it will probably come out of school funds.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 14-Mar-13 20:18:51

Was the guitar being used for a school thing, or for a private lesson facilitated by the school?

I think this makes a big difference, because the school is obliged to provide a properly safe place if they are asking parents to send in expensive equipment of any kind. If the instrument was taken in to school for a private lesson, then the parents of the child having the lesson have to accept that there is some risk in sending the instrument in. Especially if it wasn't in a hard case.

I do think that you have to accept some of the blame if you let something go into school without adequate protection.

Also, was this a designated area where lots if instruments are going to be, or is it just where the choir chooses to leave their suff while they are singing?

The more I think about this, the more I think it's unfair that the boys parents should have to pay the full cost.

Talkinpeace Thu 14-Mar-13 20:19:32

Get school to lend her one for lessons for now : and review their hall discipline rules

then get them to mediate and work out a way for the breakers mother to replace it

and go have a look at Cash-converters as there are some surprisingly good instruments in there

Scholes34 Thu 14-Mar-13 20:20:37

You can get an acoustic guitar from Argos for about £35.

Chandon Thu 14-Mar-13 20:21:57

I woud expect the parents of the boy who broke it to pay, it shoud probably go through the school (ht) though.

GreatUncleEddie Thu 14-Mar-13 20:25:11

You can, but you'd be better paying the same for a better quality second hand one, the very cheap ones don't hold their tune very well

Talkinpeace Thu 14-Mar-13 20:26:01

Scholes and it sounds it.
Seriously, nothing under about £150 new is worth having for music lessons in guitars.
Any decent music shop will check out your purchase, and Cash Converters do 30 day no quibble refunds

I'm just looking at flutes for DD and know that for grade 7 the budget has to be around £1000 GULP

ReallyTired Thu 14-Mar-13 20:27:16

It is irrelevent that it was an accident. The boy who broke the guitar was careless and his parents should pay the damage. How you get the parents to pay is another matter.

A typical school guitar costs roughly £50 for a reasonably decent one like a Valencia. This is a 3/4 Valencia at a good price.

Very few people insure school guitars becuase they value is low.

zwischenzug Thu 14-Mar-13 20:30:39

Of course the parents of the child who broke the guitar should pay for it. My 3 year old knows better than to break other peoples things, a 10 year old isn't even close to being young enough to avoid responsibility.

I wouldn't just let it go if I were you.

clam Thu 14-Mar-13 20:33:07

I highly doubt that the other parent will cough up, but you need to hand it over to the school to sort out. Complain - loudly - and insist that it is replaced. Ultimately, they will either have to "persuade" the other parent to contribute, or they'll have to fund a replacement themselves. Stick with it. They're probably hoping you cave quietly and let it go. Don't.

Kithulu Thu 14-Mar-13 20:33:09

Well I think it is up to the parents of the boy who's guitar it is to pay. They chose to let him take the guitar into school. They know it could possibly get broken in many different ways. It's just a risk you take.

I would never even consider asking other child's parents to pay. Lots of families in my area are on benefits and there is no way they could afford to pay for a guitar - or lessons for that matter.

Robinredboobs Thu 14-Mar-13 20:33:50

OP, is the break clean (ie the two parts just coming apart) or are there cracks and splinters? If the former could I suggest you take it to an independent music shop or luthier. It may be very easy and cheap to repair - at least worth an enquiry.

In any case if it needs to be replaced or repaired I think the accident boy should pay - but it sounds like you won't get far with that if the mother came over all defensive, best of luck!

Oh and please don't buy a 35 pound Argos guitar, I've played a handful of great sounding guitars at around the 100 mark but they are rare (you'd be best to get a good 2nd hand one for that price) anything under that is going to sound like shite and your daughter will lose interest.

Also hard cases are generally moulded for particular shaped guitars - they could end up costing you more than the actual instrument, a good alternative would be a semi rigid case, but again these can be pricey if you buy new.

mrsjay Thu 14-Mar-13 20:36:25

I think the boys parents should offer to replace it and the boy should be doing chores from now till whenever to help pay for it,

HollyBerryBush Thu 14-Mar-13 20:37:18

Can I ask, how you are going to make the parent pay if there is no affordabity to pay?

Perhaps she should sell a kidney?

clam Thu 14-Mar-13 20:38:18

For the record, we've had a couple of guitars damaged at our school over the years. The school had to pay, and the Head subsequently got very particular about hassling teachers to make jolly sure they were kept safely as he was fed up with forking out.

GirlOutNumbered Thu 14-Mar-13 20:41:21

The boy who broke it should pay, but probably the school will end up playing.

Taking a guitar thats not yours and doing a powers slide is not behaviour I would expect of our 10 year old, it was stupid and the inevitable happened.

zwischenzug Thu 14-Mar-13 20:46:08

Can I ask, how you are going to make the parent pay if there is no affordabity to pay?

Child benefit is £81.20 a month, the approximate cost quoted by the OP. Or they could sell something. If the parent can afford school uniforms and stuff, they can afford £80-100 for a guitar. Maybe not comfortably, but they can. And there's always eBay.

deleted203 Thu 14-Mar-13 20:50:33

The boy who broke it should pay. FWIW I agree completely with clam - contact the school with a bill for the broken guitar and tell them you expect it to be settled. The school can either pay for it themselves or bill the other parent. It is likely that they will end up having to fund it - but it is not your responsibility to try and get the money from this other woman. It is theirs. You simply need your DDs guitar replacing as it was damaged whilst in the school's designated place, and it is therefore the school's responsibility to do so. It is then up to them to charge the other parent for the damage their child caused whilst on school premises.

digerd Thu 14-Mar-13 20:51:04

Quick witted at getting out of the blame is that mother. My immediate reaction would have been to tell DC off for behaving recklessly in the school corridor and causing the damage. Then apologise profusely.

That mother has had some practice in these matters. Always the victim's fault. <angry face>
She will get away with not paying a penny and be smug about it.

In other countries parents are legally responsible for the actions of their DC.

HollyBerryBush Thu 14-Mar-13 20:53:26

Child benefit is £81.20 a month

If the parent can afford school uniforms

amazing logic there.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Thu 14-Mar-13 20:55:28

Yeah Digerd, in America you could sue, and more often than not, win it too.

Maryz Thu 14-Mar-13 20:57:58

zwischenzug, by that logic, the op could afford to buy a new guitar hmm

Some people use child benefit for food.

There needs to be a safer place to leave the guitar in school. If it's in a mishmash of bags anyone could trip or stumble or dump a bag on top of it.

So now I'm on the fence.

sad for your dd though - is it possible to mend?

TattyDevine Thu 14-Mar-13 21:02:08

As someone who recently started working in a school, in terms of supervision, the teacher or adult in charge was at fault to an extent. I'm not saying the boy was blameless, of course not, but the fact that it wasn't even seen smacks of either not enough adults per child ratio or the teacher not having class control.

If I had a child who was a bit of a live wire or lets just say a bit of a rotter, naughty, out of control, whatever you say - yes, I could tell them at home until I'm blue in the face - I could control then when they were with me whichever way I saw fit. But when they are not with me - and I am legally obliged to send them to school - I expect the teachers to avoid this kind of thing, within reason, so I'm not out of pocket too much from doing something I am legally obliged to do (sending my child to school).

Okay, so I don't have a rotter of a child who does stuff like this (thus far anyway!) and I agree the morally correct thing to do is pay for it if you have the money. But what if they break something every week?

Deep down I think the school supervision, storage, and insurance or accident fund should cover this. In a situation where a child was not really being adequately supervised, I feel.

Like I say I work in a school now and this just wouldn't happen - granted it is a small school with good stafff ratios but they are very careful, to the extent of slightly being annoying to work for!

TheChaoGoesMu Thu 14-Mar-13 21:10:02

I think the school needs to take some responsibility because the place your dd was asked to store it was clearly not a very safe place. I guess your dd didn't have an option to store it somewhere safer. On the other hand part of me thinks that you should have insurance for it. I think a fair compromise for you, the boys parents and the school to split in 3 ways, and the school finds a safer place for these things to be stored in the future, you get insurance (or set money aside in place of insurance) and the boy learns to be more careful.

jollygoose Thu 14-Mar-13 21:15:55

why should a child who has had an accident pay. I f you dropped a bottle of vodka in supermarket you wouldnt expect to pay would you. If the guitar was at school for a music lesson then it should be covered by insurance. Supposing the boy in question had hurt himself badly then perhaps he could have sued for damages as the guitar should not have been on the floor.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 14-Mar-13 21:19:46

There is a chance that the school stated that instruments were brought into school at the owners risk at some point when the guitar lessons or whatever was being arranged.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Thu 14-Mar-13 21:30:54

Slightly on the fence - I would be mortified and expect to pay, but at certain times of the month (ie just before payday) might not be able to. Not precisely poor, just really shit with money. Still, I wouldn't avoid the issue. I would apologise to the other mum.

I'm not sure what I'd do if I genuinely couldn't afford to pay, full stop. Explain to the school, I suppose, and hope they could help.

Wolfiefan Thu 14-Mar-13 21:34:14

Get an appointment to see the Head ASAP.
1. This behaviour is unacceptable and dangerous. The teacher really didn't notice a child skidding at high speed across the floor? Really? Were the ratios appropriate?
2. Your child can't be at fault if they left the guitar where they were told to. It was not in their charge at the time of the accident.
3. Can you find out how much it would cost to replace? (If my DM had given this as a gift I think she'd want to come into school with me!)
4. What consequence will the child face for this behaviour? (Don't believe school can make parent pay up!)

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Thu 14-Mar-13 21:34:51

Jolly, it was a result of arsing around. The child didn't do it on purpose, but he wasn't behaving himself either. If you did a rock star slide on the supermarket and broke a bottle of vodka I would think you should pay off it. Supermarkets can afford to replace stuff, anyway. Schools are funded by govt and shouldn't spend funds on things like this.

schoolgovernor Thu 14-Mar-13 21:36:59

Speak to the Headteacher, it is up to them to sort this out. I would be thinking along the lines of the school claiming on insurance, but would have to check that. Certainly, as your DD had done exactly what she was told, you should not have to bear the cost of buying a replacement.

zwischenzug Thu 14-Mar-13 21:39:55

Maryz, yes I rather suspect the OP could buy a new guitar if they really wanted to. I really don't believe anyone can't save up or get hold of £80-100 in the space of a month or two if they really wanted to.

But that's besides the point really, because morally the OP isn't the one who should be paying for a new guitar.

FakePlasticLobsters Thu 14-Mar-13 21:40:26

It's not really an accident in the same way it would have been if he had just tripped and fallen over it or onto it though.

It was unintentional, but he still took a running slide at a pile of other people's belongings.

I really feel for him, because I'm sure he didn't mean to break anything, but he did and it shouldn't be the responsibility of the school or the OP to pay for his mistake.

blackeyedsusan Thu 14-Mar-13 21:42:36

I think the school has some responsibility to ensure that the guitar was stored in a safe place. it was not. they also have responsibility to ensue childen are behaving.

you best bet is to see the head teacher about it and complain about where the guitars are stored and supervision. I doubt that you will be able to get the money from the other mother.

£80 is a lot of money for some people. school unifom costs 50p- a £1 per item in the second hand shop, it does not follow that if you can afford that you can afford a guitar. the op can't afford to replace it.

Astounded at some of the responses on here! Zwischenzug: hmm

SoldierKatnissEverdeen Thu 14-Mar-13 22:18:55

Wow so many responses! Thank you.

Someone asked about the lessons, they have an outside teacher come in but it is organised through the school and all the info comes on sch headed notepaper if that makes any difference?

On further thought about how I would handle it if it had been my child that broke it, I think I would be asking the sch to set up an arrangement where they pay the family now, and I would pay them back in small affordable instalments. So the child wouldnt be without and my child would somehow fund that money, through chores, ebaying anything they had of value, etc. But I would def have apologised to the child and parent immediately.

Psyching myself up to do battle with the head in the morning....

CheerfulYank Thu 14-Mar-13 22:30:55

Marking my place...good luck OP.

bloodyschool Fri 15-Mar-13 08:42:15

why should the boy's parents pay? In what way were they negligent?

bloodyschool Fri 15-Mar-13 08:46:53

This cut and paste is the legal position

''Liability of Parents and Carers

In England and Wales, parents or carers are not liable for the damage that their children cause.

But this does not mean that the parents (or carers) are personally negligent in not properly controlling the children. The fault is then theirs in failing to prevent an accident. In the case of a young child accompanied by an adult, it could be that the adult would be held wholly or partly responsible.

If the child was escorted by a responsible adult at the time of the accident, it may be possible to take legal action against the adult, if it can be shown that the adult acted neglectfully by failing to oversee the child properly. For instance, a parent who does not control children in a car, to the disadvantage of other road users, will also be held responsible.
Even if the child was not escorted by an adult, it may be possible to take legal action against an adult for failing to oversee the child at the time of the accident.''

Maryz Fri 15-Mar-13 08:54:42

So if the child is at school, legally the parent cannot be held responsible as they have no control over them at the time?

OhTheConfusion Fri 15-Mar-13 09:03:20

Yes the child behaved inappropriately and yes the guitar needs replaced but I would bot be asking my children to 'ebay anything of value' If I could not afford to replace it.

If the parent has any sense of decency they will offer to pay something towards a replacement, I certainly would offer to replace the guitar. The boy was messing around but he did not break the guitar in a malicious fashion, it was clearly accidental. The school should not have items of value that children are asked to bring into school left on the floor in a corridor... I think my issue would be with the school.

1charlie1 Fri 15-Mar-13 09:23:50

When I was 11, and renting from the school a lovely cello, I arrived in the music room for orchestra practice, and upon taking my instrument out of its' (soft) case, found the neck completely broken. I was horrified, and was told by the school I would have to pay for it to be repaired. My parents never questioned this - the instrument was in my name, and it was broken. A couple of days later a younger boy came to me, and confessed that he'd been messing about in the music room, and had fallen against my cello, breaking it. He admitted his responsibility, and told his mother, who told him to tell me/ my parents that she would be paying for the repairs. Even at the time, I was impressed at his honesty.

Of course the child who broke your DD's instrument should pay for its repair! What is it with adults endlessly passing the buck to 'the school'. Why should teachers have to hover over their charges (an impossible task anyway), anticipating every silly action? Where is the sense of helping kids develop a proper sense of action = consequence? Not a helpful contribution to the creation of responsible, honorable future adults!

FakePlasticLobsters Fri 15-Mar-13 09:24:26

I think it was the large school hall, rather than a corridor, and the things had been stored at one end of it, away from the choir practice they were having there.

It should have been safe enough, choir practice isn't a rough activity, it's not like they expected children to be running about or playing sport next to it or anything.

DublinMammy Fri 15-Mar-13 13:34:07

Another vote for the skidder's parents paying but it doesn't sound likely. Perhaps going through the school will shame the mother into it? Hard luck for you daughter, hope you can sort out another guitar for her somehow.

Tabliope Fri 15-Mar-13 14:29:39

The parents of the boy that broke it should pay. They're 9 or 10. He is old enough to know running inside the school is against the rules never mind running and sliding along the floor.

bangwhizz Fri 15-Mar-13 18:28:54

If I were the boy's parents then I would feel morally obliged to pay.I think legally though the responsibility rests with the school.I think you would have to take them to small claims court though and even then the court might want to know why you hadn't taken out insurance for situations just like this

Groovee Fri 15-Mar-13 18:59:39

What happened with the head?

LadyHarrietdeSpook Fri 15-Mar-13 19:28:40

This is a very interesting question. Like a poster upthread, DD takes cello and man would I be cross having to replace one of those and absolutely furious with DD if she had harmed someone else's.

When DD started the lessons, we never had a letter from the school saying that the instrument is being brought into school "at our own risk" for example. That's where she has her lessons. Which is, again, interesting. I am wondering if you did OP or if anyone else whose children play intruments on this thread has. Although I guess I would assume it is. I will be asking on Monday where DD's cello is stored for safety before and after the lessons.

If I were the school I would be paying for this as a one off. I would be examining storage locations and ensuring that suitable places were offered to put items such as these. And I would be noting that anyone who didn't use them was therefore doing so at their own risk. I think if the school is going to have lessons on their premises they do sort of need to plan for stuff like this to happen and mitigate against it.

If it were me I would probably just offer to pay for the guitar - but I would absolutely be expecting the school to work out some sort of better ongoing solution. Stacked up against a wall doesn't sound great. As someone else said it could easily have fallen forward too.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Fri 15-Mar-13 19:31:29

I mean - the kid who brings a full Bass in to DDs school. That would costs hundreds of quid. Oboes can go for £500. Seriously. I don't think that these are things that the school can just decide they have no involvement in ensuring they are cared for.

I didn't even know I could ensure DDs cello blush. I mean: really? would n't the just go: she's 8, she's not totally housebroken yet, your fault.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Fri 15-Mar-13 19:34:05

sorry: no involvement as long as they encourage you to take lessons through the school, on their premsies, and sponsor things like string group, orchestra, etc.

SoldierKatnissEverdeen Fri 15-Mar-13 23:18:07


Hi all. I went straight to dd's teacher this morning. Her first question was if dd was ok and not still distraught. She had been in contact with the music teacher last night about the situation and they had discussed the value of dd's guitar. He had emailed some links of equivalent guitars to her. There was no question in her mind that the boy should be responsible for the cost of replacing it.

While I was talking to her the head came along, in the process of investigating the situation. He asked me to wait in his office while he asked the relevant parties what had happened.

When he came to the office he apologised for the damage and told me the boy took full responsibility, and should not have been doing the running slide. He had yet to speak to the boys parents but assured me the cost would be covered. The boy needed to learn that there are consequences to breaking the rules.

He then wanted to speak to the boys parents and said he would phone before the end of the school day to discuss the best way to proceed.

Within 20 minutes he phoned. The cost will be covered. Suggested that I take dd shopping for it, in an attempt to redress the emotional upset. Find one of comparable value/quality. Once we know what guitar she is happy with I am to let the sch know the details and they will order it, and not have to pay the vat.

I am happy with the outcome of this so far. I am not sure if the school may be contributing to the cost, but as far as I am concerned I think the school have handled it well. And dd will have a guitar. Just hope it won't take too long to come through. I will however look into getting a solid case for the new guitar as I cant risk it happening again. If I am expecting the boy to learn from it, then I too can learn and it needs a solid case as we travel a fair bit with it. hopefully it wont cost too much.

I have to say thank you for all replies. I was very worried last night that it would have to come out of my pocket. Of course I would have replaced it if the boy or school didn't, but as a single parent every penny is tightly budgeted for and some other essential would have been sacrificed. Your replies last night were so unanimous that it put my mind to rest that what I expected was not unreasonable. I was prepared to do battle today, but I am pleased with the outcome and it has restored my faith in the school.

Thank you vipers. wink wink

sneezingwakesthebaby Fri 15-Mar-13 23:21:12

I am glad that you didn't end up out of pocket! Great update smile

Euphemia Fri 15-Mar-13 23:34:55

Good result - I bet that boy has been feeling pretty wretched. A lesson learned.

INeverSaidThat Fri 15-Mar-13 23:45:14

Brilliant result. I bet you are glad that you don't have to deal with the parent of skidded parents. I think the school has dealt with it really well.

A solid case sounds like a good idea grin

OhTheConfusion Sat 16-Mar-13 09:00:10

A great result, really well handled from the school. I know the boy was naughty but he has been nothing but honest throughout and if that way my child after the initial upset I would have been quite proud of his honesty.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Sat 16-Mar-13 09:24:32

Brilliant - good on that boy and his parents! And the school, for handling it so well.

myBOYSareBONKERS Sat 16-Mar-13 09:46:50

Excellent news and school.

My ds aged 3 at the time broke a school window by putting a stone through it. We paid the full cost of the repair - there was no question that we wouldn't.

The only thing that really "stuck in my throat" was the comment from the good Church going headmistress who told my husband that "the next time "myboysarebonkers" wants to do her Angel of Mercy act, she should take her children with her".

I was attending to a fellow parent who had fallen and badly injured their leg just outside the school gate - hence I had taken my eyes off my own child for that time.

ZZZenAgain Sat 16-Mar-13 12:12:18

that's good news. Glad that it is sorted out.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 16-Mar-13 13:49:29


TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 16-Mar-13 13:52:04

Jolly, plenty of shops have signs saying "breakages must be paid for" - a supermarket might not charge you for a dropped bottle of vodka but they certainly could - it's just better customer relations for them not to do so sometimes.

Glad it's sorted OP.

ll31 Sat 16-Mar-13 14:23:26

good result, am a little taken aback tho at the shock about a child playing in a school hall....

pingu2209 Sat 16-Mar-13 16:20:02

My school has a policy whereby if your child brings in expensive items then it is at their own risk. Any toy or instrument or phone or whatever that is lost, broken or stolen is the risk you take if you let your child bring that item into school. This is both a primary and secondary ruling.

It can't be the school to pay. How many times have expensive blazers or bags or PE kits been stollen or ripped by children messing about. The whole education system would be broke or uninsurable by now.

I do not believe it is for the boy who broke the item either. It is just life - life sucks and things get broken.

SoldierKatnissEverdeen Sat 16-Mar-13 17:53:25

Yes things get broken but that doesn't mean that people can go around not having respect for rules and other people's property.

Are you honestly saying that if I crashed into your parked car while driving recklessly, (radio blaring, laughing with mates, on my phone) that you would not hold me responsible? That you would be happy to say, 'never mind, life sucks, I will just go and buy another one'? hmm

TheChaoGoesMu Sat 16-Mar-13 18:26:10

Wow, the school sounds amazing. Glad its getting sorted now.

Altinkum Sat 16-Mar-13 18:30:55

Personally I think the school. It was accidental and not delibrate.

If a child had fallen over, again it would be accidental, in the same way this was, yes he was messing about, as kids do, but again it was accidental damage.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 16-Mar-13 18:32:12

We have a lot of students that play instruments, they are expected to bring it in a suitable place and we arrange appropriate storage.
I think your school did everything that they could have done, including considering your daughter's state of mind. I'm also pleased that they dealt with the other parents and the child without you having to confront them.
Sounds like a good school with caring staff.
Worth buying a decent case and checking up on insurance though. smile

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 16-Mar-13 18:34:09

Accidental, but he was not behaving responsibly.
So the consequences are his and not the school's. Y5 is old enough to be expected to manage without being a prat.

maninawomansworld Tue 19-Mar-13 09:58:23

Wow, common sense seems to have prevailed! Good on the school, and good on the kid for owning up. I know he shouldn't have been sliding about but you've got to give a 9 year old credit for putting his hands up and taking responsibility.

ooer Tue 19-Mar-13 10:14:53


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