in thinking the teacher shouldn't have clipped my 7 year old son around the back of his head in class

(108 Posts)
pingu2209 Fri 15-Mar-13 18:03:08

My son was being a little sod, no doubt, but should she really have clipped him around the back of the head.

He told me that he quietly cried into his school work after it had happened.

However, when I queried with the teacher this afternoon she said that it really wasn't hard at all and barely brushed him. She also said that his behaviour didn't improve either.

I'm not sure what I'm thinking really. Teachers used to clip me, I had board rubbers thrown at me etc. It didnt' do me any harm.

WorriedMummy73 Fri 15-Mar-13 18:07:38

Erm, I might be wrong, but isn't it illegal now? Fairly certain that came in when I was in late primary (and I'm 39!). I remember kids getting the 'pump' at my school, then it all stopped. Rightly so, cos the Deputy HT (doler-out of said punishment) was a sadistic so and so.

YouTheCat Fri 15-Mar-13 18:09:08

I was all set to say YABU but see you aren't just taking your ds's word for it and have spoken to the teacher.

Teacher needs to learn to keep her bloody hands to herself, and her temper.

chocolatespiders Fri 15-Mar-13 18:09:11

Oh my that is shocking... I was annoyed when my dd was stood up in front of class and told off- I do not approve of public humiliation in front of a peer group angry

RobinSparkles Fri 15-Mar-13 18:09:14

I thought that it was illegal too and an absolute no no to put your hands on a child!

StuffezLaBouche Fri 15-Mar-13 18:09:32

Pings, your reaction puzzles me.
You don't seem massively bothered by the corporal punishment your child appears to have received.
Eric, what are you intending doing about it?

Tee2072 Fri 15-Mar-13 18:10:02

Is this a thread about a thread?

StuffezLaBouche Fri 15-Mar-13 18:10:48

Eric?! Who the hell's he?!

YouTheCat Fri 15-Mar-13 18:11:45

Don't go bringing Eric into this! He wasn't even there and didn't even see anything. wink

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 15-Mar-13 18:12:01

That is illegal if you are in uk. You should complain to Ofsted, lea and governors.

If this actually happened to my child I would withdraw immediately.

trinity0097 Fri 15-Mar-13 18:14:41

I sometimes will tap a child on the back of their head/shoulder/arm if they are doing something wrong, rather than use a verbal instruction if that might interrupt the flow of the lesson. It is not illegal to touch a child, regardless of what people think they know!

SnotMeReally Fri 15-Mar-13 18:15:39

OMG!! go straight to the headteacher on Monday morning

that should NOT be happening - was there a TA or other adult in the room at the time?

even if the strike was not very hard, its the humiliation side too, and the school should have a system of progressive sanctions for children who are not doing as they should eg warning, name on board, cross by name, miss play, ranging up to sent to HT

HollyBerryBush Fri 15-Mar-13 18:16:40

Well there are three years between DH and I - he remembers the lobbing of the board rubber and the slippered arse, I however do not.

These things always depend upon the relationship between teacher and child, a mock cuff which ruffles the hair if done in jest is not abusive (I'm sure someone will disagree with me).

I do find it difficult to believe a " little sod" would be "quietly crying" though

SnotMeReally Fri 15-Mar-13 18:18:07

Hmm, a tap on the head or shoulder to get attention is not the image conjurred up by the OPs use of "clipped round the head" - nor did the teacher try to explain THAT's what had happened, from what we have ben told so far, at least!

pingu2209 Fri 15-Mar-13 18:19:51

How my son spoke and how the teacher spoke were very different stories. Of course my ds said that she had hit him hard and he was very quiet and upset afterwards and he cried silently into his work. Do you hear the violins?!

Rather than escalating up the school to the deputy head etc I decided to speak directly to the teacher. I thought she must have been having a bad day and the children may have been really playing her up.

She said that it was a very soft brush of the back of the head and later in the lesson he started up giggling again. She said that he was disturbing the rest of the group he was working with.

I'm not taking it any further but at least she knows I know.

HollyBerryBush Fri 15-Mar-13 18:19:53

A "little sod" "quietly crying" and on improvement in behaviour. Can't be sobbing quietly and still running amok.

AmandaCooper Fri 15-Mar-13 18:20:21

I have known teachers be dismissed for less.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Fri 15-Mar-13 18:26:02

I'd tend to believe the teacher in this case tbh. I think your 'little sod' is playing you. As you know he's a 'little sod' I'd be inclined to back the teacher in front of him as well... get the 'little sod' behaviour in line before he gets any bigger.

TheNebulousBoojum Fri 15-Mar-13 18:28:43

So people here are still taking the child's word for it, and the parent is the one being sensible about it?
I've been known to touch a chatty child on the head with a forefinger, usually when they don't know you are there. Literally a touch on the head.
Roll on the next decade and we will have cctv in all classrooms.

pingu2209 Fri 15-Mar-13 18:29:57

I sound really harsh about my children! He is not badly behaved and has never had his name on the board even. However, I know when he is with other boys he gets very silly and very annoying; poo and bogy talk etc.

One boy was pulling silly faces and made him giggle, along with others. However, the teacher didn't write his name on the board but instead clipped him around the back of the head.

It was the first time this has ever happened and I have never heard other parents talk about her hitting their children. For this reason I don't want to set the hares running by going to the head etc. I wouldn't want to affect her career or give her a black mark for a one off event, when I can sympathise with her totally if a handful of 7 year old boys were getting sillier and sillier in class.

Yes she was wrong. I am shocked really.

I think the fact I raised it with her directly but didn't get angry will make her think that I am aware and he does tell me. It should make her think twice.

My exact words to her were "if he is being badly behaved please tell me and if he needs a clip round the ear I will do it for you."

StuffezLaBouche Fri 15-Mar-13 18:30:30

Of course my ds said that she had hit him hard
Curious, if it emerges the 'clip' was a tap on the back of head or shoulder, will you be disciplining your son? 'Hit him hard' is a serious allegation.

HollyBerryBush Fri 15-Mar-13 18:32:01

Let me tell you a story about pupil exaggeration.

Pupil, 15, (known corridor floater and lesson avoider) affecting the 'woe is me, clutching general stomach area' air of pathetic-ness.

I have a very good relationship with her.

Me "wassaup??"
Her: " I got my period and it reaaaaaaaaaaaally hurts"
Me: "awww (I do do empathy you know!) Did mum give you any paracetamol before school?"
Her: "yeah"
Me "is it maths now by any chance?"
Her (giggles) "yeah!"
Me: "you better scoot off to lesson before you get caught bunking again! and remember you have 40 years of this ahead of you" grin

Upshot, taken to hospital that night, lost half her bowel and intestines, all sorts of complications.

She tells mum that I'm lovely and I took her to the sick room, sat with her, and stroked her hair till she felt well enough to go to lessons shock

This NEVER happened - fortunately we have CCTV everywhere so I never got sacked for that level of inappropriate behaviour - but I might have done in a previous era.

pingu2209 Fri 15-Mar-13 18:33:34

I reckon it was an open handed brush across the back of his head. Not hard but more than a glance.

I will be speaking to my son and telling him nobody should hit him, or him hit anyone else. However, it is not acceptable to disturb other people working and he is there to learn, not giggle. He has breaks to giggle in.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Fri 15-Mar-13 18:41:30

He has breaks to giggle in grin

I am shock at the pearl clutching that s going on here.

She didn't 'hit' him she 'clipped' him. Anyone would think she'd beaten him.

My DD teacher poked her in the back when she was chatting when she should have been listening, her teacher came and told me she had done it, I then proceeded to tell DD that maybe if she was doing as she should have been doing (listening) to her teacher it wouldn't have happened and then she apologised to her teacher (with no prompting)

Teachers have a tough enough job as it is.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 15-Mar-13 19:23:55

I don't understand, did the teacher hit the child or not?

Mrsrobertduvall Fri 15-Mar-13 20:02:44

This is a very odd thread.

toomanyfionas Fri 15-Mar-13 20:08:48

Of course she shouldn't have. You seem to have it all sorted though.

LynetteScavo Fri 15-Mar-13 20:16:47 are being so much more relaxed than I would be.

I take it you really like this particular teacher.

GloriaPritchett Fri 15-Mar-13 20:18:33



whimsicalmess Fri 15-Mar-13 21:23:23

I mean you know your son and all that,but be careful. Some teachers will take your complacency as a green light for more `firm discipline `. I had one teacher an older woman who grab hard, hit me over the head with a violin stick one (late 90s) last I heard a child was excluded cause they broke her nose frantically trying to Get her off them (7yrs old) I know that s scaremongering just a warning.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 15-Mar-13 22:02:37

On the otherhand false allegations by pupils can be extremely damaging to a teachers career. If it were my DS I would ask him again if he was really hit hard and cried quietly. Explain that the teacher dismissed it as nothing so if he is telling the truth you will need to take it further, with the first port of call being the teacher in question to say her story is different to your DS.

maddening Fri 15-Mar-13 22:34:00

Thenebulus - I think if I were a teacher I would want cctv in my classroom - these sort of allegations can do damage and it is your word against theirs - at least with video you have backup - even if allegations are proved false the damage is done.

I know legally it could never happen.

rhondajean Fri 15-Mar-13 22:38:48

I don't get Holly's post at all?

The pupil had to have major surgery? Holly was more worried that the pupil said she had been nice to her than that she ignored a child in severe pain?

Have I dropped into an alternative universe????

fluffypillow Fri 15-Mar-13 22:56:22

I was confused about that too rhondajean

Glad it wasn't just me! How very odd.

schoolgovernor Fri 15-Mar-13 23:05:07

Whimsical - things were very different in the 90's.
Op - you know what to do. You spoke to the teacher. If you're happy with her explanation then that's the end of it. If not you need to escalate it to the Head. Children can be great at embroidering the truth though...
I think what Holly meant was that she had a pupil who told her she had period pains. It became apparent that it wasn't that bad as the girl had a laugh and trotted off into class. Subsequently it turned out the child was seriously ill, but there is no Holly had any reason to know that. The other part of the story is that the child told a complete lie about an imaginary situation that could have got Holly suspended and investigated for inappropriate behaviour. Fortunately CCTV proved the lie. An example of how children sometimes exaggerate/lie.

rhondajean Fri 15-Mar-13 23:28:42

It's a bit of a poor example on this thread... Child says I'm I'll, I say no go to class, child has major surgery...

I'd be more occupied with thinking how I had missed the signals if it was me.

Then again I get royally fucked off with the type of profiling holly does at the start of her post.

It's EXTREMELY bizarre and I found it disturbing. Perhaps if the child has not been seriously ill when she returned her to class I'd take a different view hmm

Anyway sorry op we digress.

mumnosbest Fri 15-Mar-13 23:30:13

odd behaviour from a teacher in this day and age. i certainly wouldn't clip a pupil even gently in jest. i would also be a bit narked if my little sod ds 8yrs was clipped around the head.

AmberLeaf Fri 15-Mar-13 23:45:36

Im finding this a bit confusing too.

Did the teacher actually admit to hitting you son?

You're are clearly not talking a punch to the back to the head, more of an open handed slap?

Bad day on her part/bad day on his part is irrelevant really, corporal punishment was made illegal in 1986 wasn't it?

I always back any sanctions/punishments etc imposed by schools if my children have behaved badly, I have good relationships with their teachers and wouldn't seek to undermine them, BUT I would not be happy about something like this.

But I also wouldn't hit my own child around the head either.

tethersend Fri 15-Mar-13 23:54:44

How hard the teacher hit him and whether he was upset or not are not the issues- the teacher absolutely should not have done this, and she is putting herself at risk by doing so.

How could she be certain that your DS was not physically abused at home? She was really, really stupid to have done this; she's left herself open to serious allegations, and was lucky that your DS's reaction was not to hit back.

I think you are right to call her on it, but it sounds as if she does not understand why she cannot use this as a behaviour management strategy, which would concern me.

bluer Sat 16-Mar-13 09:33:16

No teacher should be hitting any child however <secondary teacher> I have tapped a shoulder to get attention on task or just gently placed a hand on back to bring them back to the moment. I wonder whether this may be the case?
Oh and Holly I wouldn't be scared to put an arm round an ill child or hug a crying its political correctness gone mad...there is nothing in the professional code that says this sort of contact is inappropriate. Obviously you've got to be careful for your own sake but a child crying after finding out someone had died or after being bullied needs compassion and care. I guess its all about your relationship with your pupils.

kelda Sat 16-Mar-13 09:36:23

I think you have handled the situation very well OP.

LandofTute Sat 16-Mar-13 09:45:21

If she lightly brushed him on the back of the head then i think you should let it go. I don't think you should ruin her career over it. I doubt it will happen again. She said that his behaviour didn't improve after it, which contradicts the quietly crying into his schoolwork thing.

hackmum Sat 16-Mar-13 11:04:59

These days I think sacking is usually automatic if a teacher hits a child. And if it's serious, then there will be a criminal prosecution too.

I have no idea, obviously, if the teacher hit the OP's DS or not. But clearly, if she did, she wouldn't admit to it.

BTW, is this a genuine thread or a thread about a thread or something? I have a feeling I'm missing something important.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 16-Mar-13 11:35:10

Well done OP, fantastically handled.

"I guess its all about your relationship with your pupils."

What a pompous response

bluer Sat 16-Mar-13 11:43:54

Why thank you very much grin
All I meant was if you respect the kids and they respect you!

hackmum Sat 16-Mar-13 11:46:22

rhondajean - I was also baffled by Holly's post. In her position, I would be mortified that I had sent a child back to class when she was seriously ill. Holly only seems to be upset that the child claimed she had comforted her and put her arm around her, which actually would have been a nice, kind thing to do. Holly for some reason seems to think it would have been a disciplinary offence. Couldn't make head nor tail of it.

letseatgrandma Sat 16-Mar-13 11:48:02

I'm confused-did the teacher admit to hitting the child?

I'm a ks1 teacher and have, on occasion, waved my arms around to make a point and a child has been nearer than expected and my hand has bumped them, but of course I have apologised profusely-it was clearly an accident. Was this? The teacher would be immediately dismissed if not-you just cannot hit children at school these days!

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 16-Mar-13 11:54:56

but its not about the relationship/respect between you and the children.

Its about the people that see what you do and report it for being inappropriate, can you assure me that the Head, SLT, TAs, SENCO, parents, cleaners, janitorial staff and other pupils feel the same way that you do.

ScottyDoc Sat 16-Mar-13 12:06:34

A seven year old should be behaving himself in class, that's a fact. We aren't talking about a four year old here. Perhaps if teachers (who already do a very difficult and trying job as it is) were allowed to give a light clip then the general behaviour of disruptive children might improve. There's only so much Montessori Unconditional Parenting 'talking' and 'reasoning' you can do with some kids unfortunately.

OP I think you handled it well none the less but I'd be concentrating on improving your sons behaviour with the support of the teacher.

toffeelolly Sat 16-Mar-13 12:07:23

Teacher was well in the wrong, nobody is allowed to hit your child, and also it was around the back of head does not matter if it was a smack or tap it should never have happened, and this comming from a teacher Disgrace. I would never hit or tap my child around head so a teacher should not have. If she was reported she would be in trouble. As for teacher's having a tough job if they can not handle the pressure or keeping there hand's to themself's they should not be in the job!

Feenie Sat 16-Mar-13 12:18:11

<sits on hands>

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 16-Mar-13 12:19:56

<Offers Feenie wine to wrap her hands around instead>

CalamityKate Sat 16-Mar-13 12:20:42

I'm baffled by Holly's post.

tethersend Sat 16-Mar-13 12:21:15

"Perhaps if teachers (who already do a very difficult and trying job as it is) were allowed to give a light clip then the general behaviour of disruptive children might improve"

No, it wouldn't.

Feenie Sat 16-Mar-13 12:23:53

Why thank you, Nebulous - hope you have a lovely restful weekend! wine

LizzieVereker Sat 16-Mar-13 12:27:20

Grasps Feenie's hands in an attempt to offer support, and as an alternative to sitting on own hands.

OP, I think you've handled this with common sense and dignity. thanks

Catchingmockingbirds Sat 16-Mar-13 12:41:43

Im confused, I thought a 'clip around the head' meant a smack on the head. Does it mean something different?

SofaKing Sat 16-Mar-13 13:02:24

My mum was a teacher and clipped a boy round the ear when he was hitting the girl in front of him.

He later alleged she had hit him hard enough to break a gold chain he was wearing - she did not, he broke it in the playground and was scared to tell his parents, so he lied. School were terrified his parents would take it further, so stopped employing my mum. Boy was 15.

Your child's teacher in unbelievably lucky you have not told anyone else at the school, she could potentially lose her job.

hackmum Sat 16-Mar-13 13:03:51

You're right Catchingmockingbirds, it does mean a smack on the head, and if a teacher does it, it's a sackable offence. This is why I find it strange that the OP asked the teacher if she'd done it - the teacher is hardly going to say, "Yes, I gave him a good old whack," is she?

The fact that the teacher apparently said that it didn't improve the child's behaviour (well, duh) and that the OP then said that having board dusters thrown at her never did her any harm was what made me wonder if this was a wind-up.

LandofTute Sat 16-Mar-13 13:52:38

Holly did nothing wrong.

*Me "is it maths now by any chance?"
Her (giggles) "yeah!"
Me: "you better scoot off to lesson before you get caught bunking again! and remember you have 40 years of this ahead of you" *

The girl thought she had a period pain and giggled at the suggestion she was laying it on thick to avoid maths and then scooted off to maths when told to go by Holly. Clearly at that point the pain wasn't that bad or she wouldn't have been giggling about it. Holly wasn't to know it was something more serious.

It sounds like the pupil thinks very highly of Holly and has a great relationship with her, even if she got a bit carried away in making up a story about Holly stroking her hair etc. grin

pingu2209 Sat 16-Mar-13 13:56:56

No it is not a wind-up. I know teachers should not hit a child. I know that the teacher should not have even lightly with an open palm knocked the back of my child's head,which it seems it what happened. I personally call this a clip round the back of the head.

However, he was pushing her with his behaviour - he was giggling whilst another boy was pulling faces. He wasn't stopping giggling and she probably thought that it would stop him.

The teacher did not deny hitting him. She said it was very light and it didn't stop him giggling later in the class either.

I know that it isn't allowed. However, she isn't a bad teacher and I don't think it needs to be blown out of proportion. She doesn't have a reputation for doing these things and my son has never ever made any negative comments about her since he came to her class in September.

My son said it was very hard and made him cry etc. However, quite frankly I don't believe him. I believe his teacher. He knows I spoke to his teacher and my feedback to him was that he must not disrupt other people's learning and if the teacher tells him to stop doing something, then he must listen to her. Otherwise I will clip him round the back of the head when he gets home!

Of course if I didn't believe the teacher I would have escalated it up through the school. But I really don't think this is one of those times.

LandofTute Sat 16-Mar-13 14:17:08

Good for you OP. It sounds like you have handled it in a very level headed way.

AmberLeaf Sat 16-Mar-13 14:48:24

So you have just taught your son that if 'pushed' by someone it is ok to hit them.

Way to go.

Paintingrainbowskies Sat 16-Mar-13 14:48:32

I'm shocked by this thread, there is no way I could let that go if I felt someone had hit my child (no matter how gently). It is illegal for one but totally unprofessional. If she thinks this is appropriate for typical 7 year old boy behaviour what on earth would be appropriate for something that seriously wound her up.

I would have had to ask for a meeting with the Head.

I do respect your calm approach to this but I can't understand letting it go.

Badvoc Sat 16-Mar-13 14:54:41

What she did is illegal in the UK.
If she has already confirmed to you that she did in fact hit your child then she should lose her job.
End of.

Flobbadobs Sat 16-Mar-13 14:56:33

You handled it well, but I really think the teacher needs to be alot more aware of the stupid thing that she did. You handled it quietly and with dignity, another parent may not if she has form for doing similar and she may well find herself being sacked or arrested.

serendipity16 Sat 16-Mar-13 15:08:28

A teacher pushed my sister in the chest when she was in year 7.
My sister had heart surgery when she was a toddler which worried me, i was young myself so worried what being pushed so hard in the chest could have done to my sister.
I saw it happen and backed up my sister when my mum reported it to the school.
I don't know what happened to the teacher but she was there at the school for another year or two and never spoke to me again, luckily i wasn't in any of her classes.
That teacher is now an actress and has been in Corrie, Waterloo Road and recently in Eastenders.
I don't like the idea of teachers slapping or pushing children.

nevertoolate26 Sat 16-Mar-13 15:15:55

My little one was always being disruptive in class. The teacher never hit her though. She was always given a number of punishments which included, sitting at another table, the last resort was sending her into another class.
If the teacher has ever poked her I would have taken it straight to the head.
One of the posters mentioned above that your son would now learn that it was ok to poke someone - she's right. What message is that sending to your son?
I have incredible respect for my DDs teacher as she knows how to punish and through it has worked well with her without labelling her as a trouble maker. My daughter adores her teacher. Do you think your son respects his?

Whatalotofpiffle Sat 16-Mar-13 17:50:52

That's awful!! You should report her

flippinada Sat 16-Mar-13 19:54:05

If a primary school teacher gets that wound up by 7 years old giggling and being stupid in class then she shouldn't be in the job.

I remember getting a "clip round the head" at first school when I was young. Glad it's illegal now.

thebody Sat 16-Mar-13 20:32:04

Well I think that as a parent of a 'little sod' you handled this well.

You didn't immediately side with him and blame everyone else as so many stupid patents do which usually leads to child getting into bigger trouble and as ever parents blame everyone else except themselves, their stupid indulgent parenting and the kid.

Good on you.

However as a TA I think the teacher needs to work out more effective discipline strategies.

I am not actually sure where this no touching rubbish comes from? Teaching staff can of course touch children but not in appropriately or in a manner that could be construed as such.

mumnosbest Sun 17-Mar-13 11:29:01

OP the teacher is NOT a good teacher if the only strategy she has is to hit your child. i have taught lots of children who i could happily have 'clipped' but never have because 1) its illegal 2) it wouldn't teach them anything and 3) it wouldn't help our relationship.

SnotMeReally Sun 17-Mar-13 14:42:57

A 7 yo boy giggling at a friend pulling faces sounds TOTALLY normal to me - a teacher reacting by HITTING that child, does not - what about the boy doing the silly faces? Why was your son the one hit? Because he has a reputation already as a "little sod" ??

I would be taking this further - in fact, even if you dont want the teacher disciplined, it ought to go on record JUST IN CASE anything ever happens again, then presumably she would not get another chance. If you do nothing you cant very well wait for another incident and then try bringing this up then.

What if there have been other minor incidents like that you are unaware iof, and she has already had wanrings, and the school are just waiting for their chance to get rid?

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 15:45:27

Congratulations OP, you appear to have handled this in a mature and common sense way, as opposed to listening to the advise of the majority of nutjobs on here who would clearly prefer the "Daily Mail name and shame and pursue £5,000,000 for injury to feelings and whiplash" approach.

Also this comment was funny... its the humiliation side too ... so a light tap that most of the kids probably missed is "humiliation" but having your name on the board and being verbally told off for all to hear it not. Good one.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 17-Mar-13 15:49:28

Yes, being hit is more humiliating, because it involves power dynamics and is scary.

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 15:53:58

Yes, thinking it's inappropriate for a young child to be hit at school is a great indicator of mental instability.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 15:58:18

And being told off and disciplined in a non physical way by somebody in a position of power/authority does not involve "power dynamics"... can we assume then that "power dynamics" is some buzzword used to "prove" certain things because it means only what the users of said phrase want it to mean and nobody else has ever heard of it?

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 16:01:11

Well, it does if you're a bit stupid.

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 16:02:19

Power dynamics is two words.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 16:04:41

Well that's a nice grammatically ambiguous response. Incidently I've always been more on the side that people being unable to differentiate between a light tap and a violent assault are more likely candidates to suffer from mental instability.

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 16:06:58

So people who object to corporal punishment are mentally unstable. Ok.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 17-Mar-13 16:08:28

Power dynamics is a commonly-used phrase, not sure what your issue is there.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 16:17:22

So people who object to corporal punishment are mentally unstable. Ok.

Once again, straw meets man.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 17-Mar-13 16:19:12

Uninvited physical contact that is not needed to protect from harm is not ok in any other setting, why should it be ok just because its a teacher and pupil?

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 16:27:42

Uninvited physical contact happens every day in lots of settings, whether its somebody doing a slide tackle in a football match, to somebody in a crowd prodding the person in front of them to ask them to stop standing on their feet, and lots of other less notable incidents.

Why is it only in a pupil/teacher setting is it seen as an appropriate remedy to publicly name and shame, financial ruin and destroy the future possibility of employment in any job to the person who arguably instigated the merest uninvited physical contact?

No the teacher shouldn't have reacted as she did, but destroying her life is a ridiculous response.

AmberLeaf Sun 17-Mar-13 16:34:42

It was deliberate hitting, not 'the merest uninvited physical contact.

It is illegal in a pupil/teacher setting.

hackmum Sun 17-Mar-13 16:40:51

"snotmereally": A 7 yo boy giggling at a friend pulling faces sounds TOTALLY normal to me."

Me too. You can understand a teacher losing it with a child who was doing something really naughty (though most teachers don't, of course), but giggling at another kid pulling faces? Come on.

Fairly incredulous at some of the responses on this thread.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 16:41:55

Speeding is illegal too. The dole queues would be pretty long though if anyone who did it was made unemployable for life.

He's 7 years old. I don't think she sounds like a great teacher to me if her usual action in a situation like that is to 'softly brush the back of his head'/clip him round the back of the head.

But as you are happy with what she says then i suppose that's it.

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 16:58:41

Well yes - giggling and acting up in class is well within the realms of normal bad behaviour, and I would imagine any decent primary school teacher will have strategies in place to deal with it that don't involve hitting.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 17-Mar-13 17:00:13

A teacher who gets sacked for hitting a child would not be unemployable for life.

They would only be unemployable if they tried to work with vulnerable people. Many jobs do not require you to work with children.

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 17:01:31

Reading the op back, the teachers response sounds rather odd.

Roshbegosh Sun 17-Mar-13 17:06:11

My DH was a teacher for 40 years and says he would have loved CCTV in the classroom to enable offending children to be identified, with irrefutable proof of misbehaviour. Consultation with parents could then be based on fact. Of course it's simply not acceptable to clip children on the head and you were right to talk to the teacher. Getting her fired via governors, ofsted etc is a bit over the top though, unless it happens again.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 17:06:19

I don't think I've ever been for an interview where I wasn't asked "why did you leave your last job". The answer "inappropriate contact with a child" pretty much rules you out of any such job. Then of course you need employment references.

Maybe you could get a job in some dodgy backstreet NMW-or less sweatshop I don't know, but mainstream employment would definitely be out.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 17-Mar-13 17:08:29

Many people do lose their jobs for speeding or other road crimes, if prosecuted.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 17:14:50

Many people do lose their jobs for speeding or other road crimes, if prosecuted.

Yes, generally if they lose their license and are doing a job that involves the car, or were doing something that warranted significantly more than a standard speeding ticket.

My point was that most of us have done something illegal at some point, but illegality in itself doesn't warrant an automatic response of ruining your life.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 17-Mar-13 17:25:14

No, not just driving jobs, many employers terminate employment if people are convicted of criminal offences.

Doing illegal things relating to your work in some cases should lead to you no longer being able to do that job. Hitting children as a teacher is one example, defrauding customers as a financial adviser is another.

You seem to think people should be allowed to break both the law and the rules of their employment but not bear the consequences of their actions?

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 17:37:34

No I simply believe most things in life are not black and white and the response to any given infringement should be proportionate to where the offence sits on the sliding scale of seriousness.

If you are a doctor murdering your patients - lifetime in jail is proportionate. If you punch your boss in the face for no reason - a conviction for assault is proportionate. A tap on the back of the head to a misbehaving child (and from the information given, "hitting" really does sound like a useful word to exaggerate what happened), does not warrant financial ruin and a lifetime of unemployment and consequent depression.

I'm fairly sure one or two teachers may have done something comparable to me during my school years but I'd feel incredibly guilty if they were now sat taking depression meds in a one bed council flat because of something of such little significance.

I also suspect that in another setting, say an OAP tapping on the back of the head a feral misbehaving child in a public place, people would be less inclined to scream "assault" and demand a lifetime of misery for the remaining years of said OAP.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 17-Mar-13 17:59:14

If the teacher struck the child, they broke the law. There is no getting away from it really.

The penalties for a teacher are higher than a person in the street as they know explicitly that they must never do it. They signed up to never doing it. Their employment is dependent on them never doing it. If they didn't want to be bound by those rules, maybe teaching is not the right profession for them.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 18:38:25

I wasn't going to post again but then I remembered something that might be interesting to some people so here goes.

I know of an ex-teacher who some years ago had a disruptive child in their class, talking, laughing, generally being a distraction and this teacher finally snapped and said "I know you're thick, but some of the other children would benefit from this lesson if you could behave". This (teenage) child immediately stormed off with some of her mates and went to the headmaster because she was rightly upset at being called "thick". The teacher was subsequently summoned to the headmasters office to discuss the incident.

"X informs me there was an incident in your class".
"Yes that's right"
"Did you touch her"
"No but I did call her thick"
"Don't worry about that, you didn't touch her then?"
"Ok fine, lets forget about it then"

Now IMO, being called thick by a teacher is immensely more damaging to a childs long term wellbeing than being lightly struck as a prompt to behave. Yet it would seem the rules allow damaging insults to be directed at a child, yet the lightest physical contact is absolutely out of the question. You could argue the current state of affairs is an overreaction to the bad old days of the cane, but it seems there is a out of proportion over-focusing on one technical aspect of the old system (physical contact), and a wholesale missing of the wider picture. Rules are not always well thought out - and sticking to the rules for the sake of sticking to the rules is a poor way to think.

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 19:04:38

But corporal punishment is illegal.

If you (general you) have trained and/or qualified as a teacher in the last 20 -30 years then you would know that physically punishing pupils could cost your your job and you don't do it

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 19:11:21

I agree - it is stupid of the teacher to put themselves at risk. But that does not necessarily mean that a 3rd party should go out of their way to ensure the letter of the law is enforced just because they can.

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 19:13:22

My DMum and Stepdad have over 60 years teaching experience between them (now retired).

They taught at secondary level, some of that time in rough schools and dealt with accordingly serious misbehaviour, which, I would hazard a guess, was a lot more challenging and provoking than that displayed by an averagely naughty 7 year old. Neither of them every used physical discipline. A good teacher doesn't need to.

OnwardBound Sun 17-Mar-13 19:16:18

I actually find it a bit odd and sad that OPs son told her he had been hit and this had made him cry but OP chooses to believe that the teacher is good 'un and her behaviour was appropriate.

A clip on the back of the head [which the teacher admits] however light is not an appropriate disciplinary tool in modern teaching. And for what, a 7 year old giggling at funny faces?

Yep, a right 'little sod', he obviously deserved it hmm

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 19:24:21

Yeah OnwardBound I know what you mean.

And the behaviour really wasn't that bad. I know how 7 year old boys can be, but nothing the op described makes him sound more badly behaved than any kid the same age.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 17-Mar-13 19:35:17

If you know that for your job certain things are total no's then you don't do them.

When it comes to how you treat vulnerable people it is down to third parties to report.

kim147 Sun 17-Mar-13 19:39:44

Every teacher knows they should not hit a pupil. Some of the older teachers I worked with told me tales of what they did (and were expected to do by parents) in the old days.

I can see how a pupil / extreme and constant behaviour can push you over the edge. It's also impossible to walk away from a situation - there are times when I have just wanted to walk out of the classroom for 10 minutes but that's been impossible.

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