"Mother smells of alcohol" on Friend's DS's school file.

(87 Posts)
PegBasket Wed 28-Mar-12 19:51:32

(I've namechanged for this as I would not want anyone to recognise me or my friend).

I need a little advice on behalf of a friend. Our children are in Reception together in a smallish village school.

My friends DS broke his pelvis in an accident in the playground about 2 months ago. The DS has healed well and is now back at school in the morning only and my friend has to stay with him which is all fine. She works in a local pub and has been able to fit that round her shifts. She has been joining in in class activities, helping out where needs be, but is primarily there to help her DS go to the loo etc. So she is un-paid by the school obviously, not CRB checked and is there purely voluntarily so that her DS doesn't miss too much school afterbeing in hospital for weeks etc.

This morning, as my friend was leaving the school with her DS after the morning there, the Reception teacher pulled her to one side and said she had smelled alcohol on her. My friend protested saying thats can't be true as she is practically tee-total, (which I know 100% to be true). She said it was a child protection issue and as such would have to be reported to the Head. The Head then said to my friend, who was protesting all the while, that this would have to go on her DSs "school file", whatever that is. The Head also said this is not the first time it has been noted that she smelled on alcohol. (She drinks Red Bull a lot and smokes, which might smell a bit alcohol-y?)

My friend is distraught, no amount of telling them she was not a drinker, (for such reasons as she works in a pub till closing time several nights a week (her DH is at home then) and has to drive home from there, but also is on medication for somethng else which prohibits her drinking, but even after all that she is just Not A Drinker). In all ways she is a great mum, who puts her DS absolutely first, and he is sweet, polite, bright, and has impeccable manners.

She told me about this in tears earlier today. I think its completely unnacceptable to have something on her DSs file about his mothers suitability as a parent, suspecting her of being an alcoholic or something when its absolutely not true, especially when she isn't even in the school on any kind of professional capacity other than to look after her son.

I am sure I have dropped off my DS several times, reeking of wine from a night with various other mums from school the night before, all of us laughing about being hungover or whatever. But then I am a drinker and my friend IS NOT! I have never been stopped and told, "excuse me you smell of alcohol and it needs putting on your sons file".

Is there anything she can do to get this removed from her DSs file? Is there anything "sinister" about it being on the file, either for now or the future? What should she do?

Thanks for any advice you may be able to give that I can pass on.

MigratingCoconuts Wed 28-Mar-12 19:59:52

I feel for your friend but...

This is a child protection issue. If the teachers in the school suspect that she is drunk then they are absolutely duty bound to report it on. They actually cannot afford to give your friend the benefit of the doubt.

For all the times that they might be over reacting will be the times that there may be a genuine risk to the child

Dustinthewind Wed 28-Mar-12 20:13:47

It's one of the flags that we are bound to look out for and note, you have no idea if the same is written somewhere about you. All that will happen is that the situation, her son's well-being and her attitude will be monitored to make sure that there are no safeguarding issues involved. Best thing she can do is continue going in.
She could always say that if they are unhappy and think she's dishonest, then they surely wouldn't want her in the classroom, and they must pay for a 1:1 support for her son instead.

madwomanintheattic Wed 28-Mar-12 20:14:29

Well, if she works on a pub every night, drinks red bull and smokes, then it isn't entirely beyond the wit of man to work out why she might smell a little of a particular lifestyle choice, lol.

Personally I would have laughed and said 'I work in a pub!' and then 'thanks for letting me know, it must be lingering on my clothes'.

Teacher is duty bound to make a mental note if she suspects alcoholism, (and probably a slightly more formal one, too) but no one has questioned her parenting capability? Is there a chance that her medication makes her slur/ her condition make her appear slightly wobbly etc? (I only ask because our local scout leader looks every inch the alcoholic, but she has ms. And my 8yo looks like she is permanently tanked because of her cp). The first time I met the scout leader she was standing with a group of parents, and there was an unmistakeable whiff of stale booze. That and her demeanour meant that I honestly thought she had a real problem. I've met her a few times since - the alcohol smell was obv one of the parents!

She needs to make sure that they have no other complaints that could be misconstrued, other than she smells like her job.

I would be pissed, but not sure what else you can do, really. She could speak to the chair of governors informally and ask whether it is worth putting her dismay in writing to the head? Easy enough explanation?

I assume this is the reason she smells of booze. I have a friend who had real issues and drank vodka and red bull 24/7. You wouldn't necessarily be able to tell unless she told you, or you knew her quite well.

MuslinSuit Wed 28-Mar-12 20:16:15

She should be CRB checked so the school are on dodgy ground tbh.

admission Wed 28-Mar-12 20:17:24

I agree that it is not a subject that the school can avoid and that there needs to be a referral but that does not mean that there is any stain attached to your friend, it is the process of ensuring that everything is OK.
But the manner in which this has been handled is not very clever at all. What the teacher should have done was report their concerns to the relevant person who would be the headteacher, not the person involved. It is then for the head to make appropriate checks and refer the situation to the relevant person in the Local Authority, which will be within social services.
It does not matter that the mother was in school on a voluntary basis, the same situation would apply if the school thought the situation existed in a parent picking up their child.
I would be tempted to get the parent to write a letter to the head teacher, saying that whilst they understand the need for vigilance on child protection issues that the school have handled this extremely badly and that you wish to make a formal written complaint. That they are absolutely available for anybody from social services to come and discuss the reasons why it would not be unreasonable for her to smell of alcohol. I would also be making the point that they will now no longer coming into school on a voluntary basis to help their son and that it will therefore be necessary for the school to make suitable arrangements for somebody to help your son.

PegBasket Wed 28-Mar-12 20:50:49

Firstly thank you all for taking the tie to reply. I (and she) are obviously quite niiave about what happens inside schools and what gets reported and what doesn't. I think she is going to write a letter but I will advise her to just let it lie.

She doesn't slur or seem drunk at all, the meds are to do with osteoporosis that's all.

Many thanks again for your help. It's left me rather worried as to what's on my DCs files now!!!

Dustinthewind Wed 28-Mar-12 21:01:06

You don't need to worry, a flag is just an alert so that patterns can be spotted and random bits put together to see if there's a picture. It is to protect vulnerable children, and those who may be at risk but not obviously so.
How often do schools get accused of missing warning signs when the shit hits the fan?
Now we are supposed to take on board riot prevention through building a strong moral character in all pupils...

Primafacie Wed 28-Mar-12 21:19:09

Your friend should look up her rights under the Data Protection Act. The school may be acting as a Data Controller.

sakura Fri 06-Apr-12 11:24:00

I agree with Primafacie. She should look up her rights. She's obviously a lovely mother, and I'm not really sure what the end point and motivation of writing "mother smells of alcohol" on a child's school file could possibly be.
Sounds like they're more interested in catching mothers out than doing the right thing and offering help, should they need it. To see something like that on your child's file must be quite worrying, as I'm sure it was supposed to be... but not sure exactly how it helps anyone really.

MoreBeta Fri 06-Apr-12 11:28:47

She works in a pub. She is bound to smell of alcohol. That is the reason and she needs that noting on the file. Beer leaves a yeasty smell on clothes.

People who work in fish n chip shops smell of fish and chips.

I used to work in a pig sty in a former life. Guess what I smelled of?

catsareevil Fri 06-Apr-12 11:31:34

Smeeling of alcohol because someone has been drinking is different to the smell from someone working in a pub the previous night.
Sometimes the antibacterial hand gels can make people smell like thay have been drinking, does she use them?

everlong Fri 06-Apr-12 17:36:15

Has she told school she works in a pub?

sienna1 Sat 07-Apr-12 23:39:50

With your friends permission, I would write to the school and give them a reference for your friend telling them what you have told us. Then that would stay on record too and give the school more accurate information on the whole issue.

malheureuse Sat 07-Apr-12 23:50:39

I don't think it fair to put this on record without having taken a blood test for alcohol levels

kipperandtiger Sun 08-Apr-12 00:18:06

I would have thought the obvious reason is that she works in a pub so of course her clothes and hair will smell of alcohol. It comes with the job. I don't know if the staff who have observed this are aware of how to tell the difference - in a very different environment like school (which smells of crayons, pencils, play dough, etc) the alcohol smell might just be so out of place that they haven't spotted the difference. If the school staff don't like it they can pay for a full time person to help care for her son. But she ought to have a CRB check paid for by the school/local authority - it's not fair for the other children and their parents otherwise. I am not sure what writing it in the son's school file is supposed to achieve though. If they don't like the children smelling it, it might be kinder to speak to her about it. There are fellow parents in our school who work in farms and catering and they have the smell of their work on their clothes too. It's not a big deal.

Hebiegebies Sun 08-Apr-12 00:42:56

Having had an alcoholic parent and my schools ignored all the signs for what ever reason, I aplaud the school on following up on their concerns.

Once your friend has proved there is no problem that should also be written in her child's notes and they should apologise.

Cann she get the breath tests that will prove she has not had any alcohol?

It's good she has you to talk to

TheDetective Sun 08-Apr-12 00:49:06

It shouldn't be down to the parent to prove Hebie. Innocent until proven guilty remember?

He broke his pelvis in a playground accident?

Oooyah bandit. How did he do that?

As per your friend - I'd be asking to see the record, have a letter from her GP, be adding my own statement and then having a copy of them.

Hebiegebies Sun 08-Apr-12 01:00:06

Where does that leave the children who are at real risk of abuse? If we had to prove 100% that there was a problem before a child's care was investigated there would be far more children at real risk.

She should not have to prove her innocence but I was suggesting a way of hastening the process of justice

1950sHousewife Sun 08-Apr-12 01:12:37

PegBasket.
Sorry that your friend is going through this, but I am with HebieGebies on this somewhat. Having had an alcoholic parent I am happy that the flag has recognised this smell and are following up on this. I hope that your friend, and you, can find a way of explaining this to the school and I'm sure all will be reasurred. But sometimes, the school is the only contact between the child, the parent and the outside world and I, for one, am happy that they are concerned.

Equally, I hope this does not remain on her file for long after they are satisfied that it's baseless.

I've had this problem recently with a friend of DD whose father (the parents are separated, I am vaguely friends now with the mother) turns up smelling of alcohol to pick her up. It's happened about 3 times now. I worry about telling the mum, but its perhaps I need to. Sorry, hijack there, but it's tricky to know what to do in this situation.

differentnameforthis Sun 08-Apr-12 02:42:12

'I work in a pub!' and then 'thanks for letting me know, it must be lingering on my clothes

When I worked in a pub, my clothes never smelt of alcohol (unless you include the times that I spilt it on me), fags yes, booze, no.

Also, surely she changes first? She wouldn't be sitting in school in clothes she worked in the previous night?

Redbull & fags also don't make you smell of alcohol.

I've been troubled by this overnight -

seriously, what kind of playground accident causes a child to break their pelvis? That's a big injury on a small, flexible person...seems odd.

Dunno, I (almost) had a MIL who had a drink problem, not a raging alkie, but she was en route. She was a.may.zing at covering her tracks. But, if you are sure that she is not a closet drinker....

...then, what's her medical condition? A sign of uncontrolled diabetes is keytones on your breath - which smell like pear drops.

Possible that the teacher is a fan of hooch and mistook what she smelled?

Snorbs Sun 08-Apr-12 10:55:16

As I understand it, schools have clearly defined child protection procedures and a teacher noticing that a parent smells of alcohol at pick-up has to be recorded.

ggirltwin2pinot Sun 08-Apr-12 11:08:15

could it be mouthwash or rescue remedy causing the smell?

StringOrNothing Sun 08-Apr-12 11:08:35

This is eye-opening. I never have alcohol at lunchtime if I'm going to oick up the DCs from school, regardless of the occasion, because I'm worried that I'd be judged to high heaven by anyone who smelled it in my breath, and I've always been told by friends/colleagues/MNers that I was being paranoid and it was totally unnecessary.

Seems I was right all along.

I think that someone who's been working in a pub the night before and hasn't washed her hair might well smell detectably of stale alcohol the next morning.

jubilee10 Sun 08-Apr-12 11:18:31

You say this is not the first time she has been noted to have been smelling of alcohol. If things are exactly as you say she should see her GP and explain the situation to them. She should ask that if this is flagged up by the school again could she pop in to the surgery for a blood test which would show that there is no alcohol in her blood. She should then put this to the school in writing asking that it be included in her son's file. She should let the school know that if at any time she smells of alcohol they must alert her immediately and tell them of her arrangement.

If it were me I would also be asking them to arrange for a carer for the little boy.

budgieshell Sun 08-Apr-12 11:41:51

Are we as parents allowed to read these records? I would have thought the school would have to let us read them if we asked.

I wonder if this teacher has jumped to conclusions about your friend because she smokes and works in a pub (must be an alcholic).

I am sure some of the other mums at your school would be concerned if the teachers where jumping to conclusions and putting it in writing (spread the word).

Agree with some other comments about flagging up concerns about childrens welfare but they are usually based on the childs behaviour and well being not just what mum smells like.

PS. Wish I had a friend like you looking out for me.

catsareevil Sun 08-Apr-12 11:43:09

Where is the evidence that they have jumped to conclusions? They are saying that she smells of alcohol, not that she works in a pub, or smokes.

differentnameforthis Sun 08-Apr-12 11:43:17

I think that someone who's been working in a pub the night before and hasn't washed her hair might well smell detectably of stale alcohol the next morning

Only if said hair had alcohol poured over it...imo.

jubilee10 Sun 08-Apr-12 12:14:00

I often have a glass of wine if I go out for lunch on a thursday ( my day off) I would then pick ds up so I wonder what is written on my file? I only ever drink one glass but it would smell the same as ten!

SophieNeveau Sun 08-Apr-12 12:23:43

Too many professionals are scared of loosing their jobs or being sued now a days. I wonder if the report would have been noted if the teacher was not worried about covering her back.

In this situation I would look into sueing school for the accident and move my child to another school.

1950sHousewife Sun 08-Apr-12 12:32:14

Sophie - what would you do, as a professional, if you smelt alcohol on a parent and it worried you? The teacher is probably genuinely worried, not 'covering her back'. I can tell you, it's unsettling to smell alcohol on a parent when you know they are having to look after a child. (see my post above)

As for the playground accident, no wonder that professonals are afraid of being sued, when people are encouraged to sue if their children are harmed in the slightest way on their watch. I agree that breaking a pelvis seems a big injury, but short of taking away all the playground equipment (as they are starting to do in many schools), there is no way of preventing injuries.

My friends DD fractured her arm badly by falling off the monkey bars. I glad the parents attitude was 'accidents happen', not 'sue the bastards' as my own dd loves those monkey bars and the school is struggling with repairs and resources as it is.

SophieNeveau Sun 08-Apr-12 12:57:28

I would never be a teacher, I don't feel attracted to control freak, put others down professions, like teaching, police, law etc.

I wouldn't advocate sueing normally, I would be so outraged as that parent, that it would make me change my attitude.

I was very much a head down, controlled person, it made me very unhappy. I then realised a lot of people in positions of power seeing as psychologists estimate 1 in four is a psychopath/sociopath, sources from BBC Horizon can be very damaging, and I don't look up to or bow to them anymore.

edam Sun 08-Apr-12 13:00:56

They've jumped to conclusions by putting 'Mother smells of alcohol' in the file without bothering to ask basic questions such as 'is there a legitimate reason?' By putting in the file, they are recording it as a concern, when it is no such thing. It's a slur on an innocent woman.

1950sHousewife Sun 08-Apr-12 13:03:01

Try this then, as a 'non-control freak' caring parent, what if one of the parents was smelling of alcohol at strange times, would you just keep your head down then? Wouldn't you care just a little bit about the care of that child?

BTW - I don't think teachers go into the profession for the control part. Honestly, getting 30 6 year olds under your control is not a buzz, I'm pretty sure of it. And I'm fairly sure most teachers wouldn't recognise your assessment of being a 'putting down' profession. My sis in law is a teacher and she is a kind, caring person who loves teaching. Sorry your experiences weren't good, but it's strange to assume motivations for entire professions.

SophieNeveau Sun 08-Apr-12 13:07:30

I am not assuming, psychologists estimate 1 in 4, in such professions have what is now renamed antisocial personality disorder, what were called sociopaths/psycopaths who lack empathy and go out of their way and delight in harming others, it is 1 in 10 occurance of coming into contact in the regular population. Do the Math!

edam Sun 08-Apr-12 13:07:38

Not if the parent worked in a pub, no (unless it was obviously on their breath). Jumping to conclusions without checking is irresponsible and could be extremely damaging.

Thumbbunny Sun 08-Apr-12 13:16:48

If the OP's friend is relatively young and already on drugs for osteoporosis, there may be some heritable condition of osteoporosis/fragile bones in her family, that her DS may also be suffering from, which could explain why he broke his pelvis in a playground accident. <<speculating>>

1950sHousewife Sun 08-Apr-12 13:17:15

It's an interesting statistic. I think the way you put it before was a little twee with the crossing out. I would love to see the link.

Perhaps then, instead of opting to not go into one of those kinds of profession, people like you should choose to do that kind of profession to ensure the numbers of psychopaths are kept down?

And you didn't answer my question, how would you handle this problem. As said, I'm going through it right now myself and frankly, there is a definite smell on this father's breath of alcohol and it scares me shitless to see the little girl going back in the car with him

As the daughter of a mum who was a functioning alchoholic who lied, disguised and gave many, many excuses as to why she smelt of alcohol, and who should have been flagged by the authorities, I am glad there are a few 'control freaks' out there. Had they been more aware with my mum, she could have got the help she needed sooner.

D0oinMeCleanin Sun 08-Apr-12 13:17:48

When I worked in pub I always smelt of booze, but then I was clumsy oaf and spilt drip drays on myself hourly, at least.

SophieNeveau Sun 08-Apr-12 13:20:00

There would be more clues than a smell going on you would pick up as a friend as OP is, or as a parent helped, the only issues is a smell!

I wouldn't want to spend time with aspd people.

SophieNeveau Sun 08-Apr-12 13:21:56
McFluffster Sun 08-Apr-12 13:24:27

Quite frankly it's terrifying that the school can make notes about something like this when it isn't true and turn a mistake/fabrication into a child protection issue.

1950sHousewife Sun 08-Apr-12 13:24:52

Not necessarily more clues Sophie.
I'm sure a great deal of people had no idea my mum was/is an alcoholic and would be shocked to find out she was. Sometimes the only clue is a small one. My mum was well dressed, well spoken, carried out her job, took care of us as a mum but was constantly necking vodka. She needed help but because she was functioning and hidden, it was hard to tell.

The smell of a drinker can be obvious, and smelling it three times when he has come to pick her up sends off huge warning bells in my head. I am frightened the next clue might be a car accident with the DD in the car because the dad is drink driving.

1950sHousewife Sun 08-Apr-12 13:26:41

Thanks for that. It looks interesting. But it still means that 3 in 4 of these people are not psychopaths, so no need to tar them all with the same brush.

SophieNeveau Sun 08-Apr-12 13:27:43

So if your Mother was functioning, what is the issue here? passing on addiction behaviours?

SophieNeveau Sun 08-Apr-12 13:29:42

ASPD is just one of the other 3 in 4 you will have many a co-dependant, npd people will alson be attracted to that profession to name a few. Birds of a feather flock together!

1950sHousewife Sun 08-Apr-12 13:34:16

You have no idea how silly that question sounds to the child of an alcoholic, do you?
I am not going to engage any more with you about this.
Issue? Long term heath problems? Driving drunk with children in the car? Just because you are functioning doesn't mean there are not problems. No person can be an alcoholic without the problem coming crashing to a head somewhere. In the end she had a haemorrhage which she managed to recover from, only to end up having a breakdown.

There are thousands of people like my mum, who turn up at schools, at work, at toddler groups who had been drinking abnormal amounts of alcohol, who are damaging themselves and those around them. The term functioning alcoholic is perhaps not a good one. Perhaps the words 'slow car crash' are better ones.

I'm getting off this thread, I don't want to hijack it and it's a lovely Easter Sunday.

OP - sorry for hijacking. I hope your friends problem comes to a resolution soon.

SophieNeveau Sun 08-Apr-12 13:36:41
catsareevil Sun 08-Apr-12 14:52:22

SophieNeveau

1 in 4 people in 'teaching, police, law' have antisocial personality disorder?
and 1 in 10 of the general population?

Can you show some evidence for that?

cece Sun 08-Apr-12 14:59:53

I am shocked that she is allowed to work in the school without a CRB checked! That is certainly a safeguarding issue.

I am a part time teacher (and obviously I have a CRB check for my job). However, I am not allowed to go in and help at my DC's school as I do not have a CRB check for that school. Likewise I wasn't allowed to help with the cub group without having another CRB check.

Jo178 Sun 08-Apr-12 15:07:39

She only needs a CRB check if she's working unsupervised with the children. If she's in the classroom with the teacher or other staff then it's fine.

cece Sun 08-Apr-12 15:31:09

I think a lot of schools require it of all helpers. I know my DC's school does and so does the one I work in. Whether supervised or not.

Sargesaweyes Sun 08-Apr-12 15:31:18

She would still need a check. Not a CRB but a list 99. As a teacher it seems a bit odd!

Sargesaweyes Sun 08-Apr-12 15:34:13

I don't keep 'files' on parents. Things of genuine concern would be noted but tbh there would have to be much more than 'smells of alcohol' to warrant this.

edam Sun 08-Apr-12 15:36:46

Yeah, but sarge, not everyone is as sensible as you. You always have to allow for the fact that there are lot of daft people in the world, some of them in responsible positions...

nickseasterchick Sun 08-Apr-12 15:44:21

At the school where my ds's went the caretakers son had a bottle of peach flavour water which had had the label removed - he told all his pals it was peach schnapps -the headteacher smelt it,called the caretaker in and there was BIG TROUBLE, I dont think the head ever believed it was flavoured water sad - op youve had some great advice here id definitely write a personal reference for your friend and even speak to the head if I were you,also friend seeing GP and explaining the situation might help.

Poor friend sad.

Sargesaweyes Sun 08-Apr-12 15:53:51

I've worked with a few characters like you describe Edam, so yes you're right. One lady I know got called into one school because her child had odd socks on frequently and the teacher thought it was neglect hmm. No wonder people hate teachers lol! OP, you're a great friend and tell your friend not to get to upset. The fact that she is going into school and helping everyday shows that she is obviously a caring mum.

edam Sun 08-Apr-12 16:21:39

Blimey, I hope that teacher never comes round my house, Sarge, I'd be in Big Trouble. grin

Finallygotaroundtoit Sun 08-Apr-12 16:32:55

DF thinks this is about her when actually it's about her DS.

If there ia a rational explaination about why she smells of alcohol ( I expect School haven't written about it, unless it's strong, frequent and been smelt by others) - then the reason can be noted, no harm done etc. If anyone brings it up again they can refer to explaination already ascertained.

However, the consequences of ignoring it are potentially harmful.

Can you help DF see that teachers are acting in her DS's interest?

threeleftfeet Sun 08-Apr-12 16:41:57

I would certainly take it further with the school.

Of course the school are acting in her DS's best interests to note it.

But the OP's friend is absolutely acting in her DS's best interests to make sure there are not incorrect notes on his/her file which could potentially be damaging to them.

In her shoes I would want to set the school straight. I would be asking for a meeting with the head.

OhDoAdmitMrsDeVere Sun 08-Apr-12 16:44:17

They said 'mother smelt of alcohol', they didnt report 'mother was drunk' or even 'mother had been drinking'

It is something that used to happen when i worked in A&E. If a child was bought in and their parents smelt of alcohol it would be noted as a matter of course.

If the parents were pissed it would be stated in a different way. Lots of times in the Summer small children would be bought in with stings and cuts etc and the parents may have been at the pub having a pint. It didnt mean the doctors thought they were all off their nuts.

If your friend thinks this is really unfair that she has to address it. Bear in mind that she may be a bit immune to the smell of drink if she works in a pub and if she is a heavy smoker her sense of smell may not be brilliant either.

howcomes Sun 08-Apr-12 17:35:52

If she uses those anti bacterial hand gel sanitisers then they are probably the cause of the alcohol smell. I thought one of my colleagues smelled of alcohol once and it was just that she'd used the gel minutes before I came into her office. A friend also asked me if I'd been drinking - I was 8 months pregnant and definitely hadn't been, but I did use the hand gel a lot when out and about. I could imagine someone in a school environment using them a lot too.

nickseasterchick Sun 08-Apr-12 22:39:50

mrsdevere ....years ago ds1 and I fell off a bus and later the next day ds needed treatment at A&e,when the solicitor asked for a copy of his hospital notes I was stunned to see that a statement to the effect of 'nickschick and her son presented themselves at A&E at approximately 9pm,son was clean wearing pyjamas and warm dressing gown,the accident we treated was in my opinion from the incident nickschick described,she askied for confirmation of my decision not to stitch the wound from the registrar and I had no reason to raise to concern about the injury'- they also noted I was clean and smatly dressed ? did not appear to have been drinking,that I spoke on the telephone to dh whilst waiting,bought ds a hot drink and left by taxi.

amazing really that they had to write a declaration like that,do they do it for every accident?

OhDoAdmitMrsDeVere Sun 08-Apr-12 23:24:44

When I first started working in AE (non clinical role) the medics would write all kinds of stuff.
I believe the rules on what you could write began to change at some point, possibly when it became easier for patients to request to see their notes?

I remember them writing things like 'fashionably dressed black woman' etc.
The older docs would write some really hmm stuff.

With children they tend to be pretty thorough in case their notes need to be used later for CP or court purposes. There are also an awful lot of requests for reports for compensation purposes.

Its been a long time since I worked in A&E and I would be interested to know how they do it now. Do they still used insulting acronyms like PFO (pissed fell over) and AMCM (anxious middle class mother ) I wonder?

I keep notes in my job and am v. careful about what I write. I always put stuff like 'xxxx appeared happy' and 'mother reported that....'

On reading it might seem that I am suggesting I am doubting xxxx was happy or that I didnt believe what mother said - its not that, I just cant say I 'know' something if I dont IYSWIM.

edam Sun 08-Apr-12 23:31:40

The hand gel thing is interesting. My driving instructor once announced 'I'm sorry to ask you this, but have you been drinking?' at the start of a lesson. I couldn't imagine where he'd got the idea - it was 9.30am, fgs, you'd have to have a real problem to smell of booze that early.

Thumbbunny Mon 09-Apr-12 01:41:00

edam - if you'd had a heavy night the night before, you might still smell of alcohol the next morning, and in fact might still be over the limit, so not quite as awful as you think. smile

clam Mon 09-Apr-12 11:10:28

My dd is a bit clumsy accident-prone and, during our most recent visit to A&E for a suspected broken finger, I was joking with the nurse about whether she'd soon qualify for her own named chair/coffee mug in the staffroom and how she must surely be a candidate for the "at risk" register. The nurse laughed and said "Oh no, she'd have to be down here a lot more frequently than this for that." She then listed the dates off her screen as to the other visits.
I was a bit surprised actually - I wonder what the actual threshold is for A&E visits is, in order for alarm bells to ring.

PosiePaques Mon 09-Apr-12 11:14:39

The LA in my dd's class often wreaks of alcohol, I think this is night before stuff....but DH could drink a bottle of wine and I can't smell it. I've also noticed it on her at the end of the day!

As for your friend, if she's not drinking then she should write and complain. I wouldn't think directly talking to a parent about drinking was what they're supposed to be doing.

OhDoAdmitMrsDeVere Mon 09-Apr-12 14:19:11

clam its not the amount of visits that always rings alarms.

If you run your DD down to A&E as soon as she is hurt and give a reasonable explaination as to how she got hurt its unlikely to raise any red flags.

Take her in four days later with a shifty story... that would be different.

Ephiny Mon 09-Apr-12 14:31:45

I find it very disturbing actually that the school would think something like this is any of their business. So what if someone 'smells of alcohol' - it's perfectly normal for adults to drink alcohol, including many parents!

catsareevil Mon 09-Apr-12 14:45:12

As a one off it wouldnt be an issue. If it happens repeatedly then it could be, expecially if there were other concerns.

jubilee10 Mon 09-Apr-12 19:10:03

My dsis was told to expect a visit from her health visitor after ds's third appearance in a&e in quick succession. He is her 3rd dc and neither of the others had ever been near a&e. No one ever visited her.

Hebiegebies Mon 09-Apr-12 19:26:44

Ephiny, sadly there are children in this country who have a parent (or more) who are unable to care for them due to an addiction to alcohol or drugs (including prescribed)

It is part of the role of the school to ensure all children are in a home environment where they can thrive. Social services obviously follow up concerns from teachers, health visitors, doctors ec, but they have to be made aware there is a potential problem

If a teacher does not say anything and there is a real problem the child suffers and the teacher will be called to account in the child is harmed, killed, neglected etc

SophieNeveau Mon 09-Apr-12 19:30:41

The teacher can be called to account... back watching!

catsareevil Mon 09-Apr-12 19:36:09

Or wanting to act in the best interests of the child.

SophieNeveau Mon 09-Apr-12 19:37:40

not if it puts strain and stress on an innocent parent!

Hebiegebies Mon 09-Apr-12 19:41:33

If you are an inocent parent you will clear your name easily

As a child of an alcoholic and no one said anything I have taken years to get over the problems I have as a result of the lack of parenting I had.

No one said anything because of the profession my parent had

catsareevil Mon 09-Apr-12 19:41:44

If you go on assuming that everyone is 'innocent' for ever and not documenting concerns then that is not in the best interests of the child.

It isnt as simple as innocent vs guilty. If a parent is turning up at school smelling of alcohol then it might be a case of a very stressed parent and more support being needed, rather than a 'guilty' parent.

teacherwith2kids Mon 09-Apr-12 19:47:40

As a teacher who works in a school with a lot of children who are vulnerable in various ways, I note all kinds of things on 'concern' forms regularly. They are then passed, in confidence, to the person within school with responsibility for Child protection. The vast majority are, i am absolutely certain, completely baseless - but there is always the chance that the things I and all the adults in school note down will show up to the 'designated person' as a pattern, and that person then has the responsibility to escalate that appropriately.

The thing which I think the school has handled very badly is the direct accusation to the parent that she smelt of alcohol and the 'threat' to the parent that it would be put inb the child's school file. The 'normal' procedure would be for a note to be made and passed in confidence to the 'designated person', and no further action or attention would be paid to it in the extremely likely event that the concern proved to be absolutely baseless (the form would sit in the Child protection documentation, certainly not in the child's school file).

Parent should also be CRB checked to be volunteering in school - it seems as if the school is 'too keen' on one hand, not keen enough on the other and somewhat 'unusual' in how they have chosen to approach the adult concerned...

bunyip72 Thu 22-Nov-12 23:07:32

i went to school after a very very rare lunch with a friend. i had a pint and then picked up the children. i was not drunk. however, the next morning, the headmistress said that staff had smelt alcohol on me and wether i had been driving. I said i wasn't and that my lunch date was literally a 5 min walk away. She was obviously embaressed, but said that if i had been driving, she would have had to inform social services....fair enough....i guess....but i wasn't drunk. she said if it happens again, then she has to contact social services.....i understand her duty of care, but is she implying that i have some sort of "record" and/or if i go for lunch with a friend again, that i will get in trouble and she will contact social services? I have never been in trouble, anywhere...i have a current crb check, and i'm in contact with the school regularly regarding my eldest son, who has trouble at school with learning.
Basically, i want to ask.....am i in trouble? are there notes being kept about me without my knowledge? what should i do?
any advice would be sooooo welcome
thanks x

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 22-Nov-12 23:14:57

You should really start a new thread rather than reviving a zombie, people will respond to the OP instead of answering your question. smile
It is nothing scary or serious, and taking notice of the state of parents collecting children is what schools have always done IME, just that now it comes under the umbrella of safeguarding and is more formal.
Read the whole thread, it has a lot of answers to the questions you are asking. You are also entitled to see copies of any records they are keeping on your children, so you could ask them.

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 22-Nov-12 23:17:22

We haven't yet got to the point where parents are breathalysed by schools before being allowed to collect children, so they have no other evidence to offer.
Unless you were visibly pissed?

bunyip72 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:14:51

Thanks.....no i wasn't pissed at all! no wobbles or slurring! if i had been then i would have definatley understood. Also, if i was a drunken mess, im sure that they wouldn't have allowed me to take them. I was just humiliated really, my mothers friend who is a headteacher at another school was shocked by this. I so rarely get to go out, i never go out in the evenings and lunch with a friend was a really pleasant and rare change. sad

hf128219 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:06:36

Buny - why on earth would they have to phone social services if you had been driving? You had one drink.

bunyip72 Fri 23-Nov-12 13:05:51

hf.....i have no idea, thats why i'm so gutted and i wasn't driving anyway! I don't need to, the school is a 5 min walk away.....maybe its just my personality...i do come across as scatty probably, so combined with the smell of alcohol.....i dunno....just truly gutted....and now paranoid.....you know, staff gossip etc

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