to be totally distressed and out for blood...(62 Posts)
So this could be long. I really need some advice.
I will try to keep this as short as possible: We (DH and 2 DCs) live abroad. DS(3) was attending an international school here until about 3.5 weeks ago. The school runs from 3 year olds to 12 year olds (basically preschool to primary). There had been some talk and concern about how the new headmaster, who started in Sept, and works mainly at a different campus had been spending a lot of time hanging around the kindergarten class that DS is in. It had been noticed how he always seemed to be holding one of the boys on his lap or in his arms. The mums who had been talking about this had agreed to keep an eye on things.
The group have swimming lessons once a week at a fitness centre next door to the school. One of the other mums in the class had gone along to help. The first thing that she noticed was that the headmaster insisted on being in the ladies changing rooms with the 3 teachers and 2 parents helping to change 6 children (my son being one of them). He was asked twice to leave, and twice he ignored the teachers requested, then insisted on changing my son. Whilst in the pool area he took DS1 swimming on his own (there is a childrens pool, and adult pool, and a turkish bath, which is like a deep hot tub). Then he took him swimming into the hot tub. Now, DS is a handful, more than most, I would say. He doesn't listen, or do as he is told. Whilst in the hot tub, he repeatedly turned on the bubbles despite being told not to. In response the headmaster grabbed him, and gave him a full body restraint, on his lap (in the hot tub) - apparently his idea of a time out. My friend came out of the pool and called me to come to the pool - she was very upset by what she had seen. I was in a meeting, so couldn't go right away.
As I was driving up, again she called me VERY upset. Back in the classroom he was reading to the children and DS wouldn't sit and listen, so again, full body restraint, on his lap, whilst he continued to read to the children. At this point my friend left with her son to call me (there was no other teacher present). By the time I had got there, the headmaster had left (very quick?), and I went off my head at the school coordinator.
I would like to say, that I think the headmaster is an idiot. I think he doesnt know how to discipline young children (he's always taught at secondary schools). He is British. We are in a developing, non English speaking country. I think that this sometimes can lead to blurred lines regarding how far you can go in discipline. What he did was completely inappropriate. In my opinion he assaulted my son. I would like to say it was more a physical and emotional assault, because I cant get my head around anything else.
The mother and I asked to meet with the headmaster. He refused to come, however the owner of the school and a member of the board of governors came along, as well as another parent, and a security officer from the embassy that they are affiliated to. The meeting was deeply distressing for me. (DH was also there). The headmaster agreed that he had acted inappropriately, but at the same time, we had to understand that the teacher was very upset at the implications of his behaviour. So much so, that he had phoned in sick. I ended up walking out of the meeting, I could hear Ds's name, lap, hot tub any more, and that afternoon, I notified the school that he would no longer be attending.
Since then I have heard NOTHING. The owner has twice contacted us to try to meet, but when we say, yes, anytime, he says I'll get back to you and then doesn't. The headmaster, after taking 2 weeks off, in distress, is now back at the school, in amongst the little ones, as if nothing has happened. He has not been disciplined (apparently...We wouldnt know if he had been), and we have had absolutely NO acknowledgement at ALL of the distress that this fucking idiot and the school have caused our family.
Now the lines are blurred because we are abroad, so we dont have the same routes of complaint that we would normally go down if we were in the UK. The school however has a few important accreditations that make it a professional academic institution - for example, it is a member of the Council of International Schools, as well as others. I want BLOOD. I want the school to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING, but they are quite blatantly not going to. We are moving to a new posting at the end of the year, and I cant help but feel that they are just waiting til we have gone. I have written to another prominent member of the board and let him know that I want:
an apology; the headmaster disciplined; a code of conduct to be put in place, and also a proper complaints procedure to be set in stone. I also let him know that even though we were leaving, I would not be letting it go.
If I don't get what I want then I plan to complain to the accreditation institutions, as well as reporting it to the British embassy here, as well as a few other things. What would you do? I know I am right to be angry. I guess I just needed to vent, and also to get some of the very sensible advice that I often see on here. I cant tell you how distraught I am about this situation. DH is less so, and doesn't really want to cause a fuss - but backs me to the hilt...
Any advice? Thoughts?
Sorry that was meant to read "The owner of the school admitted that the headmaster had acted inappropriately"
No advice, I'm sorry, but a huge amount of sympathy and best wishes for success, for the sake of your ds and other children who may be affected.
I don't think it's blood you want, it's an appropriate response to a very serious allegation. an apology; the headmaster disciplined; a code of conduct to be put in place, and also a proper complaints procedure to be set in stone sounds pretty reasonable to me. I have absolutely no idea where to go wit h it though. I'm sorry I can't be more help.
Thanks imperial. My son is a 3.5 year old boy. Great with communication, but moves from one thing to the next. When gently questioned, he remained uncharacteristically quiet, and when asked was quite clear that he didnt like the man...He seems fine, and quite happy to be at home with me all day.
Thanks red. It's more than an allegation. The coordinator of the preschool witnessed the hot tub incident as well as the other mother, and admitted it in front of a room of people...
Given that he and you are British could the embassy do anything? Could you ring the British Police for advice? I don't think you are over reacting BTW
Yes, quietbat, there is, but I want the school to deal with it. As I said, this is a developing country. There was an incident a few years ago, when my friends dc1 drank a bottle of calpol. The local ambulance came out and pumped her stomach on the living room floor. An hour later the police turned up and arrested the father (from the West), the mother was away on business, and charged him with neglect. It got sorted out, but I'd rather the school dealt with this in some shape or form. These people are hired with security checks and references etc., (he is no history of this on his record), if he was disciplined or sacked, then this would stay with him. Prison, in this country, would be life ending for him....I have to be very careful.
I would report it to the embassy. This is a child protection issue and I assume by your post that you work for embassy (even if not they are there to support you). Lets be honest, if this happened in the uk it would mean suspension. If all else fails go to the expat newspapers/mags in your country with the story. And if they don't print but ad space and tell your story. I see this as assault and I can tell you if someone did that to my son they wouldn't be walking ever again (my dh would see to that although he'd have to wait till I finished 1st). I would not only complain to the embassy but tithe local police, the school board, accredation board and every online forum I could get on. Come on this is wrong on so many levels that I can't believe he hasn't been charged or at the very least sacked (sorry getting riled up just thinking how I would feel if it was my son). Oh and I've lived in countries like the one you describe and the embassies have always been helpful even when they couldn't do anything. As a British citizen I would also contact ofsted just invade this guy ever thinks of teaching in the uk
i would phone the embassy
they have had their chance to respond appropriately and they havent
Livid: He travels with is wife, they have 5 kids (grown up) between them. I think they are career expat teachers. I havent googled him, but I will. The owner told me that he would be putting a code of conduct in place. He felt that we should give him the benefit of the doubt (and after I left, he told the mother who initiated the complaint, that she should think about writing him a letter of apology). It is horrible. Thank you for your advice.
cakebar: I'm actually friends with the ambassador here (it's a small community, so that sounds more hifalutin than it is), I will email him, I'm giving the school til Wednesday. Also, someone else high up in the embassy has a son in the same class....I dont know if she knows, again I am waiting. The British government are notoriously hands off with expats unless they really have to get involved: in cases of death, murder, imprisonment etc.,
Thanks all for taking the time to respond...
Oh and just reading your post re prison being life ending for him, I'd be less worried about him and more worried about my ds and other dc personally but you know your country better so you need to go with your gut. But everything else that doesn't involve police I would say do
give him the benefit of the doubt????????
this is crazy!
putting a code of conduct in place! they dont have one???
i know nothing about international schools......who's laws do they have to abide by?
ewacarlie, procrasstinator...everyone. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me. Its 3 in the morning here. The kids are up at 6 and I just cant stop it going round and round in my head. Your advice means so much to me...I cant tell you how distressed I am...
My first thought was contact the police.
But if you're certain you don't want to I'd make a formal approach via the Embassy, not the back door emaily route you talked about. This situation demands gravitas, not informality.
procrasstinator: they, of course, follow the countries laws, but get international accreditation from establishments (wrong word, but I'm tired, cant think of the right word), which gives them weight with expatriates. The accreditation doesn't come easily.
You abide by the laws of the country in which you operate Procarstinator.
Enjoy...I agree. I'll sleep on it and start on the list I made up. Embassy, women's association (the school sponsors an ad in the newsletter), accreditations, local press (luckily we speak the language here)...and perhaps the child protection agency, as well as the ministry of education...email all the mothers in the class. Put it on FB marketplace???
I can only imagine how horrible you are feeling - not only for your ds but being in a country where you feel more restricted then in your own. I would email the school and inform them that you expect disciplinary action and if they do not respond to you tomorrow then you will go to police etc (even if you don't the threat to their reputation may be enough to get them to act). Sometimes you need o be ruthless to get action. And I would tell you friend (embassador) tomorrow. More so becasye their ds is in that class than anything else. How would you feel if this had happened to another ds and no one informed you so that you could decide about the welfare of your child?
Surely the international school has an interest in appeasing you to keep their reputation intact? Contact them by letter and make sure you give them a timeframe to get back to you with the sanctions made for this man, procedures introduced to stop this happening again etc.
Are the other parents happy to continue in the school with him in the same role? A petition, or signed statement of support might convince them that this is an issue that can't be swept under the carpet?
Do they have a facebook page, twitter account etc? How do new families "find" the school, is it by referral by the international companies, embassy, word of mouth in the expat community?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.