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To disagree with swimming teacher over girls having top half on show

(138 Posts)
Charlottehere Fri 16-Aug-13 19:00:56

I don't think I am. Dd, age 4 has just had her weekly swimming lesson. I couldn't find her swimming costume so put her 8 year old sister's on her. The costume was obviously big and hung down on her so one nipple was exposed. Shock.

While dd was in her lesson, a member of the admin staff called me into the office. I was told that female swimming teacher was worried that the male teacher would be embarrassed and it wasn't fair that dd swimming costume was too big and could I make sure she had one that fit next time.

I told him I thought that was ridiculous and have no issue with a 4 year old being uncovered at a swimming pool.

What do you think?

Solari Sat 17-Aug-13 12:12:15

I do think child protection has swung too far into paranoia, but honestly, I'd rather have it that way than the rather lax attitudes I encountered as a small child, which enabled my molesters (plural) to target me rather easily.

I do think this particular incident is a rather silly one to be raised by the swimming instructors, but if that's the price we pay for a more watchful eye... so be it, I say.

Solari Sat 17-Aug-13 12:16:34

<scrubs the word "rather" from brain, far too much of it in that comment!>

hackmum Sat 17-Aug-13 12:21:59

I don't really understand this business about protecting the male teacher against allegations of impropriety. Who's going to make the allegations, exactly? And why would they be more likely to make the allegations just because the girl was showing a bit of nipple?

Smartiepants79 Sat 17-Aug-13 14:19:07

Sadly ANYONE can make allegations.
Several other people have already explained why this poor swimming teacher should not have been put in this position.
This is a very dodgy area for anyone involved in child care/teaching.
One allegation = his life in tatters.

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 08:15:07

If people think dressing children in a particular way will somehow eradicate paedophilia then they are not only wrong but incredibly stupid.

And screening windows off just makes it harder for bystanders to keep extra pairs of eyes out for swimmers having potential problems.


Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 08:26:12

True boffin.

The thread's veering off a bit. The male teacher apparently I'd that the male teacher might be embarrassed (ok, still [confised]) not that he was afraid of being accused of being a pedophile.
And false allegations are much less common that seems to be being suggested.

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 08:28:36

Doh. male teacher i'd = female teacher said.

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 08:57:03

If I was the male/female swimming teacher's line manager and he/she said something like this, I would tell them not to be so silly. But it sounds to me like the female swimming teacher decided to take it upon herself to act as a nudity Nazi, with the administrator colluding, and the male teacher may not even know she had done this.

Nothing gives petty bureaucrats more of a buzz than accusing people of some imagined infraction and the other person having to kow tow to their views. (I note she didn't have the courage to say anything to you directly at the time, which could have been done in a lighthearted and friendly way, but effectively hid behind the administrator).

Leisure centres are particularly excellent at making the public feel as unwelcome and as naughty as possible IME, with their stupid ratios, impractical changing areas, prison style security and unsmiling, gossiping staff. The Brittas Empire has nothing on the modern leisure centre.

In this case, the only reason for a new swimsuit would be if the child was having trouble swimming in the old one. And this was not given as a reason.

Knowing me, if some pipsqueak nudity nazi had tried backfooting me like this, I would probably make a formal complaint in writing to the head of the leisure centre. The female swimming teacher and the male administrator are supposed to be friendly and welcoming to children and their parents and this was very heavy handed and unnecessary.

<and breathe>

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 08:59:13

How good it would be to get someone like Alex Polizzi to address the customer service side of leisure centres.

OctopusPete8 Sun 18-Aug-13 09:00:03

In your sit I would probably think, right time to get a more fitted swimsuit, and thats it.

Ilovemyself Sun 18-Aug-13 09:13:11

Oh come on boffinmum.

Whatever you think about leisure centre customer service, you can't complain that she was covering her colleagues arse. As I said earlier, people are quick to want to ensure that their children are protected, but then complain when staff do so, or cover their own backside to ensure they are not accused of any impropriety.

If ONE person makes an allegation against a staff member, no matter what the outcome the mud sticks. If you are accused of something as wrong as being a pedo it can be life changing ( and as others have said potentially life ending).

It's not about dressing children to eradicate pedophila (although the age they are sexualised by the way some are dressed IS wrong) - its about being appropriate, dressing your child correctly for the occasion, and remembering the YOU as a parent have a responsibility to ensure those that have your children in their care, whether you are there or not, are not put in a position where anyone can accuse them. ( sorry - lots of you's there. They are general, not aimed at you in particular)

Ilovemyself Sun 18-Aug-13 09:14:53

Emily. Are false allegations not as prevalent because of these " stupid" rules.

sydlexic Sun 18-Aug-13 09:25:34

Yes it is utterly ridiculous to have all of these silly child protection rules, much better in the days of Jimmy Saville and his cronies.

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 09:28:23

But look at the context here. It was a swimming class and presumably all the parents were there, as well as two teachers. One of the kids wore a floppy swimsuit. What the hell could you make an allegation about? Nothing, presumably. Which is why the petty bureaucrat invoked 'embarrassment' instead. They wanted to feel they had a sense of control and the right to wrong foot parents when they felt like it.

This is all about getting members of the public under the thumb and using a rhetoric of morality to justify it.

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 09:30:33

The proper way to do it would have been to have a laugh with the parent about the floppiness of the swimsuit and hint nicely that it was maybe time for a different one if the child was going to stand any chance of getting into the 2022 Olympics. It's called being friendly and diplomatic.

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 09:39:01

Syd, some of the child protection 'rules' are actually detrimental to children's wellbeing and overall development, such as not putting sun cream on them, not giving them doses of medicines they need, not cuddling them when they have fallen over, and possibly the practice of making them overly self conscious about their bodies.

Which is why when I last wrote a safeguarding policy with my professional hat on, I emphasised the need for having a sense of proportion.

If people scream 'abuse' and 'paedo' all the time, in relation to trivia, it just has the effect of making the haystack bigger, making those needles harder to find. We have to use our judgement rather better than that if we want to tackle the problem.

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 09:43:14

The Savile thing was much more complex than this. It was about males abusing power, and the worship of celebrities, btw.

hackmum Sun 18-Aug-13 09:55:15

BoffinMum: "It was a swimming class and presumably all the parents were there, as well as two teachers. One of the kids wore a floppy swimsuit. What the hell could you make an allegation about? Nothing, presumably."

Yes, that was the point I was trying to make, really. Also that if anyone was going to make an allegation (which seems unlikely) the fact that a child was wearing a loose swimming suit wouldn't really be an extra inducement. I find it hard to work out what kind of scenario people are envisaging here.

JustBecauseICan Sun 18-Aug-13 10:29:09

But try this........Our OP goes home and has a laugh with the next door neighbour about how MiniOP's cozzie was too loose and her nipples were on show in the door neighbour says "what! And the male instructor didn't say anything?!!! Oooh, he must have been getting off on seeing that 4 yr old's that's why he became a swimming instructor in the first place!" And so the seeds are sown.

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 10:41:10

No Ilovemyself the reason that false allegations are uncommon is because small children don't make false allegations of abuse.
Not because all the little girls' non existent boobies are covered up in a public pool.

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 10:42:46

Who the fuck says shit like that? justbecauseican?

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 10:44:03

boffinmum I'm afraid I think you're right.

Bit tiresome as I'm Bout to take several children swimming at our local public pool. grin

Iamsparklyknickers Sun 18-Aug-13 10:51:30

As this thread is still going I would like to point out that swimming in ill fitting clothes is actually really hard, there's a reason we didn't all don our pj's day one to get that stupid brick off the bottom of the pool grin

Really OP's DD would have been better off completely in her birthday suit, but as we all seem accept that wearing something is better than nothing at a public pool then it seems to me that it's petty to be arguing over whether a bit of 4-year-old chest on show is an issue. Clearly the need for a costume isn't an issue so why is it wrong to offer up reasons why badly fitting costumes shouldn't be worn?

I can't quite pinpoint the reasoning if I'm honest.

PrincessFlirtyPants Sun 18-Aug-13 11:30:03

Apologies in advance for the Daily Fail link...

Some people seem to be under the impression that a man = a paedophile. It's not a view I hold and I doubt it's one the vast majority on this thread hold.

The sad fact is, men have been mad to feel that they need to be careful about their behaviour around children. Yes it's ridiculous. The swimming instructor may have been told by a colleague that he needed to be careful in case anyone thought nothing sinister was going on.

I think it says more about our society that we can't just allow a 4yr old go swimming with a costume that maybe a bit big. If the girl is comfortable why should anyone be uncomfortable?!

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 13:25:07

Exactly my point.

Here are some examples of how lazy group thinking can actually turn evil, from history.

First that comes to mind is witchcraft hysteria, with people pointing the finger because being a bit different or doing something the church didn't approve of (like healing people with herbs rather than prayer) was considered evil. And it was an easy way for people to do down others they didn't like, or to get rid of people so they could grab their possessions, status or whatever. It was also a very useful device for putting witchfinders in positions of power, and getting the public so worried about something that they failed to see bad government/justice/management happening elsewhere. Mob justice, and something we still occasionally see, when it gets around someone may be a paedophile (or in one unfortunate case, a paediatrician).

Another example might be the East German Stasi and the KGB in Russia spying on people and incarcerating anyone who seemed 'undesirable' or 'difficult', apparently on a whim. Imagine them sending for your DH or father and interrogating him for hours, for no reason, or because someone at work had intimated he was somehow disloyal to the regime. During the interrogation, the scent of his fear hormones would be impregnated within the fabric of the seat he was sitting on. The fabric would then be bottled so in case the state ever wished to hunt him down, the dogs would have something to follow. I am sure there were people in East Germany arguing that this was not a problem if people had nothing to hide. I would suggest interrogating random members of the public on the say-so of someone who might have a vested interest in their demise is very much a problem (and of course even easier these days with DNA testing and samples being kept apparently indefinitely in some cases). I can imagine this type of scenario (albeit without the dogs) in our own society in relation to accusations of paedophilia, can't you? Perhaps this is why people go to extreme ends to look 'right'. But do you really think paedophiles are incapable of also looking 'right'?? More 'right', even??Wouldn't it be better if we took a rounded view of all of this rather than panicking all the time and living irrationally in fear of accusations?

So we have paedophilia as the new witchcraft. It gives lazy thinkers a lot of scope for feeling self-righteous, for example the argument 'If you care about children you won't criticise any measure taken to protect them, no matter how bonkers or hysterical or inappropriate'. And for petty bureaucrats it's a complete golden ticket. It means that they can pull rank regularly and keep clients/parents/the public in their place, because NOBODY EVER DARES ARGUE WHEN ANY OF THESE MEASURES ARE STUPID. For example, parents being prevented from photographing their kids at school shows. Little girls being forced to cover up their tops when boys don't have to. Kids not being 'allowed' to walk to and from school by themselves. Teachers not being allowed to put a bit of suncream on small children. I am sure everyone reading this can think of lots more. Making parents obey these spurious rules conditions them to feel they have to do anything else bureaucrats tell them do, and there are a lot of vested interests there too.

The DM and similar publications fuel this stupid hysteria. It provides easy copy, and shortcut to an article. The same papers fuel the hysteria as regularly build up celebrity figures such as Savile in the eyes of the public. That's easy copy for them as well. They have their cake and eat it.

But while millions of people are fretting about the visibility of nipples, children globally are getting trafficked and raped and murdered, and we simply aren't doing enough about that. Why? You can't make money out of stopping trafficking/child rape/child murder. You can, however, make money out of flogging CCTV, surveillance systems, running endless CPD courses inventing new thought crimes such as nipple viewing, and perpetuating a public hysteria about safety and security.

I wish we could all take a proper stand on this and hold up the hysteria for what it is.

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