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to think this is an inappropriately harsh punishment?

(302 Posts)
whoseafraidofnaomiwolf Sat 26-Nov-16 07:48:40

I'm not sure whether I'm being a bit PLB about this situation (I suspect I might be) so am coming to the wider community of wise women for advice.

Background: PLB DS3(13) is generally a good child, well mannered, bright, funny, kind, and conscientious with his school work. He's popular with the other kids and teachers alike. Not a stealth boast (though I know it sounds that way) he's just one of those children. Yesterday at school he and his friends were mucking about at lunch time - one friend was pinching crisps and then the others would 'chase' him to get them back - all very good natured (I'm told) and within the realm of normal boyish horseplay. In this theme, one friend went to 'run away' and DS grabbed at him to stop him. He grabbed the strap of his backpack. Friend was halted in his tracks, staggered back then fell back and hit the back of head on a wooden bench causing a cut and a nasty bump. DS was horrified, apologised immediately and took friend to school first aid where he was cared for and his parents were called to take him home. DS was asked to write a report on his part in the incident.

Later yesterday afternoon my DH got a phonemail from school and I received an email to say that there had been an incident and that the school was giving DS a 'gross misconduct' for assault of another pupil. This is the most severe form of punishment the school gives before exclusion, it will stay on his school record until he leaves, and involves spending a day in isolation.

We have spoken to DS about this incident in stern terms. We've discussed actions and consequences and DS has messaged his friend to apologise and ensure that he is well (friend went home after incident). Friend is well and messaged back that he hoped DS hadn't got into trouble as it wasn't his fault. I've messaged friends Mum to acknowledge incident and express apologies & assurances that DS has been spoken to.

DS has never been in any sort of trouble before, not even a detention. I've warned him that he may just have to suck-up the punishment, but inside I am cross at how the school has handled this and escalated boisterous behaviour into something verging on criminal. AIBU to think that this is too extreme, and that it would be more appropriate for the school to be issuing him a warning - which the school behaviour policy says should come in the form of a 'yellow card' or 'red card'?

DS's isolation is due to happen on Monday, AIABU to go with him to school early on Monday with the aim of discussing this with year head to try and get punishment downgraded before he does 'time' for it? If IANBU then how would you approach defending your DC in this situation?

The fact that this has happened on a Friday and they propose punishment on the following Monday doesn't help as there's no-one available over the weekend to speak to.

BeattieBowRisenFromTheDead Sat 26-Nov-16 07:50:57

It sounds absolutely ridiculous. From what you have described it was an accident as a result of the kids mucking around. Accidents are not assault.

TheDowagerCuntess Sat 26-Nov-16 07:52:23

It sounds very heavy-handed. I'd be going to school to speak, and I'm not someone who does that readily (has ever done it).

LottieDoubtie Sat 26-Nov-16 07:53:10

Seems very harsh for an accident. I would also say the school haven't investigated properly- if the injured boy was sent straight home they haven't had time to speak to him about what happened. I think I would go in and ask for it to be investigated properly.

BeattieBowRisenFromTheDead Sat 26-Nov-16 07:54:12

I think even a 'warning' is ridiculous really. Surely all the kids involved have learnt a lesson, and your DS will not be grabbing backpack handles again! Being told a silly accident is 'assault' would absolutely infuriate me.

Gymnopedies Sat 26-Nov-16 07:55:15

There has to have been a misunderstanding. I would let DS do the isolation but insist that the gross misconduct thing be removed. It was an unfortunate accident and the other boy has also acknowledged it.

FindoGask Sat 26-Nov-16 07:56:25

I agree, on your description it does sound totally harsh. It was clearly an accident, caused by the sort of misjudgement that a kid would make.

SenoritaViva Sat 26-Nov-16 07:56:33

That sounds ridiculous. From what you have said, there was no intention to injure which is what an assault is. It was misguided and stupid but doesn't warrant staying on his school record forever. I would look at the appropriate school policies and use those to try and get it dropped.

WhooooAmI24601 Sat 26-Nov-16 07:57:53

Wow, that really is harsh given the backstory. If it had been an act of aggression it would be understandable but children play, even teenage ones, and accidents happen. I think you have every right to go in on Monday and ask just why they've come down so hard on your DS for this. I'm all for backing schools, but they do make mistakes and this sounds like it could be one of those times.

BreakfastAtSquiffanys Sat 26-Nov-16 07:59:26

See if you can get written support from the injured boy, and more crucially his parent, that this was an accident not an assault.
Just a few lines of an email will do.

The school might want to stop this sort of horseplay, but their interpretation of it seems wrong. There was no intent to injure other boy

cansu Sat 26-Nov-16 08:00:39

I think you are possibly over reacting. You are right that he dudnt assault anyone deliberately and the report of the incident should reflect thay. However he did injure someone through mucking about. If his friend had a serious head injury it could be very serious indeed. I would let him do his punishment. Go and see them and make sure you have the full story as well before you make the point thst it was accidental. You may be being misled. If your ds is popular the other child may minimise it do as not to fall out with your ds and the rest of the group.

WhisperingLoudly Sat 26-Nov-16 08:03:31

I'd be very concerned about the record of "assault". If both boys maintain it was an accident then I'd be asking the school to justify their rationale in recording it as something different. I'd bring very unhappy

ExitPursuedBySpartacus Sat 26-Nov-16 08:05:00

Gosh that seems very harsh. Accidents happen.

Nataleejah Sat 26-Nov-16 08:07:56

I assume school reacted BEFORE another parent reacting? People take schools to court over children's scraped knees nowadays. And school wouldn't want to be accused of 'sweeping things under the carpet"

ConvincingLiar Sat 26-Nov-16 08:09:16

If you have contact with injured boy's parent, can you ask them for his account of what happened? The punishment seems like overkill for reckless behaviour in some consensual horseplay.

SVJAA Sat 26-Nov-16 08:13:28

It does sound like a massive over reaction from the school to be fair. It's not like your DS went and attacked a random boy, he was mucking about with his friends (all in it together from the sounds of it) and an accident happened. Completely different to an assault.

Gileswithachainsaw Sat 26-Nov-16 08:13:54

Gosh that is very harsh.

Presumably the friend knows it was an accident too?

You can't treat the accident the same as someone who deliberately sought out and hurt someone. They are completely different.

autumnkate Sat 26-Nov-16 08:14:38

I'm sorry but I completely disagree.

I am a teacher and grabbing the backpack of another student is an old trick (like moving someone's chair so they fall over) but it can be really dangerous. I am not surprised at all by the punishment and know it would be the same in my school. Yes, kids muck about but they need to know when to stop.

YABU.

SVJAA Sat 26-Nov-16 08:14:40

Also I think the fact that your DS told someone immediately and made sure his friend got medical help should be taken into consideration consideration too.

DoItTooJulia Sat 26-Nov-16 08:15:18

Do you think the other boys parents aren't happy and have asked the school to do more?

BakeOffBiscuits Sat 26-Nov-16 08:16:11

I would, let him go into isolation but would insist on a meeting in Monday morning to discuss the other part of the punishment.

"Assault" is a complete overreaction and I would not be haooy for my child to have this on her record for this incident.

BakeOffBiscuits Sat 26-Nov-16 08:16:32

*happy

hesterton Sat 26-Nov-16 08:18:08

It's not a legal thing so it's meaningless in terms of 'staying on his record'.

That kind of horseplay is the bane of Year Head's lives - it leads to so many Fallings out, accidental injuries and hurt feelings.

Your son did something wrong - and he needs to accept the consequences were serious. Head injuries can be very serious.

I'm sure he's a lovely lad and that this incident will be a one off in his school career. It's a valuable learning experience for him - think about how, as adults, we take care to drive safely, insure our cars, check mots are up to date - we need to know that a non-malicious but thoughtless action due to a lapse in common sense can have grave consequences.

This iincident, if handled well by you in terms of helping him see that on one hand what he did was serious but on the other, everyone knows he's a good lad, could be a very valuable thing for him.

ShoopyShoopyDoopDoop Sat 26-Nov-16 08:18:43

If a child causes a serious injury to another then it has to be dealt with, regardless of how popular that child is hmm

An accident is unavoidable, this wasn't. He didn't intend the outcome, but he still did something that wouldn't be allowed in school; at 13 he should know that you don't run after someone and grab their bag to pull them back because they can fall over and injure themselves...

Head injuries can be very serious. They can be fatal. People have been inadvertently killed because someone grabbed onto them and pulled them and they've fallen and hit their head on the kerb. Your son needs to learn that is not acceptable behaviour because, if that happened, he'd spend a lot longer in one day than in isolation.

boyish horseplay is just sexist nonsense that parents pull out when their darling son has done something wrong and they expect the world to accept it because "it's just what boys do". It's not.

Secondary school is about teaching children/young people about behaviour that is acceptable in the outside world, as well as in school, and about training them to be responsible members of society. It's not about saying, "this kid is well liked and really popular, so we'll let him off this time"

ilovesooty Sat 26-Nov-16 08:19:28

There was no intent here and as an ex teacher who is normally firmly on the side of the school I think their response is hasty.

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