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Teacher accused son of racism

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Claireabella1 Mon 16-Oct-17 23:48:23

Ive been a long time lurker but posted about something else earlier this week and really appreciated the advice I got, so here I go again. I received a call today from my son's school. It was the mentor for his year telling me that my son and another child had been placed in isolation for making racist comments towards a teacher and she was investigating. She said next step was to talk to all children in the class and also two other members of staff in the classroom at the time. I asked her what comment was made and it was vile. She told me my son was very upset and I knew in my gut he didn't do this, but was willing to listen and asked her to update me. She did (within half an hour) all children in class and the two other adults agreed what my son said was relevant and not racist (history class, talking about the plague, teacher called it 'black death' and DS said he'd heard of that, it killed lots of people) for context, hes12. Other member of staff said he took the comment as part of relevant classroom discussion. Mentor sounded embarrassed when she relayed this to me and apologised a lot, she admitted no racist comments had been made by anyone (DS air the other boy) she said teacher was confused and stressed. I asked if teacher would apologise to my DS and mentor said yes. She hasn't apologised and I'm fucking reeling. I think racism is a serious allegation and you can't just accuse someone of racism and then say 'whoops'I was stressed. I'm also worried that because they had to speak to the other children in the class things might become outrageous as they do in high school and my DS may suffer some backlash he doesn't deserve. I'm honestly fuming, he's the loveliest boy and has been through so much, this is so unfair to him.

Claireabella1 Mon 16-Oct-17 23:48:44

Apologies for typos.

Neolara Mon 16-Oct-17 23:54:00

What? Your ds said he'd heard the black death killed a lot of people and someone (briefly) decided that was racist? That's utterly nuts! The teacher must have been having a really, really bad day. Or completely misheard. It's so bizarre I'd suspect that there must be a wider context coming into play.

Claireabella1 Mon 16-Oct-17 23:58:12

Neolara, that's pretty much it and the 'vile comment' was not actually uttered at all according to everyone else. I want to make an official complaint but not sure how. I'm furious this has happened, it's such a serious allegation and after being placed in isolation I feel like he's been punished for something he hasn't done.

squishysquirmy Tue 17-Oct-17 00:22:56

Did the vile comment sound similar to what your son actually said? Like the teacher maybe misheard him?

I can remember when I was at school I once replied to a question with something along the lines of "I wanted to ask you about it" and got in trouble because the teacher heard "I couldn't be arsed to do it". Not quite the same level of seriousness as in your son's case.

It must have been quite upsetting for him to be accused of something like that, but at least everyone else in the classroom backed up his version of events and he has been exonerated now.

nellytheelephant21 Tue 17-Oct-17 00:24:43

A mistake was made, school has admitted so. It is a serious allegation but they have admitted they were wrong; they have to investigate and while doing so they take the child in question out of circulation (bit like when police arrest someone and then release without charge because evident they didn't do it). I am sure the teacher will apologise but please give them a chance to do so. They probably physically haven't had time to do so; on an average day a secondary teacher teaches 150 different students, possibly does a duty too and often spends their lunch hour running additional sessions. If they haven't apologised by next lesson, then maybe say something. Give them a chance to do so though.

Aquamarine1029 Tue 17-Oct-17 00:28:54

You need to defend your son and go on the warpath about this. To accuse someone of racism on totally BULLSHIT grounds is every bit as vile and damaging as racism itself. The teacher was "stressed?" TOO BAD. Worst of all, your son has been called out for something that didn't even happen in front of his class. Do NOT back down on this.

Claireabella1 Tue 17-Oct-17 00:43:24

The 'vile comment' was never actually spoken and seems to be completely made up, as corroborated by my DS peers and also teachers colleagues, then confirmed my mentor. Excuse from the school is this particular teacher was 'stressed'. Nelly, I agree with your points actually and didn't argue this with mentor, she needed to look into it and I'm not cross DS was put in isolation in those circumstances. I'm furious now though, I feel teacher should have at least apologised to my son and the made up vile comment should be looked into. Also, sanctions are kept on record and I don't believe my son deserved this sanction.

Kokeshi123 Tue 17-Oct-17 00:48:49

I'm confused. This was a history class, and the black death was discussed, and your son said something about the black death, and the class teacher decided he was racist!?

How "confused" does the teacher have to be in order to think this?

Or was the teacher who made the allegation a different teacher, not the teacher who was taking the history class?

HoneyIshrunkthebiscuit Tue 17-Oct-17 00:51:02

That's all a bit weird. Why would a teacher just make it up.

NeedsAsockamnesty Tue 17-Oct-17 00:57:52


Teachers are human beings just like the rest of us.they are not immune to confusion misunderstanding spite dishonesty or malice

PerspicaciaTick Tue 17-Oct-17 01:03:33

For someone to get that confused and befuddled they must be beyond stressed and quite possibly teetering on the edge of a complete breakdown.

The school have apologised, I would want confirmation that the incident is not mentioned in anyway on your DS's school records, then I would let it go and leave the school to deal with the teacher.

Italiangreyhound Tue 17-Oct-17 01:05:34

Claireabella it's just my opinion but I would ask your son how he wants you to proceed. I am guessing he may just want the whole thing forgotten about.

Clearly if there were a backlash then you, and he, could revisit whether it was handled badly etc.

Please do consult your son, make sure he is in the driving seat because this happened to him, not you.

We all make mistakes, I am not usually a big fan of teachers (having had pretty shit experiences of school fro me and my dd prior to secondary). However, teachers do work incredibly hard, the classroom can sometimes be a noisy, hostile place and it is possible that mistakes can be made by teachers, and students, and parents. So I really don't think going on the attack is going to be helpful.

I would say your role now is to minimize the disruption and distress to your son. Advice about going on the attack is more than likely going to maximize it!

Ceto Tue 17-Oct-17 01:05:46

Nelly, if one thing is absolutely clear, it is that apologising to OP's son should have been a priority. It's impossible to believe that this teacher could not have found time to do so before school, in breaks or after school. I guess it's just possible she's been away due to the stress she's apparently been suffering, but if so OP should have been told.

OP, I'd suggest you contact the mentor or, failing her, the Headteacher tomorrow to ask why the apology hasn't happened. It's important that they don't let this slide, as they wouldn't let a pupil get away with lying and getting another child into major trouble.

MiraiDevant Tue 17-Oct-17 01:07:02

Actually I think they should have apologised before your son went home. They were quick enough to put him in isolation and phone you - they should make sure this is done first thing.

I would actually suspend the teacher over that sort of behaviour. A child in a history lesson - and she reacts like that in public, shaming and accusing a child of something serious. Did she ask him to repeat it to be sure? Ask for clarification? Challenge in class? Ask for confirmation from the other two teachers in the class? (And why did not they act at the time)? . It seems she just accused him of racism because her own assumptions came in to play.

I am usually right behind teachers and always side with them if I can. But this.. this is horrible. If there hadn't been a witness the consequences for your son would have been serious.

I would want an apology IN WRITING from both the teacher and the school and a public apology in the next history lesson. Nothing heavy - it could be light - sorry I misheard what ClairabellaDS said and jumped to a completely wrong conclusion. etc

(A written apology is important in case it gets dragged up later.)

Italiangreyhound Tue 17-Oct-17 01:08:38

HoneyIshrunkthebiscuit because someone thinks something happened and it didn't is not really the same as making something up. It could be that we mishear something or imagine it. I happens a lot. It doesn't mean the person willfully made something up. I mean they might have, but why would a teacher or staff member jeopardize their job by doing that? Far more likely it was a genuine mistake.

Italiangreyhound Tue 17-Oct-17 01:11:18

MiraiDevant I think a written apology sound much better as less confrontational for the lad, and, as you say, useful if it is ever mentioned again. Good idea.

Namechange98454 Tue 17-Oct-17 01:11:58

Reality check.

It is entirely possible the teacher hasn't had time to apologise. Teaching all day and being on lunch or break duty (or both) could mean she is hasn't had time. Pupils are notoriously difficult to find at break or lunch as they aren't in a fixed place. A 20 min break and 30 min lunch like my place leaves a few free minutes once all other (higher priority) jobs have been done.

Italiangreyhound Tue 17-Oct-17 01:12:12

I am just thinking of my own 12 year old who would find some sort of formal face to face apology excruciatingly embarrassing, which may not be the case for the OP's son, of course.

InsomniacAnonymous Tue 17-Oct-17 01:13:30

Two pupils were placed in isolation for making racist comments towards a teacher when they did no such thing. The teacher has not apologised. The teacher's colleagues have said she is stressed and confused.
That teacher needs to apologise to the pupils. You're dead right, OP, racism is a very serious allegation and I would be furious too and agree you need to make absolutely sure that there is nothing on your son's record about this 'sanction for racism' of which he is entirely innocent.

quizqueen Tue 17-Oct-17 01:25:49

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Skyatdawn99 Tue 17-Oct-17 01:26:00

The teacher sounds like an idiot IMO

zzzzz Tue 17-Oct-17 01:32:03

What on earth did she think he said??shock

blanklook Tue 17-Oct-17 01:32:33

I'm pretty sure when I was at school the Great Plague was called The Black Death.

The teacher needs to apologise to your son.

The teacher or the school need to explain to you why they thought it was a racist remark and why they acted like they did.

Insomniac's right with this too
you need to make absolutely sure that there is nothing on your son's record about this 'sanction for racism' of which he is entirely innocent

Claireabella1 Tue 17-Oct-17 01:39:08

Quizqueen, 'vile comment ' turned out to be made up by teacher. I should have been clearer wrt apology: mentor was apologetic and embarrassed, teacher who actually lied has not apologised. Was told she'd have a 'sit down' with my son before the end of the day (call was at 15.05) son said sit down happened but no apology. The school is wonderful in many ways but awful in others. I'm so fuckng outraged by this I can't let it go.

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