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To think the school have lost the plot

(209 Posts)
Hardymonica Wed 15-Jan-20 07:07:58

I am so cross with the staff at my daughter’s primary school. Today they set up a fake incident where it appeared that someone had vandalised the girls toilets. The children were tasked with writing a report about it and it was then revealed at the end of the day that the teachers set it up.

My daughter is seven, she understands logically it was the teachers who did it but it has really unsettled her. For the whole day she was led to believe that school was unsafe and the impact of that has stayed with her. She is anxious about using the toilet at school on her own now and won’t be in a room on her own at home. She gets very distressed at bedtime, saying she’s frightened of being on her own in case intruders come.

I’ve had to send a message to the school to let them know and ask them to make sure she’s using the toilet. They are aware that she suffered anxiety last year but obviously weren’t thinking of the more sensitive children when they planned this bizarre thing. I’ve asked them to let us know in advance in future if they’re planning a pretend event. I’m sure they could have thought of a more positive incident to use to inspire them to write.

Aibu to think this was a bizarre idea for an activity and to feel angry they didn’t think about the potential effects on certain children?

RedSheep73 Wed 15-Jan-20 07:13:16

That sounds like a bizarre thing to do with 7 year olds!

NearlyGranny Wed 15-Jan-20 07:14:10

It gets a bit too real sometimes!

DD2, then about 7, was asked to write a letter to a new girl who was joining the school. She was devastated when she found no new girl was actually coming. "I hoped she'd be my new friend!" Could have cried myself...

Hoik Wed 15-Jan-20 07:14:20

DD's class did a similar sort of thing this time last year when she was seven, it was to do with their topic work and they had to be detectives for the day. It was basically a big treasure hunt around the school but they learned to take fingerprints, did some science experiments with some of the clues, wrote down 'statements', etc. They didn't vandalise a toilet though! The teacher brought in a box of biscuits and she also brought in one of the naughty elves they had in the classroom over Christmas, she found it at home and wanted to put it in the school storage cupboard, she left both items on her desk. When the children came back from break the biscuits and the elves were both gone but there were some biscuit crumbs on the floor beside the teachers desk and some elf sized footprints across the top of it. Much more child friendly and they all got a biscuit at the end.

ivykaty44 Wed 15-Jan-20 07:15:33

Such negativity, why not creat a positive to write about?

Butteredtoast55 Wed 15-Jan-20 07:16:30

That's a ridiculous thing to do. Writing for creative scenarios isn't uncommon in schools but whoever thought this up wasn't really thinking through the consequences for the children whose imaginations run away with them.

Hoik Wed 15-Jan-20 07:16:37

DS class did the one with the alien and the egg (google it). It involves alien messages appearing on the whiteboard, a giant egg being found on the school playing field, etc.

DS is autistic and doesn't always know what is and isn't real. He was absolutely distraught, thought aliens were invading, school couldn't calm him down and had to call me to come collect him. He spent the next week petrified at every little thing.

HeronLanyon Wed 15-Jan-20 07:18:38

I think it sounds a fun activity BUT the teacher should definitely have explained s/he/they (plural not gender use there) had set it up for them.
Understandable children would have been worried to differing degrees during the day. That should have been avoided and could have been very easily without ruining the task.

MiseryChastain27 Wed 15-Jan-20 07:19:07

I understand the premise of doing the activity for the report and detective skills but it's utterly inappropriate to let young kids feel as if their school has been invaded and isn't safe. What on Earth were they thinking? There are kids at my dc school who would be traumatised by this!

TimeToChangeNameAgain Wed 15-Jan-20 07:19:36

Is there something in the curriculum that makes them do completely batshit tasks in year 3? My year 3 came home last week having spent the day wandering the school with his classmates and writing a report on how the school could be invaded by a rival ‘baddie’ school. Ds thought it was brilliant and came up with some very inventive (and incredibly violent) defenses he wanted to put around the school. But for a kid who is anxious or sees school as a safe place it could cause all kinds of issues.

MinkowskisButterfly Wed 15-Jan-20 07:22:34

My dd1s primary did something similar years ago except it was alien debris in the field from a crashed spaceship. I thought it was on at the time but I don't think I like the toilet idea.

Wildorchidz Wed 15-Jan-20 07:22:48

What a stupid idea.

GlitteryGracie Wed 15-Jan-20 07:33:21

Is there something in the curriculum that makes them do completely batshit tasks in year 3?

This is "the hook" it's very popular just now, makes children excited and engaged with their learning. Excellent.... except that it does backfire.
My class, right now, all semh (asc undiagnosed in several cases) like a calm, predictable classroom where they know the routine and feel safe. Try explaining that to some shiny new Literacy lead who wants you to pretend your classroom's been burgled by frogs. hmm

I feel old!! grin

stouffer Wed 15-Jan-20 07:36:30

Google “Scarfolk Council”. This sounds right up their street.

ArchMemory Wed 15-Jan-20 07:37:52

That does sound awful. I’m not surprised your daughter (and I’m sure other children) have been left shaken.

I’d forgotten but it is bringing back memories of my son’s class finding a ‘note from a wizard’ a few years ago ...

flouncyfanny Wed 15-Jan-20 07:42:45

Agree with Wildorchidz, although I might have added a couple of swear words! WTF were they thinking? "Oh, I know, lets frighten some of our vulnerable pupils..."
I'd complain, in person. I'd be "that" parent, and balls to them. They need to know it's not OK to do that.

manicinsomniac Wed 15-Jan-20 07:44:02

Try explaining that to some shiny new Literacy lead who wants you to pretend your classroom's been burgled by frogs.

grin grin

I think most of these things are great for the majority of children. But you have to know your class. If you know you have a child or two who won't deal well with this then you have adapt and make it work for all.

I teach Drama so this kind of dilemma comes up a lot.

Danglingmod Wed 15-Jan-20 07:46:12

This is just awful. Especially for ASD or anxious children and, honestly, at 7, probably more of them are a bit anxious than aren't.

Nothing necessarily wrong with the activity if the children are told it's fake from the beginning (providing they are no very, very rigid children or children with very low understanding of real/made up scenarios), but letting them think it's real is terrible.

My friend's son's school did an alien invasion day where they all cowered under the desks for hours planning their defence... Absolutely terrified half the class, apparently. Idiotic.

OrangeCinnamon Wed 15-Jan-20 07:47:16

My DD school did something similar this years ago for of the teachers managed to convince them he was Henry IIIV. They were a bit older though and I'm pretty sure we got a letter in advance. Could you make some positive suggestions as they should handle next time?

JigsawsAreInPieces Wed 15-Jan-20 07:53:08

one of the teachers managed to convince them he was Henry IIIV

Henry the what? grin Think you actually mean VIII smile

Hardymonica Wed 15-Jan-20 07:55:39

OrangeCinnamon, yes I’ve said that maybe a more positive or funny ‘incident’ would be more appropriate for this age group and that they should be told sooner that it’s fake. Making children feel unsafe in school for a whole day is rather cruel and counter productive to learning.

Dancer12345 Wed 15-Jan-20 07:57:37

I remember being aged 11 and our English teacher told us that there’d been an incident and we weren’t allowed to leave, and would all have to stay overnight at school. It turned out it wasn’t real, but I remember being really scared and upset at not being able to go home. I can’t remember what the “incident” was, but it was obviously something negative.

Ozgirl75 Wed 15-Jan-20 08:00:39

We had a similar one at our school with a messed up classroom that they had to write about. Mine loved it!

Luckystar777 Wed 15-Jan-20 08:01:49

yanbu, weird thing for school to do

monstermissy Wed 15-Jan-20 08:02:26

Our primary did this years ago when mine were there, we got to school and there was police tape over windows etc and the children were told the school had been burgled. I think they interviewed teachers and investigated etc. My son loved it but I remember the backlash and it rumbled on for ages.

I do think children need more resilience these days and how parents respond can make a big difference (I work in education) but on this occasion I think something else could of been thought up! School like home should be a safe secure place for children.

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