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Should schools have authority over its students on the journey to & from school?

(19 Posts)
AlexanderHamilton Tue 13-Feb-18 23:24:41

It always used to be that if you were in uniform you were deemed to be representing the school & could be punished within school for misdemeanours committed. I’m wondering whether that all schools have the same policy, are their hands tied or is it individual decision.

The incident that has triggered this thought is that yesterday I was telephoned by ds’s head of year who informed me that Ds has been involved in an altercation with another boy on the way home. My heart sank & I thought he was in trouble but it turned out that a local resident had phoned to report that this other boy had attacked my Ds & he had intervened to help him.

Obviously the first concern was for me to contact Ds to make sure he was ok & had got home safe (head of year asked me to phone back to let them know). She said that because it happened out of school hours & off school premises they couldn’t do anything other than to make sure nothing continued in school the next day.

Head of year spoke to Ds this morning to find out the facts (Ds is a sarcastic little mouthy thing with an answer for everything & admitted he had been winding this lad up who then shoved him to the ground & was about to start kicking him). He was sorry for that not that it excused the reaction. Head of year said they could speak to the boy but not actually do anything but that Ds was quite entitled to go to the police if he so wished.

I just wondered where people think a school’s jurisdiction should start & end?

BubblesBuddy Tue 13-Feb-18 23:47:35

The DfE is very clear about this. Schools must have Behaviour Policies and can take action and decide the penalties for unacceptable behaviour when this takes place outside the school premises and when pupils are not under the legal control of the school. It must be reasonable to take action and it is the view of the DfE that this includes behaviour on school buses and on the route to and from school. It does not matter whether the pupils are in uniform or not. Persistent poor behaviour may be grounds for exclusion not only from a bus, if applicable, but also from school.

I suggest you look up the relevant circular from the DfE which I think was in 2014 and also the policy document of your LA or MAT on this topic. Most LAs have issued guidance to schools on what their role is.

It is therefore not up to anyone on MN where a school's jusisdiction starts and ends, it is the relevant legislation that matters.

The Head of Year is totally wrong and needs to have a better grasp of the law. It is only a Head who can exclude so they really should know what they can and cannot do. The whole reason home to school behaviour was included in an extension of the law was to ensure schools took responsibility. The Police will not be interested, one would have thought, if there was no injury. The school are fobbing off responsibility to act.

Also both boys were behaving badly in my view. Was your DS actually bullying the other child? Perhaps talking about their behaviour and how they might be better behaved in future might be a better way forward? The school should facilitate this. They should also tell both boys (the one winding up (bullying) and the one who retaliated) that they should fully understand this behaviour is not acceptable and can lead to serious consequences.

Hope this clarifies the situation for you.

Haskell Tue 13-Feb-18 23:51:04

In my school we would come down like a ton of bricks on anyone behaving like that on the way home, and in uniform.
We're teaching them how to get on in life too, not just in school.

AlexanderHamilton Tue 13-Feb-18 23:55:57

Thank you. That’s interesting.

Yes Ds admits he was wrong. He is autistic & struggles with knowing boundaries. At his previous school ds was bullied & was expected to put up with “banter” his previous head of year actually told me that he shouldn’t snitch so much.

He made one smart alec comment to the boy (who does constantly goad Ds in school) which included a reference to his nickname. Because Ds only recently joined the school he didn’t know why the boy had acquired that nickname - a friend has since told him). The girl with the boy then accused Ds of spreading rumours which Ds denies. This boy likes to throw his weight around & act hard apparently.

Haskell Wed 14-Feb-18 00:09:06

Well, restorative justice for us would take account of his asd, as a factor in his behaviour, but it wouldn't let him off the hook.
He still needs to learn that behaviour standards apply when travelling to/from school.
The 'snitching' thing is hard- is there some sort of social story you could use with him, to help him appreciate that some 'bad behaviour' can pass under teachers' radar sometimes? I appreciate that can be difficult, depending on the individual.

AlexanderHamilton Wed 14-Feb-18 00:17:19

He was expected to put up with a lot at his previous school - we are all incredulous that any problems are now taken seriously at his new school but two years of being told to toughen up, don’t snitch, it’s only banter will take some undoing.

I’m convinced he wasn’t bullying this boy, just trying inappropriately deal with this boys goading with sarcasm (for an asd child he’s very sarcastic)

BubblesBuddy Wed 14-Feb-18 10:00:19

I do understand how hard this is. It would obviously be better if they all went home via their separate routes and could avoid each other. Is this possible? I still think the school has responsibility though. Definitely talking through the issues with these children and being very clear that fighting, goading and inappropriate responses have to stop. Could the school do that?

Ethelswith Wed 14-Feb-18 10:03:46

Our school talks about good behaviour (and the school reputation) when outside school but still in school uniform (but I don't know how far they actually get involved in any actual incidents, as none have affected my DC).

(They did tell older pupils that, even if of age, they must never go into a pub in uniform. I have a fond mental image of them stationing teachers in every pub near the school, just to be on the safe side....)

CatMuffin Wed 14-Feb-18 15:01:16

I know when there was a fight in a local park involving someone from dd's school he had to go to another school for a week, so they must be able to punish them for doing something outside school. I don't know the ins and outs of it though

Pengggwn Thu 15-Feb-18 07:14:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BubblesBuddy Thu 15-Feb-18 08:46:46

One reason schools have behaviour policies is so they can deal with issues like this. Often there are two sides to the story and the school needs to hear the views of both children and act accordingly.. This was not a serious assault and if every scuffle resulted in the Police being called schools would never have any authority at all. The schools have been given the power to act and they should. I would rather the Police were not sorting out children’s scuffles unless an injury takes place. That is different.

Pengggwn Thu 15-Feb-18 09:02:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CatMuffin Thu 15-Feb-18 10:02:49

I probably wouldn't call the police at this stage as i would worry it might make things worse with him being called a grass/snake. That might be wrong way to think though and I've not been in this position. Hopefully it will blow over. What form does the goading by the boy take that led to your son winding the boy up? I'd perhaps ask for the school to deal with future incidences of that in school.

AlexanderHamilton Thu 15-Feb-18 11:48:45

I don’t know catmuffin other than this boy is part of the popular sporty, ‘hard’ crowd whereas Ds is part of the geeky music/dance/drama kids.

Other than a tender arm Ds isn’t hurt. He was pushed to the ground but the local resident intevented just as the boy was about to start kicking him.

I’m not criticising school st all (Ds is a changed child since moving there) but I just thought it was an interesting question.

AlexanderHamilton Thu 15-Feb-18 11:49:57

I guess a 13 year old lad who tap dances round school is going to get some attention/teasing)

MaisyPops Thu 15-Feb-18 11:54:18

School have got the authority to deal with issues like this.

Some on MN seem to think they can pick and choose when school do/don't have it. E.g. if their child is on the receiving end of then school should sort anything thay happens out of school including social media at 3am. But if their child is in trouble for their conduct on the way home from school then school should keep out and stop sticking their noses and overstepping. Consequently what schools should do out of school seems to be a touchy subject.

In my opinion school should be taking a statement from the resident, one from your DS and anotjet from others involved. Then investigating. We would look at isolation ot exclusion depending on the events.

CatMuffin Thu 15-Feb-18 12:14:41

I like the sound of your tap dancing chap. smile If the goading is at lunchtimes is there a safe place he could go to? I think there is a place where a group can play board games etc at dc comp. From my experience of my own dc and their friends in a comp and speaking to friends with dc in other comps, often the tougher ones don't take much notice of the groups of geekier kids or give them any bother as they are too busy dealing with other tough kids, so it's not inevitable for geeky ones to be picked on and i hope this blows over for your ds soon and the boy leaves him alone

OutyMcOutface Thu 15-Feb-18 12:21:31

This was always the case where I cam from although schools didn't follow through much of the time. I do remember a teacher of mine telling me about being reported by a member of the public for not wearing her white gloves (necessary part of uniform outside of school grounds) when she was in school. A friend of hers (same school) was sanctioned for sitting in the smoking carriage in the train on the way to school.

AlexanderHamilton Thu 15-Feb-18 13:00:55

They mostly spend lunchtimes in the music room, studying (??) singing & generally having a bit of a jam. The music teacher must never enter the staffroom from what Ds tells me, he’s always around. Great bloke.

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