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How would you approach the school about this?

(101 Posts)
Freckle Wed 10-Sep-08 08:09:11

We were involved in a car accident just before the schools went back. Not serious, but we were hit from by a Volvo travelling at about 30-40 mph. Only apparent injury was to DS2 who hurt his neck. We have had a number of medical appointments about this, and the A&E consultant advised that he avoid contact sports for a few weeks.

I wrote a letter to the school advising of this and asking that all games teachers be notified. DS2 came home from school yesterday having had a double games period during which he was made to play football. He was knocked down during the game and jarred his neck. We have had a dreadful night with him in a lot of pain (despite having taken 2 codeine tablets - prescribed by gp). DH is furious and has drafted a letter to DS2's form teacher, in which he mentions he is a solicitor and goes on to touch on the school's liability if DS2's injury is worsened by the school ignoring medical advice.

WWYD?

umberella Wed 10-Sep-08 08:11:02

i'd let dh send the letter actually.

ajandjjmum Wed 10-Sep-08 12:07:27

That's dreadful Freckle. Did your ds say that he was 'off games'?

OrmIrian Wed 10-Sep-08 12:10:39

That's fairly crap! Did your DS not say something?

The school needs a kick up the ar*e - either for poor communication or for taking stupid risks.

Freckle Wed 10-Sep-08 12:11:23

Unfortunately he didn't realise footboall is a contact sport (!). Plus he didn't want to be bored for 2 hours. But the school shouldn't rely on the child to remind the staff that he shouldn't be doing such sports. The staff had been advised and should have made a note of it.

Twiglett Wed 10-Sep-08 12:12:46

I'd let him send it

MatNanPlus Wed 10-Sep-08 12:14:38

Send the letter, the school should have organised alternative activity for that period IMO

I was off all PE from year 3 seniors and there was always something arranged.

chopchopbusybusy Wed 10-Sep-08 12:14:49

I think you are right to be very angry, but the confusion is that football would not normally be considered a contact sport. I'd say your note should have specifically said no PE at all.

ScummyMummy Wed 10-Sep-08 12:23:50

Sorry to hear this, freckle. I hope ds feels better soon.

Did the teacher insist ds played football despite knowing of the injury or was it a case of no one (including ds) remembering/highlighting it as a potential issue?

If the former it's disgraceful and I would go in all guns blazing and throw anything you like at them including threats of litigation if you think it'll help them come to a true sense of remorse.

If the latter, I would be more measured as miscommunication does unfortunately happen and I think if ds willingly participated in the game without telling the teacher he needed to sit out, he has some responsibility for what happened.

OrmIrian Wed 10-Sep-08 12:25:58

I don't see that contact sports are the only risk. Surely any activity that might jolt or jar his neck are a problem too.

cory Wed 10-Sep-08 12:38:49

ScummyMummy has a good point; I would speak to ds to establish this before I threaten legal action.

My dd who is in Year 7 is unable to do sports due to her medical condition. She had her first PE lesson yesterday. I told her that the school has been informed but that it was her responsibility to remind the PE teacher and hand over the note I supplied.

Only if she had done this and the teacher still forced her to do sports would I consider the school responsible. 11 is not too young to take a little bit of responsibility.

purits Wed 10-Sep-08 12:45:19

I would leave out the 'I am a solicitor' bit but use terminology that makes it obvious that you know what you are talking about. To emphasise the importance, send the letter to the Head (not the form teacher).
Have you been back to the GP so that this can be assessed and a record made?

Freckle Wed 10-Sep-08 14:00:14

The games teacher knew about the advice as he had been given the letter by DS2 - on the instruction of his form teacher who had already read it (I actually think that this is a bit off too as boys forget things and this was too important to leave to the hit-or-miss approach). DS2 didn't realise that football is a contact sport - and it is classed as a contact sport (non-contact sports are sports such as badminton or table tennis where there is no opportunity for contact with the opposition).

Whilst I accept that boys (and girls) have to start taking on some responsibility as they get older, I do think the school is being a bit disingenuous to expect the child to remember medical advice rather than the staff, particularly when failing to follow that advice means that the school could be held liable for any exacerbation of the medical condition. Add to that the fact that DS2 is suffering badly from lack of sleep because of the pain, so it was always likely that he wouldn't be totally on-the-ball (if you'll pardon the pun!).

ScummyMummy Wed 10-Sep-08 14:16:33

So the games teacher had the note but forgot all about it and ds didn't say anything because he didn't realise that football was one of the things that he shouldn't be doing in his condition, basically?

I would be cross with the school, definitely.

However, although I might be out of date, I definitely remember the onus being on the kid to say "Hey sir/miss, I'm not playing today because of xyz, here's my note" rather than the teacher saying "Hey kid, I have a note saying you're not to play today." at secondary level in my day. Tbh, I can imagine repressing frustration (because of sadness at the injury) if one of mine (who are a bit younger) got into this situation, which I can well imagine them doing. I think my immediate response would be "Why didn't you SAY something?" to son, followed by crossness at the school... Maybe I'm mean though and maybe things have changed a lot. I'm sure that technically the school are completely in the wrong so litigation threats might at least shake them up to remember to check more carefully in future.

OrmIrian Wed 10-Sep-08 14:18:47

I think what matters now is that the school and the PE teacher and your DS know exactly what should be happening from now on. And he doesn't so anything else that could cause more problems.

Hope your DS is feeling better soon.

cupsoftea Wed 10-Sep-08 14:21:27

Check out your rights & get a check with the doc in case it's been made worse by the stupid school & slack staff

cupsoftea Wed 10-Sep-08 14:23:01

It's not the responsibility of kids as the teachers are responsible for the kids in the place of the parents whilst at school

Freckle Wed 10-Sep-08 14:23:13

I did look at him in disbelief when he said he didn't say anything because he didn't realise football was off limits. You just think "He's not that thick surely?" grin.

However, the school had been given strict instructions that he wasn't to do contact sports and ignored this. I doubt very much that, should it come to it, a court will accept "But the boy didn't mention it either" as a means of denying liability. Poor boy is getting so little sleep these days that he's functioning pretty much on auto-pilot. Under normal circumstances, I'd be a bit more demanding of him, but I know what it's like for your mind to go to fuzz through lack of sleep.

OrmIrian Wed 10-Sep-08 14:24:45

Poor kid sad

What is the current situation though freckle? Is there any chance the situation will occur again?

ScummyMummy Wed 10-Sep-08 14:26:59

I really hope he feels better soon, freckle. It sounds really nasty for him and all of you.

cupsoftea Wed 10-Sep-08 14:27:05

once at dds old school she was made to do pe - despite having a docs letter, despite me telling the school, despite her having been on crutches for two weeks. The teacher told her to do pe & she had not a chance to say no. I was so upset as it was not allowed on medical advice. Luckily she was ok but I the school a right talking to and wrote to them as well to have it noted down. Hope your ds is better soon.

Freckle Wed 10-Sep-08 14:33:49

I'm picking up another prescription this afternoon for him for strong painkillers to take at night - he's used up the first supply. DH has sent the letter to school, so I hope there won't be a recurrence. DS2 now knows to object in any event (provided he's not using cotton wool for brains through lack of sleep).

Looking at his timetable he shouldn't have any games lessons until next Wednesday which will hopefully give the school time to put procedures in place to stop this from happening.

I'm also getting on to the osteopaths soon to get him booked in for treatment to see if we can hurry up the healing process.

ScummyMummy Wed 10-Sep-08 14:38:42

Hope the new painkillers help. Poor baby.

Is there a school library or ICT suite where he could go and browse during PE lessons until he's better, maybe?

Freckle Wed 10-Sep-08 14:41:40

They must have procedures for occupying boys who can't do games. I suspect though that they just involve them "helping" out whilst the rest of the class enjoy themselves. This is the first time they've done double periods of games, so, if he can't join in, he's in for a long boring time.

ScummyMummy Wed 10-Sep-08 15:12:15

That must be hard to bear. It would be really good if they could arrange a specific "enjoyable" alternative activity. Do all his year group do games at the same time? If another class was doing art/ICT/other of the more smiled upon subjects maybe he could join them. I would be tempted to push for that as frankly it's the least they can do after allowing this situation to occur in the first place. .

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