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What should the school be doing about a child that is violent towards others in the classroom?

127 replies

CarGirl · 29/03/2008 18:48

We're talking infant age here. One child is being increasing defiant towards the teacher and increasingly violent towards the other pupils. There have been 2 violent episodes in less than a fortnight in the class room (I mean something more than hitting).

What measures should be the school be putting in place to protect the other children in that class and also to help the violent child.

The school has just given the teacher a classroom assistant for half days only it just doesn't seem enough to stop what is going on?

OP posts:
mrz · 29/03/2008 19:47

I suspect the classroom assistant will be from the Behavioural Support Service who are specially trained to work will "problem" children. In extreme cases the school can apply to Crisis Response with a view to temporary or permanent exclusion on the grounds of other children's safety.

dolallylass · 29/03/2008 19:58

How big is the class? Which year is it exactly? I only ask because we had a similar situation and it was hard at the time but my ds is now 8 (yr 3) and the child involved is much better. Our head did get involved but age does improve things. When they are in R and Yr 1, I always felt it had been such a short time since they had been hitting each other over the head with toy bricks to get their own way it takes time for the dicipline of school to be learnt by some of them. Can you talk to the mother? Have the teachers done nothing at all?

I know it seems hard because in the meantime while your kid just wants to get on with growing up they are having to put up with bad behavior from other kids but its part of the package with school as they can not have similar abilities/sense just because they have similar ages.

(I'm useless at this advise thing - sorry but saw you hadn't been answered. )

CarGirl · 29/03/2008 20:29

It is Year 1, class is nearly 30, no it is not anyone from the behavioural support service that will be the new classroom assistant, just a regular CA whose most recent experience is with younger children.

The mother excuses the childs behaviour and tries to blame it on someone else at every opportunity.

The school has mentioned that they may exclude the child if the violent behaviour continues, however the school do not seem to be following through on this (yet)

The child does have emotional baggage but the school seems to be very slow at addressing the situation. Several parents are at the point of seriously going down the root of moving schools because their children have been kicked and hit hard(unprovoked). However some of the attacks have been worse then a hard kick or hit.

The only time the child was sent home was when the child was being continually defiant regarding requests from the teacher, this has not caused a noticable improvement in behaviour though.

What can parents say to the head to ensure that there is an improvement in the situation (standard response from the head is "it's being dealt with" although clearly the situation has not improved at all yet.

OP posts:
mrz · 29/03/2008 20:50

There are a number of options open to the school but I can understand their reluctance to discuss it with other parents. However if you think your child may be in danger from this child you are within your rights to express your concern. Sometimes putting it into writing gets results.

Not wanting to sound critical but the opinion expressed by dolallylass "I always felt it had been such a short time since they had been hitting each other over the head with toy bricks to get their own way it takes time for the discipline of school to be learnt by some of them." reflects the problems schools face. Children have been allowed to hit each other over the head with toy bricks (why? ... do you really think this is acceptable?) and not to worry because school will sort the discipline out because parents haven't bothered to stop bad behaviour!!!

edam · 29/03/2008 20:55

mrz, I think you are being too harsh. I read the 'toy bricks' comment as referring to toddlers.

CarGirl, I think you have to keep on at the head and demand to know EXACTLY what steps she is taking to keep the children safe. Schools are in loco parentis - they have legal responsibility for the safety of children in the care. A parent wouldn't be allowed to put children at risk like this, so why should a school? Whatever problems the poor kid is having, the school has to figure out a way to keep everyone safe. Whether that's 1-1 learning support, exclusion, whatever, the school has to actually DO something, not just brush it off.

CarGirl · 29/03/2008 20:57

okay I will suggest to the parents to start putting their concerns in writing.

From what I know of & about the child their seems to be a need for some longer term help/input from specialists but the head is reputed to not like spending school budget on support staff.

Who would have to fund TA/support in what kind of circumstances?

I am frequently surprised at the lack of discipline parents use - am I alone in thining you teach your children not to run up peoples driveways, onto lawns, walking on walls etc............??? I am alone in thinking you just say to dc please don't do that it is someone's garden/drive etc I wouldn't like it down to ours?

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mrz · 29/03/2008 20:58

I read it as toddlers too and still wouldn't find it acceptable ... should young children be led to believe that they can hit someone over the head if they don't get their own way? Children need to be taught what is acceptable from an early age IMHO.

mrz · 29/03/2008 21:02

Behavioural Support would be paid for from a central fund. Another option would be CAMHS (if as you say their are emotional problems) this is paid by the NHS (Primary Care Trust).

Reallytired · 29/03/2008 21:15

Oh bollox, my son has walked along the occassional wall. (The wall in question belongs to the local hospital) I don't think its the worst parenting crime of the century and I walked along the odd wall as a child as well.

My son doesn't run into other people's gardens because he is quite shy. I think bigger problem than walking on walls is that some parents aren't prepared to say no. Or they punish their child for outright disobidence.

CarGirl · 29/03/2008 21:15

Okay I will remind the parents who are most affected that their children do have a right to be protected.

Is it fair to say that the school has the responsibility to prevent future attacks because the child is proven (several vicious unprovoked attacks within weeks) to attack without warning and in a vicious manner.

What if next time the child has a pair of scissors to hand rather than what was to hand last time...........

It's really sad but I can understand why the parents of those most affected are losing sympathy for the situation and hoping for exclusion, they are becoming frightened of what happen to their child.

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CarGirl · 29/03/2008 21:21

Reallytired I just think it shows a lack of respect to other people property especially when it involves picking up their driveway stones and throwing them at the house etc, I don't expect children to not want to do these things I just find it bizarre that the parents don't comment on it all, perhaps because if they do then their child will be outright disobedience??????

Same with pushing people out the way, past others, why is so hard to explain to 6 year olds, please don't do it? One day it will be the 2 or 3 year old sibling that gets knocked over and hurt? surely these things are just common courtesy that we have to teach our children?

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neolara · 29/03/2008 21:40

If the school is a state school, it should have access to a whole range of people who could come in and help the school deal with this child's behaviour. For example, they could involved behaviour support teachers or their educational psychologist. The school may be waiting a bit to see if things settle down before getting anyone else involved. Or they may have already asked for help but might have to wait for a while until someone can get in to see them. You will probably find that the school will not be willing to discuss with other parents the exact logistics of support they are providing to this boy.

The school may be able to get additional funding to employ a TA who can help the child on a more long-term basis, but it can take a long time to get this in place. Also, this kind of funding is usually only given to children who are having an exceptional level of difficulty. Usually, the the school will also have to have demonstrated that they have tried to deal with the problem in a variety of ways and these have not been successful.

edam · 29/03/2008 21:45

Um, BIG difference between walking along a wall and throwing stones, for heaven's sake! And no-one ever said you shouldn't intervene if toddlers hit each other. Sheesh.

pukka · 29/03/2008 21:48

i think unfortunately it all boils down to how the school feels about the parents of this child. if they are scared of this childs parents and family, then quite frankly, not much will happen, if not, then he will be excluded.

CarGirl · 29/03/2008 21:50

I did wonder if the school would have to exclude the child in order to prove that there is a serious problem? could that be the case?

I think the parents are finding it hard that the attacks are continuing to happen and their chidren aren't being protected from it?

Interesting how you assume it is a boy.

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CarGirl · 29/03/2008 21:52

No I don't think the school are scared of the parent(s) although I think it seems to partly a parenting issue but the parent doesn't/can't/won't acknowledge that.

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CarGirl · 29/03/2008 21:54

What kind of severity would you anticipate exculsion being an appropriate consequence?

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neolara · 29/03/2008 22:03

Different schools will have different thresholds for what merits an temporary exclusion. Permanent exclusions are generally reserved for either one particularly awful act (e.g.child sets the school on fire, child breaks another child's limb etc) or for situations where the school can show that the violence is particularly aggressive, happens frequently and has continued over a long period of time.

The school should not need to wait to exclude a child before involving the ed psych or advisory teachers / advisory support services.

pukka · 29/03/2008 22:06

cargirl, there is a boy in ds's class who is regularly violent, both phsyically and mentally towrds other children. he has never yet been excluded, or event hreatened with exclusion. his older brother went thourh the school, and was very similar. the school is scared of the family.
my ds did something which i find unaccetptabel. we were called in to the head, and he was threatened with exclusion. at the time i was soo upet at what ds had done, that i didnt think straight. but this child has done far far worse, and never been threatened with exclusion. ever.
ds1 did something very stupid recently. he was also threatened with exclusion. i think they only reason he wasnt, is that they want him to get his level five in the mocks next week. i wont say anything to my child, because i am horrified about his stupidly dangerous behaviour. but this head isnt scared of me, so comes down hard on us, but is terrifed of being sued by the other family. so nothing happens to them.

CarGirl · 29/03/2008 22:10

I was meaning temporary exclusion tbh, thank you this is all helpful. It would certainly indicate that the parents aren't being unreasonable in expecting the school to enforce some sort of measures quite urgently. I find it quite amazing that they think a part time TA in the class is going to make a huge difference to the situation!

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CarGirl · 29/03/2008 22:13

At my dd1's infant school there was a mum who the head was scared of!!! I don't think it's the same situation though I think they were hoping it was a temporary detoriation in the child's behaviour however several weeks on it's not lessening.

So if your child is hurt in the classroom and will be scarred for life is there no come back on the school at all?

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pukka · 29/03/2008 22:24

what is the definition of being scared for life? only the physical ones can be seen. and the school are very good at ensuring that they are made out to be the childs own fault, or a complete accident witnessed by lots of people.

what worries me more is the childrens perception of what is normal is being skewwed. unless i home ed, there is nothing i can do.

seeker · 30/03/2008 08:11

There is a little boy in my ds's class who has real "anger management issues" He is a big lad, and has been free with his fists and feet since Reception. He found it incredibly difficult to be surrounded closely by people - for example, on the carpet he couldn't cope unless there was a big space round him. He is getting better (year2 now) and I actually think that him being in the class has been a useful learning experience for my ds. He has seen how anti social behaviour affects everyone, and how people can be helped to behave better.

The school has been very firm with the "hitty boy" as ds used to call him, and have had strict guidelines about what was acceptable. The school has a system where every day there is a member of staff nominated to be the withdrawal manager, and if a child is too badly behaved to be kept in a class then have to spend the day with that teacher - playtimes and all. These are always senior, experienced teachers who know how to manage the behaviour. This has lots of advantages. It gets the difficult child out of the classroom so they don't disrupt. It supervises them closely so they can't hurt anyone. It's a pretty effective punishment. And it gives them a chance to get some of the one-to-one attention that children like this often need.

Sorry for the long post. One last thing - don't assume that there have been no sanctions or discussions with the parents of the difficult child - it would be very wrong in terms of confidentiality if you did....!

TotalChaos · 30/03/2008 08:41

might help the school's case for funding for full time 1-1 if you and the other parents put your concerns in writing to school and/or LEA.

Peachy · 30/03/2008 09:04

'Is it fair to say that the school has the responsibility to prevent future attacks because the child is proven (several vicious unprovoked attacks within weeks) to attack without warning and in a vicious manner.'


I ams aying that from the other side- it is my eldest (SN) son that is the violent chidl in the class, sadly. I used the school's responsibility to protect the other children as part of my argument to get him a statement.

What the bheavioural support service will provide varies from area to area, here its just an assessment once every two years, and the option of parenting classes (but not targeted to Sn so for us useless- no aggression issues with other ds's).

Ideas that have helped ds1:

time out cards- red card like football players have- he can wave at staff to get help before he loses it

a safe space he can go to (library atm, will change to a special room after Easter) if he is feeling on edge

a laminated chart containing a list of things to help him id if things are getting too much he carries and can work through

a tream of schoolmates who are identified, parent approved and available to support him at break times and every fortnight in a circle of friends setting, to help him talk through issues and plan strategies.

Not for a moment suggesting whether this child has SN or not, I imahgine that most of these techniques would work for NT kids justa s well though.

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