Wednesday, July 18, 2007

False accusation

There is a discussion on TES about a teacher falsely accused of molesting a pupil. Under current legislation this false and withdrawn accusation will nevertheless stay on his permanent record.

"I have recently been falsely accused of child molesting by a Year 10 pupil (girl, I am a male teacher). I have been through an ordeal that included being interviewed by the police under caution. Of course, it transpired quite quickly that it was an utter fabrication, but the pupil continues in the school as if nothing happened, she has not been disciplined. As this occurrence will appear in any enhanced criminal record check, I asked the Head teacher to get me a statement of denial from the girl or her family, which I doubt very much I will get (even though I've written it myself). I want also a letter of reference from the Head with special reference to this incident, to clear without reserves my innocence, so that I will have a fair chance of getting a job."

Another teacher commented as follows:

"So, if I read this correctly:

"Teacher annoys pupil. Pupil makes up false accusation (preferably sexual).

"Investigation insues.

"No matter what the outcome, the record goes into the CRB report if the teacher wants another job. This being bound to prejudice them?

"What the hell is going on? Should make us all VERY, VERY nervous and must surely affect working conditions. We should insist on CCTV everywhere and to NEVER be placed in a 1:1 situation with any pupil.

"This is guilty unless proven innocent, surely?"

This issue had the highest priority at annual conference. I know that NUT regional office are very supportive towards teachers who are falsely accused and anyone can ring the helpline and TSN for further support.

I am a bit dubious about the CCTV suggestion as this is open to even more abuse.

Sit down you're rocking the boat

For years the union leaders were telling us "not to rock the boat" so Labour would get elected. Then it was "not to rock the boat" so the Tories would not get back in.

I can understand why people would vote Labour to keep the Tories out. It is a bit like the French election when Le Pen was standing and people voted for Chirac under the slogan "vote for the crook not the Nazi"

I think that the policies of privatisation and war should be opposed and as Eric Heffer used to say, "a boat which can't stand rocking is unseaworthy.

Whether Tweedledum or Tweedledumber gets elected next time, the same policies will remain. The unions have to be independent and oppose those policies whoever is in power.

Many Unison members for example are heartily sick of pouring money into the Labour Party and then finding Labour is attacking them.

Twenty years ago we were campaigning (successfully) against the closure of our local hospital. The Labour Party were the backbone of that campaign. Now there is a campaign (more like a running battle) against the closure of one of our local hospitals. The Labour Party is the enemy, using every dirty trick in the book to justify the closure.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Filming bad behaviour does not make it go away

The suspension of Angela Mason for filming pupils without their consent in order to make money from a TV company has caused a lot of discussion on the TES website. On the whole posters expressed concern about the misbehaviour of pupils which is a serious issue for many of us.

However I think it is dishonest to brand everyone who criticises Angela Mason as "soft on misbehaving pupils." Come into my classroom and say that.

Filming people without their permission goes on too much as it is and certainly should not be going on in schools.

It has been suggested they could use "unedited footage" but this is naive. Pointing the camera is editing. I could film pupils quietly getting on with their work for an hour. What a riveting TV program that would make! Do you think the TV companies would give me a lot of money for it? And yet that could well be what you saw if you chose to point the camera in that direction.

And filming bad behaviour does not make it less likely. The evidence is all around us that people will film their own bad behaviour because they are proud of it.