Is Shelby unique?

Following on from a comment by Steve in response to my post about Shelby, I wonder how many teachers encounter unacceptable behaviour from their pupils? Most, if not all, will encounter verbal abuse and swearing, and some will be unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of something far more serious.

If that happens, how is it dealt with?

If an adult was punched by a teenager on the street, the police, quite correctly would be called. Punching someone is assault, it’s illegal. But what happens if that punch is thrown in a school? Are the police called?

I’m really not sure of the answer, but anecdotal evidence suggests that most bad behaviour is dealt with ‘in house’ by the school, and that the police are only involved in very serious cases where it is unavoidable – such as a stabbing or rape.

I’ve added a poll to the bottom of this post, please complete it if you can, I’m interested to find out how many other people have been unfortunate enough to find themselves in such situations – and what the response from the school was. I know that there are varying degrees of ‘assault’, but for clarification, I mean incidents which, had they happened outside the school gate, you would have called the police to report. What may seem minor to one person, may be too much for another.

The age of criminal responsibility is 10, so technically the police could be called out to incidents in primary schools.

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4 Responses to Is Shelby unique?

  1. pudpalmer says:

    I have had all of the above, iv’e even been hospitalized by a girl of 6, who threw a solid plastic whiteboard at me, she was permanently excluded, I was signed off for a week with stress, it still haunts me to this day and that was 7 years ago.

    • 4c3d says:

      I would be interested in what the post incident counselling/support was that you received. Being haunted by it seven years later would concern me, without addressing such issues seven years may easily become longer and have deeper consequences. My experience is that the profession does not know how to deal with teachers who have traumatic experiences either at the hands of those who manage the school or the pupils.

  2. Bigkid says:

    I ticked that the police were not involved because in the overwhelming majority of incidents they were not. I have been teaching 15 years. In that time I have been hit several times and threatened on so many occasions I wouldn’t care to guess the number of times. Only once have the police been involved. In one school I worked in the behaviour was so bad the school announced that staff were “not allowed to contact the police directly” and that “all interaction with police officers regarding incidents in school or involving pupils must go through Senior Management.”
    We were also instructed to photograph any bruising that occurs due to an assault by a pupil as soon as the bruising appears.
    Imagine how bad the situation has to be and how prevalent threats and violence against staff would have to be for a school to institute policies like that…

    I would say that not only is Shelby not unique, she doesn’t even sound that bad. Wouldn’t even make my top (or perhaps bottom would be more appropriate) 50 students. But then I spent 8 years in a school where a pupil who behaved in that way would have been put on a special programme where they would get to go out of lessons to play rounders or football depending on their gender. Poorly behaved pupils got by far the best treatment in the school, closely followed by the gifted. Anyone who was neither gifted nor poorly behaved might as well not have existed.
    Teachers who tried to address poor behaviour using anything other than “selective ignoring” or appeasement were penalised for doing so. After one observation when it was suggested “selective ignoring” might have been a more appropriate strategy than the one I chose I actually found myself saying “I chose to ignore Harry calling me a p***yhole, a w**ker, a b**tyboy and a piece of s**t but nobody gets away with calling me a n**ger or a c**t.” That was when I decided it was time to leave. The school was turning kids that arrived fairly nice into Shelby (and worse).

    At the end of Year 9 several members of my form informed me that they were going to be appallingly behaved for the last half term because they had been informed by SLT that they could not do their prefered options because their behaviour was not bad enough.
    The behaviour after that massive own goal had to be seen to be believed. I have never been threatened or abused so much in a short space of time before or since…

    Shelby’s rarely happen on their own, parents and school create them through ineptitude, apathy or cowardice.

    • I’m utterly appalled that anyone could consider ‘selective ignoring’ a reasonable response under the circumstances.

      I’ve written before about the unintended consequences (as I see them) in pandering to poor behaviour, how pupils end up believing that they can do no wrong, and how it can be quite a shock when they finally come across someone with real authority.

      Presumably, your school SMT have no teaching commitment?

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