Pupils to pay the price for parents

31 May 01
Head teachers are demanding the right to expel pupils whose parents have been violent or aggressive towards school staff.

01 June 2001

They say a tough response to physical attacks is the only way to stem the 'rising tide' of violence faced by teachers across the country, and are calling on the government to increase their powers to cut ties with difficult families.

Heads are also calling for parenting orders to be changed so that anyone threatening violence in schools can be placed under legally binding conditions, such as having to attend counselling sessions.

Their union, the National Association of Head Teachers, issued its demands to mark the launch of its annual conference in Harrogate on May 29. 'If the relationship between the parents and the school has irretrievably broken down because of violence or threatened violence, there is absolutely no reason why the school should be expected to educate their child,' it says.

Figures published by the NAHT show that in the past 12 months, 140 parents have been banned from school premises for assaulting or threatening violence against its members. The union says these are likely to be just 'the tip of the iceberg' as many teachers treat threats as part of the job.

Since January 1999, the NAHT has won £350,000 in criminal injuries compensation for members, and estimates that it could recover a further £500,000 from the 15 claims that are still pending.

The union is also urging local education authorities to adopt a 'zero tolerance' policy towards unruly parents, banning transgressors from school premises, and wants to see more prosecutions brought against teachers' attackers.

NAHT general secretary David Hart said the protection of staff had to be made the top priority. 'The rising tide of assaults and threats of violence against NAHT members must be put into reverse as soon as possible. It is absolutely intolerable that public servants should be subjected to increasing risk of injury and abuse,' he said.

'We will continue to recover substantial compensation on behalf of our members, but it would be preferable if firm and decisive action were taken by government, LEAs and law enforcement agencies to protect those responsible for running vital public services.'


Did you enjoy this article?