I read with consternation the story in the news where a father angrily hit and pushed a female Headteacher as she disciplined his 8 year old son for racially abusing another child & for swearing – she had to exclude him for a day as it was his third act of anti social behaviour that week.
As a teacher myself for over 22 years I can’t imagine how it must feel to feel physically frightened and intimidated by a parent. I certainly had to deal with angry parents every so often when I was a Deputy Head – and in my experience it’s all about listening and letting the parent feel heard but I can’t imagine being punched and pushed first.
Paul Stratford punched and swore at Zita McCormick after she told him his eight-year-old son Brendan would be excluded for a day.
Surrounded by colleagues, the teacher told the 31-year-old father to calm down. Instead he made for her, punching her and pushing her backwards, yet despite the gravity of the offence, magistrates decided to impose only a community sentence, telling the father to pay the Headteacher £100.
Obviously this parent is living with some very real challenging circumstances that are not just to do with the school issue.
What worries me is that a recent survey of Head teachers by the school leaders’ association the NAHT showed that 1,362 heads surveyed in England,Wales and Northern Ireland reported being punched, spat on, kicked, head butted, bitten and sexually assaulted. That’s 1 in 10 teachers being physically assaulted or attacked by a pupil’s parent with twice as many reported being victimised on social networking websites.
As a society we are living with a great deal of stress and anger but I worry what lessons the children are learning from such irate parents don’t you?
Here’s my article on How to Handle Anger Positively