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 Post subject: Sacked dinnerlady
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:28 pm
Posts: 2439
Theres been alot of sympathy in the press recently for the sacked dinner lady.

However, when I first heard the story, I agreed that the school had to take action. I've had a few interviews to work in schools and pre-schools in the past. In all the interveiws, questions were asked what to do if I saw or heard anything inappropriate, or something I felt unable to handle with. A key component of the answer would be speaking to those next up the pecking order, and confidentiality.

The lady in question did not follow these guidelines and went outside the school bullying policies. She spoke directly to the parents without speaking to the school first. Obviously I don't accept bullying, but all schools have procedures which protect both the victim and the bully. Suspension is possibly too harsh - a reprimand would probably have been suffiecent as she was trying to act in the girls interests.

Also, why did she go to the media? To me, this makes the situation worse, it blows the whole incident out of proportion.

Obviously, I don't like bullying in any form. However, I do feel that people can;t just go straight to parents without hearing the full story. How many times have I told DS 1 off for thumping DS2, only to discover that DS2 had been taunting DS1... . I'm sure we've all done it.

Sorry to be controversial so early in the morning. Maybe its because in the Kent forum, we like a good debate, and we've had nothing to discuss recently.


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 Post subject: Re: Sacked dinnerlady
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:56 pm
Posts: 83
I think that when a child has been tied up and whipped by other DC it's time to put procedures and PC attitudes to one side. This story brings to mind the case of the 'plastic bobbies' who stood by and watched a boy drown in a lake because Health and Safety guidelines said they should not intervene.


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 Post subject: Re: Sacked dinnerlady
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:04 am 
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Posts: 2556
I agree with Gorgeous, I think that in this country we've been scared to be normal. Everything is so procedurised that the ridiculous reigns.
The girl was sent home with a note saying that she had sustained injuries (or whatever) due to a "skipping rope incident" implying that somehow she had tripped up. No. She was tied up and whipped, with 2 boys on look out.
The head is at fault for hiding behind procedure. The governor who sacked her as his cleaner so that he could remain on her hearing (disciplinary? appeal?? lose track) is clearly a limp old salad leaf.
Having SILs from Italy and Germany makes me realise how very hide-bound and fearful we have become, having lost sight of reality and funneling our reactions through a stultifying funnel of perceived respectability.
If this had happened to my child, I'd want to know the truth. Or a vaguely proximate version of the truth, not be fobbed off with that weasel word "incident."
Don't approve of going to the media though. but round here you can't get bitten by a dog without the local paper getting very excited. I expect the prospect off a skipping rope had them in a right old lather.

You may have noticed that one of my NY resolutions is to drop my softly softly caring side and go straight to the action. :D :wink: :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Sacked dinnerlady
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:13 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:20 pm
Posts: 4660
I agree with Gorgeous and Milla too.

Procedures seemed to have been followed, if the head had already written to the parents and reported it was an 'incident'. The dinner lady was right to tell the parents what really happened - if it was your child you'd want to know - wouldn't you?

I don't fully agree WRT the media though. Mostly, I would say we do run too easily to the media, but I think (although I don't really know if it applies to this case) when circumstances arise which warrant it, then it's justified. If, as this story implies to me, the dinner lady was being bullied too, by the head and governors, then I think she was justified.

Anyone with a modicum of sense would know the dinner lady had done the right thing. It's like all whistle blowing situations. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. These are brave people who stand up and be counted, we should be thankful.

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 Post subject: Re: Sacked dinnerlady
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:56 pm
Posts: 83
Milla wrote:
funneling our reactions through a stultifying funnel of perceived respectability.
:roll:


My goodness Milla - I bow to you - you are truly perceptive! I am impressed beyond words.


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 Post subject: Re: Sacked dinnerlady
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:28 pm
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In the report I read recently, there was no mention that the head had contacted the parents. The impression I got was that the dinner lady had gone straight to the parents, before going through school procedures. I think thats why I thought it was wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Sacked dinnerlady
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:57 pm
Posts: 1446
Gorgeous wrote:
Milla wrote:
funneling our reactions through a stultifying funnel of perceived respectability.
:roll:


My goodness Milla - I bow to you - you are truly perceptive! I am impressed beyond words.


It doesn't take long to be impressed by Milla. 8)

Shame on the Head for effectively lying to the parents. :x


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 Post subject: Re: Sacked dinnerlady
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:12 am 
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WFG - I agreewith you - on both counts. Maybe I shouldn't believe everything I read in the press...! :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: Sacked dinnerlady
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 6966
Location: East Kent
pheasantchick wrote:
WFG - I agreewith you - on both counts. Maybe I shouldn't believe everything I read in the press...! :oops:


I believe very little that I read in the press


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 Post subject: Re: Sacked dinnerlady
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:19 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 8228
I take your point about procedures, but I would like to think as a parent, that if such a thing happened to my child (being tied up etc etc), that I would be told straightaway, and that I'd have the chance to take my child home there and then. If other witnesses did decide to speak to me, inside or outside of the procedure, it would therefore be after the school had spoken to me.

There's nothing worse than a child coming home in the evening and telling you about an incident that took place at school and, because the school did not fully inform you, not knowing as a parent whether your child is telling you the truth or not, and not being able to speak to the school until the following day. The letter these parents received was so mealy mouthed that if their child had told them they had been tied up, they might have been tempted to think the child was lying. That is not what the child would have needed in this situation. They would already have felt abandoned by their parents at what must truly be the most **** school run by what sound like a complete bunch of clowns. I haven't followed this story in detail, but I do hope there have been some changes to the school management team and governors as they sound either wet, foolish, or downright nasty themselves to behave this way over what must have been a very scary incident for the child. It sounds like the most sensible person on the premises is the dinner lady, and when she was not at work, the school would have lost its one dose of common sense.

Going to the press - I'm not sure about this - depends on the motives. But I would think that if you're on a very low wage, as the dinner lady would have been, it's probably the swiftest and most cost-effective way of handling this situation in the first instance. It's not vulgar in the same way that a wealth celebrity couple making money from selling their wedding day to ***** magazine is.

IMHO I think the headteacher deserves tying to the railings and being whipped. And they must have been bananas to think they could let the case run on that far when they had handled the situation so badly.


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