Sunday, December 28, 2008

Colin Adams

50 year old Colin Adams is now £250 000 richer after a 12 year old attacked him at school. Various hopeless cases did nothing to help.

Two points spring immediately to mind:

1) Any 12 year old attempting to strangle me, would do so for exactly one second before being dragged away by their ear to be locked in the stock cupboard whilst I phone the police and have a soothing cup of tea, before getting on with my next lesson. I would be perfectly confident that there would be no repercussions against me whatsoever. (Certainly nothing ever happened on the dozens of occasions when I did similar things anyway)

2) Had I realised that £250 000 might be on offer however, I would have immediately developed stress, backache and Bird Flu.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Use of Force guidelines were re-published recently - they are online here. The guidelines are basically the same as Circular 10/98 in the two most important respects.

"No physical contact" policies are discouraged; all teachers can use force when a child is causing personal injury.

In Mr Adams' position, I would be seeking punitive damages against colleagues, the school and the LEA. Together they have colluded to create a culture in which pupils feel they can attack teachers with impunity.

Cynical

Anonymous said...

This is exactly the point I was making in my comments on the "Poor Sod" post.

We really need to reintroduce corpral punishment so that youngster have that small amount of fear in the back of their minds.

I don't care what the P.C do-gooders say, children should be scared (and I mean very scared) of the punishments they will get if they get into trouble. It's the only way to keep them in line. If you don't have fear of the punishment then you will carry on behaving like a thug.

When oh when are we going to realise this and revert back to the way we delt with children in the days before we went soft?

Children are not the sweet little innocents we make them out to be, they need harsh dicipline, not just cuddles and cosy little chats.

Boy on a bike said...

I hate to say it, but I wish he'd gotten 25 million - that might wake up the powers that be and force them to make major changes to the policy.

As for fear of punishment, and respect for teachers - in my day, none of my teachers wanted to be my friend. There was a distance, a coolness, a chasm that could not be crossed. After I finished school, and caught up with my teachers at reunions, we got along like a house on fire, but that was never the case until we left.

I have this sneaking suspicion that these days, some teachers want to be friends with their students, leading them to let down all sorts of barriers (in the mistaken impression that the little darlings will learn more in a "friendlier environment).

Balls.

The worst of it is that they insist that their colleagues do the same.

Message to softies - if you want a friend, get a dog. The schoolyard is not the place to be trawling for pals.

MarkUK said...

As far as I know, no legislation has ever taken away the Common Law RIGHT of self-defence, for teachers or anyone else. Any attempt to take away this right (e.g. by termination of employment) must be resisted by the relevant unions.

Mr Adams has no case against his colleagues; unlike his employers, they owe him no duty of care. They are entitled to take their own safety into account. Unfortunately, the idea of "punitive damages" is an American, not English, legal concept.

Unions must also be active in refusing to supervise young people who are known to be violent. The Health & Safetey at Work etc Act applies to schools. No one may be put at risk of injury if the risk is high and forseeable.

Although not a teacher, I will shortly start employment as part of the support staff in a school (as Safety Officer). I'm with Frank on this one; if anyone attempts to assault me, they may end up wishing they hadn't. (Having seen my future boss in action, I don't think any pupil - however big - would try to do something like that with him! The man exudes "hard".)

Morrisons124 said...

I'm sick to death of hearing about useless people receiving huge payouts from the taxpayer. For Christ's sake we aren't talking about someone being mugged, it was just a 12 year old child!

What's the point in employing a male who can't even cope with a 12 year old? Teachers invariably fall back on the "We can't do this and we're not allowed to do that" excuses.

And that's all they are- excuses.

Chapati said...

Is it really that easy though? That article, and your response, made it sound like a playground scrap. But how do we know it was really like that?

Kids are *&**ing scary these days - they carry knives, guns, and seriously injure and kill each other. A school very near where I live has metal detectors and security guards. The headmaster has to walk around with body guards. I wouldn't stand a chance against kids like that, and I'm not much older than them...

I'd be scared to be a teacher these days, it seems like such an immense struggle to win a tiny bit of respect.

Anonymous said...

Comments from people like Morrisons 124, demonstrate just how utterly clueless large sections of society are when it comes to what's going on in our schools.

Granted some teachers might put it on a bit, but if you're faced with a kid kicking off, there honestly is very little you can do especially if you want to keep your job. Having been in similar situations and having friends at other schools experience the same sort of thing; if we do practically anything to defend ourselves or restrain aggressive pupils, 99 times out of 100 it is the teacher who would get in trouble, not the pupil!

Chalky isn't exaggerating in his blog, this is how bad things are in schools these days.

In my last school a student attacked another student with a pair of scissors, I stepped in and had to restrain the student. The student then attacked me. I nearly lost the sight in my eye. I was suspended for a month and absolutely nothing was done to the little shit who attacked me! Neither the head or my SMT would back me and it was made quite clear that if I took the matter any further I would be sacked.

These are not excuses, teachers really are virtually powerless these days. May I suggest Morrison 124 that before you go saying things like that, you spend a few years working in a shit-hole school, with no back up from your head or SMT, working with little thugs, then you can come back and say we make excuses.

Bridge said...

The common law right of self-defence is fine on paper, but you try and exercise it in a classroom and you're Donald Ducked. The reason being that if some kid is willing to attack the teacher in front of a class of other kids, it's a safe bet that the other kids will be scared enough of a slap to make up statements saying the teacher did it or whatever.

Faced with one statement from a highly-trained teacher versus 20 from semi-literate scrotes, the borough lawyers will collectively soil their briefs and suggest that the teacher is given the boot and the assailant is given compensation.

In teaching, you don't have to do anything wrong to get the boot, the mere accusation is enough.

Granted, in some schools SMT will back you up and the kids usually bugger off to carry on dealing drugs or whatever. However, if you don't have vertebrate SMT you're on your own.

Make no mistake, while they may be children, they are the same children who tax the resources of the police outside of school. I've seen kids come into school with CS spray to attack other kids, then scream 'that's assault' when they're bundled to the floor by the boys in blue. They know their rights, but are willfully ignorant of their responsibilities.

Morrisons124 - you are completely wrong on this one. If you're in a room with 30 kids determined to kick off, there is very little that can be done about it. In jails, the chairs and tables are bolted to the floor, and POs have batons and backup ready in case of problems. In the classroom, teachers have no protective gear, no backup and no prospect of support for using force to defend themselves. If you think it's just excuses, go to your local police station and ask the officers to go on foot patrol with no protective equipment, cuffs or radio.

Chapati said...

It's sad that we've reached a point in society where schools have to be compared to jail...

Lilyofthefield said...

SOME schools, chapati. Not all of them. And it's not even a fair comparison: at least once you're in prison you can lose perks for wrongdoing. All you get at our school is three days' holiday. For the pupils, that is. An accused teacher gets suspended.

morrisons124 said...

Why are teachers so stupid these days?

Bridge claims that 'The common law right of self-defence is fine on paper, but you try and exercise it in a classroom and you're Donald Ducked'

What utter rubbish!

If you are ever attacked by a pupil and you defend yourself without damaging your attacker too much then that will be the end of the matter. (If it isn't then you should immediately sue your employer for harassment, see below)

In the highly unlikely event that the CPS decide to press charges (contrary to popular belief, the police do not have any say in whether charges are pressed) then Legal Aid will automatically provide you with a lawyer to represent you free of charge (whether you are a member of one of your Unions or not).

Judges are not as stupid as the press would have us believe and will not give credence to the claims of half a dozen friends of your attacker. If your Barrister is even half competent then you will be well compensated for any 'stress' and 'back problems' sustained.

Even better:

'In teaching, you don't have to do anything wrong to get the boot, the mere accusation is enough.'

This just shows ignorance of employment law. If you are ever sacked on the basis of an accusation please get in touch with me and for a 10% fee I will guarantee you a payout of between a quarter and a half million depending on your age. (I suppose I've given away my own profession now)

The anonymous who said 'there honestly is very little you can do especially if you want to keep your job' sums up the 'can't do' attitude of the state sector. Where has all this helplessness come from?

Whenever I hear teachers say "we can't do anything now" I just wonder how many of them just don't want to even try.

some bloke said...

"'The police informed the school they could have kicked the boy in his back to make him let go
Duly noted

Paul said...

"This just shows ignorance of employment law. If you are ever sacked on the basis of an accusation please get in touch with me and for a 10% fee I will guarantee you a payout of between a quarter and a half million depending on your age. (I suppose I've given away my own profession now)"

'Fraid as a lawyer (presumably) you know fnck all about it. Suggest you look up the John Pinnington judgement in the Appeal Court. (I'm sure John would take you up on your offer).

Basically ; accusation made via facilitate communication (near as dammit a Ouija board), on CRB despite no police action of any sort, dismissed from post, upheld in court, can't get another job.

The result of this case ; an allegation can go on your CRB check as long as it isn't absolutely provably false. With that on your CRB you are fncked as a teacher, carer or any other child based job.

Lilyofthefield said...

Morrison 124, in one of our local schools a teacher of longstanding good name was suspended without pay after a pupil with a record of aggression accused him of assault. The teacher in question was caught on CCTV tapping the boy lightly with a pencil on the shoulder, and that in response to the boy's having barged him into a doorpost.

It cost the teacher dear in terms of mental health and lost earnings plus the upheaval of being found a new job in a different school. It is believed that he would not have been reinstated had the rest of the staff not come out on strike in support. You will know, being a legal expert, that a strike is not possible merely in terms of supporting an unfairly dismissed colleague, so the unions presented a statement declaring the staff's loss of faith in management's will or ability to protect them from assault and malicious accusations.

It should happen much more often.

Morrisons124 said...

Paul, if Pinnington had gone for unfair dismissal then he would have won substantial damages.

Morrisons124 said...

Lily, the teacher in your case could only have been suspended on full pay whilst the action was investigated. If they were subsequently sacked then they too would have an excellent case for unfair dismissal, provided the facts are as you describe them.

That's enough free legal advice for one day!

justin said...

"Judges are not as stupid as the press would have us believe and will not give credence to the claims of half a dozen friends of your attacker. If your Barrister is even half competent then you will be well compensated for any 'stress' and 'back problems' sustained."
Morrison, the problem I faced when assaulted is that 4 of my attackers friends denied any physical contact took place, with the head deciding to take the kids word over mine, and the police not prepaired to take the case further regardless of the fact that their statements conflicted.
What could I have done in that situation?
J

Urban School Teacher said...

Morrisons124- You are an ignorant moron and should not be allowed to talk to people. Go away.

"It's just a 12 year old child". Yes, that is correct but it is not a competetive fight with rules where the teacher in question will win simply because he is an adult male and is up against a little boy. The teacher can't start swinging to defend himself.

And your so-called legal advice is almost as useful as your remarks on teachers.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

This might seem to be a silly question, but - why don't the teachers' unions actually get together and do something about this? Or are they full of excuses too?

Any views on this, Frank?

Urban School Teacher said...

What about the London teacher who was fired for wearing tracksuit and trainers to work?

Morrisons124 said...

Justin, why on Earth aren't your Union backing you up? They could easily take out a civil case even if the CPS don't want to prosecute.

If ever you call the Police and they don't show enough interest, write (not phone) to the person in charge of your area's Police Force. They do not like awkward complaints from decent citizens and will get it dealt with.

Oliver Twist said...

Where are all these violent schools? In my school the pupils are extremely polite and wouldn't even think of dropping a piece of litter if they thought a teacher was about.

The thing is, I actually WANT to teach in a place that is akin to the civil war in Congo, so that I can get assaulted and make an enormous claim for damage/s. Could any of your readers make a personal recommendation, Frank?

Bridge said...

Morrisons124 - you clearly haven't had the scales removed from your eyes yet.

Let me make it clear, I am not one of the won't do anything brigade. I used to walk foot patrol with the school police officer after work, making sure the kids were behaving themselves in the streets and getting home safely. I happily lay down the law for kids from other schools, even in some of the most awful parts of London like Harlesden. Just last month I told off a couple of girls for scrawling graffiti on the tube and made them clean it off.

However, in schools it's a completely different matter. Te teacher is on their own, and if a group of kids decides to make your life a misery, they will. One will provoke a reaction, or simply make up an accusation, and three or four of their friends will swear blind that that's how it went down.

Faced with this, heads will often suspend a teacher. As union reps, it's very difficult for us to do anything at this stage - if we speak to the kids it looks like we're perverting the course of justice. We can speak to the teacher, but it's still their word against four or five others. It doesn't matter if they're kids, everyone is equal under the law.

What we hope for is that one of the kids gets bored and withdraws the complaint, or one of the witnesses has an attack of guilt and fesses up. This happens probably 99 times out of 100 - in which case the teacher is back in school the following day, albeit bitter and frustrated with the school and the union.

Those 1 in 100 times when the kids stick to their guns invariably ends badly for the teacher. Faced with the prospect of backing the teacher and paying out large sums to the alleged victims for some breach of human rights or other, the LEA will often do a deal with the teacher, letting them go to another school or retire early in return for a guilty plea.

As for teachers getting legal aid, there's almost no way a serving teacher would qualify for legal aid. We earn (no laughing at the back) too much, especially in areas covered by London weighting.

Having read your posts, I conclude that you are either a law student reading Employment Law for Dummies or some other kind of non-practicing legal goon. If you'd ever been to a tribunal or court, you'd know that the reality is a lot dirtier than the books would have you believe.

As for the statement that if we're ever sacked on the basis of an accusation you'll guarantee us big bucks in return for 10% - that shows your level of ignorance, not mine. All court cases are based on accusation, evidence comes later. If you can get people payouts because someone accused them and they were duly convicted, fired or whatever, I'd sugest you head for the nearest prison and tout your wares there.

If you, sir, are a lawyer, I'll eat my mortar board.

Anonymous said...

Morrison does make a good point- why do you never hear of teachers unions taking a civil case against a pupil or getting the whole staff to stand together when one of them is assaulted?

Anonymous said...

In fact, carrying on from the above post; if there are so many teachers assaulted on a regular basis, how come they don't all get £250 000 like Colin Adams? Did he have better legal advice or did he just play the system better?

Bridge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bridge said...

Well, no, he doesn't make a good point really. It's nigh on impossible to sue a child, you'd have to try and sue through their parents.

In fact, I seem to remember teachers asking for the law to be changed on this back in 2004, and also at the ATL conference in 2007. I'm sure if you Google it you'll find references to the stories.

The final thing that stops most teachers taking kids to court is the fact that we're not in the job to act as some kind of youth police force. Research shows that kids are more likely to engage in criminal activity as youths or adults if they have a negative encounter with the police or courts when young. Teachers know this, it's why we do everything we can to keep the kids away from the courts in the first place.

Finally, parents don't sue their kids when they won't go to bed or swear or something, so why would teachers? We act in loco parentis, not in loco praefectorii.

Colin Adams said...

Hi I’m Colin Adams
(The teacher in question)
What the papers miss out on is that I was knocked unconscious by the boy and awoke laying face down on the floor with the boy wrapped around my back/neck trying to strangle me. My colleagues just stood there telling the child to let go or it would be bad for him. After about 5 mins of him strangling me one of my colleges bent the child’s thumbs back causing him to let go.
As a head of department in a large inner city school the level of compensation paid to me does not cover 10 to 15 years left in the profession at over 45K a year (2004 pay).
So do me a favour only comment when you know the full facts. Yes if the child had attacked me from the front he would have come off worse but there is not one teacher in the world who when knocked unconscious can throw somebody off their back.

Colin ‘rather annoyed’ Adams

Hill said...

250 grand and you could get another job next week.

I fancy some of that.

Bring on the 12 year old!

Anonymous said...

"Research shows that kids are more likely to engage in criminal activity as youths or adults if they have a negative encounter with the police or courts when young. Teachers know this, it's why we do everything we can to keep the kids away from the courts in the first place."

Bridge, all this research shows is that people who have been in trouble with the law as kids are more likely to offend when they are adults compared with people who have never been in trouble at all.

You don't need to be a genius to work that one out and by keeping young criminals out of court you simply reinforce the message that they can do whatever they like.

Anonymous said...

Morrisons124 - is touchingly naive about the stupidity of judges. Of course some of them are, the real problem though is the political agendas they enforce, quite willingly.

Anonymous said...

Research shows that kids are more likely to engage in criminal activity as youths or adults if they have a negative encounter with the police or courts when young.

Are we not at home to Occam's Razor or Mr Causality today?

Kids who are more likely to engage in criminal activity as youths or adults are the ones most likely to have already had a negative encounter with the police or courts when young.

It wasn't the negative encounter that turned them bad, they had the negative encounter because they were bad.