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Old 10-21-2005, 04:32 PM   #1
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Teachers to get legal right to restrain pupils

Teachers to get legal right to restrain pupils

Donald MacLeod, Matthew Taylor and agencies
Friday October 21, 2005


Teachers will be given the clear legal right to discipline unruly pupils and restrain them through the use of "reasonable force", ministers announced today.
The education secretary, Ruth Kelly, backed recommendations from the government's school discipline taskforce for new measures to force parents to take responsibility for their children's behaviour.

Teachers' leaders welcomed the new legal rights proposed by the taskforce, chaired by headteacher Sir Alan Steer, which they said would stop pupils disrupting lessons, but insisted they must be backed with action and not left to gather dust like previous discipline initiatives.


The plans include:


· a new law setting out teachers' "clear and unambiguous right" to discipline pupils and restrain them through reasonable force


· a national charter of rights and responsibilities for teachers, pupils and parents


· a new offence of "allowing a child to be found in a public place during school hours without good cause" to be introduced to make sure parents keep track of their children when they are excluded from school


· possible fixed fines for parents who are guilty of this new offence


· wider use of parenting contracts to be imposed before a child is thrown out of school.


Ms Kelly welcomed the report and promised to implement the key recommendations "as soon as possible". Some of the reforms are expected to be contained in a white paper later this month.

She said: "The government has made tackling poor behaviour a major priority, providing increased powers and resources. But some schools still face real discipline challenges because there is too little consistency in dealing with poor behaviour.

"There is still too much low-level disruption to lessons - backchat, rudeness, calling out in class - that makes teaching and learning more difficult. These proposals can help bring change not just to the rules, but to the culture, reaffirming respect in classrooms and putting teachers firmly in charge."

Ms Kelly added that poor behaviour would not simply disappear if there was legislation. "Heads and teachers must use these new powers with the backing of parents - only then can we make good behaviour the norm in every classroom," she said.

The taskforce wants pupils excluded for more than five days to be interviewed when they return to school to help them settle back in. The controversial right of parents to appeal against exclusions is backed, but there is a call for the independent appeals panels to be more representative and for guidance to avoid cases being overturned on technicalities.

By 2008, all secondaries, including academies and foundation schools, should be forced to belong to local partnerships working together to share "hard to place" pupils, the report states.

The taskforce rejects a code of rules for pupils, but recommends a national charter of rights and responsibilities for youngsters, parents and teachers, to be included in home-school agreements.

Some members of the taskforce were tempted to ban mobile phones in schools because of text bullying. But the report recommends that all schools have a policy on their possession and use.

The general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Mary Bousted, said she was particularly pleased the report clearly recommended legislation to establish beyond doubt that schools have the right to discipline pupils.

"The Steer report is an essential first step in rebalancing the equation between the individual rights of each pupil and the collective rights of the school community. It is essential that parents, carers, and society in general support schools in achieving good behaviour so that all pupils can benefit from their education. We are particularly pleased the report clearly recommends schools have the right to discipline pupils when their behaviour is unacceptable," she said.

The general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, John Dunford, said "more clarity" in the law would be helpful, but cautioned that the law would be interpreted in the courts.

Meanwhile, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, Mick Brookes, said: "Within the school community, it is the attitude of parents that is a key element essential for the maintenance of good behaviour.

"It is reprehensible that a minority of parents condone negative and loutish behaviour which causes distress in the school environment."
http://education.guardian.co.uk/clas...597781,00.html
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Old 10-21-2005, 04:46 PM   #2
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I was listening to debate about this on the radio today. My worry is that it's difficult to set boundaries to this new legislation. I will admit that I definitely need to read more about it before I have a real opinion.

However, my sister was a teacher. She left because teachers had basically had all their powers to discipline taken away. I don't mean discipline in the corporal sense...I mean she wasn't allowed to tell a child that they were wrong, or even to tell them off. Teachers were far too open to legal action for disciplining unruly children, and also to angry parents coming and threatening them for attempting to discipline.

Tentatively, I think that a step back to well-placed discipline is a good thing in the british classroom - I have worked in an administrative capacity processing reports in local schools and could not believe the behaviour that teachers had to let kids get away with. I read recently about a head teacher deciding that pupils were each allowed to use the F word 5 times each lesson. Any more than that and they'd be in trouble

Then you get cases like Philip Lawrence, who was stabbed and killed outside his school, or the girl who had her face slashed in an English lesson (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/e...re/4361724.stm)
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Old 10-21-2005, 05:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
Some members of the taskforce were tempted to ban mobile phones in schools because of text bullying.
Quote:
Originally posted by bammo2
I read recently about a head teacher deciding that pupils were each allowed to use the F word 5 times each lesson. Any more than that and they'd be in trouble...
If this is how they interact with teachers, imagine how they interact with their parents. At the very least, they're clearly not being given the message that treating others with cruelty and contempt is unacceptable. And if they're not, it's doubtful how much social maturity a school discipline policy can bring on. This is not preparing them well for a socially functional future.
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Old 10-21-2005, 05:16 PM   #4
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yolland. Too many parents (that I've noticed around here at least) seem to let their kids get away with anything, as discpline requires time and effort which they cannot be bothered to invest.

This problem goes back way further than the school classroom
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Old 10-21-2005, 11:59 PM   #5
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I was just trained in the proper way to restrain students....

It is the very last thing I would want to do...but...since my training a month ago....I have had to use the training.

For ten years I have practically the only male in the school I worked in...the same holds true in my new job. I have never had to touch a student in that time. I would never keep a kid in alone for recess, I would always move to the library, so that I could never be accused of any wrongdoing.

Restraining a child, should only be done if the child is a danger to themselves or others. So far my experiences have not involved students that were just misbehaving, but students with other issues.
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Old 10-22-2005, 10:26 AM   #6
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I agree teachers should have more rights in regards to discipline. In my opinion the children and parents are running the schools and teachers have very little control over their classrooms. This is why children are not learning. It is not because the teachers are bad teachers. When I taught, I ran a well organized classroom. However, I got to the point where I was sick of dealing with loud, rude, and disrespectful kids as well as parents who placed little importance on learning. I began to feel like I was spending half my day teaching behavior instead of academics.
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Old 10-22-2005, 07:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
Restraining a child, should only be done if the child is a danger to themselves or others.
At my elementary school, the principal for most of the years I was there was a huge, brawny, booming-voiced man who had previously been both a minister and a drill sergeant. His loudness alone was intimidating, but what I really remember was his aggressive disciplinary approach. Every day at lunchtime, he'd grab the cafeteria PA mike and launch into some (more or less nonreligious) sermon about discipline, responsibility, ambition, etc. while we ate in silence. Inevitably, once or twice a week some miscreant or another would start horsing around, he'd notice, abruptly slam the mike down, bellow "YOUNG MAN--YOU COME HEAH RIGHT NOW!!" and assume this bouncer pose and ferocious sneer that made everyone wince and hold their breaths. He'd grab the offending kid by the collar and drag him roughly in circles for several seconds before hurling him into a "dunce chair" near the mike, then gloweringly return to his sermon while we tried very hard not to stare at his hapless charge. Not infrequently, he'd administer a similarly rough and abrupt punishment in the middle of a crowded hallway, too.

I can't speak for how the kids who got punished this way felt, but it sure did scare the piss out of me. Even though I was one of the "good" kids, my stomach churned every time he'd drop into a classroom to "observe" (which visibly rattled some of the teachers too)--as much because of my shock at seeing an adult humiliate another child in this way, as because I feared his wrath myself. Yet many of the "problem" kids *seemed* to genuinely admire and respect him--as opposed to their seething resentment of some other hardnosed teachers who did things far more discreetly, e.g., pulling the offender into the hallway for a "private" paddling.

Anyway...I guess from that experience, I can see where restraint (if one can call that restraint!) ought to be a tactic of last resort. If nothing else, it was certainly distressing and alienating to me.

So, what exactly is the "proper" way to restrain students?
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Old 10-22-2005, 09:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

At my elementary school, the principal for most of the years I was there was a huge, brawny, booming-voiced man who had previously been both a minister and a drill sergeant.
Up to here you almost described me to a t.

I have been fortunate to have had very few discipline issues as a teacher.

Being 6'2", former SGT in the army, and a deep voice.....proximity usually kept me from having to raise my voice. AS a matter of fact, I find when I talk quietly, I get better results.

As a new vice principal, I try to get on the mike A) only when my aides are not getting the respect from the students or B) when I want to praise them. I think giving the aides the authority of the room, makes for a better lunch/recess, so that when I am not there, the kids would not know any different.

As for the proper way to restrain a student....it depends on the age of the student. Here are the Massachusetts regulations.

http://www.doe.mass.edu/lawsregs/603...tml?section=05

These are the people that trained my school system

http://www.crisisprevention.com/program/nci.html
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Old 10-22-2005, 10:03 PM   #9
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My high school was the regional school for students with special needs. They had their own wing of the building, including a pretty cool outdoor garden, their own set of teachers and so on. At times, they would integrate a few of them into a regular class, for socialization purposes, not academic ones. Usually this would be a class like religion (I went to a Catholic high school) or art, which was not divided up into various academic streams.

In my 11th grade religion class, we had an autistic savant. He was brilliant with numbers and additionally had this incredible gift regarding microwaves. For example, if you took a dish of food and zapped it (in another room or even on another floor) in the microwave, and then brought it back to him, he would be able to tell you exactly how long the timer was set for.

He had a personal tutor the previous year. While sitting in a regular class, he picked up a pencil and put it right through her hand. Imagine the crucifixion, if you will.

The next year he had a new tutor. A huge 6'5 guy from Ghana. One time in class the kid had a huge fit and his tutor tackled him to the ground and pinned him down, lying on top of him. I remember thinking that it was scary and cruel at the same time. Except, it was actually what he was instructed to do. Better to pin the kid down than to have another kid with a pen in his neck.
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Old 10-22-2005, 10:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
AS a matter of fact, I find when I talk quietly, I get better results.

As a new vice principal, I try to get on the mike A) only when my aides are not getting the respect from the students or B) when I want to praise them. I think giving the aides the authority of the room, makes for a better lunch/recess, so that when I am not there, the kids would not know any different.

These are the people that trained my school system:
That's interesting...so the state does not provide its own training?

Sounds like you have the right philosophy about how to make good use of being the Big Guy without abusing that power. It is undeniably true (spoken with chagrin!) that children are often quicker to grant authority to an adult with a commanding physical presence.

You aren't in fact also a minister, are you?

Apparently, this principal of mine had been very popular as a minister (a field he retuned to later) in no small part because congregations responded positively to that commanding presence. In fact, my own brother who was in the Air Force is now a rabbi...though it has to be said his persona is more that of the stereotypical brainiac "soft male" associated with rabbis , and he is not physically imposing, either. Funny how these cultural ideals (mensch vs. "manly," etc.) can enter into even our expectations for religious leadership. Then again, my own rabbi is a woman (I believe your minister [?] is too?) but there too, I think cultural expectations can enter into it. Anyway, I'm just prattling now so...back to work.
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Old 10-22-2005, 10:50 PM   #11
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Originally posted by anitram
In my 11th grade religion class, we had an autistic savant. He was brilliant with numbers and additionally had this incredible gift regarding microwaves. For example, if you took a dish of food and zapped it (in another room or even on another floor) in the microwave, and then brought it back to him, he would be able to tell you exactly how long the timer was set for.
How on earth could he tell that? I mean, I can see memorizing the phone book or whatever--that recognizably derives from a cognitive capacity everyone has, though at way-beyond-normal proficiency--but what human intellectual skill, present in extremes, would enable one to do this?
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Old 10-22-2005, 11:00 PM   #12
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I have no idea. Apparently he was tested by a physics department at a university and they postulated that it had something to do with him having an ability to record magnetic waves and microwaves and electrical fields. At that time I didn't really wonder about it, all I thought was that it sounded like a superhero power.
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Old 10-22-2005, 11:07 PM   #13
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I guess that most conventional microwaves have standard energy outputs.

Perhaps setup sets of different output microwaves and in those sets put them on at different times so that they all finish microwaving at exactly the same time. Perform it using different types of food and maybe different containers.
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Old 10-22-2005, 11:18 PM   #14
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OK sounds like a plan, let us know what you find out.
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Old 10-22-2005, 11:21 PM   #15
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I just need to get myself multiple autistic savants and control subjects, any volunteers?

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