Monday, 24 May 2010

Reminder why SCHOOLS could be a particularly bad place for those with AS to work

This ranks as one particularly sad story, a teacher in Mansfield was sentenced to a community order having pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm without intent on a boy, but being cleared of attempting to kill him. The incident had been a variation on the "happy slapping" theme (attacking people and filming it on mobile phones) so often in the news, hence this related article on the case prompting a mobile crackdown call, I haven't heard any more on that since though.

My point to posting this in my AS job issues blog is that I had long had reservations about working in schools, which were brought to the fore when the guy doing Flexible Routeways had seen a data entry job at one school in my town and suggested I applied. When I started this blog I had stated that I had worked "in a public sector organisation" as it was still very shortly after I'd first left, it's now long enough since I'd left that I might as well say it was the local further education college with mainly 16-18s. I often got a few snide comments from passing teenagers and I guess this largely boils down to my nervous body language, if I was getting that from 16-18s, then no doubt it would be even worse with 13-16s, and I expressed that reservation to the guy at the time. He accepted my comments though I couldn't help wondering if he still saw me as "making excuses" or secretly wanting to ask me if I was "man or mouse" in being unable to show authority.

This incident hitting the headlines seemed vindicate me in justifying my relucatance about schools as a place to work. One point that really struck out in one of the articles was that "He was signed off sick (with depression and stress) for nearly five months and given counselling sessions by a therapist who told him he was too 'peaceful and passive' and needed to be better at letting his anger out." He had seemed to feel better and returned to work but shortly afterwards this incident happened. I know I'm similarly at the passive end of the "aggressive - assertive - passive" thing that is often referred to at coaching sessions, and people find it too easy to preach at me to learn assertiveness, as if I haven't tried to be more so but to no avail.

This is an extreme of a truly tragic case but you often hear about pupil-on-staff assaults and worse still that staff sometimes get blamed until proven otherwise. Pupils with a grudge could even set staff up by alleging "improper relationships" etc, which would get the staff done for abuse of a position of trust. Even come such time as the member of staff is cleared the stigma that they were at any point accused remains and their careers are already damaged. I'm conscious that I find it difficult enough to get jobs as it is, were I to get a job with a school, but then an incident were to occur, it could become even more difficult than ever before to persuade anyone else to take me on. The incident could have happened to admin staff just as easily as teachers, I see generic references to "pupil on staff" assaults! Worse still that the member of staff is often suspended on "disciplinary" pending investigation of whether they were in any way at fault themselves, if I pushed an attacking pupil away in self defence that push could be seen as an assault itself.

1 comment:

  1. "Facing the sack after being accused of bullying and harrasment by a 12 year old" - interesting forum thread from a school kitchen assistant.