Intervening in a fight

(59 Posts)
fightworry Mon 01-Apr-13 14:55:14

Can anyone please advise what the standard protocol is for handling a fight in school (Yr 7/8 children) please.

A child with SEN (ASD/ sensory issues) who I shall call Boy A had been provoked all morning by another boy (Boy B) who was told by the staff to leave Boy A alone. At break time it was wet play and all children were crowded into 2 classrooms (Boy A does not like crowds/noise). Boy A went into one classroom, saw a child there he had difficulties with so did the right thing and went into the other classroom. Unfortunately Boy B was there, approached him and carried on provoking and taunting him. Boy A repeatedly asked to be left alone but Boy B kept saying 'make me then' etc..

Boy A who has a very literal understanding then pushed Boy B in an attempt to make him go away and a fight broke out between them. Boy A had a TA supporting him who ran out of the class to get assistance and made no attempt to de-escalate the situation, verbally or otherwise.

The fight was broken up by another boy before staff arrived. Boy A was very upset and asked why the TA did not help him but the TA said that she was not allowed to intervene. Is this correct?

Boy A was immediately excluded for fighting and Boy B received a lunchtime detention a few days later.
The TA was fairly new to the school and had only spent 15 minutes with boy A before that day (was not his regular TA).

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 01-Apr-13 20:12:55

If the fact that this hold has a statement didn't stop the school from excluding him for fighting, why would anything else stop the school from excluding Boy B for fighting?

It's UNFAIR. And it's the unfairness that parents of DC's feel most keenly. They aren't going to give two shiny shits that the child that bullied their son into reacting like this, thus causing him to be excluded, is in FC or whatever. And why the hell should they?

The school's behaviour rules should apply equally, with reasonable adjustments made for issues caused by a disability.

Having been a LAC myself, it certainly wouldn't have, and shouldn't have, given me a way out of behaving acceptably. It is NO excuse for bullying another child, and this should be treated EXACTLY as harshly as the DC with ASD is being treated - because otherwise it is saying that Boy B has more rights to be educated in a MS environment than Boy A does.

Which is LEGALLY untrue.

I certainly didn't give two shiny shits when a LAC was goading my DD into reacting, and I told the school in no uncertain terms that if they didn't treat this as bullying, and deal with it appropriately, I would use EVERY avenue open to me to ensure that they did.

It cannot be a behaviour policy that has MORE draconian policies and punishments for a child with a disability, or that is a clear cut case for disability discrimination.

While the PARENTS of Boy A will not be party to Boy B's life story, or even what punishment he received (directly, they WILL find out the disparity through texting / social media / friends / gossip, believe me), but the LA WILL BE.

And if it goes to court as a disability discrimination case, the LA can be forced to disclose what punishment the instigator of this incident was given for bullying and goading.

And if there IS a disparity, which there obviously is, then it is clear that Boy A has been discriminated against on the basis of his disability.

God, my heart is breaking for Boy A's parents.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 01-Apr-13 20:14:41

That was meant to read : it's the unfairness that parents of DC's with disabilities that are treated this way that they feel most keenly.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 01-Apr-13 20:20:26

Tethers - do you think this is the RIGHT thing to do, for Boy A?

Be truthful.

Do you think it is FAIR of the school to treat Boy A more harshly than Boy B despite Boy B being the obvious instigator?

If so, it paints a sorry picture of 'inclusion' in our MS Secondary schools.

If you think that being in FC is a reason that should allow you not to receive an equal punishment for fighting, or allows you to bully a child with disabilities with no removal from class and an 'exemption' from zero tolerance of bullying, then personally, I feel you are wrong.

I would never have expected, as a LAC, (which I was on and off from the age of 6mo to 16yo), to have behaved any differently to what was expected of other DC's in my school, or to have received lighter punishments when I did break rules.

And yes, I did have just about as shitty a childhood as you can imagine - possibly more so.

It STILL would never have been an excuse for anything less than the behaviour expected of any other DC at my schools.

amistillsexy Mon 01-Apr-13 20:28:06

sad

This is what keeps me awake at night worrying.

My son will be Boy A. He's only in Y4 now, but I'm already in bits about this. I just know the secondary schools round here will not want to accommdate him, and that this will be a regular occurrance throughout his teenage years.

I want to cry now.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 01-Apr-13 20:32:46

EVERY local Secondary is now an Academy.

And my DS's Primary is the first to swap.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 01-Apr-13 20:33:22

My DS2 will be Boy A - he hasn't lashed out back yet, but it's only a matter of time.

tethersend Mon 01-Apr-13 20:34:30

"If the fact that this hold has a statement didn't stop the school from excluding him for fighting, why would anything else stop the school from excluding Boy B for fighting?"

Couthy, there is now specific legislation covering looked after children and exclusions. This requires schools to go above and beyond what they would normally do for any other child.

This does not mean that a LAC who is bullying another child will be let off scot free, but that the consequences of their actions must be part of a holistic approach to overcome the huge disadvantages they face.

Schools are not obliged to reveal the home circumstances of another child to parents- in fact they would be breaking confidentiality laws by doing so.

I don't want this to become a statemented vs. LAC debate- many LAC have statements after all- but I think the school have acted utterly appallingly without the need to even refer to the punishment the other boy received, as to do so runs the risk of child A's parents being painted as out for revenge, when in fact they are, or should be, challenging the school for ignoring statutory guidelines and not fulfilling its legal responsibility to educate their child.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 01-Apr-13 20:34:47

He's currently in Y4 too.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 01-Apr-13 20:35:28

Fight worry - shouldn't that be 'inclusion if they don't cost us extra money'...

tethersend Mon 01-Apr-13 20:41:18

"Do you think it is FAIR of the school to treat Boy A more harshly than Boy B despite Boy B being the obvious instigator?"

Without knowing the circumstances of each child, I cannot possibly answer that.

"would never have expected, as a LAC, (which I was on and off from the age of 6mo to 16yo), to have behaved any differently to what was expected of other DC's in my school, or to have received lighter punishments when I did break rules."

I think, after years and years of LAC having the worst educational outcomes and being at a higher risk of exclusion than any other cohort, it is right and proper that legislation was brought in to combat this. I understand what you are saying, but each child in care is different, and the evidence points overwhelmingly to there being a need for additional support, hence the legislation. I don't think having different expectations is in itself a bad thing- the expectations need to reflect the child.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 01-Apr-13 20:49:58

So effectively now, LAC are given a green light to bully other children, knowing that their punishment will not be as harsh as other DC's in the school, and also knowing that should their victim retaliate, their victim will be punished more severely than they will be.

Good god.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 01-Apr-13 20:52:35

In which case, that should have been the same for Boy A with ASD, thus proving the point that this school are not treating Boy A fairly.

And sorry, but it's NOT right to treat a child with ASD HARSHER than a child bullying them. For ANY REASON.

fightworry Mon 01-Apr-13 20:53:46

Fair comment Tethers. Fairness is the key. I think the main point is that Boy A was excluded apparently for behaviours relating to his disability. The fact that the staff knew that the goading had occurred but didn't take steps to minimise the later risk is pretty poor imo. Also an untrained TA should not have been supporting a child in such a state of high anxiety that issues were likely to happen.

tethersend Mon 01-Apr-13 20:54:05

No. In the same way that statemented children aren't 'given a green light to bully other children', despite there also being legislation to protect them from unnecessary exclusion.

Unless that also makes you angry?

tethersend Mon 01-Apr-13 20:54:27

That was to Couthy.

tethersend Mon 01-Apr-13 20:56:21

Agree with all those points, fightworry.

Which makes a serious enough case without needing to refer to child B's punishment at all.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 01-Apr-13 21:00:13

One of the infuriating things in the early days of DS being in MS secondary was that whenever there was a physical altercation, I could trace the fuse every time, and I'd given the school a list of triggers and situations.
They were fantastic after the couple of terms, because all the teachers saw it as their job to be proactive. So a situation would begin to develop and they would intervene before it became a fight.
He did have a couple of exclusions, and several internal exclusions, but after the first one, they were very clear on the grounds and reasons for their actions, and had his best interests at heart, alongside other students.
In this case, I think action should have been taken a lot earlier to prevent the escalation. TA sounds clueless, and that simply isn't good enough.

Welovegrapes Mon 01-Apr-13 21:05:51

I am so sad for both boy A and B. but why was boy A treated so much more harshly sadsad

Really shocked! And I am an ex primary school LAC and SN governor btw.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 01-Apr-13 21:05:52

I agree with flight risk, in that it is pretty poor behaviour of the school to leave Boy A in the situation where this was likely to happen.

I also feel it was pretty poor of the school to leave Boy A with an inadequately trained TA.

I also feel it was pretty poor of the school to leave Boy B to be in EITHER of the wet play rooms after he had been teasing and goading (read bullying...) Boy A in a lesson.

It should have been dealt with at that point by Boy B being put in isolation over break time as it was wet break.

And another incident of bullying by Boy B towards Boy A should be dealt with by after school detention.

And any further incident should be an automatic exclusion.

Christ, ONE incident from Boy A has resulted in exclusion, why the difference? Is Boy B the football star player, or the Mathletics champion, or something?!

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 01-Apr-13 21:08:13

Do you think that the TA judged the situation as horseplay?
Normal, robust joshing between chaps?
And then panicked when the situation exploded?

fightworry Mon 01-Apr-13 21:13:51

She hadn't seen what started the fight and left straight away to get help. Doesn't appear that she was told of the earlier difficulties between the 2 boys so she had been treated unfairly in a way too I suppose.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 01-Apr-13 21:15:10

So, did Boy A not have a permission to leave the room card, a safe place to go to when he felt overloaded?

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 01-Apr-13 21:19:02

Sorry, but I'd be in there with my big file and copies of policies and a written record of all the accommodations the school should have agreed on and put in place to meet his needs. (Linked to targets and IEP, or statement)
I'd be checking in detail what they had and hadn't done, and what they intended to do to prevent a recurrence. Y7 or Y8? They've had enough time to create and implement effective protocols.

fightworry Mon 01-Apr-13 21:21:20

There was no safe place available for him to go - school were aware of this. The 'escape' card was stuck to the front of a book that he didn't have with him at break.
I guess when he was in that state of anxiety he would not necessarily have thought of getting away. He had asked the other boy to leave him alone but was told 'make me' which is why he reacted as he did.

tethersend Mon 01-Apr-13 21:24:37

Couthy, I really don't think it would be helpful to child A's parents' case to assert that there were absolute consequences which should have happened to child B.

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