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Don't do what I did - The shock of simple authority was too much

Working as a self-defence and personal safety tutor visiting schools and colleges, I get to sample the chalk and cheese of the curricular world on a daily basis. But after one session in particular I won't try to interfere again.

On silencing one heckler from a group of 16-year-olds, the teacher who had sat in on the session threatened: "What do you think the head would say if he knew I'd caught you smoking what I just caught you smoking?" I assumed that the smoking of kippers was banned during school hours, so what else could the pupils be partaking in the smoking of?

Throughout the rest of the session another pupil kept spraying a sore throat remedy into his mouth. By looking at the group's demeanour and the fact that the teacher hadn't batted an eyelid to this meant I adopted a laissez-faire attitude myself. However, as the bottle was passed to and fro between a group of pupils, I began to get suspicious, and it wasn't until I passed near them and caught the odour that I realised Vicks now produced a vodka-flavoured antiseptic throat spray.

By this point I couldn't take much more. I politely asked a rowdy girl to remain quiet until I was finished speaking, to which she burst into tears and ran out of the session. I continued as the teacher went after her and was distracted slightly when the head of PE came in and stood, arms folded, glaring directly at me. He remained there for some time, maintaining his watchful eye, until I went over and asked the girl if she was OK. He seemed annoyed at having been brought out of his office and said she had "issues".

My opinion is that she, along with these other pupils, simply had never been disciplined before in any way, and the shock of simple authority and reason was just too much for her.

Bekkii Park is a personal safety tutor in Lancashire.

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