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Handy hints

Dealing with an aggressive parent

All parents are protective of their children and can get angry with the school, or with a teacher.

* Some angry parents are known to teachers, and you can plan your response and seek support. Use delaying tactics ("I can see you in five minutes, please have a seat") to make cooling-off time.

* If you feel threatened, or if you are in charge of children, don't try to deal with a hostile visitor. Use the emergency procedure, or send a pupil to fetch someone.

* Only try to deal with an angry person if you feel physically safe, and are not cornered or isolated.

* Be calm and confident. Dont argue. Don't patronise - saying "Please calm down", for example, invites the angry response, "I don't want to calm down!" * Try to get the person to sit down with you. If you can, pull out a notebook and pencil and write some notes. This can have a calming effect.

* If you feel uncomfortable, or think you are dealing with someone drunk, on drugs or unstable, make an excuse, walk away to phone for help, and then keep the person in view until help arrives.

* No one should be able to come into school without being checked at reception. If this system ever lets you down, ask for a review.

Next week: the abandoned child

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