Husband welcomes jail for teacher's attacker

THE husband of the pregnant teacher assaulted in her classroom said this week they were pleased that the judge had taken the attack seriously and jailed the mother of a pupil for three months.

Teresa Jones was five months pregnant when she was punched last July at Mansel primary school in Sheffield in a row over the cost of a school trip.

Scott Jones, her husband, spoke to The TES after Sheffield mother of three Deborah Broad pleaded guilty to charges of assault. She was accused of attacking Mrs Jones, punching her on the shoulder and on the cheek.

Mrs Jones had sent a letter to parents requesting that they provide their children with pound;1.50 spending money to cover the price of fairground rides during a trip to Clifton Park, in Rotherham.

Broad interpreted this as an extra cost imposed on parents, walked into the classroom and attacked Mrs Jones. While the assault did not have any long-term physical impact on Mrs Jones or her baby, she was shaken.

"She seemed to lose confidence after the attack," said Mr Jones. Mrs Jones herself was unable to comment, because of hearing difficulties unconnected with the attack.

Mr Jones said: "We're obviously pleased that the judge has taken it seriously, and meted out a sentence that hopefully will get the message across to any other parents who might feel like acting this way."

Chris Keates, deputy general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, of which Mrs Jones is a member, welcomed the verdict. She said it highlighted the increasingly serious problem of assaults on teachers: last year, at least 48 of her members were attacked in school.

Education Secretary Estelle Morris also applauded the judge's strong stance against classroom assault. "Teachers have a right to work without fear of violent attack or verbal abuse. The Government will not tolerate abuse of teachers, and we have enabled the courts to take a tougher line," she said.

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