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Plea for dignity

DELEGATES demanded the right to be treated with dignity at work, citing cases of teachers being bullied by children and adults. They claimed bullying and harassment were serious threats to the mental and physical health of teachers, and attacked sickness monitoring policies in schools as a bullies' charter.

A catalogue of horror stories presented to the conference by a succession of delegates included: a teacher who heard of the death of a relative during a parents' meeting being forced to join the rest of the staff for a drnk at the end of the evening because he was a member of the senior management team; and a teacher made to move classrooms five times in one academic year.

Delegates were also told of a deputy head who bullied staff in the corridor, sometimes in front of pupils, and a language teacher who was verbally and physically assaulted by students, and whose head refused to call in the police.

The conference urged the Government to introduce legislation to guarantee all workers dignified and civilised treatment at work.

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