Behaviour: Pupil harrassment

25th February 2011 at 00:00
I was walking home when I came across some Year 8 boys from my school. When they saw me they started screaming and one of them followed me home, shouting at me. Can anything be done about them harassing me outside school?

What you said

"I got the bus home with a child who seriously disliked me last year. She was throwing things at me on the bus so I took this to the head of year and she was dragged in (to the office), her parents were called in and it was dealt with appropriately."

Cloudsthatcry

"This isn't only a school disciplinary matter: it's criminal. Take action yourself - report this to the police and tell them that you can identify those who have stalked and harassed you."

Tom_Bennett

"Get a lawyer, choose three sets of parents of the group, contact them and say if this happens again you will get your lawyer to get a restraining order."

Smirk

The expert view

There are two things to be aware of. First, if you are being intimidated and harassed by anyone, whether they are strangers or, as in this case, pupils from your school, you can report this to the police. Give as much detail as you can, including the names of the pupils together with an account of the verbal abuse they subjected you to. You do not say whether this was a one-off incident or if there has been similar behaviour in the past. Clearly, if there have been other incidents then you should make the police aware of this.

Second, you should report the incident to your headteacher. As your employer, the headteacher owes you a duty of care under the terms of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This extends beyond the workplace if, as is the case here, the threat to your health and safety is related to your occupation. Mindful of this, your headteacher should conduct an investigation into the behaviour of the pupils and, where appropriate, take disciplinary action against them.

As an absolute minimum, the head will want to seek assurances from the pupils that there will be no repetition of such behaviour towards you or any other member of staff. Additionally, the head should check the school's behaviour and anti-bullying and harassment policies to see whether this kind of behaviour is mentioned and, if not, amend the policies accordingly.

With incidents of this kind it is crucial that the headteacher is seen to act swiftly and fairly. Provided they do so, staff and pupils should be left in no doubt that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

Ken McAdam is lead member adviser, legal and member services, for teaching union ATL. Visit www.tes.co.ukbehaviourforum

Checklist

DO

- Report harassment to the police and give them as much detail as possible.

- Report the incident to your headteacher, even if it takes place outside school.

- Seek assurances that there will be no repeat of this type of behaviour.

DON'T

- Tolerate harassment from pupils outside of school.

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