Keep teaching out of the dock

1st September 2006 at 01:00
here is a growing catalogue of teachers taken to court on charges of assaulting pupils and then being cleared. Simon Simpson's ordeal is only the latest (page three). Let us not forget primary teacher Lorraine Stirling, who was found not guilty last year of assaulting seven pupils after the court heard a gang of pupils had made up stories about her.

It is little wonder teachers would rather avoid touching any pupil for fear of prosecution. No one benefits if children are turned into society's "untouchables"; nor should teachers be afraid to offer appropriate physical comfort to a distressed child. Calls from teachers' leaders for better guidance are therefore understandable.

But surely the critical factor is to avoid parents and authorities ending up in court at all. This points firmly in the direction of councils making use of a mediation service. If the Scottish Executive is truly anxious to involve parents in their children's schooling, this would be an excellent place to start.

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