My worst parent - I OD'd on a job well done

21st May 2010 at 01:00

The call to the school field during lunch break held hundreds of possibilities and, at first, the situation looked worrying but fairly straightforward. A Year 6 boy - popular, a bit of a character - was in a state of near collapse. We decided to take him to hospital.

As I waited at the school - I was in charge for the day as the head was in a meeting - a call came through from the teaching assistant who had accompanied the pupil: "It's a drugs overdose," they said. Although this type of incident was far from unknown on the estate where our urban junior school nestled, I was surprised.

A story eventually emerged: his friend had stolen Temazepam tablets from his mother's bedroom. The friend had not taken any but this boy had. As the story was already half-known to some pupils, I consulted with the education authority and we decided that open information was better than misinformation and rumour.

I composed a letter for the children to take home, explaining what had happened: that the situation had been dealt with; that it was a "one-off"; that the children were safe; that we must all be vigilant, and so on. I didn't relax as the letters made their way across the estate. I anticipated a media inquiry or two.

These never materialised, but one of our "better known" parents (multiple children, absent dad, known to interrupt lessons and demand that her issues were dealt with) met me near the school office, wielding a pushchair.

Time has blurred the exact words, but I remember she told me to stop laughing at her (my pathetic attempt to be smiling and welcoming) and that her final words were: "If you let anything happen to my kids, I will kill you."

My air of self-satisfaction quickly dissipated and I skulked back to the safety of my classroom. Headship? Humbug!

The writer is a teacher in North Yorkshire.

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