In place of strife

6th July 2001 at 01:00
Make trouble in the pub on a Friday night and the landlord can utter the time-honoured sentence: "You're barred." Burst into a headteacher's office, hold her hostage and issue threats, and the scenario is rather different. You may be prosecuted; imprisoned even. But your child will still have a place in the school, and its staff have to work with you, even if you are denied entry.

The story of headteacher Sylvia Morris, told exclusively in The TES, will strike a chord in schools everywhere as more parents turn to violent confrontation. Mrs Morris - whose terrifying experience was triggered by an 11-year-old's nose stud - wants schools to have the right to request that pupils should be moved if the relationship breaks down. Currently only families can do this.

Hard cases make bad law and, in general, the sins of parents should not be visited on their children. Nor should forced transfers be allowed over polite but awkward disputes, or as backdoor exclusions. But with suitable checks and balances, schools must also be able to call time on threats and intimidation.

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