Pupils are constantly abusing a teacher because she is overweight

25th May 2007 at 01:00
Pupils are constantly abusing a teacher because she is overweight. How should she respond to set the pupils thinking and stop them abusing her?

Melanie, Stafford

A Reading your question made my heart sink and reminded me how horrible kids can be.

But that doesn't mean that it has to be meekly accepted. The victim must challenge any such behaviour, safe in the knowledge that there is institutional backup and support.

The school, the management and its governors, owe all employees a duty of care. It might be wise for somebody, perhaps a union representative, to remind the head of this, and the potential damaging consequences of letting it drift.

Terry, Worthing

A This is discrimination and a teacher should be supported appropriately via anti-discrimination policies and procedures. She could request that a more senior member of staff deal with it for her.

However, she could speak directly to the pupils herself. They, like the rest of us, appreciate honesty. She could let them know how the behaviour of some pupils is making her feel.

At the same time she could be a positive role model for them and discuss how she is attempting to lose weight by changing her eating andor exercise habits.

Daunting, but probably more effective in the long run than leaving it to someone else.

Jenny, Kent

A The school needs to crack down on any sort of personal abuse. If it was racist abuse I'm sure that it would not have been tolerated this far.

Keith, Brighton

A It's not for your colleague to deal with the matter - she has enough to put up with.

This is an issue for the school management to sort out. Your responsibility is to give your workmate all the support you can.

The best type of support you can give is to put the ball very firmly in the court of senior management Richard, Selsey

Coming up

Q: Can pupils who behave inappropriately be "banned" from school trips?

Q: I have been told that two pupils in my class "do not get on" and should not be seated together. Should I obey, or does this just make things worse? Wouldn't it be better instead to work at helping them to get along?

Send your answer or any question you would like answered by your fellow teachers to askateacher@tes.co.uk We pay pound;30 for any question or answer published.

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