Violence isn't in our job description

2nd October 2009 at 01:00

Mike Kent's incisive, balanced and realistic view of school life is always welcome. Last week's column ("Hang on, who's in charge?" September 25) held significant resonance for me.

As I write I am at home nursing two broken ribs and a degree of psychological damage after restraining a young man with three other male staff supervised by the deputy headteacher and using approved methods - the pupil has severe autism. I was not the only member of staff to be hurt.

Having worked in special education for 35 years I have noticed that we are accommodating young people who 10 years ago would have been in more secure environments. I am aware of attempted rape on female staff, physical, verbal and emotional damage and abuse of all types that is endemic in some educational environments.

Inclusion is philosophically and ethically correct. However, central and local government need to provide human and other resources that is commensurate to the demands placed on educational and support services.

The health, safety and welfare of all staff involved in the education service should not be sacrificed on expediency, image and financial constraints.

We need to protect staff, ensure the welfare of vulnerable children and young adults and be cognisant that teaching and support staff should not be placed in situations where consistent, regular and systematic damage is tolerated and accepted by those in ultimate authority.

I am seriously considering early retirement - after 30-plus years of dedicated service - to protect my health and general well-being.

Dr Len Parkyn, Senior teacher, Vines Cross, East Sussex.

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