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    Former MSE Lee
    Real Life MMD: My son broke boy's glasses - should I pay?
    • #1
    • 15th Jun 11, 5:29 PM
    Real Life MMD: My son broke boy's glasses - should I pay? 15th Jun 11 at 5:29 PM
    My son broke boy's glasses - should I pay?


    I was called into school as my son broke another boy's glasses in a play fight. The school questioned them and they admitted they were being stupid but it wasn't malicious. The next day this boy's older brother started bullying my son saying he'd have to pay for the glasses. Now the school have called saying this boys' parents want us to pay 50% (25) towards new glasses. The boy admitted his broken glasses were very old and had been broken several times already. Should I have to pay?

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    Last edited by Former MSE Lee; 21-06-2011 at 7:50 PM.
Page 2
    • robpw2
    • By robpw2 22nd Jun 11, 6:47 AM
    • 12,646 Posts
    • 26,389 Thanks
    robpw2
    I am afraid that by law you are at least 50% responsible. As your son is a minor any actions he takes you automatically become responsible for. While I understand that this was an accident the glasses were broken during a fight.

    The same principle in law would apply from something as simple if you were angry and arguing with your neighbour and while in the course of a physical argument you broke a garden ornament. While you may not have intended to do so you are still responsible for your actions as is your son in regards to the broken glasses.

    However that being said you could argue that the school had a responsiblity of care for both children and should not have allowed the fight to occur in the first place you would have to seek damages from the school however the parents of the other child have no obligation to do so.

    While you may be able to argue in court that the other boy should not have been fighting at best you might get a reduction in costs depending on how a judge apportions blame, you could also ask for the cost of an NHS optical voucher to be considered when assessing damages however the value of such a voucher is less than 40 and many childrens glasses are much more expensive.
    Originally posted by awm49
    which law are you referring too and do you have case law where the law has been tested?


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  • jolly lion
    Yes, you should pay.

    This is criminal damage - you're lucky your fighting child hasn't been brought before a youth court.

    As others have said, if there's bullying, get it seen to - but don't use it as an excuse to get you out of the original incident.

    If they want you to pay half, ask to see a receipt, then pay it.
    • gemmaj
    • By gemmaj 22nd Jun 11, 8:08 AM
    • 429 Posts
    • 344 Thanks
    gemmaj
    It doesn't say how old the child is. My 3 year old has glasses and so far has lost 1 pair and had another trodden on by another child (my childs fault for putting her glasses on the floor). I don't blame her because she is young, and these things happen. I have always accepted that at that age the glasses are not "for life", and wouldn't expect anyone else to contribute for accidents which were inevitable - unless done maliciously, which isn't the case in this article.

    ISAMad, what if you stop looking at it as a benefit for parents and instead look at it as the government looking after the child? Irrespective of income and how easily they could afford it, some parents would not buy glasses for their children - unfortunately just because you can have a child doesn't mean you will be a responsible parent. I always thought this was the government safeguarding children's health in case the parents don't. Mind you, I say this as someone who doesn't live in England and couldn't get free glasses by the way.
  • barshamhillbilly
    Both children were at school and the school had responsibility for them at the time. Therefore, apart from the fact that children get free glasses anyway, the children were not being supervised correctly so the school are responsible.... if anyone....... Just my humble opinion
    Embrace your inner Hillbilly
  • Bob Robinson
    No Do Not Pay
    The child clearly knew the glasses were faulty, so should have known that they would break.
    I am disgusted that an older sibling was used to bully your Son to get money from you. For that reason alone I would not pay and have strong words with the parents.

    Both my Brother and I ware glasses and have done since we were small, accidents happen we certainly did not demand money though threatening words or behavior to get them repaired or replaced if broken by a friend or other person.

    It was an unfortunate accident, which any parent with children who ware glasses can expect to happen at some point.

    Good Luck
    • A.Jones
    • By A.Jones 22nd Jun 11, 9:22 AM
    • 506 Posts
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    A.Jones
    As the glasses are old and have been broken before, I wouldn't pay anything. To me, it sounds like a nice little earner they have got going. Get into a play fight, break the glasses and claim half their value from the parents with the threat of bullying from an older brother. Repair them, get into another play fight, break them, claim half their value ...

    I'd inform the school that you are not paying, and that you will be contacting the Police and Ofsted about the bullying if it is allowed to continue.
    • Ebenezer_Screwj
    • By Ebenezer_Screwj 22nd Jun 11, 9:34 AM
    • 437 Posts
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    Ebenezer_Screwj
    The school was correct, both boys were being stupid and stupidity has consequences. Pay your half and withhold your son's pocket money accordingly.
    • joehoover
    • By joehoover 22nd Jun 11, 9:35 AM
    • 145 Posts
    • 242 Thanks
    joehoover
    Quite suprising many people think it is the schools problem as they were in charge at the time. Your parenting responsibilities don't end when you drop your child at the school gates. Yes kids fight but here is a chance to teach them a lesson that they will suffer for damage caused, tell them this will come from their allowance. They may think about their actions more in the future if they can see the consequences of it.

    This is a bit invalid when you consider that the glasses should be free anyway so there is the issue that you are being scammed in which case you should pay nothing, but don't overlook the lesson you have to teach, otherwise you are telling them it is ok to fight and damage property.

    It is not the schools repsonsibility to teach children right from worng, it is not TV's responsibility, some parents forget this, it is up to you to teach your children, everyone else fills in the gaps but you are the moral compass, this is all on your shoulders.
    • lozza10127
    • By lozza10127 22nd Jun 11, 9:37 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    lozza10127
    Children's glasses are free, NHS glasses are not like they were when I was a kid and they are now really trendy so there is no reason why the boys parents should be paying for glasses, I think it's a con.
    • minerva_windsong
    • By minerva_windsong 22nd Jun 11, 9:37 AM
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    minerva_windsong
    I've worn glasses since I was five and got my eye tests and basic glasses paid for on the NHS up until I was 19, so I wouldn't offer to pay for something that doesn't need paying for - if the kid wants designer glasses or needs fancy lenses then his parents should be covering that cost. However, I'd get your son to bake some cakes or biscuits and write a note to say sorry, and send that over as a goodwill gesture.
    "A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister

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  • ShirleyJ
    Re: Should I pay towards boy's new glasses
    I work in an opticians and it sounds as if someone is trying to rip you off. Children's glasses can always be replaced free of charge on an NHS voucher. The only time I would expect someone to have to pay anything towards a replacement pair would be if they chose a designer frame.
    • Hal
    • By Hal 22nd Jun 11, 9:51 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Hal
    1. If the shoe were on the other foot, and it was your son whose glasses needed replacing - and if it did cost 50 to replace them - would you expect the other boy's parents to meet half the cost, or would you expect to pay the full cost yourself?
    2. Dependent upon your answer to the point above, the next issue if you did decide to share the cost is whether there is a cost to share, or whether it should be covered in full by the NHS. I suspect that whilst Specsavers etc will replace glasses for free, there might be a real cost of 50 which it recovers from the NHS. The other boy's parents might think they have to pay it.

      If it were me, I would expect the other boy's parents to contribute in point 1; so I would be prepared to contribute to their cost if any. I would do so up to a max of 25 and against sight of the receipt explaining that I was willling to contribute but I thought that replacement glasses should be free on the NHS for children. Any other course of action would be likely to lead to rancour (and yes, recover it from your son's pocket money).
  • JuniperBerry
    Do the right thing.
    Firstly, not the schools fault, individuals - even kids - need to learn they are responsible for their own actions.
    First action, call a local Specsavers or similar, confirm advice here about free repairs then a note to the other parent appologising and saying, re money, "if you take them to X they wil be repaired free"
    If for some reason other parent does need to pay then you should pay half once they forward the receipt (and son pays you back from pocket money)
    As others have said the bullying is a seperate issue, I would mention it to the other parent if they seem reasonable, if not then the school.
    • JayD
    • By JayD 22nd Jun 11, 10:19 AM
    • 552 Posts
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    JayD
    The condition of the glasses when they got broken is totally irrelevant. The replacement pair will not be any cheaper because the broken ones were old or already damaged!
    The boy had usable glasses until the playfight. During the playfight they got broken. He needs glasses. I think that to ask you to pay half towards a new pair is perfectly reasonable and I am amazed that anyone could think otherwise. 25 may be a great deal of money to you but I think in the grand scheme of optician charges these days, it is not a huge amount to have to find at all.

    I recommend that you pay up and tell your son to be a lot more careful in future. It is a good lesson in consequences for him.
    • faineant
    • By faineant 22nd Jun 11, 10:26 AM
    • 107 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    faineant
    Compromise, goodwill and responsible behaviour are the key things here.

    Suggest to the other parents that the two boys need to take equal responsibility and be given equal chores (working together if possible) to earn their contributions towards the replacement cost.

    Who knows they may even become good friends but at least they should be able to make up and establish goodwill between the parents.
    If money saving starts to involve irritation or frustration the fine line between thrift and greed should be examined.
    • superbabe612
    • By superbabe612 22nd Jun 11, 10:27 AM
    • 143 Posts
    • 92 Thanks
    superbabe612
    Don't pay. This is extortion!
    My children both wear glasses but not all the time. I pay a small cost towards the frames (usually 10 or 20, since I tell my kids they should only choose from the 'cheaper' ranges!). Glasses can be repaired free of charge or replaced at no cost, dependent on the frames. My eldest recently lost her brand new glasses and I told her if I had to pay for a replacement, it would be with the standard NHS frames, to encourage her to look after them. It was a nice surprise to find out we could get them replaced free (that's what I pay my tax and NI for, after all!).
    The school is condoning the bullying by asking the OP to contribute to the cost to stop their son from being bullied.
    I would suggest the OP writes to the school and the other boy's parents complaining about the bullying.
    • bobmccluckie
    • By bobmccluckie 22nd Jun 11, 10:30 AM
    • 61 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    bobmccluckie
    3 word answer

    sling your hook.
  • tommo812
    Hello, the main point I picked up from your dilema, was OLDER Brother bullying. The young ones are obviously mates(boys will be boys). I suggest the fathers get together over a pint and your husband pays half for new glasses. Not a great amount to pay to start new friendship and stop oler one getting the idea that its ok to be a bully.Nothing stops bullying faster than parents being friends.
    • ruthb2008
    • By ruthb2008 22nd Jun 11, 10:52 AM
    • 47 Posts
    • 48 Thanks
    ruthb2008
    I'm sure that Judge Judy would say that your son was partially to blame for the damage and so you should be partially responsible. But given that his glasses will be free to replace, as confirmed by lots of opticians' employees above, I dont think you should pay a penny! What are they after, designer glasses for their young child?! If they decide they dont want the free glasses then that is on them, why should you pay for their son to be 'stylish'? I'd just explain to them that they will be able to get free replacement glasses on the NHS, so there really isnt any need for either of you to be paying anything. You never know, they might not realise it wont cost them a penny! How can they argue with that?! They do, however, need to have a word with their older son - bullying is not acceptable in any circumstances!
    • Gemmai
    • By Gemmai 22nd Jun 11, 10:56 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    Gemmai
    Since children's glasses are free on the NHS I would say don't pay.

    If the broken glasses were designer and genuinely would cost 50 to replace I would say that is the boys parents own fault for sending him to school in designer glasses and they have to take responsibility for that. Let it be a lesson to them not to send the boy to school in designer gear!

    It's predictable that items will get lost or damaged at school and it's just common sense not to send children in with expensive items, especially when it is just for the sake of fashion!

    If the parents can afford designer glasses then they can get him two pairs. I wear glasses and I have two pairs, one designer pair and a cheap pair for when I am doing things where they have a greater potential to get damaged. It's not rocket science!

    If the 50 is just to pay for the 'design' I would say they should be treated as any other fashion accessory, like trainers or clothes. The person who owns then takes the risk of them being lost/damaged/stolen.

    On the other hand if there is a genuine reason why the lenses are more expensive and the parents can provide proof of that, it would be a nice adult gesture to offer to pay half.
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