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  • FIRST POST
    • Bargainhunter69
    • By Bargainhunter69 10th May 18, 1:55 PM
    • 8Posts
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    Bargainhunter69
    Assaulted at work. No right to self-defence
    • #1
    • 10th May 18, 1:55 PM
    Assaulted at work. No right to self-defence 10th May 18 at 1:55 PM
    Hi,
    I work in a primary school but on the day in question I was not working but volunteering my football skills at an external venue with the school children. A parent of one of my players confronted me after we had lost (what a sin!) and threatened me verbally and non verbally. I had already put distance between us. He continued to rant and then threatened me again before he came towards my face. I instinctively pushed him away - it was actually as soft as it could have been on his chest.
    No issue as I have acted in self-defence and the police agree and dealt with the parent.
    Wrong - school say I am not allowed to push the parent and my union were rubbish. How did it become a work disciplinary case? I, like the police (and union) say it was a criminal matter and not an employment issue. School have actually put in writing that it is not their job to understand criminal law or what is acceptable retaliation regarding "self-defence"
    Anyone with knowledge of the law (self-defence) feel free to advise. The local Diocese wont get into conversation and nor will the local authority which I think is shocking.
    It is a clear open and shut case but sadly that's not the schools opinion. School also didn't ban the parent saying they followed legal advice. Anyone who is a governor of a school knows that you can ban a parent as long as you give them 14 days to respond.
    Last edited by Bargainhunter69; 10-05-2018 at 1:57 PM.
Page 3
    • ohreally
    • By ohreally 11th May 18, 12:38 PM
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    ohreally
    You would be best placed on focusing on any upcoming disciplinary hearing and your case statement.
    • LABMAN
    • By LABMAN 11th May 18, 12:42 PM
    • 823 Posts
    • 1,405 Thanks
    LABMAN
    That defence has no direct effect on any civil or disciplinary action taken by an employer.

    Wrong, everyone has the right to self-defence and the workplace can't take that away.
    Originally posted by Bargainhunter69
    Only one person (in this made up scenario) was physically assaulted...and that was the parent.
    • Casey1709
    • By Casey1709 11th May 18, 1:13 PM
    • 158 Posts
    • 241 Thanks
    Casey1709
    That defence has no direct effect on any civil or disciplinary action taken by an employer.

    Wrong, everyone has the right to self-defence and the workplace can't take that away.
    Originally posted by Bargainhunter69
    What a childish & purile post.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 11th May 18, 2:32 PM
    • 16,686 Posts
    • 41,274 Thanks
    FBaby
    You've totally missed the point. This case scenario has nothing to do with the law but with the contract employment. Almost inevitably, in the case of a teacher, there would be a clause about adhering to all policies, and you can be sure that there would be a policy about behaviour outside of the work environment and also about bringing the organisation to disrepute and cause for disciplinary actions.

    The issue in this case scenario is that the teacher did not act in a teacher like manner. What if it had been a pupil acting like that parent? Would he too act in self-defense by pushing him away.

    Teachers are supposed to know how to deal with aggressive behaviours, which includes walking away from conflicting situation and seeking support. That teacher didn't do that, and as such, their action would have been seen as representating that of his employer.

    As such, it would be totally reasonable and in line with the policy to consider that his behaviour was gross misconduct, regardless of whether it was his fault or not. The point is, when you are in a situation of representing your employer, which that teacher was as he wouldn't have acted as he was if he wasn't working as a teacher for that organisation, you need to follow the terms of all the organisation's policies. He didn't do that.
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 11th May 18, 3:25 PM
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    Norman Castle
    Wrong, everyone has the right to self-defence and the workplace can't take that away.
    Originally posted by Bargainhunter69
    Self defence has to be reasonable and appropriate. An employer can consider claims of self defence as inappropriate behaviour.

    I brought this up and although the specifics were not discussed some of my class thought like a lot of posters that self defence is not allowed and how they would calmly step back as someone attacked them.
    You are allowed to defend yourself but it has to be appropriate and necessary. Escalating a situation is not self defence.
    Last edited by Norman Castle; 11-05-2018 at 3:42 PM.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
    • RichardD1970
    • By RichardD1970 11th May 18, 3:58 PM
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    RichardD1970
    Have seen similar incidents at work where both the "participants" have been sacked.

    And that's in a rough !!!! factory not a school.
    • LilElvis
    • By LilElvis 11th May 18, 4:34 PM
    • 3,558 Posts
    • 9,808 Thanks
    LilElvis
    Have seen similar incidents at work where both the "participants" have been sacked.

    And that's in a rough !!!! factory not a school.
    Originally posted by RichardD1970
    My husband got punched in the face by a colleague last year and, surprisingly, his "retirement" was announced shortly after. It happened at their monthly management meeting in front of a director. These are all men with six figure salaries and multi-million pound budgets. Husband got the last laugh as the ex-colleague wants to do contracting work, but as that would be for my husband's division it's never going to happen and word has got out in the industry so now he's basically unemployable in that field. Shame really.
    • Bargainhunter69
    • By Bargainhunter69 11th May 18, 5:03 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Bargainhunter69
    This is from the school website and is on many school websites - it is from national guidance.
    POLICY ON DEALING WITH AGGRESSIVE PARENTS
    1. STATEMENT OF INTENT
    The school encourages close links with parents and the community. We believe that
    students benefit when the relationship between home and school is a positive one.
    The vast majority of parents, carers and others visiting the school are keen to work
    with us and are supportive of the school. However, a tiny minority of parents have a
    negative attitude towards the school and sometimes, this can result in aggression,
    verbal and/or physical abuse towards school staff.
    The school expects its staff to behave professionally in these difficult situations and
    attempt to defuse the situation where possible, seeking the involvement as
    appropriate of other colleagues. However, all staff have the right to work without fear
    of violence and abuse and the right, in extreme cases, of appropriate self-defence.
    The school expects parents and other visitors to behave in a reasonable way
    towards school staff. This policy outlines the steps that will be taken where parents’
    behaviour is unacceptable.
    2. BEHAVIOUR
    Types of behaviour that are considered serious and unacceptable and will not be
    tolerated
    This is not an exhaustive list but seeks to provide illustrations of unacceptable
    behaviour.
    !!!61623; Shouting at school staff, either in person or over the telephone.
    !!!61623; Physically intimidating a member of staff eg standing very close to him/her
    !!!61623; The use of aggressive hand gestures eg two fingers raised
    !!!61623; Threatening school staff
    !!!61623; Shaking or holding a fist towards another person
    !!!61623; Writing abusive comments about a member of staff eg he/she is an idiot
    !!!61623; Swearing at a member of school staff.
    !!!61623; Pushing
    !!!61623; Hitting, eg slapping, punching or kicking
    !!!61623; Spitting
    !!!61623; Racist or sexist comments
    !!!61623; Breaking the school’s security procedures
    • RichardD1970
    • By RichardD1970 11th May 18, 5:16 PM
    • 2,919 Posts
    • 4,308 Thanks
    RichardD1970
    This is from the school website and is on many school websites - it is from national guidance.
    POLICY ON DEALING WITH AGGRESSIVE PARENTS
    1. STATEMENT OF INTENT
    The school encourages close links with parents and the community. We believe that
    students benefit when the relationship between home and school is a positive one.
    The vast majority of parents, carers and others visiting the school are keen to work
    with us and are supportive of the school. However, a tiny minority of parents have a
    negative attitude towards the school and sometimes, this can result in aggression,
    verbal and/or physical abuse towards school staff.
    The school expects its staff to behave professionally in these difficult situations and
    attempt to defuse the situation where possible, seeking the involvement as
    appropriate of other colleagues. However, all staff have the right to work without fear
    of violence and abuse and the right, in extreme cases, of appropriate self-defence.
    The school expects parents and other visitors to behave in a reasonable way
    towards school staff. This policy outlines the steps that will be taken where parents’
    behaviour is unacceptable.
    2. BEHAVIOUR
    Types of behaviour that are considered serious and unacceptable and will not be
    tolerated
    This is not an exhaustive list but seeks to provide illustrations of unacceptable
    behaviour.
    !!!61623; Shouting at school staff, either in person or over the telephone.
    !!!61623; Physically intimidating a member of staff eg standing very close to him/her
    !!!61623; The use of aggressive hand gestures eg two fingers raised
    !!!61623; Threatening school staff
    !!!61623; Shaking or holding a fist towards another person
    !!!61623; Writing abusive comments about a member of staff eg he/she is an idiot
    !!!61623; Swearing at a member of school staff.
    !!!61623; Pushing
    !!!61623; Hitting, eg slapping, punching or kicking
    !!!61623; Spitting
    !!!61623; Racist or sexist comments
    !!!61623; Breaking the school’s security procedures
    Originally posted by Bargainhunter69
    Ok. It's a question of what is "professional" and what is "appropriate" self defence?

    Was the push to the chest the only possible "self defence" or could it have been resolved in a more "professional" way, ie turning and walking away or some other non invasive stratergy?
    • LilElvis
    • By LilElvis 11th May 18, 5:17 PM
    • 3,558 Posts
    • 9,808 Thanks
    LilElvis
    If "pushing" is deemed to be unacceptable behaviour for a parent then, conversely, it would be reasonable to assume it is equally unacceptable by a teacher.

    The alleged document you are citing says that teachers may use appropriate self defense, but only in "extreme cases". The school obviously felt that the threat posed by the parent didn't reach that standard and therefore the teacher's reaction was not appropriate. But who knows, I wasn't there and neither were you.
    • happyandcontented
    • By happyandcontented 11th May 18, 5:17 PM
    • 1,086 Posts
    • 2,130 Thanks
    happyandcontented
    This is from the school website and is on many school websites - it is from national guidance.
    POLICY ON DEALING WITH AGGRESSIVE PARENTS
    1. STATEMENT OF INTENT
    The school encourages close links with parents and the community. We believe that
    students benefit when the relationship between home and school is a positive one.
    The vast majority of parents, carers and others visiting the school are keen to work
    with us and are supportive of the school. However, a tiny minority of parents have a
    negative attitude towards the school and sometimes, this can result in aggression,
    verbal and/or physical abuse towards school staff.
    The school expects its staff to behave professionally in these difficult situations and
    attempt to defuse the situation where possible, seeking the involvement as
    appropriate of other colleagues. However, all staff have the right to work without fear
    of violence and abuse and the right, in extreme cases, of appropriate self-defence.
    The school expects parents and other visitors to behave in a reasonable way
    towards school staff. This policy outlines the steps that will be taken where parents’
    behaviour is unacceptable.
    2. BEHAVIOUR
    Types of behaviour that are considered serious and unacceptable and will not be
    tolerated
    This is not an exhaustive list but seeks to provide illustrations of unacceptable
    behaviour.
    !!!61623; Shouting at school staff, either in person or over the telephone.
    !!!61623; Physically intimidating a member of staff eg standing very close to him/her
    !!!61623; The use of aggressive hand gestures eg two fingers raised
    !!!61623; Threatening school staff
    !!!61623; Shaking or holding a fist towards another person
    !!!61623; Writing abusive comments about a member of staff eg he/she is an idiot
    !!!61623; Swearing at a member of school staff.
    !!!61623; Pushing
    !!!61623; Hitting, eg slapping, punching or kicking
    !!!61623; Spitting
    !!!61623; Racist or sexist comments
    !!!61623; Breaking the school’s security procedures
    Originally posted by Bargainhunter69
    That is a catch all statement. Of course, none of those are acceptable behaviours but that is not the issue.

    The issue here is did the contract of employment have the phrase 'bringing the school into disrepute' in it or something similar? All school contracts that I have been involved with do.

    So, self-defence starts by removing yourself from the situation by stepping back and creating space. It does not start with getting the first one in, in front of parents, children and bystanders when on school business. That falls foul of the above clause, and would (should) result in disciplinary action.

    If someone strikes out at you that is a different matter but that doesn't seem to be what happened here.
    • shortcrust
    • By shortcrust 11th May 18, 6:54 PM
    • 1,906 Posts
    • 2,801 Thanks
    shortcrust
    If there was ever a thread that wasn’t going anyway...

    I’d love to hear the other side of the story.
    • BrassicWoman
    • By BrassicWoman 11th May 18, 7:01 PM
    • 1,571 Posts
    • 6,599 Thanks
    BrassicWoman
    I posted a reply much earlier but it isn't there. First the case was a real one.
    It wasn't actually me.
    Originally posted by Bargainhunter69
    Past tense - so it's been over and done with now. Good. Bye!
    Jan 18 grocery challenge £105.13/ £150
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 11th May 18, 7:30 PM
    • 5,160 Posts
    • 6,412 Thanks
    theoretica
    What hasn't been questioned is describing 'a gentle push' as self defence. Seems to me more like a foolish move which is unlikely to do anything to prevent the 'defender' from getting hurt by any genuine threat.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
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    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 11th May 18, 7:40 PM
    • 6,964 Posts
    • 5,729 Thanks
    Norman Castle

    I’d love to hear the other side of the story.
    Originally posted by shortcrust
    Football coach didn't like being shouted at and chose to shove parent away from them. School considers physical response to non physical abuse an inappropriate response?
    School believes in teaching by example and that is not the example they want copying?

    Its an unfair situation where only one side is expected to act professionally. That's possibly what the parent was relying on.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
    • Bargainhunter69
    • By Bargainhunter69 11th May 18, 11:51 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Bargainhunter69
    At college this never came up, the thought that people have no idea what self-defence is. I will leave it now as it seems the police were wrong and the CPS also wrong. Self-defence is a right we all have in work or out of work. Just like that document mentioned before. The person who uses self defence is not required to retreat and has the right to a pre-emptive strike. Otherwise they would end up with i.e. a broken nose which would make for a terrible scene in-front of children and an even bigger personal injury claim against the school. There is obviously a big difference between children and adults and that wasn't the point raised - further powers of reasonable force are given to those in education but that's a different issue.
    Seriously thanks for the many opinions.
    • RichardD1970
    • By RichardD1970 12th May 18, 12:18 AM
    • 2,919 Posts
    • 4,308 Thanks
    RichardD1970
    At college this never came up, the thought that people have no idea what self-defence is. I will leave it now as it seems the police were wrong and the CPS also wrong. Self-defence is a right we all have in work or out of work. Just like that document mentioned before. The person who uses self defence is not required to retreat and has the right to a pre-emptive strike. Otherwise they would end up with i.e. a broken nose which would make for a terrible scene in-front of children and an even bigger personal injury claim against the school. There is obviously a big difference between children and adults and that wasn't the point raised - further powers of reasonable force are given to those in education but that's a different issue.
    Seriously thanks for the many opinions.
    Originally posted by Bargainhunter69
    Again, you are missing the point.

    It's not a question of legality.

    Yes the couch may have been perfectly within their legal rights to use reasonable force to defend himself but if in doing so is deemed to have bought the school into disrespect he can still be disciplined for it.

    There are plenty of things that are perfectly legal for me to do but if I do them at work I can be disciplined. I can even be disciplined for doing thing outside of work, if I can be associated with work ie whilst wearing my work uniform, if those things could be deemed detrimental to the image of the business.
    • Energize
    • By Energize 12th May 18, 1:13 AM
    • 442 Posts
    • 194 Thanks
    Energize
    Pushing someone in the chest is an assault, which could be prosecuted as common assault but not likely to be in most cases.

    There is a statutory defence to any charge of assault of acting in self defence, so long at it is reasonable and proportionate ( which is for a court to decide).

    That defence has no direct effect on any civil or disciplinary action taken by an employer.
    Originally posted by TonyMMM
    The notion of self defence is more than simply a defence to a criminal charge, the right to defend oneself and undertake reasonable actions to prevent crime in a more general sense are contractually relevant insofar as a judge may not agree with an employer that an employee breached contract because they used physical force and could find against them in an employment tribunal.
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 12th May 18, 8:03 AM
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    • 5,729 Thanks
    Norman Castle
    At college this never came up, the thought that people have no idea what self-defence is No idea or didn't agree with you?. I will leave it now as it seems the police were wrong and the CPS also wrong. Your narrow perspective is wrong. Self-defence is a right we all have in work or out of work.
    Originally posted by Bargainhunter69
    The police and cps will view it only from a legal perspective. Everyone has a right to defend themselves and every employer has the right to an opinion as to whether behaviour is acceptable and welcomed in an employee.
    The police and cps do not choose who an employer employs.
    Last edited by Norman Castle; 12-05-2018 at 8:08 AM.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
    • Ozzuk
    • By Ozzuk 12th May 18, 9:37 AM
    • 1,319 Posts
    • 1,948 Thanks
    Ozzuk
    What a waste of people's time. If you want to start a debate, make it clear it's a debate so people can respond with that in mind. We give advice/opinion with a view to helping people, not to meet some college debate.
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