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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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HelloMy 8 year old boy has been accused of inappropriate

Resolved Question:

Hello My 8 year old boy has been accused of inappropriate kissing and touching over a year ago out of school. The head teacher has become involved but will not give any details and considers the matter closed leaving many unanswered questions. It has come to our attention that other children in school now think he is a naughty little boy which we feel is very unjust. We feel the school has handled this very badly. Who should I turn to?

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How did the Head Teacher become involved?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Clare and thank you for your response.


 


It is unclear to us how this has has come to light after some length of time and we find it very odd that there has been no request for this to be taken further.


 


I only have here say to suggest that this might have come up in school as the same child may have had an issue with another child from their own class (year 2), which might be of a similar nature, which I am fully aware has no bearing, as it is here say.


 


I would like to raise the question however as to why the Head has brought this up now and under what circumstances this information has been uncovered and what measures she has put in place to make sure that unfounded allegations do not create negative results, which is exactly what has happened.


 


I am not at all of the intention to pursue or slander the other family involved but rather would seek to reason why on earth an accusation like this which has already caused repercussions has not been given due care and attention. For example there was no one else present with us during the meeting when these allegations were made and was advised by the head not to talk to anyone, my child included about this.


 


I am in no doubt that my son unsupervised may well have kissed in innocence another child but I feel that we have been left at the mercy of the playground jury and that both of my children may well suffer. As was mentioned in the first message I must clarify that my younger child has been told by other children from his year 2 class that he is not invited because his older brother from year 4 is a very naughty boy.


 


I hope this information has helped and that you can give me some enlightenment.


 


Many Thanks


 


Christopher Body


 

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Were the police or Social Services involved with the original incident?
What is the head meant to have done regarding this?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

As I am aware no agency has been contacted about this.


My concern is that the head has said she has to log this report and do nothing else which in my opinion is not good enough as it seems children in the year 2 class have said to my younger child that his brother is a naughty boy. This has not been contained

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
I am sorry could we clarify some points please
When and where was the incident meant to have happened and how did the Head Teacher become aware of it?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We have been given very limited information.


We were told that this may have happened in the past year to 18 months and that it occurred in the other child s home. I have ideas but no information as to how the Head has become aware of this.


 


As parents we are convinced we know when and where this is supposed to have happened and have diary dates for the past few years about both of our children s activities, they have had very few play days at other homes, and know which families have younger children that he has visited. This we feel makes this all the more unbearable for us as parents as we don't feel we can talk to our child about this as we cannot be sure.


 


Thankyou


 


Chris

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
So you were first told about it by the School?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi


 


Yes on Tuesday by the Head teacher.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Clare


 


Yes it was the Head that informed us about this.


 


Thanks


 


Chris

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
So another parent has told the school about this - clearly in confidence.
The head has recorded it as s/he must but obviously has no great concerns about the reported behaviour and since it did not happen at school there is nothing more that he or she can do
I appreciate that this leaves you in limbo as clearly there is another parent saying things - things which are not necessarily correct - but I cannot see any way in which the head teacher can assist further.
They cannot tell you who has made this disclosure - that is subject to confidentiality.
However you can discuss with the head the problems that are happening in the playground and ask for suggestions as to how it should be dealt with
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Clare


 


You have been excellent with your questions and have really made me think about the facts of this situation. You have been very informative and your request for clarification have changed my perspective of what I need to and should do.


Though your answer was in some ways inconclusive I have taken confidence from you to approach this matter in a correct and legal manner.


 


We have circumstantial evidence that the head has forced parents to take their children out of this school because of special educational needs that have not been met. Our child is one of those who has had external support from this school for reading difficulties and has not progressed.


 


I have taken confidence from your answer to make an appointment with a local firm who specialise in this area and to incur the costs involved.


 


I am of the belief that these allegations have come out in school regarding the same child and that another boy is on report for similar behavior. As this maybe a matter that has come up in school I feel that we deserve some explanation as to how this has come to light and in what circumstances and how the head has learnt about this. Has due process been followed?


 


Many thanks again


 


Chris

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi Chris
I am glad that my answer helped - but in view of the extra information you have shared I too am a little concerned about the approach taken by the head
Might I suggest that you WRITE a calm and matter of fact letter to the head saying that you appreciate that from her/his approach s/he does not regard the matter as significant but nonetheless in terms of your ensuring that your child is aware of correct boundaries you do feel that some work needs ti be done and ask him/her for suggestions on the way forward ....
The response will be interesting in terms of the context you have described
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This is exactly what I am about to do and have removed my children from this school until such time as I feel that they will be treated fairly.Here is a first draft copy of the information that we are going to submit and I will rate your advice as 10/10 on your reply. You don't have to read this as I will be seeking local legal assistance at my cost, just reply and I will rate you well.


Regards, Chris


 


Re: Meeting with Head Teacher MJ Downey on 11/03/2014 from 09:05 – 09:45


 


*This letter is a formal complaint and needs a good introduction.*


 


It was made aware to us on Tuesday morning that our son Rowan (né 30/07/05, year four) may have been involved in what was described to us as 'inappropriate kissing and touching' out of school with another child from the same school of a younger age than himself, no other information was given other than this had taken place within the past year to 18 months.


At this time the Head instructed us that she was going to log/report (we are not sure which) the allegation but that 'It could be something or it could be nothing', I quote her words and that she would not be taking any further action.


A phone call at around 10:00 from us to the head teacher was made with a request by us as to the location of the incident which simply was answered ' in the other childs home '.


 


This information and it's discussion took up a short time at the end of the meeting following a lengthy and rather negative disscussion about Rowan s special educational needs which had recently been altered.


The Head made light of this allegation and even laughed as we left using the words 'oh what an interesting morning we are having', quote. This meeting was not attended by anyone else other than Mrs MJ Downey, myself and my fiance Louise Corlett.


 


We feel that due to varied historic reasons we have lost all faith in the Head to properly safegard the wellfare of both of our children who attend this school. Our other child Ashley Body (né 27/07/07, year two) we feel has already been exposed to serious repurcussions regarding these allegations which we will endevour to explain.


 


Our son Rowan has been for some time recieving extra and external aid for his reading difficulties provided at cost by the school from a specialist organisation called Orrets Meadow. This was arranged for Rowan by the Head and started we believe in March of 2013. We have had three meetings with this Outreach organiser in that time, the last of which was attended by Louise on the 28/02/14 at which time we were informed that this program was being withdrawn. This has followed on from an in school assistance scheme called Reading Recovery (starting year two)which was given by the wonderful Mrs Hibbert who has also been the person involved in delivering the Orrets Meadow program to Rowan and who has had very close involvement with our child for more than two years we believe. Mrs Hibbert has only ever let us know or told us that our son is a wonderful boy to work with and holds him in high regard and would be one of the people we would ask for an opinion on Rowans character should the need arise, the others being Mrs Hughes and especially Miss Phillips who has been the classroom assistant with my child since reception year! Unfortunately our sons character has been seriously challenged yet because of the advice from the Head we feel utterly powerless to take any action whatsoever or contact the people we have mentioned with the intention of either clearing his name or 'getting to the bottom of this'.


On the contrary we feel trapped and maligned as a family, unable to approach or talk to anyone from school and have taken the painful action of removing both of our children from this school until such time as we can be sure that their welfare will be properly taken into consideration as ignoring this we believe will have and already has had affected them because a resolution has not been sought. * We strongly believe this to be the case as our son Ashley came home the next day (12/03/14) and said that he was told by a child in his class that he would not be invited to this childs party because his brother was a very naughty boy!!!!!*


 


The historical reasons we mentioned as to why we believe we can now not approach the Head of the school regarding this matter and feel that the only course that we can now take is the legal one that we have embarked on we shall now try to explain.


 


We have never been completely satisfied that the Outreach program has delivered the required results to our son and that this along with Reading recovery is all that has been tried to help him. Rowan has not been statemented or we believe accurately assessed for dislexia though we have been assured by the Orrets Meadow organiser that he does show dislexive qualaties.


 


On arriving at Parents evening on the 05/02/14 we were approached by the Head and asked to discuss something of some sensitivity which disrupted the order of appointments as this took some time. It was presented by the Head to us that the school believed that Rowan may have ADHD or some related condition and would we please complete the forms which were given to us at this time. We also discussed at some length and aired some quite dissatisfactory opinions to the Head relating to the Outreach program Rowan was involved with and the lack of results that we were seeing in improvements with his reading. We also talked about our concern that the communication between us and the school relating to this program had not been satisfactory and that recent correspondence had suggested that the program would be terminated. A meeting with the Orrets Meadow coordinator, Mrs Hibbert and ourselves had been arranged for some time to take place on the 28/02/14. During this time with the Head on Parents evening she inquired as to whether we would like for her to attend the arranged meeting on the 28/02/14 to which we replied yes and took her assurances that she would attend.


Following this we had a conversation with Rowans class teacher Mrs Hughes which revolved more around the ADHD form, a copy of which she had also been requested to complete, and some of the startling questions it contained. * We would like for her to be interviewed to corroborate this. * More time was spent talking about this than about Rowans progress in class and we delayed the next parents by quite some time due to the length of our disscussions. Most notable in the conversaton were the references to the questions relating to harming or hurting others and animals. Mrs Hughes made her opinion quite clear that in her experiance of Rowan nothing could be further from the truth and that she was in fact suprised that we had even been presented with these forms. * A copy of our response to these forms is included *


 


On the morning of the 27/02/14 I had cause to phone the school and spoke to the Head regarding a session of PE that had taken place outside the day before (26/02/14) and was described to me by Rowan as being freezing as he was not adequately dressed. The Head replied by letter the same day but I was not satisfied with the response given and still thought that the teacher who had led the lesson had not paid sufficient attention to those who were not well dressed for what was a very cold and windy day, despite the sunshine. I replied to the Head by letter the next day which was taken to school by Louise and handed to Mrs Normington on the morning of the 28/02/14. * Copies of both correspondence included *


 


Rowan had become quite ill and was absent from school for the rest of the week (27-28/02/14)


On the morning of the 28/02/14 Louise arranged for a family member to take time from work to sit with Rowan so that she could attend the arranged meeting with The Outreach coordinator, Mrs Hibbert and as promised Mrs Downey. Mrs Downey did not attend the meeting and as we had said that we feared to the Head on Parents evening Rowan was dropped from the program. * No explanation or apology has been given as to why the Head did not attend. ???????


 


On the afternoon of the 10/03/14 Rowans class teacher Mrs Hughes approached me in the playground at pick up time and told me that the Head had requested a meeting with ourselves the next morning but she had no idea what it was about. I said that wwe would attend.


 


Finally we would like to bring attention to the meeting we had on the morning of the 11/03/14 with the Head in her office which as before stated included Mrs Downey, Louise and myself.


We feel that many negative things were brought up by the Head about Rowan and why the Orrets Meadow program had been withdrawn. We feel that all of these issues could well have been talked about on the occasion of the the meeting on the 28/02/14 which made us all the more confused as to why the Head had not attented this previous meeting. We waited for an explanation as to her absense from that meeting but none came and felt very uncomfortable to ask as the conversation about Rowan had taken a very negative tone.


During this meeting it was stated by the Head that:


* Rowan was not mature enough for this program


*Rowan was not trying hard enough with this program


*This program had worked for everybody else


Disturbingly it was also stated that the Head had had a conversation with Rowan to discuss his learning needs during which he had told her that he hated gymnastics, a sport at which Rowan had recently excelled and had been mentioned in my letter to the Head on the 28/02/14.


No mention was made during that mornings meeting with the Head about his recent success at a top competion or even his display in front of the whole school at the end of half term display. In fact no mention was made of my recent letter or my questions about the PE teacher who I believed had not paid due diligence to the weather conditions. It struck us both that a more negative appraisal of our child could hardly be possible, even to the point of the Head using the words of using him 'like a guinee pig' as her solution to removing the Orrets program. I believe that some 10 minute card sessions are going to take place with Rowan and Mrs Hibbert.


 


We have grave concerns that the Head has conducted meetings with both my child and ourselves without witness and suspect strongly that this may well be systemic and commen practice. I would like to challenge this approach as such grave allegations have been made in such a way without witness and fear that due and correct process may well not have been followed in a variety of ways.


We are of the opinion that we deserve to know how and why the Head has become aware of these allegations and if as we suspect they have indeed come to light in school due to a seperate and quite different problem with the same child. We feel that this has been put across to us by the Head to discredit us as a family and rather than take mind as to the wellfare of our children by dealing with this in a way that is fair to all children concerned, which should be the duty of a Head teacher, this has been handled most inappropriately resulting my children and our family being left at the mercy of the 'Playground Jury' over an accusation that took place a long time ago and may have been gathered from the other child in question in ways that are not entirely correct or remembered correctly.


 


These allegations if correct would meen that we as a family should help our child as best we can to understand that behavior of the kind suggested are not acceptable but as it stands without any facts we feel unable to this day to even talk to him about this as it would be highly unfair leaving us in a state of unbelievable limbo, which is why I feel the Head has failed so utterly to do the best by the children and families concerned and is not fit to hold the office in which she is now present.


We will do everything that is in our power to do what is right and correct but feel that it is now impossible for us to have any confidence in the Head again.


We would like for there to be full disclosure about this incident and weather due and correct process has been followed. We feel there needs to be a full independant inquiry as to how these events and allegations about my child have come to peoples attention and particularly how the Head has become involved and why she thinks it is right to leave this as it is and not give the same care to all parties.


 


We believe this is very out of character for our son Rowan and nothing like this has been reported before or since and that due to the fact that Ashley feels like he is being excluded because of something his brother may or may not have done leaves us to believe that as it stands this issue is not over and that the Head is not the correct person to resolve this.


 


Christopher Body and fiance Louise Corlett.


 


I apologise but I don't thionk my spell check was turned on.


 


 

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
I have to say that I think that you are mixing two sets of issues that should not be mixed.
The way that the head has handled the recent allegations is actually correct other than that I believe you should have been given a little more guidance in how to approach this with your son
It is clear that the head herself has some doubts about the veracity of the allegations and since they happened out of school she can do no more than record them and let you know that she has done so
There is no requirement for any meeting between you and the head to be witnessed in any way shape or form
Clare
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