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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71048
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My son has been involved in an incident at school where as

Customer Question

My son has been involved in an incident at school where as a prank a drawing pin was placed in a biscuit of a teacher. (He did not do the act but knew it had been done) He was questioned by staff and provided two statements saying that he did not see who did the act. On the third occasion the head teacher told him that he would be in more trouble if he did not name the person involved. What right have the school to obtain a statement from a 14 year old child without parental consent? Would the actions of the head teacher be classed as coercion?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Is there any reason you think it may?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, within criminal investigation a statement cannot be taken from a child without a parent or appropriate adult being present. In relation to coercion, the reason why an adult should be present is to protect the well being of the child and I would suggest prevent such actions as a person with authority pressurising a minor to provide the evidence they want to hear. Not necessarily what the child saw.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, but that is with a criminal investigation.
A breach of that particular piece of legislation wouldn't amount to coercion though. It would just amount to a breach.
This is a school investigation where the protections of PACE and RIPA don't apply largely because they cannot levy criminal sanctions.
This is perfectly acceptable on the part of the school.
Also, to be wholly honest, I was a police station rep for year before I went to the Bar and most 14 year olds are perfectly capable of coping without an appropriate adult who usually either sit quietly and contribute nothing or actively make things worse.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
When you say it would amount to a breach, a breach of what. Should the parent of the child not have the right to be present before the child was asked to provide a statement. The allegation the school has made against the other child is of assault, so although the school investigation is under behaviour policy, should consideration not be given to any legislation or department of education policy.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, the parent has no rights at all. Under the criminal law it is the right of the child.
No, the school has to give no consideration at all to PACE or other irrelevant legislation.
To be wholly honest, it wouldn't make any sense at all if a parent had to attend the school every time a child was asked to provide input upon an act under investigation.
It would actually be much better for juveniles if schools did deal with things like assault instead of calling the police.