Parent threatens another parent on school premises

Reflection – Primary School

What was the issue addressed?
A parent verbally threatened another parent on school grounds at the end of the day. They alleged a bullying situation between two’s children. The threats were aggressive in nature.

What happened?
The school investigated the parent’s allegation of bullying and did not support the allegations. The school sought the advice of the Local Authority regarding the parent’s behaviour. The matter was discussed between the Headteacher and the Chair. A letter was sent to the threatened parent explaining the actions that had been taken. A poster was put up at the school about respectful behaviour and a letter sent to all parents. The LA policy set out the steps to be taken.

The parent who had been threatened was not happy that a personal letter had not been sent directly to the other parent. They opened an independent police case relating to the threats.

What lessons were learnt?
I don’t know what was discussed between the Headteacher and Chair of governors. But I do know that being on the receiving end of threats is not something that should be dismissed lightly.

Incidents such as this are unacceptable on school grounds. It is about showing respect to one another, even if people do not agree, discussing any concern/s in a rational and reasonable way. It is important to handle these situations well. The school quite rightly sort advice from the Local Authority and seems to have followed the steps outlined in the school’s policy. Do check out your own school’s policy should an incident arise.

Putting posters up in school which provide examples of unacceptable behaviour that will not be tolerated, and placing reminders about good behaviour in newsletters, are useful ways to reinforce school expectations.

The school also investigated the allegation around bullying but found no case to answer. Was the school’s complaint policy instigated? The school should also have designated policies in place. Here is some additional information:

School complaints procedures: guidance

Rights, respect, equality: guidance for schools

It would have been sensible, therefore, to have issued a letter to the parent who behaved inappropriately, (not just to the ‘threatened parent), outlining that such behaviour at the school was a very serious matter and should not happen again and indicating what action would be taken. This may very well have helped to appease the overall situation with the ‘threatened parent.’

Schools can of course barr troublesome and aggressive parents from the school for a period of time. Paragraph 71, chapter 25 of The School Governors Guide to the Law, provides useful information on this.

Ultimately, schools need robust policies and procedures in place to address any issue that arises swiftly.

Has your school had to deal with tensions between parents?
What policy does your school have for addressing potentially criminal behaviour carried out by parents on school premises?

Have your say…
Have you had experiences similar to these?
What do you think about the situation described?

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