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April 7, 2004
And You Thought US Schools Were Tough

The London Telegraph reports on two teachers who have been given pensions due to abuse they suffered at the hands of their elementary-school students and, in one case, the parents:

Jo Redmond, a mother of five children, said she struggled on for as long as she could "as a matter of professional pride" despite being spat on, kicked, punched and cut by a makeshift weapon of glass strapped to two pencils.

Mrs Redmond, 51, said she was "devastated" to be forced to give up her job through ill health after being diagnosed as suffering from psychological as well as physical injury which had destroyed her confidence.

Redmond finally left her job after being hit in the face with a carton of orange juice and losing a tooth, being spat and urinated on, and getting hit with a fire extinguisher, breaking her wrist. Another man left teaching for much the same reasons, although his final straw came from a parent:

Phil Baker, 55, the former deputy head teacher of Headlands Comprehensive in Swindon, left the job suffering from post traumatic stress disorder while the father who lunged at him, breaking a door, was given a conditional discharge by magistrates and ordered to pay 100 compensation for damage to the door.

Much is made of older British schools in films, where corporal punishment was delivered by pinch-faced bespectacled schoolmarms and imperious headmasters. It would seem that the pendulum has swung a bit too far back the other direction. Just as in the US, if the community does not allow schools to provide order in the classrooms, no one will get an education and few teachers will be around to try it.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 7, 2004 6:41 AM

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