Tearaway Pupils Are Terrorising Us at Home, Say Teachers
Byline: Laura Clark Education Correspondent
TEACHERS are being terrorised in their homes by tearaway pupils, union leaders heard yesterday.
School staff are increasingly reporting obscene late-night phone calls, broken windows, cruel graffiti daubed on garden walls and damage to their cars, according to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.
Too many schools are failing to take a tough line on troublemakers and are 'fluffy' places where unruly children are encouraged to talk to 'mentors' rather than being properly disciplined, delegates told the union's annual conference in Liverpool.
They passed a motion calling on the union's membership to lobby for a 'zerotolerance' approach to violence against staff and malicious intrusion into their private lives.
They also demanded proper training for staff in how to restrain violent pupils after hearing how a student teacher was left to deal with a serious incident even though their training had only amounted to watching a 75- minute PowerPoint presentation on 'behaviour management'.
One of the more serious cases reported involved an ex-pupil who drove to the gates of his former school and fired shots from a ball-bearing gun.
In another, the brakes on a teacher's car were tampered with.
The conference heard the union had received 215 insurance claims relating to malicious damage to teachers' property and vehicles in little over a year. One teacher came home to find the word 'bitch' daubed on her garden wall, while another had to call out glaziers 17 times after windows were broken at her home.
Andrew Shipley, a delegate from the Isle of Man, said he and his wife, also a teacher, had been plagued with phone calls on Friretorted: days, usually at 2am or 3am.
'They were sometimes silent, sometimes sexually explicit,' he said. 'We had been targeted by louts who had decided to have too much drink of an evening.' But he said the police and his phone company had been 'powerless' to stop it, adding: 'We found out that the police themselves were targets of these people.
'The law is insufficient to deal with the issue.' Irene Baker, a supply teacher from Sefton, Merseyside, told the conference too many schools were 'failing' children with a lax disciplinary regime.
'The reason I say that is, they are creating this fluffy atmosphere where children do not have to face up to the consequences of their behaviour,' she said. …