Dad’s fury over rules at school
Jaya Narain describes what happened when the headmaster of a 900-year-old British school said ‘enough is enough’
HOWoften do we complain about lack of discipline in our schools? We’re not alone, it seems. Determined to improve manners at his secondary school, headmaster Kevin Harrison decided to pass on a lesson from the past.
He reinstated the tradition that pupils get to their feet when he enters the classroom.
But this week he found himself at the centre of an extraordinary stand-off with a parent after a 15-year-old boy defiantly remained sitting.
Daniel Walton was suspended from the school, Macclesfield High in Cheshire, when he barged past a teacher after being ordered to sit in an “isolation” room for refusing to stand. And rather than remonstrate with his son, jobless 40-year-old Tim Walton is supporting him.
He says Daniel was entirely justified in remaining sitting because 55-year-old Harrison, who joined the school as acting head this year, has yet to earn the pupils’ respect.
Walton, a father of three, insisted that when the week’s suspension ends, Daniel will still refuse to stand for the head. “I’ve had enough of my kids being punished because of these so-called rules which have nothing to do with their education,” he said.
“I teach my kids that respect is earned. The head hasn’t been there long enough to earn my son’s respect so why should he stand up for him?”
The school has had its fair share of scandal this year. In April a 15-year-old girl at the school, Megan Gillan, took a fatal overdose of pain killers after a hate campaign on the social networking site, Bebo, by fellow pupils.
Harrison, who has been in the profession for 34 years was lambasted as being “ridiculous” and “heavy-handed” when he introduced old-fashioned ethics and standards to his school.
He said: “I have, with the full support of governors and staff, a specific focus on raising standards of behaviour and students’ appearance.
“Schools are often maligned for not taking a firm enough stance on such issues and there is a wealth of evidence that the vast majority of young people and parents value schools with high standards.
“When I was at school we had to stand when the head teacher entered the assembly and when he left. All children need to learn the importance of following rules and showing respect for others.”
A defiant Walton said: “The school sent a letter, saying that I told Dan, ‘Kick the head teacher in the nuts if he kept you against your will’. “I think it’s diabolical. My boy shouldn’t be excluded for something I have said. I don’t regret it.”
He said his daughter also objected to another rule at the school – no make-up – and would tell the head “where to get off ”.
He added: “She won’t go to the rubbish bin without make-up on. If they tell her to take off her make-up, she will get her coat and push off.” – Daily Mail