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Sellotape discipline - how far should teachers go?

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: June 09, 2014

05/06/14 child has sellotape over her mouth
Girl who had sellotape put over her mouth at William Allitt school....Elise and Marc Smith

05/06/14 child has sellotape over her mouth Girl who had sellotape put over her mouth at William Allitt school....Elise and Marc Smith

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THE mother of an 11-year-old pupil who had her mouth Sellotaped shut by a teacher has described her daughter as a ‘good girl’ – and disputes claims that her school apologised.

Becky Smith spoke out after the Mail broke the story about William Allitt School pupil Elise, who was made to sit with tape on her mouth for 15 minutes in a science class because she wouldn’t stop talking.

Our exclusive prompted more than 100 responses on the Mail’s website and social media feeds (below).

Mrs Smith, 32, of Brunt Lane, Woodville, said: “Everyone is making her out to be a chatterbox and a bad child when she is completely the opposite. She is a bright, clever girl. She was head girl at her primary school and she is smashing all her targets in Year Seven.

“She loves school and she is a really well behaved child.

“In my view she was picked on because she sits directly in front of the teacher. It wasn’t just her talking, the whole class was.

“I was disgusted when I heard about what happened. I cannot believe that nothing was done.”

The school, in Sunnyside, Newhall, called the actions of the teacher ‘misguided’ and said he ‘immediately regretted his actions and apologised.’

But Mrs Smith said: “They said it wouldn’t be a good idea that we were in the same room as the teacher so we never met for him to apologise.”

The debate ignited by the story saw many readers argue that the pupil shouldn’t have been talking, while others said punishment was much worse many years ago.

A teacher at another school, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “As a teacher I can totally understand a teacher’s frustration when repeated requests for children to be quiet are ignored by the minority. We have up to 30 children who deserve to be educated without the need for constant interruptions to their learning.

“Sending a child out is very often what the child wants and they then miss out on a whole lesson. If the child ignored the teacher’s requests for quiet what was to stop her removing the Sellotape anyway?

“In my opinion, the father is making a mountain out of a molehill. The school dealt with this entirely appropriately and properly. As a parent, I would support any reasonable method of punishment if my child was persistently misbehaving.”

A CHAIRMAN of Governors has spoken out about discipline teachers can dish out in schools, saying Sellotaping a girl’s mouth shut is ‘inappropriate’.

Councillor Ron Clarke, chairman of Governors at Eton Park Junior School, said: “I can understand the pressure of teachers trying to keep attention in class, and I can understand them getting frustrated when children are not paying attention but there are other ways to deal with it. I just thought it was inappropriate.

“The teacher could have had a word with the head teacher and disciplined the child with ‘lines’ - something different than Sellotape.

“It is totally unnecessary to physically tape someone’s mouth shut.

“It is always difficult to prejudge a situation because sometimes you act hastily. With allegations, you suspend a teacher then you carry out an investigation but not in every case because some children can make allegations and then you are suspending a teacher every time an allegation is made. You have to have discretion.

“We all make mistakes but the teacher went over the top.”

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