Sunday, December 28, 2008

Teacher criticises British 'can't touch' culture after being throttled by pupil as colleagues looked on

A teacher who won 250,000 pounds compensation after a pupil tried to strangle him has criticised a 'can't touch' culture in schools after other staff initially refused to intervene. Colin Adams, 50, was attacked by a 12- year- old boy, who knocked him to the floor before punching and kicking him, and grabbing his neck. But despite other teachers yelling at the boy to stop, no one stepped in to help. Mr Adams's ordeal ended only after another teacher eventually came to his aid by forcing the boy's thumbs back to release his hold. Later, the unnamed teacher admitted to Mr Adams that he was afraid the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, would accuse him of assault.

It later emerged the boy had a history of violence, having previously attacked pupils and a security guard at a library opposite Kingsford Community School in East London. However, he was not properly disciplined over the assaults and staff were not warned about his past.

Mr Adams yesterday criticised Government-backed 'inclusion' policies, which he claimed had led to pupils with severe behavioural problems being taught in schools where staff are not trained to cope with them. His comments come only days after figures released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed police were called to schools 10,000 times last year to deal with violent incidents.

Mr Adams's attacker was expelled after the assault in 2004 and given a referral order by the courts, which involved him being supervised for six months. It is rumoured he was sent on a holiday as 'a reward' for completing it.

As a result of the attack, which lasted for several minutes, Mr Adams, of Ockendon, Essex, was forced to give up work after suffering severe stress and back problems. His distress was further compounded by a lengthy court battle to win compensation, charted by his wife Sharon, 47, in a diary she started after the assault. Four-and-a-half years later, he secured 250,000 in an out-of-court settlement from Newham Council.

Writing in her diary, Mrs Adams said the boy had been misbehaving in another teacher's class and Mr Adams, as head of department, had gone to his aid. He ordered the boy to leave but the pupil refused. Mr Adams then left the room and was attacked by the boy from behind. She wrote: 'He came around to find the boy strangling him. The teachers told the boy to let go, but he did not. 'Teachers are very wary of touching children these days as children all know their rights and they can take a teacher to court. 'It only came to an end when a male teacher grabbed hold of one of the boy's thumbs and caused him pain and made the boy let go. 'This teacher didn't want to admit what he'd done for fear of being accused of assault.

'The police informed the school they could have kicked the boy in his back to make him let go, but I am not sure there is any teacher anywhere who would be willing to do that for fear of repercussions.' Mr Adams, who has two grown-up children, added: 'The whole thing has left a bitter taste. We are trying our best to move forward but it's a slow process.'

A Newham Council spokesman said: 'Our staff have the right to work without fear of assault or harassment. 'In this particular case, an appropriate financial settlement was agreed following advice from our insurers, which was based on Mr Adams's loss of salary, future loss of earnings and damages for the injury he suffered.'


University of Calgary Pro-Life Students Victorious - Administration Backs Down from Arrest Threats

University of Calgary officials have not followed through on their threats to arrest Campus Pro-Life students for erecting the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) display on campus grounds this week. s past Wednesday and Thursday pro-life students at the university had set up the GAP display, which includes graphic images of abortions and comparisons between abortion and past genocides. In the weeks leading up to the display, however, the university had threatened the students with arrest, suspension, expulsion, and other censures, if they did not agree either to turn the signs inwards, so that they could not be seen by passersby, or not to erect the display at all.

Leah Hallman, president of Campus Pro-Life, told that she sees the fact that the university backed away from its threats to arrest the students as only a partial victory. The university, she said, may still be planning on taking legal action against the students who were present at the GAP display site, who had their names recorded by campus security officers. "What the university administration will do is not clear, but I hope the university will continue to allow us to express our pro-life message and will rescind the order to turn the signs inward, especially as we are determined to display the GAP signs in the Spring semester, as we have in previous years," Hallman said. "The most important thing right now," Hallman said "is for people to write to the university to express their support for the right of freedom of expression at the U of C."

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," a statement on Campus Pro-Life's website begins, quoting the French philosopher Voltaire. "These words of Voltaire are being ignored by the University of Calgary and we, their own students and the victims of their oppression, wish to expose their censorship, intimidation, and bully-tactics. "We implore our fellow Canadians-who may disapprove of what we say but who will defend our right to say it-to support our rights to free speech, to communicate their disagreement to U of C, and to withdraw support from the university until U of C upholds academic freedom."


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