Staff at a faith school have had to put up with abuse and threats... from parents.
Now, the governors of St Brigid’s School in Denbigh have warned that if the problem continues action will be taken against them.
St Brigid’s, a voluntary aided co-educational school which has about 500 pupils aged from three to 19, was formerly a convent school and prides itself on its Christian ethos.
But, in the school’s weekly newsletter, the chairman of the governors Anthony Hannigan says: “In recent months we have seen an unfortunate rise in intimidating or threatening behaviour towards support staff and teaching staff, as well as to the headteacher.
“Demands are being made that are simply outside the control of the school and there appears to be a growing expectation that St Brigid’s staff can solve problems which originate outside of school.”
Mr Hannigan says the root cause of most of the incidents seems to be “unpleasant communications between pupils on social media”, which is something the school cannot control, (although) pupils are taught about bullying and appropriate use of such media.
“Incidents of parents shouting at staff, using intimidating, threatening or abusive language has become an all too common occurrence, and parents feel entitled to behave in that way because they think the school isn’t supporting them enough.”
He says the governing body has a policy of zero tolerance concerning abusing behaviour towards staff and that in future staff will not engage with parents who behave in such a way and who will be asked to leave the premises or terminate their phone call.
“Our teaching, learning and support staff are hard working professionals who have chosen to help to educate children and young people, and deserve to be treated with professional respect.”
Parents who “cannot communicate respectfully” will be referred to the governing body’s complaints committee and Mr Hannigan stresses that further action will be taken where appropriate.
The statement continues: “It is regretful (sic) that at a school such as St Brigid’s, which prides itself on its Christian ethos and very much strives to educate children to become respectful citizens, that we feel compelled to have to highlight this issue.
“However, not one but several recent events have left us with no choice but to put into writing our clear and rigid stance on this matter.
“We continue to be extremely grateful to the vast majority of parents who are extremely supportive of the school and we encourage parents/carers to continue to approach staff with a respectful challenge when justifiably concerned.”
The school’s policy on ‘communication and parental partnership’ states: “We give high priority to clear communication within the school and to positive partnerships with parents since these are crucial to promoting and maintaining high standards of behaviour.”
Mr Hannigan was not available to give details of any of the incidents referred to.