Thursday, 3 February 2011

Why Kill Yourself ?

“They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice... that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.”

The procedure when dealing with allegations of abuse by teachers is horrendous for the accused. The strict adherence to Child Protection Policy means that the affected teacher is required to immediately leave the school, speak to nobody, and wait at home for further instruction by the relevant authority. Suspended from duty, and in a state of considerable anguish, some teachers have had to wait up to two years or more for their case to be heard in court. In the interim many suffered broken relationships, mental breakdowns, bankruptcy, and some even committed suicide.

I too have contemplated suicide – I still do today as I have no money, no job and I lost my home. Two years ago, one lonely and despondent evening, I exchanged a couple of e-mails ‘live’ with Michael Gove. He closed his last e-mail with :

“Thank you for getting in touch. I very much sympathise with the terrible position you find yourself in. My heart goes out to you. And your position underlines my determination to provide more protection for teachers who’re falsely accused in the future.”

The other day on interview, he said : “We need to restore the authority of a teacher and that’s why we’re giving them new powers to make it easier to exclude or to detain children who misbehave and to protect them from false allegations.”

All that Michael Gove has given teachers is the forlorn and unrealistic expectation that their case will be dealt with anonymously and powers that will back-fire on the teacher. He knows that teachers need protection and support. He knows that the process for handling allegations against teachers will inflict incalculable damage to such an extent that some commit suicide, most will never return to teaching. “Anonymity” doesn’t sound like a form of protection ? Troops going into battle expect better protection than ‘anonymity’ !

Protection : That which protects or preserves from injury; a defence; a shield; a refuge.

No, that definition of protection makes no reference to anonymity or maybe Michael Gove has a different dictionary !

The bottom line is that Michael Gove has not given teachers protection or support. No one has addressed the problem and dangers of allegations against teachers. Until that fact is understood and resolved, teachers will continue to suffer and live in fear and education standards will continue to erode.

Michael Gove, his advisors, union leaders and all educational bureaucrats are fully aware of the most dreadful impact on the life of a teacher on the day when they become accused of an assault on a child.

They know that the teacher will be subjected to inhuman levels of stress and pain to such an extent that some will kill themselves – a quantifiable fact.

Is it murder ? To deliberately subject any human being to stress with no regard for them or their feelings, knowing that they will be broken and destroyed by the process; suicide, in these circumstances, by definition, must be murder.

Legal Analysis of Murder
William Blackstone (citing Edward Coke), in his Commentaries on the Laws of England set out the common law definition of murder as :

“when a person, of sound memory and discretion, unlawfully killeth any reasonable creature in being and under the king’s peace, with malice aforethought, either express or implied”

The first few elements are relatively straightforward; however, the concept of “malice aforethought” is a complex one that does not necessarily mean premeditation. The following states of mind are recognized as constituting the various forms of “malice aforethought” :
  1. Intent to kill,
  2. Intent to inflict grievous bodily harm short of death,
  3. Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life, or
  4. Intent to commit a dangerous felony.
Under state of mind (iii), the killing must result from defendant’s conduct involving a reckless indifference to human life and a conscious disregard of an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily injury.

There it is “Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life.”

How many more teacher’s lives must be destroyed ? How many more deaths, murders must there be before this most horrendous system is finally replaced.

I challenge Michael Gove to look at me, at my example. I am innocent, life destroyed, supported by medication. I live every day, every hour, every minute knowing that those responsible lied and cheated. I know that for the rest of my life, I must suffer the pain of a sentence that I do not deserve. A criminal can expect fair and just treatment and a sentence that is finite. I do not even have that expectation and that my suffering will ever end. There is no escape from this prison created by policy and procedure - total anonymity is delivered to those accountable and responsible !

Realize that the very thought of harming or abusing a child is horrible - to assault a child is to fail in life. To commit such a crime does warrant stern measures but the consequence of being falsely accused is a nightmare – which becomes so much worse when you are found guilty by a corrupt school management system of a crime that you did not commit !

Contrary to what is being claimed by Michael Gove, anonymity is a relatively minor consideration, the press coverage of teacher allegation cases is low and stories that are covered usually originate from events that took place many years ago. Google searches confirm this observation.

When the very fabric of all that you once held dear has been taken, the resulting shame and pain prevents most people from coming forward. But occasionally, others find the strength. I close with this item that I found on the TES website :

“I was a successful and confident Curriculum Head in a large establishment when a student made a false allegation against me. A full Safeguarding process swung into action and I was suspended. The experience was soul destroying and that first weekend into the suspension left me seriously contemplating suicide; I had done nothing wrong but what if I couldn’t prove that ?

I was one of the lucky ones. The Head of HR and Principal ensured my absolute support and protection from the moment I was suspended. They were objective and followed procedure, of course, but took every legitimate step to ensure my safety and well-being and even when I was totally exonerated after clearly withstanding scrutiny, ensured that I too received after-care with access to Counselling and Support. I will always be thankful that they managed with compassion and concern and professionalism.

The experience still haunts me and yet despite the way in which I was protected and supported, I had left that establish around 9 months later as my confidence has been dented beyond repair. I am now a Senior Manager in another establishment but have to admit to being almost paranoid around Safeguarding issues.

Sadly, so many professionals are left to endure a terrifying experience with no support, care and protection and I know of numerous people who have left the professional in an untimely fashion.”

My heart does go out to them and all teachers who have suffered such experiences and to all teachers in the future - sadly this mess is fated to continue. My desire and ambition is to make a difference, to maintain my personal and lonely campaign to provide protection for teachers and to end this evil process, bringing those responsible to account.

I had intended to close this entry with a list of some reported teacher suicides but, apart from the fact that their stories reduced me to tears, it seems morally wrong for newspapers to report such tragedies for little reason, purpose or benefit ... many reports clearly demonstrate the lynch mob mentality of ‘there’s no smoke without fire’ !

I have no wish to cause those families further distress by publicizing such stories and I leave you to explore and to consider this waste of human life, the needless deaths of so many teachers - Google key phrases such as ‘teacher hanged’ or ‘teacher suicide’ - sadly there are many and recent too !

Many reported suicides relate to cases where an allegation had been made against the teacher whilst others describe cases where teachers have been stressed beyond breaking point by a system that knows no compassion and that provides no support.

So just how many teachers have been sacrificed over the years ? How many more futile tragedies do we need before Michael Gove and everyone else realizes that the British education system and its management structures kill teachers !

Government Tested and Approved by Michael Gove

“The Little Protector”

Take control of your class the easy and painless way : Pull trigger and solve all your worries and problems and ours too !
(Fully guaranteed anonymity included)