“The better I get to know men the more I find myself loving dogs.”
Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970)
How To Handle Stress Like A Dog
If you can’t eat it or play with it then pee on it and walk away.
I have been asked many times about my life and how I coped with the aftermath of the events of 27 September 2007. It seems incredulous that 3,000 days have passed since that moment and how my life has changed.
My thoughts of the people who treated me so badly still touch raw and painful memories of the events and facts that led to the unjustified destruction of my career and life through malicious and cruel scheming.
I am proud: I have faced and survived the ordeal. I cannot begin to describe the pain and torture that resulted from such an allegation. Suffice to say that it is the very worst experience imaginable and the scars of the injustice never heal; I have learned to live with it but I can never forget or forgive !
I fought: My case has been the subject of several BBC television and radio productions. I have featured in numerous newspaper articles and my determined actions brought about a Parliamentary Review in the House of Commons by the Select Committee for Children, Schools and Families on 17 June 2009. I have spoken and corresponded with two prime ministers, ministers of education and even the offices of Her Majesty. I have the honour and satisfaction of contributing to numerous final year degree students’ dissertations and have participated in a host of other interviews, UK and internationally.
I am determined: Above all else, I wanted to establish my innocence. To whom and by whom remains an enigma ! The police detectives soon established that I had not committed the alleged assault. Yet, as they said, the absence of any evidence could not substantiate innocence. They commented that, in their opinion, I had been victimized.
I am grateful: In many respects, my polygrapher, Don Cargill, saved me from the black depths of utter despair. He said to me, after my ordeal; “Remember Jane that you are an innocent person !” Without this conclusive statement, I would have been lost – he knew that I did not assault the child and so did I ! I clung onto his words and slowly re-emerged into the person I am today.
In February 2008, a month before my polygraph examination, I concluded that my career at Duke Street primary school had ended no matter what the outcome - ‘Catch 22’. I could never return to teach at a school that had taken so much of my very heart and soul. I would never again be trusted or respected in education in the UK; I would never allow myself to be a part of a system where bullies have free reign !
I believed in justice: However I had no expectation of fair treatment at my ‘trial’ hearing. The ‘quango’ court already had reached a point of no return and truth never had a part to play. The outcome made no difference – they could do no more to me and I could see new and fresh opportunities abroad. Don Cargill had been my saviour and provided me with the absolute assurance that I needed.
(They concluded that I had assaulted the child and I would be reinstated subject to a written warning. This decision made no sense; assault constitutes gross misconduct and demands dismissal.)
I am alive: My final hearing had been on 15 July 2008 but I’d already been laying foundations for my new life in North Spain. (‘Success’ had been my last blog entry prior to my hearing and indeed for some time afterwards – I had purpose again and little time ! If you look at my picture in that entry, the background is my beach !)
I had found the courage to ‘Handle Stress Like A Dog’ and walked away !
Less than a year later, to the exact day of my blog entry of 13 February 2008, I had started the process of moving to Spain as I set sail onboard ‘The Pride Of Bilbao’.
New beginnings: I enjoy a life that is rich, rewarding and full. Not easy and very hard at times but it is new, fresh, fun and challenging. I now speak Spanish; English language in this area is rare.
I started by teaching extra-curricular English in a state primary school after gaining TEFL qualifications. I soon chose to ‘retire’ from mainstream education to set-up my own language school.
My future: Everyday, my partner and I walk on the beach with our dog before teaching. My home has views over the Bay of Biscay and is situated in a wonderful and loving community of Spanish villagers.
I often stop to consider the hand of fate and destiny – the false allegation that changed my life forever. I am no longer the same reception teacher who was crucified by a Chorley school and its heartless management. I loved my job at Duke Street and working with children was all that I ever wanted. Yet if these events had never occurred, I would be still working there; worrying about Tilas / Wilfs and Ofsted whilst suffering the bullish management of Andrew Kidd, the head teacher.
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker (1909-2005)
It would be arrogant of me to boast that my life is better here in Spain. In the end we all lose something as a consequence of cases such as mine.
I am effectively exiled from my home and roots in the UK and not through choice. Worse is the fact that I lost my faith, belief and trust in society and its rules. “Tell the truth and all will be right” but it isn’t when people are so morally weak with an insatiable desire to believe the worst; rushing into outcry, mob mentality and mob rule.
So many of my colleagues, who I’d worked with for 10 years or more, wanted to believe the worst – never stopping to consider their intimate working knowledge of my personal values and behaviour … they tried to take my life based on fear, lies, deceit and self interest … the horror is that these same people work with children everyday, implanting their own interpretation of social responsibilty and behaviour into the minds of our children !
It is who we are and how we live that is the vital element. My life and living is my reward. I love everyday and laugh. I touch the hearts and minds of so many – children and adults. I hope that I enrich their lives through my humour, sense of fun and can share my own inspirations.
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.
I know that I have achieved my wish, my goal and my success – never again will I allow others to take from me what is not theirs to take !
This is the final blog entry – it is time for closure, time to stop the fight and time to let go.
This nightmare world of false allegations will never be solved until someone appreciates that the ‘lunatics are in charge of the asylum’.
Teachers deserve to be treated well and supported for they influence the destiny of our children and our children’s children.
Teachers MUST be represented and protected, not by unions, but by new managerial systems providing access to a range of support structures including human resource.
Allegations must be addressed fairly, quickly and independently - ‘Natural Justice’; the police have the IPCC – bring all agencies who work with children under this same umbrella. To truly protect the teacher, body worn cameras must become their first line defence.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King, Jr. (1953–1968))
I am innocent of the allegation – everyone that matters to me knows that it is true – the implication that follows is that those involved with my case committed the worst crime imaginable.
28 September 2012
03 March 2009 - Julian O'Halloran
So, my life today is good; actually better than I could ever have dared to believe and is very much like being reborn.
Weather permitting, when I and my class do Tai Chi on the beach on Friday morning, people comment that I smile a lot – it’s because I know that Duke Street School will be in Good News Assembly … no guesses where I’d rather be !
“Fools take a knife and stab people in the back. The wise take a knife, cut the cord, and set themselves free from the fools.”
“No need for revenge. Just sit back and wait. Those who hurt you will eventually screw up themselves and if you’re lucky, God will let you watch.”
My first lefthand drive car - a new Audi TTS