Not guilty: Woman cleared of assaulting Havering teacher after daughter was given detention
- Credit: Archant
A 53-year-old woman accused of a ‘ferocious’ attack on a maths teacher has been found not guilty of common assault.
The parent was accused of grabbing the teacher’s arm, forcing her to step back at a Havering secondary school on January 19 after a row broke out over the woman’s daughter being made to serve a detention.
The pupil believed she was only meant to be there for half an hour instead of a full hour, but when the teacher refused to let her go home, the student called her mother.
“[My daughter] called me, she was crying, she said ‘mummy I can’t leave’. She was terrified, I haven’t seen her like that before,” the parent said.
The parent told Romford Magistrates Court on Thursday, May 31, that she had been trying to call the maths teacher throughout the week to speak with her about the detention and that when she arrived at school, the teacher continued to ignore her, angering the parent further.
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The mother-of-two is filmed on the school’s CCTV entering the premises just after 4pm that day.
She is seen gesturing and pointing at the maths teacher while two other teachers accompany her down a corridor.
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The teacher said, “She arrived shouting, she was gesticulating quite a lot. I felt her hand on my arm. I stepped back immediately and said don’t touch me.”
“The more frightening thing was having her fingers in my face and an awful lot of shouting. I would like to say that I was trying to get her away from the children, but I was scared for my own safety.
“She kept saying ‘what is wrong with you?’ and ‘if you have got a problem with my children you speak to me’.”
After the pupil phoned for her mother, the maths teacher called for the assistant deputy head of the school to help with the situation.
He placed himself between the parent and math teacher and tried to get the parent to calm down.
“[The parent] continued to shout at [the math teacher] and jab her fingers towards her,” he said.
“At this point I became quite concerned for [the math teacher’s] safety because of the frenzied nature [of the parent].
“She clearly didn’t have control of herself and I was concerned for [the math teacher].”
In a statement, the assistant deputy head recorded the parent’s threats: “How dare you hold my daughter hostage, don’t you dare come near my children again.
“Leave my son and daughter alone. Are you mad? Are you insane? Don’t you know who I am in the Lord?”
The parent has two children who attend the school, and she accused the maths teacher of racism, for signalling out her daughter for detention.
The assistant head added: “Her behaviour was on a straight line of ferociousness throughout the incident – in the 10 years I have been a teacher I have never seen a parent act this way.”
The parent’s defence solicitor, Caroline Jackson told the court that there were too many inconsistencies between the maths teacher’s written statement and her evidence provided in court.
“If [the math teacher] isn’t sure of the sequence of events then how can we be?” Ms Jackson asked the court.
Magistrate Les Claridge said: “We have to be sure that such an assault took place and it’s our view that although we have heard that there was an aggressive intent on making conversation with the teacher in a manner that was out of control, the evidence can’t be relied on and therefore we can’t be satisfied that an assault took place.
“I would say that a school is a place of calm, consideration and academic studying, it’s not a place of confrontation.”