A primary school head teacher who was attacked by the father of a pupil has said all staff and students are at risk from stressed parents. This is from the BBC…
Paul Stratford punched Zita McCormick in front of other teachers after his son was suspended from Seven Fields School near Swindon for swearing.
He received a nine-month community order at court on Thursday.
Education campaigners have condemned the sentence, saying prison should have been considered.
Stratford punched and pushed Mrs McCormick in the foyer of the school following an argument about his eight-year-old son’s behaviour on 22 June.
He tried to claim he was protecting his son and only gently pushed Mrs McCormick’s wagging finger away from his son’s face, fearing her long nails could blind him.
Mrs McCormick had sent the boy home for the day following his third act of anti-social behaviour that week.
The pupil has since been moved to another school.
Stratford, of Beaulieu Close, Swindon, later pleaded guilty to assault and was ordered to pay £400 costs and £100 compensation at Swindon Magistrates’ Court.
The head teacher said the situation had been “very frightening”.
“I just couldn’t let him get into the school. I had to ensure that over 300 children behind the doors that he was standing by were completely safe.”
Mrs McCormick said the vast majority of parents were supportive and active in school life but she wanted stressed parents to get help elsewhere rather than vent their frustration in schools.
“I think the challenging circumstances that some parents are in mean they can’t control the anger that they have which is much wider than the school,” she said.
“The school is somewhere where they just vent personal anger at public servants that are here to protect and educate their children.”
A recent survey of head teachers by the school leaders’ association the NAHT showed one in 10 had been physically assaulted or attacked by a pupil’s parent.
One in five reported being victimised on social network sites and 86% said parents’ behaviour towards teachers has worsened.