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Can this be right?

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Muffyxx Report 19 Feb 2013 10:07

Dizzi I have no idea who the students involved really can't say if it's repeated behaviours or not.

having read all the posts I've come to the conclusion that the school have done the right thing....however i do remain doubtful that they'll see a penny of the money...

One thing is for sure...the whole school are now aware of the dire consequences of doing that again so that may have put a stop to that nonsense for the foreseeable future ..which can only be a good thing!!!!


RolloTheRed Report 19 Feb 2013 09:49

"Schools can and do ..."

Assuming that the damage took place on school premises then they can send a letter home, the LEA or school can send a letter or a charge. If the parent tells them to knock it off then that's it.

Some years ago I was successful in forcing a school to pay for serious and expensive damage to sporting equipment even though the school in question initially claimed it was for the parents to pay.

Of course it is far from unusual for public bodies of all stripes to assume powers of all kinds that they do not have or to abrogate responsibilities that they do have but that is another matter.

In Locus parentis does not cease to apply just because the child is behaving unreasonably.

Parental responsibility
Having parental responsibility means assuming all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that a parent of a child has by law.
Section 576 of the Education Act 1996

Stupid and disruptive behaviour in schools is of course a very bad thing and the powers of teachers and schools have been beefed up to deal with it. E.g.

... which reminds the reader that in England school powers ( and of course responsibility ) do not end at the school gate.

It is widely assumed that being reasonable, fair play, justice and law are all sides of the same thing working happily together. Ah that it were so.


DIZZI Report 19 Feb 2013 08:11



Guinevere Report 19 Feb 2013 05:39

Loco parentis only means that schools have the responsibilties of a reasonable parent. It does not mean that they have to accept total responsibilty for the child's behaviour while he/she is at school.

Schools can and do make parents pay for damage caused by children and have done for as long as I can remember in a long teaching career. I don't see this as any different. A reasonable parent would tell children not to set off fire alarms and expect to be obeyed.

Schools don't normally charge parents for accidental damage but do charge for deliberate vandalism. And so they should. Why should the other children suffer for the stupidity of one or two? Money is tight enough in schools without having to pay for damage caused by badly brought up children.

I would hope the school will also suspend the children involved and that further offences would mean expulsion. It's likely, perhaps, that the parents will refuse to pay and then the school will have to cough anyway but an attempt to remind parents of their responsibility to rear children who behave acceptably won't go amiss.


SylviaInCanada Report 19 Feb 2013 03:55


the age of criminal responsibility is open to debate here, as elsewhere.

As far as education is concerned, one has to first appreciate that education is the responsibility of the individual provinces, and NOT of the Federal Government, so every province sets its own rules.

The following is what is generally found across Canada............

Schools here are NOT deemed responsible for student behaviour outside the school grounds on the way to or from home or school. Officially sanctioned school trips, events, etc, are different of course. That is, unless things have changed since my daughter was at school.

Once a student has left the school ground to go home, they are responsible for their own behaviour. In other words, schools are not in loco parentis

Most schools do not have school uniforms, so it is very difficult to identify which school a child attends.

Official school leaving age is 16 in all but 3 provinces, but this means leaving school without any diploma and great difficulty in finding a job. In practice, the majority of students stay in school to age 18 and complete Grade 12. (Quebec has slightly different rules)

There are the odd super brights who complete the required amount of schooling by the age of 14 or so, because of accelerated learning. But, in general, a student is 18 when they leave High school and move on to College or university

College here means post-secondary education ............. usually a 2 or 3 year intermediate programme, OR a trades college ...... and thus an alternative to university. So things are very different from the 6th Form Colleges that you have in the UK.

I can only talk about Canadian schools and their responsibilities.

It is 45+ years since I taught in England, and I do appreciate that things have changed, or must have changed

................. at that time we were considered in loco parentis only while the child was in school, on the school grounds, or involved with a school event off school grounds (eg, school trip, sports event, etc).

As teachers, we were not responsible for the behaviour of, nor the safety of, a child on the way to or from the school.

If we saw a child misbehaving on the bus, we could tell the child off, or report that child .......... which is exactly what Joe Blow citizen could do.

I think we have very different responsibilities of fire personnel etc, from what now seems to apply in the UK, but have no intention of trying to go into that.


RolloTheRed Report 19 Feb 2013 01:43

In the UK and Australia the age of criminal responsibility is 10, in Canada 12. There is pressure in all of this for the age to be raised to 15. If approved this would result in mayhem in the UK ...

Irritating though it may the legal responsibility for any damages caused by students while at school ( including travel to/from the school or college) is that of the college.

To me that seems perfectly reasonable as the school is in a position to exert some kind of discipline while the parents are not. The sanction on the school is ultimately financial while the miscreant may be excluded, denied privileges and even charged with criminal damage. All the same it is the school which would have to pay out not the parents.

Following ructions after the recent elections for elected police commissioners in England it has been decided that minor convictions before the age of 16/18 will no longer be divulged on the CRO record for adults. That would include false 999 calls if the case was reported to the police and the student accepted a caution.

A principal who involved his / her students with the police at all often would soon lose the confidence of the governors and the parents who want their children educated not incarcerated. It is not an easy task.

Traditionally in England the fire service has got on with its job and eschewed being seen as a red branch of the police. Over the last 10 years this wise policy has been replaced by one of working closely with the police. The unfortunate result in some urban areas has been that the fire brigade is now seen not as an ally but "fair game" with engines and crews being attacked with bricks, fireworks and such. False alarms are often part of this.

Not an ideal situation to say the least but if the state insists on taking over the bringing up of children from the parents pretty well inevitable.



SylviaInCanada Report 19 Feb 2013 00:54

The students could also be liable to criminal prosecution over here, as hoax calls are illegal

................ would that apply in the UK???

A student at one of the local universities called 911 (our emergency number) reporting an emergency in a certain department.

That led to evacuation of the department, cancelling of an exam, police and fire attending.

It then happened again the following week.

The police eventually found out who was responsible for the 2 hoax calls

he now has a criminal record.


maggiewinchester Report 19 Feb 2013 00:12

Even if they don't charge in the end, the little bustard(s) MUST learn there's a reaction to an action. (bit of physics there) :-D

Their 'little joke' has:
a) cost money
b) put an awful lot of people to a lot of inconvenience (evacuating the school, disrupting lessons etc)
c) Put people's lives at risk (danger of crushing during evacuation, emergency services unavailable for real emergencies)
d) not caused much laughter amongst the rest of society

If they (and their chums) hadn't learnt anything from their first 'prank' - tougher action is needed.
If it hasn't sunk into their thick skulls that they appear to be the only ones who found it a 'laugh', and that everyone else finds it moronic, an intensive course of reality is needed. As this can no longer be conducted in a dark cellar, financial imposition is the only course available.........


RolloTheRed Report 19 Feb 2013 00:08

In England when children are at school the school legally acts as in loco parentis and it is legally responsible for anything the students do from when they leave home until they return. That is why for instance a school can apply school rules outside of the premises. The other side of the coin is that the school is liable for any wrong doing by the children such as false fire alarms, not the parents.

A fire brigade which did not attend on account of false alarms could be sued for failing to arrive for an actual fire. This has indeed happened.


Porkie_Pie Report 18 Feb 2013 23:44

Setting a fire alarm off is no different to making a 999 call

If you make a call/set the alarm off just to see the emergency services rushing to your aid for fun then I would be happy to see more people sent the bill and prosecuted if they refuse to pay

The financial cost for the tax payers is money wasted that could be spent elsewhere plus the fact that it puts lives at risk, People often quote that another emergency took longer for the emergencies to arrive because of such calls but theirs one factor never talked about and that is, Because they are on an emergency all fire, ambulance, and police service are having to rush to the scene which in its self put other road users at unnecessary at risk

I don't think £1800 is out of the way for 3 call outs



Kay???? Report 18 Feb 2013 23:15

when at school our alarms were in a glass box and you had to break the front to get at the button.I still see them about on public buildings.....

Hayley   Empress of Drama

Hayley Empress of Drama Report 18 Feb 2013 23:11

I heard that before Lynda , also a friend knocked an lad off a motor bike and she had to pay for the ambulance service that attended to the lad through her insurance.


Muffyxx Report 18 Feb 2013 22:56

I don't know whether it's a boy or girl that did it Lynda........but in some ways the school were in *control* ..supposedly of whoever did it as it happened in school in some ways it's harsh on the parents.

However......if the school ARE having to foot the bill..then they shouldn' the buck stops with the parents.

That's why I can see both sides.

However...I also..without wanting to sound like a snob..know how some parents work round here and I'd say *bloody good luck* with recouping that cash.....Me? I think I'd swallow it out of shame...but I'm in the


supercrutch Report 18 Feb 2013 22:52

Yep, make the parents pay. That'll teach both them and the offspring that 999 calls cost money and hoax calls may cost lives.


SylviaInCanada Report 18 Feb 2013 22:47

over here, if you have an alarm, and it is set off falsely 3 times .......... the police will not respond again, and the fire station MAY also refuse to attend.

PLUS, we have to buy a permit from the City for the alarm ................. and the cost is greatly increased if you have had multiple false or hoax calls.

Now .......... it does sound too extreme for them to refuse to attend at a school ..................... but could it be that the school has to, or has been threatened that it might, have to pay much more than it already is


~Lynda~ Report 18 Feb 2013 22:40

My husband broke his leg playing football in London years ago, and we were told that the ambulance that brought him home would charge us for the journey, as we lived out of Lonsdon, they never did. I think it's one of those things, they can charge but only do in exceptional circumstances.
Perhaps the girl at your daughters school is just being told that as a bit of a frightener, so she doesn't do it again?


Muffyxx Report 18 Feb 2013 21:39

Aaaw i've just seen your post Mersey.... BLESS HER..funny how things like that play in their heads isn't it.......and those school docs do drag on a bit lol


Mersey Report 18 Feb 2013 21:38

Sorry for going off the subject :-(


Muffyxx Report 18 Feb 2013 21:37

I couldn't believe it when she told me...first thing i said was......*it's not you is it*....noooooooo don't be silly she said *phew*.....anyhow because I'm nosey i rang up a couple of other parents to make sure she wasn't having one of her chinese whisper moments.....but no...she was bang on..the whole school know of the punishment...can't see anyone else having a go after that !!! so mission accomplished I guess.

Just never heard of it before.


ChAoTicintheNewYear Report 18 Feb 2013 21:37

If the fire brigade are charging the school then the cost would come out of the school budget which would mean less spent on the children's education. If it is true presumably the parents would be able to arrange to pay in installments if they didn't have the full amount upfront.

If find hitting people where it hurts is most effective in getting them not to do something again. The most vulnerable spot most people seem to have is in their wallets.