SCHOOL and complaints against a teacher

Hi - wonder if anyone has any useful advice about the process of making a complaint against a teacher (in france, obviously).

Our situation is that the entire class is unhappy with a teacher who is difficult, by english standards violent in the classroom (we are talking about very young children, not unruly or threatening teenagers). What amazes me is the tolerance of the parents so far, when their children have been shaken and had their possession thrown around the classroom or their bags/desks emptied across the floor. Everyone seems to think a degree of this is perfectly acceptable ! The parents have though made complaints, spoken to the teacher (who denies it all) but now we need to take it to a higher level.

One of the parents’ SERIOUS fears is that the teacher will lie and say “its my word against theirs” (which to me is amazing, as thats always what any “abuser” of children says !) - and it seems to me that the parents and even colleagues (who are in agreement with the parents) feel quite powerless and do not expect to gain much from making a formal complaint against the teacher.

Has anyone got any advice/views/experience that might be useful ? Or even knows the process ?

I have already wondered whether it’d be most effective just to empty the teacher’s bag on the floor to “help” her find her pen, the way she does with the 6 year olds. Or shake her head up and down and around to “put it straight” (as she says). I am sure it will help her as it does the children.

I am well aware already of how many people are willing to make noise, complain to each other but when asked to put pen to paper get suddenly “scared” and refuse to. Some have clearly thought we were “stirring up trouble” which is - to me - funny, since we’re not the ones scaring the kids or hurting them or making them cry or throwing their stuff…

WHY are they all too scared to say “NO THIS ISN’T RIGHT” - why not just do something instead of moan and complain but then chicken out ? Its astonishing to me that parents won’t stand up for their children more here… hitting children in school is just horrible, and why would a parent want to send thier child to school knowing they ( at the age of 6 or 7) could be hit, shaken, shoved over…are people really SO in awe of the maitresse ?

As a lawyer myself (albeit not a french trained one) i think there is absolutely a case against a teacher who methodically uses physical punishment against young children when it is no longer legal, whatever the slightly outdated moral code might be… thats exactly what the law is for !!

You could just go and ask a lawyer, but don’t be surprised if it leads nowhere.

Lawyers think in terms of prejudice and might not want to lead you in front of a court for a couple pens tossed across a classroom and kids shook as long as there is no serious injury.

Acutally, I’m in my twenties and not so far ago, it was perfectly normal that a teacher slapped a noisy whatever kid in the face, I’ve been slapped as a kid and the physical punishment, yet illegal now is still morally accepted. Less and less but it still is.

Plus, you’ll have a hard time proving this and you might even be treated as a trouble maker, even more if you’re in a little town. You can try a collective action but honestly, nobody wants to get in front of a court.

An academic inspector might help settle the problem too but the teachers are told when an inspector is coming and might change their attitude in front of the autority.

How about you tell your husband to go and shake the teacher across the room ? :slight_smile:

yes its quite clear in our situation that the directrice is behind the parents completely in our effort to complain - possibly even in front of us - but is unable to “report” the other teacher herself, not able to reprimand or sack her or anything else one might imagine. Its just an administrative, rather than authoritative role here.
Have you come across parents being quite accepting of some of the rougher ways of dealign with kids just because thier marks are good ? I have worked out that this is how our teacher operates : tells the parents that their kids are doing really well, which instantly puts a smile on the parents faces - as a result I have had parents decide not to pursue a complaint agains the teacher… I find it astonishing.

thanks for your message. Things have hotted up again and we have a meeting with inspector next week. The ball has started rolling so now we are just going to go through the process step by step and hope… !

i had a problem with a teacher last sept, in my son’s school after he was removed from her class with agreement from the head of the school.
The teacher verbally abused me outside school in front of several other parents and teachers, i stood there and let her say what she had to say and then marched straight into the school and spoke with the head,i was then encouraged to write a letter to the inspectors of the school they are the only people who can deal with the teacher. The head teacher is powerless to deal with problems caused by teachers in her school because she is not their boss,the inspectors are !
so get pen to paper and write a letter to your school inspectors they are the only ones who can deal with the teacher concerned.

Yeah head teacher right behind us but not able to deal with the rogue teacher, in fact the head teacher is urging us to make formal complaint and ask for inspection.

I am on the parents committee, who have been pretty slow to do anything, so while being the newest member and not wanting to be overly aggressive, I have been pushing for some action. But the view of the “bullying” approach by the teacher is different - everyone seems worried about doing anything, intimidated and worried about what the repecussions could be. Lots of parents know whats happening but if its not their child, they don’t seem that bothered (could be their child next though, of course…). I find it puzzling and worrying that everyone so intimidated by a teacher who is bullying young kids by throwing their possessions and pushing, shoving and shaking them. When parents complain to teacher directly its all denied. But the kids are too young to be in cahoots and lying together - and they all say the same things, report the same events.

Does your School have a parents comittee? If so they are worth contacting as they will usually help you with this kind of thing.

I would ask to talk to the head teacher, usually you can do this quite easily and he/she is usally available for a minimum of a half day per week for parent meetings (certainly at maternal & Primaire levels).

I have always found the head teachers (we have had 4 in 6 years…) to be very approchable and open to discussion. Let us know how you get on.