Dumbfounded, astonished and astounded are just some of the words principal, Mr James Matthews, used to describe the reaction of a parent earlier this week.
I told him Billy had stuck his middle finger up at Mr Fisher and he … he said he would give myself and the school his full support.
Mr Matthews informed Gary Newman via phone that his son, Billy, had received a one-day suspension for raising his middle finger at a teacher. Mr Matthews stated, ‘Gary’s reaction left me speechless. I told him Billy had stuck his middle finger up at Mr Fisher and he … he said he would give myself and the school his full support.’
Mr Matthews explained that in a twenty-plus year teaching career he had never experienced this type of reaction from a parent. ‘I didn’t know what to do. We have a policy for abusive parents, one for parents with anger issues, another for parents who threaten staff with violence and personal injury, but we don’t have a policy outlining what to do when a parent says they’ll support us. Who would’ve ever thought we’d need one? It’s unheard of.’
Other staff have questioned whether Mr Matthews heard Newman’s reply correctly. ‘James is certain he offered his full support,’ said Mr Robinson, head of Business Studies, ‘but it seems highly unlikely.’ Mr Matthews, however, has no doubt. ‘Gary gave his full support. I mean, I offered him several outs because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I asked if Billy could’ve been pointing at a bird in the sky. He may have been stretching his hands, one finger at a time. Or there was always the possibility it was another student’s fault. Gary laughed and said there was no way that was the case.’
Still in doubt, Mr Matthews then spoke to Billy’s mother. ‘She also supported the decision. I indicated Billy would miss a day’s school and she committed to banning him from computer games and that he could catch up on his schoolwork in his own time. But it was when she said she’d make him write a letter of apology that I considered reporting them to the authorities on suspicion of drug abuse.’
Mr Matthews has tabled the incident for discussion at next week’s staff meeting and formed a committee to create a school policy in case the bizarre behaviour is repeated. ‘The odds of us getting support from another set of parents would be similar to someone winning Tattslotto twice, but we must be prepared.’
The odds of us getting support from another set of parents would be similar to someone winning Tattslotto twice, but we must be prepared.