When a couple of people does something wrong what would you normally expect to be the reaction. Would you tell the people involved off and ban them or take some similar appropriate action to ensure that the problem is nipped in the bud. Or would you ban everyone no matter that they weren’t involved or even knew about the incident and do your best not to upset the protagonists.
If you were a strong willed person with experience and knowledge about how to handle tough situations you would do the former. If you are weak willed person whose training is all about “conflict negotiation” where you are trained to “respect rights” and told that “no one should lose” you will take the later.
In a recent case this was highlighted quite dramatically. At a Cardiff primary school a couple of parents got into a bit of a swearing match which degenerated a fight with objects being thrown.
Now this could be upsetting to many of the children because not all parents are that bad at home. So it right that such behaviour should be stopped. So the proper action would be get children out of the environment as quickly as possible and to attempt to defuse the situation by intervening. The police should also be called because is could be argued that the parents are committing a public order offence. The adults involved in the affray would also be warned not to enter the school premises together, maybe by recommending different times for them to arrive at the school. The should also be warned that a repeat offence would definitely involve the police and other legal repercussions.
What you don’t do is write a letter from the safety of your office to all parents stopping all of them from walking with their children into the school yard where many of the parents meet up for a quick chat. This means that parents have to stand on chat on the pavement causing an obstruction to many other parents and potentially irritating and annoying them. Naturally this will lead to heightened emotions which could easily be triggered by officious staff who try to impose a rule which is seen as stupid by a reasonable person. The result of this could easily be threats to staff. In reality the threats are probably words like “why are stopping me from walking my kids into school, something I have done for many years” but in the politically correct education world are perceived as threats to cause physical harm to the member of staff.
The result of not handling the situation in an authoritative manner right from the start means that from a single controllable incident the situation has degraded to involve a lot more people than there should have been. Including the police (well fake police, PCSOs) attending the school twice a day.
Because the ban on all parents continues “until the behaviour by a small minority of parents ceases permanently” there is no obvious end to the problem. How is the school going to measure the behaviour when there is no behaviour at all on school grounds. How permanently is permanently?
So staff, with the help of police, will have to keep adults out of the school yard for the foreseeable future until a few adults are allowed due to friendship with the staff to enter or some other exceptions are allowed. But this will take time. In the meantime the costs, both emotionally (annoyed parents) and financially (police presence) will be high but the school can wash their hands of the problem because it will never happen in their sphere of influence again.
What kind of message does that give to the children?