Friday, May 04, 2007

Teachers' Union Speaks Out On False Allegations

Most school heads and teachers have faced false allegations from pupils or parents, a head teachers' union says. The problem is under-played and incidents are less unusual than some claim, according to the National Association of Head Teachers. The union says false claims can have devastating results. It accuses the government of taking minimal action...The official view that these events are extremely rare is not borne out by the available evidence. Reference

Women now outnumber men 12 to 1 in the classroom, and this is having a serious effect on discipline Reference

One of the main reasons men don't want to be teachers is that they don't want to face the risk of false allegations. Reference

With men deserting the profession in droves, with classroom discipline at an all-time low, with youth delinquency rising, and academic achievement falling - disguised only by dumbing down examinations - our education system is already in serious crisis.

The academic Left is largely responsible for this situation. By undermining teachers' authority, decrying educational achievement as elitist, culturally and politically undermining men in general, and promoting the Cult of the Victim, they have manufactured a culture in which false allegations can flourish. To make matters worse, the Left then denies that false allegations happen at all; any allegation made by a woman or a child - but not a man - must automatically be believed, even without any corroborating evidence. They try to pass this off as a just and progressive system of thought, but I doubt if they believe that themselves, or even care. The real intention is to destroy men. False allegations are an instant silver bullet for ruining a man's life. Feminists in particular know this, and they like it that way.

Of course, female teachers are also victims of false accusations of abuse, but not in nearly such large numbers. People are much more reluctant to believe that women are capable of abusing children, so it is that much more difficult to make the allegations stick. That it is men, and not women, who are deserting the classroom, is very telling.

Nor are teachers uniquely vulnerable. The rash of false allegations against teachers is just one aspect of the wider pandemic of false allegations against men in general. Women are now using false allegations of domestic violence and child abuse on a daily basis to secure a more favourable outcome in the divorce courts.

By constantly complaining that the conviction rate for rape is too low, feminists have created a climate in which each conviction is prized for its statistical value. This creates incentives for the police and the courts to convict on the basis of flimsier and flimsier evidence.

The legal system, and the wider culture, are now biased so heavily against men that an innocent man like Warren Blackwell can be convicted merely on the say-so of a woman like Shannon Taylor, a serial false accuser with a long history of mental illness and dishonesty.

The problem of false allegations against teachers will not be solved in isolation. It will require a wider cultural change, and an end to official duplicity. The plight of teachers may be the issue that prises open the wall of silence and denial surrounding false allegations. It's not politically possible to allow the teaching profession in the UK to sink any lower, so some official notice will have to be taken sooner or later. Once that happens, we may start to see a wider recognition of the phenomenon. It's unlikely the dying Blair government will do much about it, so realistically, we need to look to the next administration to act. The men's movement should be extending its support to all falsely accused teachers, and encouraging them to join the dots. This is an issue that affects us all.


sisyphus said...

I attended some of the recent trial of Jenine Saville-King at St Albans CC, charged with seven counts sexual activity with a minor whom she allegedly groomed and seduced when he was 15 and one count breach of trust. She was acquitted on all counts. The trial attracted considerable media interest; the press gallery was full every day and the snappers took up position outside the court entrance. One day they got a bonus when the charming Ms Goody turned up to give evidence against a "rough geezer bird" in another trial. Mr & Mrs S-K were identified, their home address was published, and their photos appeared prominently in many of the national and local papers. Mrs S-K's accuser of course has lifetime anonymity, even though he is now 18 and so traumatised by the events described in court that he has shacked up with his ASDA supervisor, a chunky 37 yr old mother of three, none of which children he has claimed (yet).

The case against Mrs S-K was pants, absolute rubbish. CPS counsel's main tactic was to build up the poor victim accuser as an honest character and credible human being and then to bully and humiliate the accused. It was an all-female affair, apart from the unpleasant "boy" - female judge and female counsel for both sides. As readers of this blog will know the CPS is supposed to assess two criteria before proceeding to trial - is there a more than even chance of winning, and is this trial in the public interest? Any fool could have predicted that the accuser would emerge under even the gentlest of cross examinations as a disturbed arrogant deceitful boaster and the accused as an honest if unwise and very naive young woman. Even so, how could the CPS claim that this trial was in the public interest, which is not to be confused with the interest of the public i.e. sensational media reportage.

I take no sides here although I predict that if it had been the other way round a male teacher would have gone down and would be on the VP wing in HMP Horrible by now. I also predict that sooner or later the poor "victim's" story will appear in print, which might at least offer Mrs S-K the chance to sue for libel.

Should this case have gone to trial? Absolutely not. Was it the right verdict? Absolutely yes. Should the "victim" and his new lover be charged with perjury? Yes. Will they? Of course not.

Blog4Justice said...

Another fine piece, Heretic. Thanks for this.

The NAHT research paper, Guilty by Accusation, is available for download here. Worth reading, and it includes a number of case studies. Especially interesting is the set of questions which the author recently put to the DfES - and the lame response which he received (these are featured at the end of the report).

Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, yesterday voiced his support for many of the teachers' demands (although not for sanctions against false accusers) in a speech to the NAHT annual conference, in which he also acknowledged that:

decisions currently went against the teacher too often

I agree totally on the need to get people to 'join the dots' and see that allegations against teachers are but a symptom of a wider problem, and articles like yours will help towards that, but I fear it will be an uphill struggle: check out my responses to Observer journalist Nick Cohen on the subject of the family courts over at CiF back in February.

I suspect that the reason teachers are now attracting so much attention is that the problem affects women too; and it is perhaps notable that the teacher who has spoken out most about the experience of false allegations recently is female (Dame Mary MacDonald).

A further point: I'd query your assertion that

female teachers are also victims of false accusations of abuse, but not in nearly such large numbers. [...] That it is men, and not women, who are deserting the classroom, is very telling.

It may be true that male teachers are at greater risk of false allegations, but I haven't seen any evidence to substantiate this (and the recent NAHT report doesn't comment on the issue of gender).

One thing I have been able to verify for myself, though, is the almost complete absence of men in primary or junior education: my work over the past nine months has taken me into dozens of schools across four counties in England. Usually, in the entrance area, you will see a board displaying the photographs and names of the staff. I always pause to scan this, and it's always a surprise to see a male face (more often than not, this will be the Head Teacher). As a general rule, though, the only man I encounter in a primary or junior school is the caretaker!

I'd be interested to know whether statistics on the ratio of male-to-female primary teachers include the private sector, because my experience suggests that the problem is far worse in state schools, something which this (Times, 6 Dec 2006) perhaps corroborates:

Fewer than one in six primary school teachers are men, and almost half of children aged 5 to 11 (47 per cent) have no contact with any male teachers, according to the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA).

'almost half of children aged 5 to 11 (47 per cent) have no contact with any male teachers'? That seems implausible, even if only 1 in 6 teachers is male. Unless, that is, a substantial proportion of those male teachers work in the private sector?

sisyphus - enjoyed your first-hand observations on the Saville-King trial.

BrusselsLout said...

All this makes me wonder where all the paedophiles were when I was a kid. Despite my contact with hundreds of other kids my age, a little bit older and a little bit younger, in two schools, primary and secondary, I have never come across an aquaintance who'd been raped by a paedophile. (Or indeed, an aquaintance who knew of someone somewhere else.)

Amazing how it's all happening now, isn't it?

Blog4Justice said...

Further on this subject, there was an interesting piece in The Guardian recently by a male early years teacher, who comments as follows:

Surveys show that a majority of parents would like to see more men involved in their children's primary education. But, behind such statistics, it's possible to detect a more ambivalent attitude. The broader social context is shaped by the media, and men are portrayed as more likely to be a threat than a friend. Perhaps my sensitivities have been raised by my job, but the headlines seem to be dominated by a depressing cavalcade of child rapists, internet pornographers and young gunmen. The notion of a man as gentle and nurturing seems almost inconceivable.

Incidentally, in the couple of days that have elapsed since my previous comment (7 May, I think, but it would be nice if this blog displayed comment dates as well), I have visited another primary school: Benhall Infant School in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Since this was my first time there, I checked out the staff photo board: I counted 27 faces, only one of which was male (a teacher) - pretty much par for the course.