AS an on-line newspaper there are some stories that you are naturally inclined to and some, less so. We have never been keen on the parents who appear in the papers with their picture next to the student who has been suspended.
Many parents are not media savvy. The minute they go to the papers, they can lose control of the agenda and now, in the world of social media, you have to be very careful.
The story of how two Gable Hall students were disciplined at school after getting their heads shaved for charity has been splashed over the nationals.
There are clearly two sides to the story. Some may say that the school has been a little “authoritarian” but others point to the Gable Hall school Ofsted report that was published this week.
Ofsted awarded the school an Outstanding for behaviour.
“The inspection team concluded that the behaviour and safety of students over time was outstanding. The rise in their attendance to above-average levels demonstrates that they overwhelmingly enjoy coming to school.
Very few students were deemed to show persistent absence and exclusions are extremely low, and this reflects the success of the school’s commitment to an inclusive and collaborative environment.
All students say they feel very safe in the school and this was further confirmed by both the parental and students’ questionnaire responses.
“The school has created a very positive ethos for learning. Consequently, students have exemplary attitudes to learning and show high levels of conduct in lessons and around the school.”
The story has become the talk of the social media sites.
It appears that a Joe Moon has a public Facebook page. Next to a front page headline in the Basildon Echo it says: “Hope that ruined the schools name”
You have the feeling that the pupils may be in more trouble.
You may also have to take into account that the school is now an academy: semi-independent in some eyes, totally independent in others. The school may well have made this decision when under total local education control (LEA). However, the parents signed up to this. Caveat Emptor.
Here is the version of the story as it appeared in the Daily Telegraph.
Billy Howard and Joe Moon, both 15, received permission from Gable Hall School in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, to cut their long locks for charity raising an impressive £500 between them for a local hospice.
But when the pair returned to school the next day to collect the cash – including sponsorship from their headteacher Dr Sophina Asong – they were told their new streamline haircuts breached strict school rules.
Since then the pair have been forced to study on their own in a separate classroom and have been BANNED from spending breaks and lunchtime with fellow students.
The boys’ stunned parents are now worried the classroom ban will prevent the pair from collecting vital sponsorship to help life-limited patients at nearby St Luke’s Hospice in Basildon, Essex.
Billy’s dad, Gary Howard, 45, has been left fuming at the decision saying: “The boys have shown responsibility and creativity for a good cause but now they can’t even collect their sponsorship from their fellow pupils.
“It’s absolute madness.”
Mum Sally, 45, added: “We are so proud of the boys and they should not be hidden away as they did it for such a good cause.
“They both received permission from the school to go ahead with the event and even had sponsorship from their headteacher.
“It’s such a shame the boys were put in isolation.
“They will be in for all breaks until it grows out – even though Dr Asong sponsored the boys.
“Apparently only a number three is allowed and they had a number two.
“I don’t think they should be punished for what was clearly an innocent mistake.”
But Gable Hall headteacher Dr Sophina Asong has refused to back down after placing the boys in isolation earlier this week.
She said: “The school’s support for St Luke’s Hospice and the service it provides to our community is wholehearted.
“The decision by two students to raise sponsorship by shaving their heads was approved by the school, provided it conformed to the school behaviour code.
“On the day the students came into school with their heads shaved, they admitted to staff they had knowingly flouted the code and it is for this reason that they ended up being taught in isolation.”