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Bullying/Harassment of staff by parents- do you have a policy?


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Hi All,

 

We are currently going through a particularly vile time with two parents in particular. - it has become so bad I am currently signed off sick due to stress. I cant go into it too much at the moment but I just wondered does any one have a policy/procedure/clause in their contracts which protects staff from bullying/intimidation from parents? If you do - would you be willing to share?

Basically I need something that say this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated and can result in removal of a childs place, to protect us all in the future. Unfortunately my head is really not in policy writing mode at the moment.

Thanks in advance

FF

Edited by ForestFlo
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Oh dear this all sounds dreadful for you. I'm afraid we don't have a policy, but certainly does sound a brilliant idea. Hope someone comes along to help,you out soon. In the meantime sending big wraparound hugs for you and your staff.

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Hi forest flo,

 

I am sorry to hear you have been signed off with stress. I have been in a similar situation ref a parent,being rude, aggressive and dam right unapproachable , oh an threatening! I hadn't been in my new role of assistant manager very long, my manager had to go away for a bit,so I was left to run the setting on my own. Bearing in mind we had other outside agency's involved at the time. Any way will get to my point.... It got to the point when my manager returned, I arranged an emergency staff meeting and it was discussed with all members of staff. We decided that the parent was being very unreasonable and we had tried to do our best for them and there child. We all agreed that we would give the parent notice to leave due to unreasonable behaviour. This is what we did, but I do think it might be a good idea to put a small policy together to protect your staff and yourself in future. Hope you feel better soon big hugs keep smiling and stay positive,they are the one with the problem,not you!!

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Hi Forestflo - so sorry to hear that this is happening to you - I don't have a policy - (touching wood now) have never (so far) needed one.......

I did 'suffer' some abuse via emails a few years back - this from a family that I couldn't accommodate (they didn't even live in our village) but were quite determined that their child should have a place with me..........

Long story short - I forwarded the emails to the EY team at the LA and sought advice - they were incredibly supportive and just suggested that in future I should add my policy re admissions to my applications forms - obviously I acted on that advice.......

I should say here that parents of children from outside the village had always been told (verbally) that they may not be successful in gaining a place.......

Bizarrely after all of the plain 'nasty' emails they thought that I might keep him on my waiting list for the following year and add his younger brother to my list too - really - yeah right :ph34r:

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This sounds like a dreadful situation, Flo. Can't offer you a policy - just wanted to offer my sympathies and a virtual hug. Hope you're feeling better soon. xx

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i'm reading this post with shock and astonishment.....no one has the right to make you feel like this...are you a PVI setting?

If so there should be no reason why you can not say get lost...do not darken my doorstep again!!!!! I think i would be sending a very strongly worded letter explaining that the relationship is obviously not working and therefore you are prepared to accept their removal of their child with no notice period..starting from xxx!

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i'm reading this post with shock and astonishment.....no one has the right to make you feel like this...are you a PVI setting?

If so there should be no reason why you can not say get lost...do not darken my doorstep again!!!!! I think i would be sending a very strongly worded letter explaining that the relationship is obviously not working and therefore you are prepared to accept their removal of their child with no notice period..starting from xxx!

Whilst I am in complete agreement with the sentiment.........I would seek help/advise from my LA :1b

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Thank you all for your kind words, and yes please Woodlands that would be fab. It's all because I refused to exclude a child with EBD, the said parents have now lodged a formal complaint against me in addition to everything else they have done.

The committee are now dealing with the situation, its vile, there really is no other word. I am shocked and appalled at how supposed "grown up's" think it is okay to behave towards others.

 

FF

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I am equally shocked, but not surprised that this does occur. My heartful wishes and virtual hugs go to you ForestFlo.x

Can I ask what type of provision you are working at as you stated "head".

We have a parent at the moment with their second child with us, that bullied one of my staffs daughters at school.

I have kept a very close eye on this and although quite aggressive in their demeanour, I have never ever let them get away with any inappropriate behaviour.

Please do get advice from ACAS or your LA as suggested in previous posts.

Edited by Fredbear
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Fredbear - I meant my head - sorry (my head is kind of scrambled at the moment!). I am the manager, we are a PVI. The committee have contacted Lawcall and the LA are aware.

 

FF

i would also contact ofsted and explain what has happened and what you have done....that way if anything go further they will see you as being ahead of the game!

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Right it's just easier to copy and paste.....

 

Conflict Resolution with Parents who may be Challenging

 

At Woodlands we believe that we have a strong partnership with our parents and an open door policy to discuss any matters arising (if applicable).

In the unlikely event that a parent starts to act in an aggressive or abusive way at the nursery, our policy is to:

Direct the parent away from the children and into a private area such as the main room or lounge depending on the time of the day (where appropriate)

Ensure that a second member of staff be in attendance, where possible whilst ensuring the safe supervision of the children

Act in a calm and professional way, ask the parent to calm down and make it clear that we do not tolerate aggressive or abusive language or behaviour

Contact the police if the behaviour does not diffuse

Once the parent calms down, the member of staff will then listen to their concerns and respond appropriately

An incident form will be completed detailing the time, reason and action taken

With incidents like this staff may require support and reassurance following the experience, management will provide this and seek further support where necessary

 

Management will also signpost parents to further support if felt necessary

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Then we have this in our terms and conditions that they sign when they start.....

 

 

Behaviour Management:

We may require a child to be withdrawn from the nursery by the parent/carer in the event that the nursery manager and staff considers the child to be disruptive or displaying inappropriate behaviour that could cause injury to themselves or others.

 

We will in no circumstances tolerate Nursery staff being spoken to in an abusive or threatening manner by parents, carers or children. Such behaviour may result in the termination of a nursery place.

 

Hope that helps :-)

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You are clearly having a very tough time at the moment. My sympathies are with you.

We have notices in the Reception space saying that staff should be treated with respect - a bit like they have in A&E departments at the hospital. Our behaviour policy also states that we reserve the right to ask a parent to remove their child.

I will also add my voice to those saying talk to the LA and be up front with Ofsted - they do realise that some parents have unrealistic expectations and bear it in mind when they are considering complaints.

Good luck

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nothing more to add to the fantastic advice already given, but wanted to just add my symapthies...it's a dreadful situation for you, which i hope your committee will swiftly deal with.

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I had a similar situation last year and contacted my LA for advice. They reported me to Ofsted (I found this out when Ofsted came to investigate!) for not safeguarding the children as the parent had harassed me in front of parents and their children. In the ideal world, moving the parent away is the right thing to do and I did on many occasions, but it wasn't always possible to move this parent to another room, as the parent would sometimes just start over nothing.

I was a wreck too, always waiting to see the parents mood each day and the abuse from the parent was horrible. When the parent rang me and called me everything under the sun - that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I hung up on them as I had just had enough. I immediately contacted the police, took out a harassment order against the parent and terminated the child's place. The police were fantastic. They, in fact, took the letter to the parent for me. They also advised me to put a zero tolerance policy in my 'Parental code of conduct' policy which I did. They police came to see me a few times to make sure everything was OK. I never heard from the LA. Likewise, my committee ran for the hills, because they live in the same village as this tyrant.

Of course we all know what the parent said they were going to do..... so transparent.... the parent threatened me with Ofsted, but I wasn't concerned as I hadn't done anything wrong, which when they came out, they saw it for what it was. They did scrutinize me over the LA accusation, but again, they couldn't find anything I had done wrong and they had no cause for concern. Needless to say you might well know how I feel about the LA.

I feel sorry you are going through this. It is an absolutely awful time, and for me it was one of the lowest points in my career when I had to endure this. As managers, we take the full brunt of things and it seems to get harder - parents seem to have changed. Good luck, stay strong because the good always shines through in the end. These types of parents we can well do without!

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We may require a child to be withdrawn from the nursery by the parent/carer in the event that the nursery manager and staff considers the child to be disruptive or displaying inappropriate behaviour that could cause injury to themselves or others.

Some years ago when we had a child doing something dangerous to another child I was told by the Area SENCo that we couldn't exclude him.

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I had a similar situation last year and contacted my LA for advice. They reported me to Ofsted (I found this out when Ofsted came to investigate!) for not safeguarding the children as the parent had harassed me in front of parents and their children. In the ideal world, moving the parent away is the right thing to do and I did on many occasions, but it wasn't always possible to move this parent to another room, as the parent would sometimes just start over nothing.

I was a wreck too, always waiting to see the parents mood each day and the abuse from the parent was horrible. When the parent rang me and called me everything under the sun - that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I hung up on them as I had just had enough. I immediately contacted the police, took out a harassment order against the parent and terminated the child's place. The police were fantastic. They, in fact, took the letter to the parent for me. They also advised me to put a zero tolerance policy in my 'Parental code of conduct' policy which I did. They police came to see me a few times to make sure everything was OK. I never heard from the LA. Likewise, my committee ran for the hills, because they live in the same village as this tyrant.

Of course we all know what the parent said they were going to do..... so transparent.... the parent threatened me with Ofsted, but I wasn't concerned as I hadn't done anything wrong, which when they came out, they saw it for what it was. They did scrutinize me over the LA accusation, but again, they couldn't find anything I had done wrong and they had no cause for concern. Needless to say you might well know how I feel about the LA.

I feel sorry you are going through this. It is an absolutely awful time, and for me it was one of the lowest points in my career when I had to endure this. As managers, we take the full brunt of things and it seems to get harder - parents seem to have changed. Good luck, stay strong because the good always shines through in the end. These types of parents we can well do without!

Have I understood this correctly - you asked your LA for advise and your LA reported you to Ofsted?????

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Forest Flo so sorry that a situation has caused you not to be at work and be doing what you do best. It appals me that parents believe that they have a right to behave in a manner that is inappropriate , threatening or down right rude. I think introducing a policy is a great idea but how sad that working in early years has come to this. I will not tolerate aggressive behaviour , have only had one parent at this setting that tried to get angry when I questioned her continual lateness ,never done it since thankfully.

 

I do hope this awful situation is resolved quickly , that you try and get yourself back on top and get support from colleagues, committee and family xx

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..

 

 

Behaviour Management:

We may require a child to be withdrawn from the nursery by the parent/carer in the event that the nursery manager and staff considers the child to be disruptive or displaying inappropriate behaviour that could cause injury to themselves or others.

 

 

As a setting who takes a lot of children with additional difficulties i find this statement a bit disturbing....is it not our duty to help these children not exclude them? I have had children who hit themselves /bash their heads against walls etc ...why would i exclude them for this...it is a sign there there is a problem .

To paraphrase ... a child who is behaving at their worst requires the most amount of love.

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we did have a policy.. but cannot remember the wording.. same as others it was after a parent had been abusive towards staff, and reported us for .. well not sure what for really.. she was late by 45 mins, had impact on child numbers we were over ratio , and all was very polite asking her to be on time or call so we knew.. she erupted at me.. I was not the one who had spoken to her.. but as I did not respond the way she wanted ,but left her to rant the more angry she got.. i had a staff member remove the children at the start as we could see her reaction .. and ensured i had someone there with me..

I digress... our policy had a wording such that it was the parent who was being abusive that was not allowed on the premises, we would be willing to continue to take the child but they would have to be brought and collected by a nominated person, who would also act as emergency contact should it be needed... it was our belief that the child should not be effected by the behaviour of the adult.. it was not their fault..

I above case the parent had a written warning.. as the complaint was not upheld, and she was so apologetic for ages after and gave me flowers as an apology.. think it hit home with her we were not taking it lying down..

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I am sat here reading all of this and I literally have goosebumps!

So sorry to hear you are going through this and much sympathy and strength is flying it's way too you - we too have had several episodes of this (and it's usually from the parents you have bent over backwards to accommodate and support, to add insult to injury!!)

It is absolutely appalling to think that parents have a right to treat you/us this way - and even more so given they wouldn't tolerate you doing it to them!

We tried to look at it from an 'employment' point of view; that if we were doing this to one of our employees then it would be a disciplinary matter with potential to be losing the job so why are we accepting it and being even nicer to them!

- this made us toughen up so to speak and our final line, face to face (trying to hide the fact I was shaking with adrenaline) was 'you are obviously unhappy with the service despite us trying to blah blah blah so I shall take it as your notice to leave...and as we have a waiting list I'm willing to relieve you of your notice period as of today. We shall miss little Ted and will pass any files/info on to his next setting if you let us know where he is going'

Cue silence and back tracking - when they indicated they wanted to stay we spelled it out that all the team should be dealt with with full respect, as they would expect us to speak to them and that zero tolerance would prevail (said in a nice way with a plastered on smile!)

 

Each subsequent time it has happened (probably we get it once a year/two years) we are a little bit tougher in protecting our emotional well-being and try to nip it in the bud quicker

We don't have a policy as we didn't want to tar everyone with the same brush. We have thought about a poster like the ones in A&E (and isn't it sad that we are seeing them being put up in all manner of places now) but felt it gave the wrong impression as on the whole the other parents are great - and you kind of expect a little raised emotion from time to time where their children are concerned, but usually they apologise the next day

This makes us sound like a war zone - it's not, I promise!

Gobsmacked at the LA reporting the setting and not providing direct advice etc - you can't physically remove someone from an area as it would end up in fisticuffs! Shame on them!

 

And yes, I have also put the phone down on a ranting parent (several times in the conversation - she kept ringing back!) (after warning them I would if they didn't stop shouting!)

Edited by gingerbreadman
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I digress... our policy had a wording such that it was the parent who was being abusive that was not allowed on the premises, we would be willing to continue to take the child but they would have to be brought and collected by a nominated person, who would also act as emergency contact should it be needed... it was our belief that the child should not be effected by the behaviour of the adult.. it was not their fault..

 

I like this Inge - it's a nice strategy

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We have never excluded a child and wouldn't want to but our LA gave guidance on terms and conditions and included was the statement as above. There are situations you could never predict so I just see it as covering ourselves in every eventuality, but I fully see where you are coming from. It would have to be a highly exceptional case. Our behaviour management policy is obviously a lot more detailed and we would do everything to ensure all children were included. We had a child with severe autism who we fought to get 1:1 funding for to stay with us -the LA wanted them sent to a 'special school' 20 miles away but luckily after a struggle we managed to get a statement. Had we not have been successful however we would have had to look at it - they needed 1:1 care and proved a risk to children with their behaviour if this kind of intervention could not be adopted x

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We have never excluded a child and wouldn't want to but our LA gave guidance on terms and conditions and included was the statement as above. There are situations you could never predict so I just see it as covering ourselves in every eventuality, but I fully see where you are coming from. It would have to be a highly exceptional case. Our behaviour management policy is obviously a lot more detailed and we would do everything to ensure all children were included. We had a child with severe autism who we fought to get 1:1 funding for to stay with us -the LA wanted them sent to a 'special school' 20 miles away but luckily after a struggle we managed to get a statement. Had we not have been successful however we would have had to look at it - they needed 1:1 care and proved a risk to children with their behaviour if this kind of intervention could not be adopted x

perhaps this is where i come from a slightly different angle ....in my borough it is highly unlikely for us to get a statement before a child starts school (i wish it wasn't but that's the deal) Although i ask questions before children start it is often the case that we are the ones who discover there are problems first....therefore we do not have funding in place until all the assessments are in place. As a manager i have to staff as i see fit and it may be that i have to provide 1-1 care without any financial backup for some time. I would think your LEA's policy could be easily challenged on grounds of discrimination i'm afraid. Our local sen school is currently full so where would these children go i wonder?

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[...] Although i ask questions before children start it is often the case that we are the ones who discover there are problems first....[...]

Which questions do you ask, Finleysmaid, and what would you do if you were given information which made you realise that the child would need more support than other children - that you would need more staff that you usually have?

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