I’m sick of reading multiple stories every year about teachers who react to talkative students by taping up their mouths.
Whilst this is almost invariably dismissed as a passive act where the teacher is demonstrating an important lesson in a unorthodox manner, there is absolutely nothing passive about it. Actually, it is a very violent act! Taping up mouths is the stuff of kidnappers and bank robbers. There is nothing instructive or lighthearted about it.
I would go so far as to say that is akin to getting slapped on the face, but actually it is worse. Firstly, a slap on the face is over in a second whilst a child with their mouth taped shut usually has to wear it for a while. And secondly, nobody laughs when a child gets smacked, but chances are, the taping of a child’s mouth is likely to get at least mild snickers from some students. It amounts to c0mplete and utter humiliation.
And finally I would like my fellow colleagues to realise that a “loudmouth” should never be treated like a child out of control. Talkative children are not behavioral concerns, they are simply a reflection of how well developed and engaging your lesson is. Good teachers don’t crucify students that talk, they see it less as rebellion and more as feedback.
So when school governors choose to call an act of child abuse and an immediate sackable offense as just ‘misguided’ and allow that teacher to go on without any penalty at all, we must draw attention not only to the teacher but to those that can’t see the harm and humiliation involved in forcibly taping a poor child’s mouth shut.
A classroom ‘chatterbox’ had her mouth taped shut by a teacher to keep her quiet.
Elise Smith, 11, was made to sit with Sellotape over her lips for 15 minutes as a punishment for talking too much.
School governors criticised the teacher’s actions as ‘misguided’ – but no further disciplinary action was taken.
The teacher has since apologised to Elise and her parents but they want him removed from the school.
Angry father Marc Smith said: ‘The children were all talking in class and were told to be quiet, but my daughter kept on talking.
‘The teacher should just have sent her out. My daughter told me when I got home and the next morning I went to the school. I was fuming.’
At the time of the incident, former headteacher Mike McCandless received written statements from the teacher and other pupils at William Allitt School in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, which was recently placed in special measures following an Ofsted inspection report.
Mr Smith said he was dismayed that the teacher in question was never suspended.
He added: ‘The teacher apologised but he has not been punished enough, in my opinion, because he is still working at that school. I would not personally want him there.’
Jean Mead, chairman of governors, said: ‘This was a misguided action rather than a malicious one.
‘The teacher immediately regretted his actions and apologised.
‘We worked alongside the local authority to carry out a thorough investigation and appropriate action was taken.’
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