Victim Of The ‘Can’t Touch’ Rule: Teacher Strangled By Pupil As Staff Watch

Daily Mail
26.12.2008
By Laura Clark

Victim of the ‘can’t touch’ culture: Teacher throttled by pupil as colleagues looked on

A teacher who won £250,000 compensation after a pupil tried to strangle him has criticised a ‘can’t touch’ culture in schools after other staff initially refused to intervene.

Colin Adams, 50, was attacked by a 12- year- old boy, who knocked him to the floor before punching and kicking him, and grabbing his neck. But despite other teachers yelling at the boy to stop, no one stepped in to help.

Mr Adams’s ordeal ended only after another teacher eventually came to his aid by forcing the boy’s thumbs back to release his hold. Later, the unnamed teacher admitted to Mr Adams that he was afraid the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, would accuse him of assault.

It later emerged the boy had a history of violence, having previously attacked pupils and a security guard at a library opposite Kingsford Community School in East London.

However, he was not properly disciplined over the assaults and staff were not warned about his past.

Mr Adams yesterday criticised Government-backed ‘inclusion’ policies, which he claimed had led to pupils with severe behavioural problems being taught in schools where staff are not trained to cope with them.

His comments come only days after figures released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed police were called to schools 10,000 times last year to deal with violent incidents.

Mr Adams’s attacker was expelled after the assault in 2004 and given a referral order by the courts, which involved him being supervised for six months.

It is rumoured he was sent on a holiday as ‘a reward’ for completing it.

As a result of the attack, which lasted for several minutes, Mr Adams, of Ockendon, Essex, was forced to give up work after suffering severe stress and back problems.

His distress was further compounded by a lengthy court battle to win compensation, charted by his wife Sharon, 47, in a diary she started after the assault.

Four-and-a-half years later, he secured £250,000 in an out-of-court settlement from Newham Council.

Writing in her diary, Mrs Adams said the boy had been misbehaving in another teacher’s class and Mr Adams, as head of department, had gone to his aid. He ordered the boy to leave but the pupil refused.

Mr Adams then left the room and was attacked by the boy from behind.

She wrote: ‘He came around to find the boy strangling him. The teachers told the boy to let go, but he did not.

‘Teachers are very wary of touching children these days as children all know their rights and they can take a teacher to court.

‘It only came to an end when a male teacher grabbed hold of one of the boy’s thumbs and caused him pain and made the boy let go.

‘This teacher didn’t want to admit what he’d done for fear of being accused of assault.

‘The police informed the school they could have kicked the boy in his back to make him let go, but I am not sure there is any teacher anywhere who would be willing to do that for fear of repercussions.’

Mr Adams, who has two grown-up children, added: ‘The whole thing has left a bitter taste. We are trying our best to move forward but it’s a slow process.’

A Newham Council spokesman said: ‘Our staff have the right to work without fear of assault or harassment.

‘In this particular case, an appropriate financial settlement was agreed following advice from our insurers, which was based on Mr Adams’s loss of salary, future loss of earnings and damages for the injury he suffered.’

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