A schools definition of ‘encouragement’ differs to mine.

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I spoke to the deputy head at my daughters school this afternoon.  She had spoken to my daughter, questioned her about why she did not want to go to school then made her apologise to the school staff for her behaviour.  Frankly I am SO ANNOYED.  I have always told my daughter never to hit first however she can lash out  in self defence.

The deputy head at the school said the staff members actions were of ‘encouragement’!!!!

Thanks to thefreedictionary.com I have a definition of encouragement;

Noun 1. encouragementencouragement – the expression of approval and support

commendation, approval – a message expressing a favorable opinion; “words of approval seldom passed his lips”
abetment, abettal, instigation – the verbal act of urging on
cheering, shouting – encouragement in the form of cheers from spectators; “it’s all over but the shouting”
advancement, furtherance, promotion – encouragement of the progress or growth or acceptance of something
fosterage, fostering – encouragement; aiding the development of something
goading, prod, prodding, spur, spurring, urging, goad – a verbalization that encourages you to attempt something; “the ceaseless prodding got on his nerves”
incitement, provocation – needed encouragement; “the result was a provocation of vigorous investigation”
vote of confidence – an expression of approval and encouragement; “they gave the chairman a vote of confidence”
discouragement – the expression of opposition and disapproval
2. encouragement – the act of giving hope or support to someone

assist, assistance, help, aid – the activity of contributing to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose; “he gave me an assist with the housework”; “could not walk without assistance”; “rescue party went to their aid”; “offered his help in unloading”
morale booster, morale building – anything that serves to increase morale; “the sight of flowers every morning was my morale builder”
3. encouragement – the feeling of being encouraged

hope – the general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled; “in spite of his troubles he never gave up hope”

Now I cannot see anything in the above definition that would support forcibly taking a very distressed child go into school away from her mother.

What really annoys me is that the teach did not speak to me or acknowledge my presence.  Her only interaction was with my daughter when she told her that she had to go into school and made an attempt to get hold of her.

I was already dealing with the situation, I was taking to my daughter and encouraging her to go into school voluntarily.  What the staff member did created an unnecessary situation and made things really bad.  Had she not intervened my daughter would have gone merrily into school as she always does.

A coaching focused approach would have resolved the situation swiftly.  What do I think she should have done?

Firstly not got involved.  I was dealing with the situation well enough and she should have kept out of it.  I am more than capable of getting my crying daughter into class.

Secondly if she wanted to become involved she should have spoken to me first, not ignored my presence and undermined me in front of my own daughter.

Thirdly she should not have made any attempt to physically take my child into school.

More things … yes loads.  She made no attempt to find out what was going on, why my daughter was upset, there may have been a family bereavement or she may have been unwell.  Without establishing the facts then she should have left well alone.  If I wanted assistance from staff then I would have asked for it.  An appropriate way to speak to my daughter would have been to lower herself to my young daughters height and talk to her nicely.

I found her manner towards my daughter intimidating and bullying.  All schools have a no bullying policy.  I believe that bullying is (amongst other things) when someone uses their age, position or size to mistreat or undermine another.  No one deserves to be bullied or harassed but it could happen to any of us and in some shape and form it probably has happened to most of us and it isn’t nice.

What signals was the staff member sending out?  She was saying that it is OK for an someone to be forcibly moved against their will.  To barge into a situation that did not involve them and try to take over without firstly establishing the facts.  I am sure they would have plenty to say if the school children were doing similar.

By making my daughter apologise to the school staff the deputy head has condoned their actions – and without speaking to me first to establish my viewpoint on what had happened.  No surprise there then.

I believe that if the school expects my daughter to treat her peers and school staff with dignity and respect they should afford the same back, this should apply to all children no matter their age or size.  School staff should not take advantage of their position to forcefully deal with a simple situation that does not involve them.

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