Monday, October 21, 2013

LE ROCQUIER SCHOOL - CULTURE OF CONCEALMENT - SCRUTINY -1



DEPUTY MAÇON  - CHAIR EDUCATION AND HOME AFFAIRS  SCRUTINY PANEL

DEPUTY TADIER

DEPUTY SOUTHERN

CONSTABLE LE TROQUER




FRANCES MARY ALDHAM QC 



THE NOMINATED CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY SUBJECT TO STATES APPROVAL 



BUT DOES THE CULURE OF CONCEALMENT STILL EXIST?



The LE ROCQUIER SCHOOL 'STARTING PISTOL' INCIDENT...


"I asked him what had happened and he said "(teacher’s name) shot me in the face with a starter pistol" I could not believe my ears! I thought when you sent your child to school they were in a safe place!! I then went on to ask him numerous questions including why had I not been contacted by the school, what time did it happen, did he not get to medical and A&E? Once it had all registered I asked him how exactly it happened and did anyone else see what happened and when it happened?"




This horrific incident was first broken my Deputy T Pitman and can be read here:






After everything we have been through since 'Operation Rectangle' the investigation into decades long child abuse in the Jersey care system I would say yes.  Team Voice have been alarmed at the horrific incident at Le Rocquier School concerning the discharging of a starting pistol during a five -a- side game. I simply find it amazing that this has not raised serious questions across the board. The Jersey media should have looked at this incident and asked some probing questions but we have heard nothing. The only probing questions that have been asked have come from Deputy T Pitman in the States of Jersey and Team Voice. 


We, at Team Voice, have now decided to ask the probing questions. We are looking at Policy & Procedure concerning a serious child protection issue. When a parent leaves their child at the school gates  they are doing so in the belief that their child is in safe hands and that there are policies and procedures in place to ensure their safety ( In loco parentis ) 



We are in contact with the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel who are tasked with scrutinising policy and procedure of the Education Department. Team Voice are looking for answers on what can only be best described as alleged serious failings at Le Rocquier School/Education Department.    This concerns the actions of all the teachers involved in this horrific incident - from the very moment the starting pistol entered the hand of the teacher, the young child going home to their mother and subsequently ending up at the Accident and Emergency at the General Hospital. 


Just so readers know what happened that day on the 13th May 2013 please read the harrowing account from the mothers perspective. Doesn't she and all parents/guardians demand answers. We know that an internal investigation (behind closed doors) was carried out by the Education Department and that no one has been privy to it's findings. This is the very culture that has got us into this mess in the first place. What lessons have been learnt since Operation Rectangle? In the absence of anybody else asking questions, apart from Deputy Pitman, Team Voice have had to step into the breech. 


The Education & Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel chaired by Deputy Mácon with Deputy Tadier - Deputy Southern and Connétable Le Troquer will be sitting tomorrow. They have assured us that our concerns will be raised at the meeting where Team Voice have asked to give oral evidence but as of going to press we are still awaiting confirmation as to wether they will accept our evidence. We have been asking since the 10th October to provide the panel with evidence. This request has so far  been largely ignored. 


We will be keeping our readers updated on all issues regarding this most serious of incidents. 


We can't just let this pass without investigation. 


Education investigating Education - Have we learnt nothing?


I will leave you with this. Have we reached a point in Jersey when even the discharging of a starting pistol that ended up with a child in A&E is just brushed aside. If a teacher can do this, be find £1,000 in the Magistate Court, return to work after an internal investigation what is the precedent being set? 

Think about it.


Rico Sorda



Part Time Investigative Journalist





Incident at school on Monday 13th May 2013

"I came home from work on what I thought was a normal day until my son came in from school after catching the bus home and said to me "You will never guess what happened to me at school today" I looked at him and saw that he had a bloodshot eye and black specks all over his face.

I asked him what had happened and he said "(teacher’s name) shot me in the face with a starter pistol" I could not believe my ears! I thought when you sent your child to school they were in a safe place!! I then went on to ask him numerous questions including why had I not been contacted by the school, what time did it happen, did he not get to medical and A&E? Once it had all registered I asked him how exactly it happened and did anyone else see what happened and when it happened?

My son then went on to tell me it was during his 2nd lesson of the day, he was playing 5 aside football in the sports hall, (why would a teacher be in possession of a starter pistol at an indoor 5 a side football match?) was talking to his mate and something made him turn around and as he did he was temporarily blinded by what hit him in the eye. He told me that The teacher quickly took him into the toilets to go and wash his eye and face and then when they came back into the hall (teacher’s name) told the class that none of them were to repeat what had just happened to anyone or he would get the sack.

My Son then went to medical to seek advice about his eye and saw the head of P.E. at the same time and told him what had just happened. After this he took him back to class where, my son told me, 5 of his classmates told him that (teacher’s name) had said just before he pulled the trigger "watch this I'm going to shoot "pupil x"

As soon as I heard the full story I was straight on the phone to the school to speak to the head teacher, when I asked him why I had not been contacted, the moment this had happened (the second class of the day) he told me he knew nothing about the incident and would have to go off and speak to his staff and come back to me, which he did within minutes.

I then took my son to A&E to get his eye checked which clearly should have been done via school that morning but WAS NOT.

I then took it upon myself the following morning to get in contact with the Education Department to report it and I also reported it to the police. 
I still need a lot of questions answered, which include: -

Why did a teacher have access to a gun?

Why did he have it in an enclosed environment during a 5 aside football lesson?

Why was I not contacted for such a major incident in a school?

Why was the headmaster not informed?

My son and my family feel let down by the school and the Education Department; when answering questions in the States from Deputy Trevor Pitman, the Education Minister had said that I had been kept informed of the case throughout. This is not how I see it because you can imagine my horror when I discovered the teacher had been allocated a class to teach this term (school roster sent to parents). This is after he had been found guilty in the magistrate’s court of discharging a firearm and still subject to an internal investigation. It was only as a result of Deputy Pitman’s question I discovered the rosters were printed some four months earlier.

I would have hoped the Education Department would have warned me about (teacher’s name) appearing on the roster, if the Department were keeping me informed as Deputy Ryan said it was.

Deputy Ryan also said, in the states, that my son had made a full recovery. If he was talking in the physical sense he could be right but this episode has had a lasting damaging emotional effect on our whole family who has lost confidence in the school and the department and I no longer feel my children are safe at school.

I have also discovered, partly due to Deputy Pitman’s questions, that the teacher, or the terrifying incident, is subject of an internal enquiry. I have not been told what the Terms of reference are for this enquiry, is it a disciplinary enquiry, a procedural enquiry, what is it if I am being kept informed I should have been told this."(END)






23 comments:

voiceforchildren said...

Rico.

It looks like nothing in Jersey's culture of concealment has changed despite the HDLG atrocities. Secret so-called "investigations" over major child protection failures and deafening silence from those who should be scrutinising/challenging these issues.

Could HDLG happen all over again? Damn right it could. Children/parents/carers/society deserve better.

All this at a time when the Chairperson for Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry is NOMINATED

rico sorda said...

This is what the BBC Reported:


18 June 2013 Last updated at 16:46


Jersey pupil 'shot in face by teacher with starting pistol'

A pupil was allegedly shot in the face with a starting pistol by a teacher in Jersey, it has been confirmed.

The pupil is now thought to have recovered from the injuries sustained at Le Rocquier School.

The Education Minister, Deputy Patrick Ryan, said a police investigation was ongoing and the teacher involved had been suspended.

The pupil's age and gender are not known. Mr Ryan said he would not make any further comment on the issue.

The school refused to comment.

He said: "All teacher suspensions are reviewed and my understanding is that the child is OK."

Back bench politician, Deputy Trevor Pitman, revealed the name of the school in the States on Tuesday.

States of Jersey police said officers were working with the alleged victim, the pupil's family, as well as other children and teachers at the school to find out what happened.

Le Rocquier is a mixed school for 11-16 year olds based in St Clement, Jersey.

rico sorda said...

Jersey minister orders starter pistol removal from schools

Pupil 'shot in face by teacher'

Starter pistols are being withdrawn from Jersey's schools after a pupil was shot in the face by a teacher, the education minister confirms.

Deputy Patrick Ryan said an investigation was continuing after the incident at Le Rocquier school.

Joel Kevin Ellis Hayward, 27, was fined £1,000 by magistrates on 30 August for firing the pistol, in June.

An education spokesman said the teacher was suspended following the outcome of the internal investigation.

The injured pupil is understood to have made a full recovery.

The minister was responding to a question by St Helier politician Deputy Trevor Pitman who asked whether there was a policy in place.

Deputy Ryan said: "There is a policy in place. The guns have to be kept locked away in a store location and only a limited number of staff have access to it.

"Whether or not the school adhered to this policy will obviously be part of an investigation."

He went on to say that all starting pistols would be withdrawn as it was "not that important" that schools have access to starting pistols for sporting purposes.

"There are other things that can be used to start races and they do not need pistols for that reason," he said.

Anonymous said...

Just the usual case of making a story our of nothing and its you who calls himself a journalist, nobody else.

Anonymous said...

Team Voice?
WTF is Team Voice?
Where are you officially registered?

Anonymous said...

Anybody can attend scrutiny meetings Rico but this story is dead and buried. Though you know its getting desperate when you tell people on a Facebook Group to read a link and at the same time plead with them to ignore its the waffle of Stuart Syvret. That's really sad.

Anonymous said...

Typical response from the minister to blame the starting pistol and not one of his teachers. Is the internal investigation going to be made public? Is the scrutiny panel going to actually SCRUTINIZE? Or are we back where we started pre HDLG?

rico sorda said...

I have a strict rule of not publishing the idiot comments but I thought they highlighted why I keep going. As long as there are sick people amongst our midsts then children will never be safe.

I won't be publishing anymore. I believe in doing something. I want answers concerning the horrific incident at Le Rocquier School.

rs

Anonymous said...

Shooting a child in the face with a starter pistol could be classed as child abuse and if the internal investigation is not going to see the light of day then that will tell you all you need to know about Jersey's culture towards child abuse in 2013. Time for Scrutiny to Scrutinize.

Anonymous said...

"Though you know its getting desperate when you tell people on a Facebook Group to read a link and at the same time plead with them to ignore its the waffle of Stuart Syvret. That's really sad."

IS THIS TRUE?

rico sorda said...

I conducted an experiment on Politics Jersey where I published Stuart Syvret's excellent 2005 speech on becoming Chief Minister but removed his name so people could just concentrate on the words and not the person. It proved very worthwhile.

rs

rico sorda said...

This posting is about the horrific incident at the School and what appears to be the continued culture of concealment. I want Scrutiny to Scrutinise. This is so important. It concerns every child in the Education system.

rs

Deputy Trevor Pitman said...

Hey Rico.

The comments trying to discredit your very clever play with Stuart Syvret's speech is so clearly our troll it is almost funny.

Give you your due you certainly exposed some of the haters for what they are. Shame that Tony Bellows and James Rondel want to indulge them for some reason.

Interesting to see what answers I get from the ESC Minister tomorrow.

rico sorda said...

Hi Trevor,

I want to keep this post on subject but having said that I must thank you once again for bringing this horrific incident at Le Rocquier school to our attention. That is something you should always be proud of. You have never shirked from asking the hard questions. It really is a shame that so many of your fellow states members remain so quiet.

You conducted an excellent review when in Scrutiny on the BDO farce. We are now engaging with scrutiny again in the hope that they will look at what appears to be serious failures of procedure at Le Rocquier.

Readers will be kept up to date on our quest in smashing the Culture of Concealment.

All published comments will be on this subject.

Good luck tomorrow.

rs

Deputy Trevor Pitman said...

Of course you are right to keep on track. I allowed myself to be distracted in trying to talk sense to people who just wanted to hate without thinking. The bullying issue regarding someone who could not answer back was just so wrong.

The school shooting issue is a very serious one. I think those who say (some quite deliberately of course) that it was just a starting pistol miss the point.

What underlay how this could happen and equally the mind-boggling unfolding events with the abuse of policy that followed are every bit as disturbing. Such matters do demand answers and in demanding these you are most definitely not carrying out any kind of witch hunt.

It is as you say about concealement yet again and a lack of true accountability. This all needs to change.

rico sorda said...

Let us look at some of the issues raised by the mother.


"As soon as I heard the full story I was straight on the phone to the school to speak to the head teacher, when I asked him why I had not been contacted, the moment this had happened (the second class of the day) he told me he knew nothing about the incident and would have to go off and speak to his staff and come back to me, which he did within minutes.

I then took my son to A&E to get his eye checked which clearly should have been done via school that morning but WAS NOT.

I then took it upon myself the following morning to get in contact with the Education Department to report it and I also reported it to the police.
I still need a lot of questions answered, which include: -

Why did a teacher have access to a gun?

Why did he have it in an enclosed environment during a 5 aside football lesson?

Why was I not contacted for such a major incident in a school?

Why was the headmaster not informed?

My Son then went to medical to seek advice about his eye and saw the head of P.E. at the same time and told him what had just happened. After this he took him back to class where, my son told me, 5 of his classmates told him that (teacher’s name) had said just before he pulled the trigger "watch this I'm going to shoot "pupil x"

As soon as I heard the full story I was straight on the phone to the school to speak to the head teacher, when I asked him why I had not been contacted, the moment this had happened (the second class of the day) he told me he knew nothing about the incident and would have to go off and speak to his staff and come back to me, which he did within minutes.

rico sorda said...

Now you can see why we have approached the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel. This has been a story on it's own and will feature in Wednesday nights posting. We won't these failings looked at. It's simply not good enough for the Education Department to say they have held an internal investigation and that's it.

I would be interested to know what Educations findings are. Seeing as the teacher is now back at work one would have to assume all was above board - does anybody know? Surely this is where Scrutiny step in? Will will find out in the morning. If they say no we will be seeking full clarification as to how they came to their decision and for an interview.

rs

Anonymous said...

It's a hugely important story. As a parent I'd be outraged about not only he incident but the mishandling of the entire thing if my child attended that school. Of course I see see it as closely tied to the entire ongoing child abuse concealment effort. Any kind of abuse and concealment where "responsible adults" close ranks to protect each other, or anyone else besides the kid is an outrage. The kids are supposed to buck up, forget about it and quit whinging and the adults are terrified of the truth leaking out. Somethings is very backwards in that.

Elle

rico sorda said...

3. Deputy T.M. Pitman of St. Helier will ask the following question of the Minister for Education, Sport and Culture –

“Could the Minister clarify what policies and procedures, if any, were followed in conducting the internal investigation into the starting pistol shooting incident at a secondary school and were students who witnessed the incident interviewed?

This will be asked today in the States of Jersey. Will be interesting especially as we await a reply from scrutiny.

Dolores said...

When does "Suffer the little children" come to an end?

Only when WE end it.

Well done Rico.

Anonymous said...

Safe Use of Starting Pistols and Caps
The following actions are required to ensure the safe use of starting pistols at schools:

 when not in use, starting pistols and caps are to be stored separately from each other and securely in locked cupboards that are inaccessible to students or unauthorised persons.

 no student is to operate a starting gun or have access to a starting pistol or caps.

 teachers/staff that are operating the starting pistol are given instructions in the safe use of the equipment, including hearing protection.

when the starting pistol is fired that it is held at arm's length above the shoulder into the air.

 the starting pistol is not pointed or aimed at anyone.

 all other persons are positioned at a safe distance (at least 5 metres) from the starting gun area

 the gun and caps are in their possession at all times and are not handled by students or unauthorised persons

 all spent or partially spent caps are disposed of securely. Particular attention must be paid to ensuring spent or partially spent caps are placed in a secure container immediately after use.


What was the teacher thinking. He must have been trained in the use of this firearm. Keep asking the questions.

Mark Forskitt said...

Regardless of the other peculiar circumstances such as a pistol being used in an indoor space etc, the lack of regard of the injured pupil in seeking proper medical assistance is telling. Eyes are delicate organs easily damaged.

What possessed a school not to get the child to A&E? One plausible explanation is they were mindful that it should lead to awkward questions at the hospital about how the injury was incurred. In itself an indication that someone knew this was a potentially serious incident?

It seems this mindset of putting the name and reputation of the institution above doing the bleedingly obvious correct thing persists.

voiceforchildren said...

Rico/

If only most States Members could take a leaf out of Michael De La Haye's BOOK!