Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LE ROCQUIER SCHOOL 'CULTURE OF CONCEALMENT' - SCRUTINY 2























"LE ROCQUIER SCHOOL - CULTURE OF CONCEALMENT"



"THE SCHOOL SHOOTING"


"5.9 Senator S.C. Ferguson:

The Minister said that after the incident with the starting pistol, all starting pistols were removed from the school.  It is not the starting pistols that were causing the problem, it was the teacher.  [Approbation]  Would it not have been better to make sure all teachers knew procedures to do with starting pistols without taking away something which is totally harmless and unless it is used incorrectly?  Does he really think this is a good psychological approach?

The Deputy of St. John:MINISTER OF EDUCATION:
Yes.



"TEAM VOICE GO IN SEARCH OF ANSWERS"



" SCRUTINY REPLY "


"This case appears to have been an isolated though serious incident in which a member of staff committed a breach of conduct for which he has been disciplined. This is not in itself evidence of a systematic failure of a policy by the Department"




" IT LEFT US SHOCKED"




"BELOW  IS THE EMAIL EXCHANGE AND THE REPLY FROM SCRUTINY"


THIS IS THE EDUCATION AND HOME AFFAIRS SCRUTINY PANEL:


Chairman - Deputy MAÇON 

Deputy TADIER

Deputy SOUTHERN

Connetable LE TROQUER




There comes a time when people have got to decide if Child Protection is important and is it worth fighting for.  

This has been one of those week's when you really do question your own beliefs and if you are doing the right thing. There can be no doubt that this has been one of those week's.  We, at Team Voice, have been trying to get the Le Rocquier School incident scrutinised by the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel.  I want to show  readers what we have been through to get this achieved or not as the case might be.  There have been some serious failings at the school. I will be highlighting these on our next posting. 



ARE THE CHILDREN REALLY SAFE WHEN IT GOES WRONG??



THE EMAILS 

Please take the time to follow the email chain all the way through to it's conclusion.  It ends with the decision made by Scrutiny. This is Child Protection we are talking about here. 




From: VFC
Date: 10 October 2013 14:32
Subject: Scrutiny/Child protection.
To: "j.macon" <j.macon@gov.je>, m.letroquer@gov.je, "g.southern" <g.southern@gov.je>, monty <montz_uk@yahoo.com>


Dear all.

I contact you in your role as members of the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel.

Could I point you to my latest Blog Posting here http://voiceforchildren.blogspot.com/2013/10/school-shooting-in-jersey-exclusive.html and ask that as a panel you investigate what has been able to transpire here?

A teacher is found guilty of discharging an imitation firearm at an indoor five a side football match of all places. The mother was not notified by the school of the incident, (that injured her child) the child was not taken to hospital by the school (but was by the mother). The teacher apparently claimed in court that it was "a prank" (funny). The Education Department conducts one of its infamous "internal investigations" and the teacher goes back to school.

There are a multitude of questions that need answering here and I hope you, as a panel, will break the tradition of ignoring child protection issues on this island and review, all that needs reviewing in this case.

I would like to discuss this further by offering oral evidence to the panel if you would like to give me a convenient time and venue?

Kind Regards.





From: Montfort 
Date: 10 October 2013 17:45
Subject: Re: Scrutiny/Child protection.


Hello VFC,

Thank you for your email. I will let the Chairman respond on behlaf of the Panel, but I am sure we will be discussing your suggestion at the next panel meeting.

Kind regards,

Montfort





VFC
To j.maconm.letroquer@gov.jeg.southern and 2 More...

Oct 17 at 3:47 PM

Dear all.

Since submitting my concerns in an e-mail a week ago all I have received is a reply from Montfort telling me he is sure the panel will be discussing them at the next panel meeting.

I have offered to supply oral evidence to your panel concerning a major child protection issue and have, by the looks of it, been ignored. I have no idea when your next meeting is or if I am to be invited to it? Indeed why do you have to wait until your next meeting before discussing this issue?

If we are to believe that child protection is now taken seriously on the Island, in light of the Haut de la Garenne/Savile atrocities, then why has the panel - set up to scrutinise - the policies and procedures of the Education Department remained so silent?

Please treat these concerns with the seriousness they deserve and start communicating with members of the public who bring these concerns to your attention?

Or is it, in reality, that the very same culture that enabled the HDLG atrocities to occur for DECADES is the exact same culture as we have now?

I look forward to a prompt, and meaningful, reply.

Kind Regards.




Michel Le Troquer (Connetable POSMN)
To VFC Jeremy Macon Geoffrey Southern and 2 More...

Oct 17 at 5:29 PM

Thanks VFC,

Our next meeting is planned for Monday 21st October and I already have it down as an agenda item at “any other business”.
I’m sure the Chairman will be making a decision at that meeting and either he or our Scrutiny Officer will be updating you after the meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Michel Le Troquer.




VFC
To Michel Le Troquer (Connetable POSMN)Jeremy MaconGeoffrey Southern and 2 More...

Oct 17 at 5:39 PM

Connetable.

Thank you for your reply from which I assume you won't be inviting me to the meeting in order to give further oral evidence?

Kind Regards.





Michel Le Troquer (Connetable POSMN)
To VFC Jeremy MaconGeoffrey Southern and 2 More...

Oct 17 at 5:53 PM

Thanks for the reply and your query.
No, Monday is our routine monthly meeting  during which we also have a part public period with the Minister of ES&C.
We would not be interviewing or hearing from members of the public on Monday.
However during our meeting we will review your emails and advise you of our decision as to how we intend to proceed.
Michel Le T



VFC
To Michel Le Troquer (Connetable POSMN)Jeremy MaconGeoffrey Southern and 2 More...

Oct 17 at 6:02 PM

Connetable.

I would ask that the panel doesn't reach a decision NOT to proceed without hearing my oral evidence?

Kind Regards.




RICO SORDA
To Michel Le Troquer (Connetable POSMN)Jeremy Macon and 2 More...

Oct 17 at 6:13 PM

Dear Members,

This is serious, and where have you been? 

As you will know, along with VFC I have been investigating the Child Abuse Cover-Up in Jersey for many years now. This incident left me horrified for a number of reasons. Let us concentrate on the actions of the school in question - from the very moment the teacher grabbed the starting pistol to the moment the young child went home to his mother.

Procedure - was procedure followed?  What are the laid down procedures for a school to follow incase of serious accident/incident? 

I hear there has been an internal investigation? What was it's terms of reference? Who headed it? Why wasn't it independent? We should have moved away from this culture a very long time ago. I have published the Mothers account below. Here the mother explains what happened that day. Remember a firearm was discharged - a child was injured - nothing allegedly was reported to the head-teacher or mother and there was an internal investigation. This isn't funny. Now is the time for action and answers. 

We must protect the children of jersey. 



There are many more questions that seriously need answers but will leave it there for now.

Rico Sorda



Jeremy Macon
To VFC Mike HadenMichel Le Troquer (Connetable POSMN) and 3 More...

Oct 18 at 8:36 AM

Mike, would it be possible so hear from VFC at some point after out public hearing with the Minister?

I know that Scrutiny can not look at individual cases, though the overlying policies that govern this might need to be looked at. Individual complaints about individuals need to be directed towards the States Employment Board it's their remit of human resources.

Kind regards,
Jeremy



VFC
To Jeremy MaconMike HadenMichel Le Troquer (Connetable POSMN) and 3 More...


Oct 18 at 5:38 PM

Dear all.

I'm not sure if Mr. Haden replied to Jeremy's last e-mail but I've not received it if he did.

Am I able to meet with the panel on Monday after its scheduled meeting with the Education Minister?

Kind Regards.


VFC
To Jeremy MaconMike HadenMichel Le Troquer (Connetable POSMN) and 3 More...

Oct 20 at 12:42 PM

Dear all.

After two days since my last e-mail not one of you has even acknowledged it let alone replied to it. Could I remind you all that this is a major child protection issue that needs addressing and getting any kind of a response from the panel who are tasked with scrutinising the Education Department, and its policies, is like pulling teeth.

Please treat this issue (child protection) with the seriousness that it deserves and stop ignoring e-mails from those who do take it seriously?

I ask AGAIN; am I able to come and give oral evidence to the Panel tomorrow, if not, why not, and if so what time and where?

Kind Regards.

VFC


Mike Haden
To  VFC Jeremy MaconMichel Le Troquer (Connetable POSMN) and 3 More...

Oct 21 at 9:08 AM


Dear VFC

The Panel has been considering your message but has not yet reached a decision. I will be in touch with you later today once the Panel members have had the opportunity to discuss the matter at today’s meeting.

Kind regrads




After all that VFC attended the Scrutiny Hearing on Monday 21st October. He waited 11/2 hours and was then refused to give oral evidence. He was then sent on his way.  We have waited until today, the 23rd October,to get a reply. The reply we received was unbelievable. 







Scrutiny Office


23 October 2013

Dear VFC

The Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel has considered your request in your email of 17 October 2013 that we should undertake an investigation into the manner in which the Education Department has dealt with the incident at Le Rocquier School in which a teacher discharged an imitation firearm in a school lesson injuring a pupil.

We recognise that this was a serious incident and note that the matter has been taken up already by an independent States Member who has asked a series of questions in the States on the matter, including one on the Order Paper dated 21st October 2013. We believe that it is appropriate that questions should be pursued and the Minister for Education, Sport and Culture should be held to account in this way. 

As a Scrutiny Panel, however, we are unable to get involved in individual cases for the following reasons:
  • The Scrutiny Code of Practice (paragraph 7.14) precludes Panels from dealing with disciplinary issues. 
  • There is an established complaints procedure which allows members of the public to make a complaint about a decision or administration process by any minister or department of the States. Members of the public may seek a States member to represent them in putting forward their evidence to the Complaints Board. Again Scrutiny Panels are precluded from involvement in the complaints procedure (para 7.11). 
Scrutiny Panels are empowered to deal with general issues of policy and procedure leading to an improved service to the public. This case appears to have been an isolated though serious incident in which a member of staff committed a breach of conduct for which he has been disciplined. This is not in itself evidence of a systematic failure of a policy by the Department, leading to the exposure of students to continued danger. The matter has also been the subject of judicial proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court. The Minister has now acted to change procedures relating to the use of starting pistols in schools. 

If you have evidence of a systematic policy failure by the department in the conduct of disciplinary cases we would consider a submission from you. Otherwise, I regret that we are unable to comply with your request to intervene in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Deputy Jeremy Maçon
Chairman, 
Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel





Who has responsibility for Scrutinising Policy and Procedures of the Jersey Education System if it's not Scrutiny? I really want readers to think about this. I want readers to think about the safety of their children when they leave them at the school gates and something goes wrong. This is horrendous. Remember the child reported the incident. Not the teachers, the headmaster or anyone else for that matter. Now we have two internal investigations underway. Education investigating Education. The two reports are to remain secret. The 'Culture of Concealment'  is alive and kicking. Nothing has been learnt. We have had question after question about the size of classrooms this week but nothing about the safety of children in school




Scrutiny even say leave it to Deputy T Pitman seeing as he is asking some questions. Are they seriously extracting the urine from him, you, me and any other concerned person out there. 


"This case appears to have been an isolated though serious incident in which a member of staff committed a breach of conduct for which he has been disciplined. This is not in itself evidence of a systematic failure of a policy by the Department"



Can you believe that. Have they not read what went on. The Teachers didn't report it THE CHILD REPORTED IT. The teachers involved kept quiet.  What is the policies of an accident happening at school that ends with a child in accident and emergency, the police being called, the teacher being warned that he faces a possible custodial sentence, then gets fined £1,000 pounds and all the teachers involved remained silent? 



Here is our reply to today's Scrutiny announcement.




VFC
To Mike HadenMeg.southern and 2 More...

Today at 3:56 PM

Mr. Haden.

Thank you for this predictable excuse of a cop out from the Panel. This is no reflection on you.

For the record It should be noted that on a number of occasions in the e-mail exchanges with the Panel I have asked for the opportunity to submit oral evidence to them. This request has been ignored all through the e-mails, and in this letter from them. I even turned up at their last meeting and had to endure an hour and a half of them massaging the ego of Mario Lundy in the hope I could meet with the Panel, after their meeting, in order to offer oral evidence. This as you know was refused  me.

If I would have been granted the opportunity to offer my oral evidence this confusion (cop out) could never have happened. It now makes sense why the Panel REFUSED to meet with me. My concern, as the Panel well knows, is about policy and procedure, not this individual discipline case.

In a post-HDLG era the Panel should be absolutely ashamed of themselves after demonstrating our children are no safer now than they were then.

It's only a matter of time before we have another HDLG.

As mentioned earlier Mr Haden, none of this is a reflection on you who I have always found to be professional in your approach to scrutiny.




Team Voice will not be letting this matter lie. 


Nothing has changed in Jersey.


Rico Sorda - Team Voice

Part Time Investigative Journalist 

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

Top to bottom, systematic failure. No lessons can be learnt if the facts aren't even observable!

Anonymous said...

How I read it in the JEP is that, the pupil turned, and smoke hit him in the face.

Anonymous said...

They have looked for reasons not to scrutinise when they should have been trying to manipulate every rule in allowing them to scrutinise. That comes across quite clearly in the exchanges.

Anonymous said...

"How I read it in the JEP is that, the pupil turned, and smoke hit him in the face"

The Minister for Education has removed all smoke from schools.

voiceforchildren said...

Rico.

From my e-mail of 10th October to Scrutiny Panel.

“I would like to discuss this further by offering oral evidence to the panel if you would like to give me a convenient time and venue?”

My response to Deputy Tadier’s reply of the same date, though not published on the Blog.

“Thank you for your reply and look I forward to submitting my oral evidence.”

From my e-mail of the 17th October.

“I have offered to supply oral evidence to your panel concerning a major child protection issue and have, by the looks of it, been ignored. I have no idea when your next meeting is or if I am to be invited to it?”

From my response to Connetable Le Troquer 17th October.

“Thank you for your reply from which I assume you won't be inviting me to the meeting in order to give further oral evidence?”

From another reply from me on the 17th October.

“I would ask that the panel doesn't reach a decision NOT to proceed without hearing my oral evidence?”

From Deputy Macon to Scrutiny Officer on 18th October.

“Mike, would it be possible so hear from VFC at some point after out (sic) public hearing with the Minister?

From my e-mail of the 18th October.

“Dear all.

I'm not sure if Mr. Haden replied to Jeremy's last e-mail but I've not received it if he did.

Am I able to meet with the panel on Monday after its scheduled meeting with the Education Minister?”

From my e-mail of 20th October.

“I ask AGAIN; am I able to come and give oral evidence to the Panel tomorrow, if not, why not, and if so what time and where?”(END)

After sitting through (at the States Building) an hour and a half of the Panel’s tickling of Mario Lundy’s ego, I was refused the opportunity to offer any oral evidence. It is safe to say that the panel did not want to hear ANY oral evidence that I had concerning a major Child Protection Issue and clearly demonstrates the very culture that enabled children to be abused for DECADES at Haute de la Garenne is alive and well today.

rico sorda said...

I had a 10 minute chat with the Chairman on the Friday before the meeting. I explained that this was about policy and procedures. That was what we wanted looking at. Who is overseeing the Education Department or is it a case just not wanting to get involved in this. Easier talking about the size of a classroom. We shall see.

rs

rico sorda said...

"We recognise that this was a serious incident and note that the matter has been taken up already by an independent States Member who has asked a series of questions in the States on the matter, including one on the Order Paper dated 21st October 2013. We believe that it is appropriate that questions should be pursued and the Minister for Education, Sport and Culture should be held to account in this way. "

Since when has a Minister been held to account at question time? They are good for getting snippets of information and exposing most minister as misleading the house. If some of the other members joined in at question time it might be more productive but you be excused for believing that there are only 10 states members during question time.

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ how many times do you have to ask that scrutiny panel to give evidence before they will say yes? This is about child safety and they're not interested?

Anonymous said...

What oral evidence can you give regarding the incident at the school unless you were there at the time; everything you say about the incident is hearsay.

rico sorda said...

"What oral evidence can you give regarding the incident at the school unless you were there at the time; everything you say about the incident is hearsay."

Hi, you are obviously new to this story. If you read part 1 you will read the mothers account of what happened. Also the teacher was warned this carried a custodial sentence and was fined £1000 pounds.

Look for the answers.

Ask what you can do not what you can't

rs

Anonymous said...

Trevor Pitman holding the minister to account in the States Chamber by pursuing the questions.

2.14 DEPUTY T.M. PITMAN OF ST. HELIER OF THE MINISTER FOR EDUCATION,
SPORT AND CULTURE REGARDING RECENT INCIDENT IN A SCHOOL
CONCERNING THE USE OF A STARTING PISTOL:
Question
Following an incident at a secondary school involving a male pupil and a starting pistol, would the
Minister confirm whether the school concerned dealt with the incident in line with established
procedures?
Would the Minister advise whether the school contacted the injured child's mother to inform her
about the incident or did she only learn about it after school from her son?
Did the school transport the child to hospital after the incident and, if not, why not and who did?

Here we have the Minister for Sport educations and culture's account.

Answer
A police investigation into the incident has been undertaken and we are still awaiting the outcome.
Police inquiries and legal processes always take precedence in such cases. Once they have been
completed, the Education, Sport and Culture Department will commission its own inquiry.
Until this takes place and in fairness to all parties involved, it would be inappropriate to comment
on any details of the incident.

Would the Minister advise whether the school contacted the injured child's mother to inform her
about the incident or did she only learn about it after school from her son?
Above question was not answered.

Did the school transport the child to hospital after the incident and, if not, why not and who did?

The above question was not answered
.
Was the minister ashamed to admit the answer was no, to the two questions he was being held to account for I do not see in any way shape or form how yes or no answer would change any police or lawful investigation.

Ex-Senator Stuart Syvret said...

This case - and the performance of the Scrutiny Panel - are just extraordinary.

Although - maybe not, in some ways.

In truth, can any of us be surprised at this?

I'm not.

To those who are, I say, 'I told you so'.

Stuart

Anonymous said...

You should give this to the qc leading the committee of enquiry. That poor lady is dealing with an island that doesn't give a sh*t about the safety of children. They care about the mundane. Politicians are weak beyond comprehension. all i can say is thank you for trying.

Anonymous said...

'Hi, you are obviously new to this story. If you read part 1 you will read the mothers account of what happened. Also the teacher was warned this carried a custodial sentence and was fined £1000 pounds.'

Unfortunately even the mother's evidence is hearsay. Your 'evidence' is even more remote than that, as you are merely reporting hearsay.

You are simply attempting to involve yourself in a matter that really has nothing to do with you. This is merely your latest attempt to use others suffering to criticise those in authority you don't like.

Shameful

Anonymous said...

Thanks for highlighting the apathy clearly shown by these waste of space States Members who will be out of jobs after the next elections.

Anonymous said...

Rico, you said lately "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."

Where do I find this "Politics Jersey" please?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

The chairperson of the committee of enquiry is not going to have experienced anything like Jersey before. A child gets shot in the face by a teacher, the gun takes the rap for it - the teacher carries on teaching - the scrutinisers won't scrutinise - the top man at education is accused of being a child abuser and the Attorney General who didn't prosecute him and lots of other child abuse suspects chairs the government meetings.

Anonymous said...

"Shameful" @08:27 "...... Unfortunately even the mother's evidence is hearsay ....."

In that case ALL oral evidence is "hearsay"

Being such a stickler for the facts and rigour you would no doubt be shocked if any "internal investigation" did not interview ALL witnesses to the incident and the aftermath. The other pupils and the victim, the mother ....... No?

Do please make a real contribution or else crawl back under your bridge or into your lawyer's orifice :-o

Given Jersey's history of child protection failures this process should be open and thorough.
(the investigation that is, not the crawl)

Anonymous said...

The scrutiny panel should hang its head in shame and so should whoever allowed that teacher to carry on teaching.

Anonymous said...

This Scrutiny Panel is not fit for purpose. Just a puppet show for the Bailhache Bros.

Anonymous said...

I've questioned why Team Voice feel they should be invited to give evidence to a scrutiny panel when they have had no direct involvement in events, and where they can offer no evidence other than what 3rd parties have told them ?

Hearsay is information gathered by one person from another person concerning some event of which the first person had no direct experience. So no, not all oral evidence is hearsay.

Why you feel the need to insult me just because I have asked a civil question is beyond me ?






rico sorda said...

Anonymous,

You stay with hearsay and Team Voice will search for answers from reports that will remain secret froma ana horrific incident that happened.

We will try and do something you stay with semantics

rs

voiceforchildren said...

Rico.

"I've questioned why Team Voice feel they should be invited to give evidence to a scrutiny panel when they have had no direct involvement in events"

How does the commenter know this, where is the "evidence?"

Furthermore the commenter has no interest in evidence and is blindly trying to defend the indefensible.

If the commenter was interested in evidence, and was ready to question "The Party Line" then he/she would have questioned why, when my original e-mail outlining "some" of my concerns was sent on the 10th of October, and there were many other e-mails, why did the Panel in its letter only refer to my e-mail of the 17th of October?

Why did the Panel ignore so many requests to give oral evidence for so long considering we are talking about a major child protection issue?

The commenter is not interested in the safety and protection of children, procedure or policy, he/she is (in my opinion) only interested in attempting to discredit/criticise those of us who do care about child protection and questioning the party line.

rico sorda said...

4.3 Deputy T.M. Pitman of the Minister for Education, Sport and Culture regarding the internal investigation into the starting-pistol shooting incident at a secondary school:

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

Deputy P.J.D. Ryan of St. John (The Minister for Education, Sport and Culture):

The Deputy has asked similar questions on the same subject matter over the last 2 or 3 States Assemblies so I will not go back over all the ground, so I will say this. Thankfully, the young person involved was not seriously injured. Safeguarding is our prime responsibility and we take it very seriously indeed. I advise that 2 internal investigations into the starting pistol incident are in progress and they have taken place. They were initiated once the police inquiry and the court case were completed. The first of those 2 inquiries has now been completed in line with the States of Jersey and Education disciplinary procedures. The second investigation relates to the school’s management and reaction to the department’s physical education and accident reporting procedures. This one is not yet concluded. During the internal investigations, students were not interviewed because this had already been done as part of the initial investigation by the police and these statements were available to the department so in that case, it was not necessary to interview the young people a second time.

rico sorda said...

4.3.1 Deputy T.M. Pitman:

Thank you. Supplementary, Sir. I do not ask these questions lightly but having been contacted by the parent, my concern is with the child and I would like the Minister to at least let us know - because I believe it was not mentioned in court - that in the pupils’ and the parents’ statements, words were attributed to the teacher to the effect of: “Watch this. I am going to shoot pupil X in the face.” If that is true, is the Minister fully confident that his internal inquiry has done the necessary? With the teacher returning to school - who I do not know, I have got nothing against him - but is that sending out the right message about how safe our children are?

[10:00]

The Deputy of St. John:

There were about 3 questions in there and I will try and remember them all as I think about answering the last one. In terms of are our children safe, we have taken action. We have removed all starting pistols from all schools in Jersey. I cannot do more than that. About the students’ statements, the students who witnessed the incident made statements the day after it occurred. It is not usual practice for the department to repeat such interviews with minors. This puts minors under stress and it is not right especially after some time has elapsed. These students have now left the school and are carrying on with their education, training or work elsewhere so it is wrong to go back over old ground. I repeat, the E.S.C. (Education, Sport and Culture) team had access to the statements. Am I satisfied that my department, the police, everybody concerned is carrying out the necessary investigations? Yes, I absolutely am.

4.3.2 Senator S.C. Ferguson:

I question the method of prevention and I am intrigued. Would the Minister kindly tell us how they are going to be starting running races and so forth in future? With a whistle?

The Deputy of St. John:

I am going to ignore the last part of that question completely and I hope the Assembly forgives me and the public outside forgives me for ignoring that. As regards the procedures concerned, I will make one further point. The court case is a matter of public record at which the incident was proven and sentenced accordingly by the Magistrates Court. This is a matter of public record. The internal disciplinary process and the procedure is confidential and not a matter of public record in line with States of Jersey policy regarding disciplinary matters for its staff and that disciplinary process has now been completed. Original evidence included a statement of retraction by the main student concerned and I think I would like to leave it there.

4.3.3 Deputy T.M. Pitman:

Can the Minister tell us if the main witness was the child who was shot in the face and, in concluding that question, would the Minister reconsider what he said about moving on because this child has left the school. That is not the issue. The issue is could this happen again to any other child. Would he not agree?

The Deputy of St. John:

All starting pistols have been removed from schools. I do not know who the main statement was because I have not read it. This is an operational matter. Ministers and Members of this Assembly are here to formulate policy. This is operational and I am very confident in the ability of my officers to carry out any necessary investigations and to take the necessary actions as required when they have the results.

rico sorda said...

5.2 Deputy T.M. Pitman:

I was messaged by a member of the public to ask why are no other Members asking about this serious issue with the shooting incident. I want to ask the Minister: we have just heard the announcement of the new chairman for the Committee of Inquiry into child protection failings, yet how are we sending out the message that things have changed? All the cover-ups at Haut de la Garenne, Victoria College and because of the court decision in finding this teacher guilty, the reality is that that individual will almost certainly fail a criminal record check if he were to apply for another job. That is the reality. Can the Minister give me some indication how he marries those 2 differing issues up? Because it just makes no sense to all the people who talk to me.

The Deputy of St. John:

The P.E. (Physical Education) teacher was fined £1,000 in the Magistrates Court for careless use of an imitation firearm. The department has, as I have already said, completed one internal investigation and are in the process of the second internal investigation. The States policy is that these are internal, they are not to be put into the public domain and the reason for that is that this would not be fair on the individuals concerned. There is no cover-up. I would be very happy to make the Deputy aware of the results on a confidential basis if he wishes, but it would not be right or fair and the States Employment Board policies state as such, that these kinds of inquiries are internal inquiries.

rico sorda said...

5.9 Senator S.C. Ferguson:

The Minister said that after the incident with the starting pistol, all starting pistols were removed from the school. It is not the starting pistols that were causing the problem, it was the teacher. [Approbation] Would it not have been better to make sure all teachers knew procedures to do with starting pistols without taking away something which is totally harmless and unless it is used incorrectly? Does he really think this is a good psychological approach?

The Deputy of St. John:

Yes.

Anonymous said...

Good blog posting, Rico. Keep up the in-depth reporting.

That commenter at 10:09 also sums it up perfectly. That's one to read and keep in mind again.

voiceforchildren said...

Rico.

"The Minister said that after the incident with the starting pistol, all starting pistols were removed from the school. It is not the starting pistols that were causing the problem, it was the teacher. [Approbation] Would it not have been better to make sure all teachers knew procedures to do with starting pistols without taking away something which is totally harmless and unless it is used incorrectly? Does he really think this is a good psychological approach?

The Deputy of St. John:

Yes."

So going by Deputy Ryan's psychology if a child was to be stabbed in the face, by one of the teachers, with a pencil then there would no more written work done in the schools because he would ban pencils! It's absolutely nuts!

Furthermore where's all the gun lobbyists in all this? When the discredited and disgraced CTV misreported one of Deputy Trevor Pitman's questions in the States, the gun lobbyists were all over him.

Where are they now?

Anonymous said...

"Shameful" @08:27
and @4:16pm
Why you feel the need to insult me just because I have asked a civil question is beyond me ?"

Because you are oh so clever, but oh so obvious.
"...... Unfortunately even the mother's evidence is hearsay ....."

If the mother says, for example "My son had black flakes embedded in his skin and I took him to the hospital to be checked out" [my paraphrasing]
that is EVIDENCE not HEARSAY

Others may have more important EVIDENCE. Yes, including what they herd from whom. But did they have opportunity to give it?

If it acts like a troll and smells like a troll, chances are it is a troll.

Prove me wrong.
Contribute.

Anonymous said...

Is it some kind of secret? The first rule of Politics Jersey is : you don't let anyone have a web link for Politics Jersey?! :)

Anonymous said...

@7:07pm "Where are the gun lobby now?"

Probably preparing their campaign for REAL GUNS in schools !

I jest, but apparently there is a scary arsenal at Vic College.

gobsmacked by VFC link @7:07pm

rico sorda said...

If you are a member of Facebook then just search Politics Jersey it should come up.

rs

Ex-Senator Stuart Syvret said...

Rico, a reader at 10:09 a.m, October 24th says:

"The chairperson of the committee of enquiry is not going to have experienced anything like Jersey before. A child gets shot in the face by a teacher, the gun takes the rap for it - the teacher carries on teaching - the scrutinisers won't scrutinise - the top man at education is accused of being a child abuser and the Attorney General who didn't prosecute him and lots of other child abuse suspects chairs the government meetings."

Some times, less is more.

That great paragraph says it all.

Stuart.

Anonymous said...

At last, www.facebook.com/politics.jersey! Thanks

Anonymous said...


'Because you are oh so clever, but oh so obvious.'

No, not particularly clever. Just aware of important legal definitions that determine whether accusations are likely to be taken seriously or dismissed.


'If the mother says, for example "My son had black flakes embedded in his skin and I took him to the hospital to be checked out" [my paraphrasing]
that is EVIDENCE not HEARSAY'

Maybe you are learning. If you take the time to re-read my definition of hearsay, you'll see I actually agree with you on this.

'Others may have more important EVIDENCE. Yes, including what they herd from whom. But did they have opportunity to give it?'

I don't believe I have questioned the importance of anybody's evidence. But you are straying into hearsay again when you talk about who heard what from whom, and that generally carries less weight in court than first hand testimony.


'If it acts like a troll and smells like a troll, chances are it is a troll.'

You ignorance of important legal niceties appears to be making you want to insult me. If, instead of getting aggressive all the time, you actually spent some time educating yourself about what courts do and do not take notice of, you might actually make some progress.

'Prove me wrong.'
I think I already have.


'Contribute.'
That's what I appear to be doing


Póló said...

"imitation firearm"
(Deputy of St. John & Minister)

Says it all.

Nothing to see. Move along.

Anonymous said...

On the link provided at 7:35 I get this content is currently unavailable. https://www.facebook.com/politics.jersey

Anonymous said...

Yes "Shameful" @08:27 , and @4:16pm
and now @8:59am
@ "Because you are oh so clever, but oh so obvious." x2

LOL my "ignorance of important legal niceties" as you put it

You are the one who claims to be knowledgeable so how come I spotted and challenged you @October 24, 2013 at 1:22 PM with

-------------------------------------------------
"...... Unfortunately even the mother's evidence is hearsay ....."
[your assertion]
In that case ALL oral evidence is "hearsay"
Being such a stickler for the facts and rigour you would ............................................. etc.
--------------------------------------------------

I was one step ahead, and you nailed yourself with your own definition of "hearsay"
Being economical with the truth you said "even the mother's evidence is hearsay"
It is NOT, and you can quiver and vacillate all you want but you are a jelly nailed to the wall :-D

So whatever else you are, you are not very good.
What are you then :

-a bad lawyer-troll ?
-a bad Coms.Dept./PR-troll ?
- or just very bad ?

I ask because most genuine human beings would communicate real concern over events and perhaps the aftermath. But the subtext of your position is that everything here is A-OK as you barrack the messengers and squirt your clouds of ink like an incontinent cuttlefish. (that's a type of mollusk btw)

There was a plague of your sort buzzing around the expensive PR campaigns aimed at the original child abuse enquiry.

I do hope you are doing this for free not being paid by us taxpayers as you literally play "Devils Advocate" #crap @ job ;-)

Please forgive me for my unkind words. Granted you may be nearly human, but feeding time is over.

Contribute or make a bigger fool of yourself.

Póló said...

Anonymous (no less) at 1.49pm seems to think I am only one of many identities under which a person they accuse of being a troll posts.

This is the second time I have been thought a troll on the Jersey blogs' comments.

I post under Póló, and only under that name on Blogger blogs, because I simply log in to post. The moniker is derived from my Irish language name.

I am traceable via my blogger profile and website, so while posting under a moniker, I am not exactly anonymous.

That said, I take it that some readers got the message in my comment.

For one at least who doesn't appear to: the Minister is playing down the significance of the weapon and wants to put the issue to bed.

Par for the course.

Anonymous said...

You seem to think that I am new to this story. I am not I can assure you. When I asked what oral evidence you have , it was asking what oral evidence you personally have about the incident in question. Basic rules of admissible evidence "i came, I saw, I did". Were you there? No; Did you see? No. The third becomes a non question since you would have answered no to the first two. Any other evidence on this incident from you would have been hearsay.
Now if you had stated to the Panel that you wished to give oral statement on safety of children in school in general that may be a different subject. But all you seem to ask the powers that be was if you could turn up and give oral evidence. You didn't say of what.

Anonymous said...

Hi Polo

you are not "Shameful" @08:27, @4:16pm or @8:59am

Unless I am mistaken 8:59am is the comment BEFORE yours @9:18

See the time BELOW your text. (easy mistake to make)

I suggest the blog owner considers deleting your comment @6:09pm (with your permission) and this one (if he sees fit), because threads get confused enough.

I believe that "Shameful" is either amoral or is here to disrupt and therefore deserves a hard time.

rico sorda said...

Anon,

All that was explained to the Chairman of the Scrutiny panel verbally by me 3 days before the hearing. The conversation was anywhere between 10-15 minutes.

The fact is, the Scrutiny Panel never allowed any oral evidence. They never asked "Basic rules of admissible evidence "i came, I saw, I did". Were you there? No; Did you see? No"

They just didn't want to hear or ask anything.

I have been to Scrutiny before. I think you are getting confused with a court of law. I came to scrutiny in 2011 with some concerns about the BDO investigation into the financial investigation into 'Operation Rectangle'. These were concerns I had. I had no input into that report I came as a third party with concerns. What resulted from my concerns is one of the most comprehensive scrutiny sub panels review conducted. All from some concerns I had. I trusted my hunch.

Scrutiny is there for the general public to approach them with concerns you might have. These can be written or oral submissions I prefer Oral as you can iron out any misgivings far quicker. This Scrutiny Panel was even interested in that.

rs

Anonymous said...

Póló‬, I'm sure this blog's comprehensive readers know you are the VERY last person who could be accused of trolling. Your erudite and thoughtful comments are a real pleasure to read and always enriching.

Your observation on their description of the weapon used, "imitation firearm," is spot on. That was clearly a blatant attempt to mischaracterize the weapon as harmless. "Imitation firearm" would better describe a toy gun like those used for costume - one which would have no potential to cause the level of harm associated with the type of gun used in this school event. That mischaracterization to minimise the potential for injury only adds to the scent of cover-up, and the attempt to conceal this incident in the aftermath is to my mind more troubling than the original incident.

Elle


Anonymous said...

Hi "Shameful" @6:37pm , [shall stop ribbing you with that now]

Your comment @6:37pm is now uploaded and IMO can be interpreted as constructive criticism.

If you recall I pulled you up for classing the mother's evidence as hearsay and I am sorry if I was overly hard on you.

We all need to think about why we are here and what is good for the island and it's population.
Dreadful mistakes have been made in the past and clearly are still being made. Rico may have overdone the superlatives (in relative terms only) but there are few salaried people on this island with his knowledge base and people like him form a resource that the island can and should use and learn from.

I come here to learn.
From Rico and perhaps even from you.

I have found that these blogs are packed with inspiring people: Polo, Elle, VFC.... innumerable Anonymous'. little can be learned at "this is jersey" because of all the censorship there.

Anonymous said...

@Rico @7:25pm Thorough and polite response and correction of polite question @6:37pm
Like I say; a resource

I sense the doors being wedged shut against democracy and democratic participation.

Rico, I have been meaning to highlight see 6:07 PM .

The Deputy of St. John: "................. Original evidence included a statement of retraction by the main student concerned and I think I would like to leave it there."

'statement of retraction' .......... what is that ?

....... the main student concerned retracted something, presumably a previous statement. Was the original statement wrong?
........ or was the main student concerned encouraged to change their testimony ?????

rico sorda said...

4.3.3 Deputy T.M. Pitman:

Can the Minister tell us if the main witness was the child who was shot in the face

The Deputy of St. John:

I do not know who the main statement was because I have not read it. This is an operational matter. Ministers and Members of this Assembly are here to formulate policy. This is operational and I am very confident in the ability of my officers to carry out any necessary investigations and to take the necessary actions as required when they have the results.

Not sure why the Deputy of St John said that about retraction. He got himself in a little pickle.

I always follow my hunch. I believe that we should never ever be afraid to ask questions. We might be right we might be wrong but i'll be damned if i'm going to remain silent.

Silence is part of the Jersey problem.

rs

Anonymous said...

Isn't it more ominous that the public is arguing speculatively because the documented handling of the shooting aftermath isn't yet fully understood, even to the parent? If this incident had been handled properly, no one would even have to argue about what happened, or which bit of evidence is or isn't hearsay.

As a parent, I would be beyond angry and worried if the behaviour of all authorities in the school's chain of command was not already rigorously examined and publicly understood. To me, the reckless near miss and minor injury by one dangerously stupid teacher is only the first in a long line of continued cover-up attempts which seem to place children last.

Banning starter pistols does absolutely nothing to prevent future failures to obtain medical assistance or to preemtively engage in another wider-scale cover-up the next time a pupil is abused or harmed in any significant way. Isn't that the more salient point of Rico's blog entry?

Elle

Póló said...

Anonymous @ 6.58PM

Sorry about that. I thought you were having a go at me. As you pointed out I read the wrong timestamp for my earlier comment. Getting a bit blogdazzled and formats vary.

I'd have no problem if Rico wants to delete the two comments. It might be sensible. Only now that would leave poor Elle standing out there all alone referring to a non-existent comment and me blushing in behind the bush.

If Elle (thanks Elle) is happy to have hers deleted as well, then that makes 4, including this one.

Rico you'd better get out your stopwatch and calculator.

I often thought, in the case of my own blogs, that it's a pity the blogger can't edit the comments and can only either keep a comment as is, or delete it. But I suppose the lack of editing capability is a guarantee of the integrity of those comments that remain.

Anyway over to Rico & Elle. Sorry for the extra work. Steep learning curve.

Póló said...

Me back again.

It strikes me that, given the amount of anonymous commenting on the Jersey blogs, and I understand the reasons for this, it might be better if posters who didn't want to use their name adopted some/any pseudonym and stuck to it.

It is very difficult to follow comment threads where the Anonymous label applies to different commenters and reliance then has to be placed on datestamps with consequent frantic scrolling (on my part at least and me well into my anecdotage at this stage).

Just a thought. It would preserve anonymity but make the comment threads clearer.

Anonymous said...

Any blogger can and should feel entitled to delete anything I post at any time. LOL. I'm prone to over-commenting anyway.

As usual you make a good point, ‪Póló‬, about use of consistent name or pseudonym but being scatterbrained, I do occasionally forget to add my moniker only to add it twice after another later comment.

Elle

Anonymous said...

Hi Polo,

Me back again. Call me "H"

I think the thread works out fine without undue confusion and ALL COMMENTS SHOULD STAY.

I was worried about confusion escalating but it was quickly cleared up.

rico sorda said...

All comments are staying if thats ok.

rs

Innocent Pistol said...

You raise concerns with the Scrutiny Panel and then do they vote on what action to take? You would hope that Deputy Southern, being an ex teacher, wife is head of teachers union, wouldn't let this cloud his judgement. You have an ex copper on the panel who must know what is going on here. Are there minutes of their meeting that can be read and who voted for or against?

Anonymous said...

"This case appears to have been an isolated though serious incident in which a member of staff committed a breach of conduct for which he has been disciplined" Scrutiny.

Does anyone know what disciplinary action the teacher faced. He was suspended as a neutral act during the investigation and then returned to work. I'm curious as to what the panel are referring to here. Maybe the deputy asking the qustions could find out.

Póló (under Name/URL) said...

I'm happy to leave all stand as I did apologise.

Regarding the name thing. If you look at the radio button options for posting you will see the second last one is "Name/URL". Don't be put off by the URL bit. It is optional. You don't have to have a website or anything of your own and you can just fill in the name you're posting under.

The specification of these radio buttons is not the best for anyone who wishes to remain anonymous.

But, "H", for example, if you just fill in H there for the name and ignore the URL bit, you should come up posting as H without any further need to specify that in the text. You too, Elle, in case anyone thinks I'm picking on H.

Doing it this way is better than specifying H in the text as it comes up in bold at the beginning of the post and avoids the actual anonymous moniker.

Rico, keep up the good work. Good journalism speaks for itself and you are well accredited where it counts.


Anonymous said...

You have to be logged into Facebook to see anything for "Politics Jersey" but as someone who doesn't use it much, I can't see anything happening there anyway! Am I missing something? Where's all the discussion? Do you actually have to join that group as well, to see anything?

Surprised to see so much happening elsewhere too, never knew there was a https://www.facebook.com/groups/Thisisthebaldtruthjersey/ group with over a 1000 members! He kept that quiet on his blog!!

I don't like FB, it's not as anon as the blogs, I'd rather they concentrate on keeping things here.

Póló said...

Me again, while I think of it.

Bloody code entry
I know the captcha (prove you're not a robot) thing on Blogger is appalling. It would drive you mad.

If you're having difficulty reading it, there is a little circular arrow at the end of the entry box, which you can click to get a new, and hopefully more readable, combination. There doesn't seem to be any limit on the number of times you can do this. I am now doing it all the time.

Vanishing comment
Sometimes when you get the captcha code wrong and come back to the comment box, your comment will have disappeared. This can be very frustrating and if, you are a spontaneous writer like me, you could, likely as not, have forgotten some of what you wrote, particularly if it was a long comment. I get round this by always (when I remember) copying the comment onto the clipboard before I attempt to post it. You can do this very quickly by making sure the cursor is in the comment box and pressing CTRL+a (which selects all the text) and then CTRL+c (which copies it to the clipboard). Then, if your text vanishes, you only have to press CTRL+v to paste it all back.

The two suggestions above may seem like a lot of trouble but when you get used to them they can lower your blood pressure and help you stay focussed on the content.

I'll be back with another suggestion to smooth your path in monitoring new blog comments later.

Apologies to all who know all this already. Nobody told me and I was ageing rapidly until I found them out.

Anonymous said...

A maths teacher or a music teacher could almost be forgiven for assuming that a starting pistol was a harmless toy.

Apparently it was a PE teacher who deliberately fired the starter in the pupil's face. surely it is a PE teacher's job to know about the safe use of this sort of equipment and not to use it for pranks.

I am having some difficulty understanding how this teacher is still in post.

And why won't Scrutiny scrutinise ?

Geof Southern is an ex-teacher and left-wing/union activist.
Southern's wife is head of teachers union.
Michel Le Troquer was, I think, the only 'elected' member of the states to speak against the CoI into decades of child abuse.
..... nothing to see here, move along .....

Póló said...

Back again for a last technical comment.

Monitoring blog comments

I said I'd be back with a suggested method for monitoring blog comments.

Again like the other stuff above, it seems tedious at first but, when you get used to it, it can save a lot of time and trouble.

I have posted it here on my website as it's a bit long to leave as a comment and Blogger doesn't let you put images in comments.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Polo. You have some useful advice. I have learned the hard way that it's too easy to lose a comment if I don't save it on my desktop. Besides I'll do almost anything to prevent this rapid aging!

Elle

Jennifer Bridge said...

The Scrutiny Code of Practice (paragraph 7.14) precludes Panels from dealing with disciplinary issues.
There is an established complaints procedure which allows members of the public to make a complaint about a decision or administration process by any minister or department of the States. Members of the public may seek a States member to represent them in putting forward their evidence to the Complaints Board. Again Scrutiny Panels are precluded from involvement in the complaints procedure (para 7.11).

If I have understood correctly, you want to challenge a policy failure as evidenced by one example that has come to the attention of the public. If someone wants to make a complaint about a decision or process (see above) then anyone can do that by finding a States member to represent them. So perhaps some clarification is needed in that if you are looking at broader issues then, yes, this could fall under scrutiny's remit but if you are looking at one particular case without extrapolating to a generalised policy/admin failure then the procedure would be to use the complaint procedure. Am I right to assume that you are asking scrutiny to look at this because you believe it is an example that has come to light and you believe it evidences a systemic failure that needs to be investigated? If that is the case, it may be worth reintegrating your request within the wider context?

rico sorda said...

Hi Jennifer,

Thank you for the comment.

I'm not sure why it's getting so complicated. Maybe it could need a sub-panel like they did when I raised my concerns about the BDO Report.

We hope to be meeting with scrutiny tomorrow and will inform readers of any outcome. I should state that this meeting has proved as hard as hard as the others in getting it confirmed.

When someone really wants to do something then you will find that the path you walk is clear of obstacles. For me it should be simple.

rs

Zoompad said...

Thanks Polo for the technical advice, you always put things in such an easy to understand way, you are a good teacher.

Póló said...

Thanks Elle and Zoompad.

Hope the stuff is some use to somebody.

It is just documenting my lazy, but time and frazzle saving, short cuts.

Ian Evans said...

A few more ABUSES OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

voiceforchildren said...

Rico.

Who's watching THE WATCHERS?

Zoompad said...

Someone has hacked my Blogger account and removed some of my posts:

http://zoompad.blogspot.com/2013/10/links.html

Posts that have evidence of me being bullied on the Blog of Doom.

The stupids are getting desperate!

Zoompad said...

Is there anyone to complain to? Isn't hacking SUPPOSED to be a criminal offence?

Otherwise why is Rebecca Brooks in court right now? Is it only a crime for certain people and not for others?

They've wasted their time anyway as I made several copies of some of those posts, and I've put them where they can't get their filthy guilty mitts on them as well!

Anonymous said...

Rico
Would you or one of your readers please clear up some confusion?
I keep reading about this "Politics Jersey" facebook group, but all I can find is a USER (not a GROUP) here https://www.facebook.com/politics.jersey

That user is a member of a GROUP https://www.facebook.com/groups/Thisisthebaldtruthjersey/ which looks like it might be what you're refering to, yet Tony's latest blog shows something that I can't find on that group!

Will someone PLEASE let me know what I'm missing!! Thanks

Anonymous said...

some one is in big trouble now the bailiff might be removed from office