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Lock Down!

Gareth is a Secondary Teacher from Australia who is working in West London schools through Protocol Education. Recently, a crime was committed in Gareth's classroom and the class went into lock down. Gareth shares the proceedings.

Lock Down

It’s lock down time. There are no leads. The clues point in too many directions. The witnesses are keeping mum. Someone’s broken the law and if I don’t make one of these seven year olds crack before I leave it will be a stain on my reputation. These punks have messed with the wrong cop.

The Crime
A skull and cross bones has been sketched with whiteboard marker on a chair. This is accompanied by an artful lead pencil scribble. It’s nothing that can’t be removed with a bit of spit and polish but there are principles at stake and the city cannot rest until the perpetrator is apprehended.

The Suspects
Number One: Jonathon is the usual occupier of the chair. So by default his peers are pointing the finger. However Jonathon has been lying low all day. It’s plausible that he could have committed the crime. But why hasn’t his name come up on the system before? His record is clear and he claims innocence.

Number Two: Jerry has been bouncing off the walls since the get go. Tantrums, fights and an episode of singing “Heads and shoulders knees and poo bum poo bum,” put him in the metaphorical hot seat of top graffiti artist candidate. He does protest too much and has a number of possible scenarios prepared for me as to how the artwork found itself imprinted on the chair – an artful tactic to distract me from the true criminal.

Number Three: Jessie sits next to the chair and although she seems a sweet little thing, she has a fire behind her eyes that suggest she is capable of this. My professional offsider has also sighted Jessie carrying a whiteboard marker. We can’t afford to rule this girl out.

The Interrogation
The blinds are drawn, doors have been closed and we’ll leak out this criminal before the day is through. This is on student time now – ICT time no less, the jewel in the Wednesday afternoon crown. There will be no fluorescent WordArt typed until the criminal steps forward.

The minutes pass and this pack are sticking together. No one has seen anything. The only person they are trying to oust is Jerry who denies the whole thing. He probably hasn’t done it either. The best piece of evidence I have is a girl who states, “I didn’t see Jerry do it. But it’s just come into my brain that it must have been him because he always draws on his homework folder”. A homework folder is not a chair, nor does it have four legs wooden legs to help this evidence stand up in the courts.

Mrs Brown from next door agrees the whole class can lose their turn on the play equipment tomorrow. The students also have all privileges removed until the perpetrator comes forward. No bonus fruit, no ICT, no weekly prizes and no stickers!

After 20 minutes of silence and no one being forth coming I am forced to leave my offsider guarding the pack while I remove the suspects and witnesses one at a time to the interrogation zone outside the door.
The accounts of what happened are varied and conflicting. Timelines are not matching up and as far as I’m concerned the graffiti may have occurred anytime between lunchtime today and smoko a week ago. The list of suspects is getting longer and half an hour later no one is getting any younger – time to bring in the big guns.

Mrs Brown from next door agrees the whole class can lose their turn on the play equipment tomorrow. The students also have all privileges removed until the perpetrator comes forward. No bonus fruit, no ICT, no weekly prizes and no stickers!

The deputy enters room and is beguiled by the lack of respect for the furnishings. Waving the defaced seat in the air, she lays down the ultimatum that somebody will confess by tomorrow afternoon otherwise all hell will break loose.

The bell rings. It’s home time.

The Verdict
I leave feeling unresolved. I won’t be back at this secondment again for a while. Who knows what will happen in that time. This is their problem now. I must move onwards as I always do; another beat, another day. The days are getting shorter and I’m not sure how much fight I have left in me. But I’m not handing in my gun and holster yet, so don’t go getting any ideas or you’ll be spending your lunchtime with me as well.


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Tags: Gareth, Protocol Education, Classroom, Behaviour, Classroom management, property, Australian Teacher, West London, Secondary

Category: Australian Teachers

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