Teachers from a Lancashire school, on strike in protest against violence and threats from pupils and a lack of support from management, have received a stern warning from negotiators from the local education authority that they are ‘not going anywhere until you all settle down and start behaving yourselves.’
In an angry confrontation outside the 1,100-pupil school John Bibby, representing the Darwen Borough Council in Blackburn, berated the striking staff. ‘You’re achieving nothing with this attitude,’ he told the teachers, some of whom were visibly chewing gum, ‘We can stay here all day if necessary. It’s your own time you’re wasting.’
The teachers were also warned that by maintaining this strike they were not only letting Bibby down, they were letting the school down, and they were letting themselves down. Representatives from the National Union of Teachers were then made to sit at the front of the picket line so that they could be ‘kept an eye on.’
The striking protestors reacted with fury to the authorities’ hardline stance, with many warning that they were on the verge of calling ChildLine. ‘That Mr Bibby is well out of order,’ said Geography teacher and NUT spokesperson Deborah Holbrook. ‘If I tell my dad what he’s been doing he’ll come down here and beat him up in front of everyone. No lie.’
In an effort to break the deadlock, a group of the protestors finally agreed to hold a special meeting and were sent to sit outside the office of the headmistress Hilary Torpey. And despite a heated ongoing debate, there are clear signs that progress is being made — agreement was reached on providing better protection against rowdy classroom behaviour after ten minutes of constant humming from the NUT members, and headway is being made on cyber-bullying.
‘Ol’ Torpey has already been made to cry and the footage of her storming out of the meeting in tears has got a million hits on YouTube,’ claimed Holbrook, ‘Check it out – it’s ace!’