Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Teaching assistant who mocked crying pupil on Facebook suspended

A teaching assistant accused of using Facebook to mock a four-year-old who cried in class has been suspended. 
Yasmine Judge allegedly posted a message on the social networking site saying she found it "funny" when Faye McDonnell burst into tears after being punished.
Parents have started a petition demanding that she is not allowed to return to work at Lowerhouses CE Junior and Infant School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
Faye suffers from laryngitis and her mother said she started breathing heavily and became upset after Ms Judge told her off.
Faye's mum Louise McDonnell, 24, said: "If the children do something wrong they have to go and sit under the thinking tree, which is a paper tree on the wall.
"They have to think about what they did wrong. It's supposed to be a positive thing rather than just telling the child off.
"Ms Judge sent Faye to sit under the tree. Faye says she didn't do anything wrong but Ms Judge didn't allow her to explain herself. She had to stand there for three or four minutes.
"She has trouble breathing and when she gets upset she goes red and starts breathing heavily.
"She's a very confident little girl, very outspoken. She really enjoys school most of the time and she wouldn't tell me why she didn't want to go to school. I was so angry that the staff didn't listen to her. School is supposed to be fun at that age."
Ms McDonnell's anger grew when she heard that Ms Judge had mocked her daughter on Facebook.
She said: "The following day four or five other parents told me about the message on Facebook. Apparently she wrote about how funny it was when Faye was crying under the thinking tree.
"I wanted to know what had gone on but when I got to the school Miss Judge had already been sent home."
Ms McDonnell then spoke to the school's headteacher Paul Scrimshaw.
She said: "He told me he was sorry and that he didn't approve of it. "The school offered me an apology at first but I don't think an apology is good enough."
Ms Judge, 20, is still suspended and the message has been deleted from Facebook.
Ms McDonnell has now gathered 60 signatures for a petition demanding that the teaching assitant is barred from returning to the school.
"Mr Scrimshaw has told me that if she does come back to work it will be with the older children," she said. "But Faye would still see her in the playground and on school trips. If Ms Judge goes back I will pull Faye out of the school. I don't want my daughter being unhappy."
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: "A disciplinary process involving a teaching assistant is ongoing and we are unable to comment about this individual case. However, the school and the council are working closely together to resolve the issue."

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