Dinner-lady sacking in schoolyard torture is appalling


By Richard Woods and Richard Goss
London Times online
In the village of the Great Dinner Lady Scandal, the vicar was offering scant comfort to confused souls last week. The Reverend John Richardson, a governor at the school that had sacked a staff member for telling parents the truth about how their child was bullied, was in his drive on Friday afternoon.

Approached by a reporter, did the vicar have an explanation for the sacking that has outraged parents everywhere? Some words of wisdom or even a sermon to dispense? Nope. He turned tail, scuttled inside his house and shut the door.

He and the village of Great Tey, near Colchester in Essex, have reason to feel under pressure. Local and national anger has grown since news emerged that the primary school dismissed Carol Hill, its dinner lady, apparently for revealing to a pupil’s parents that their daughter had been tied up and whipped by four boys.

Never mind the bullying, the sacking seemed to say, Hill’s “breach of confidentiality” was the real transgression. On the face of it the incident plays to fears about a subversion of values whereby victims and whistleblowers are treated more harshly than wrongdoers.

Many villagers remain aghast at the treatment of Hill. “There is widespread support for Mrs Hill in the village,” said Sue Dyer, who has five children at the school. “All the children at the school love her.”

A local news website of the Colchester Gazette has been inundated with comments, virtually all favouring Hill and lambasting the school. The ripples have spread much wider. Full story.

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