This week has not been great for me. In fact to be honest it has been pretty darn rotten. To start with my brain has not been hanging out with a particularly good crowd. It has been spending far too much time with the You’re A Loser With Bad Hair Gang, and the Panic Girl Cos Something Really Bad Is Going To Happen crew. Then just when I was about ready to abandon all social contact and hide, something happened to make my week a teensy bit nicer.
I was dropping off my son at school when the head asked me if it would be possible for me to come in for a chat about previous concerns I had raised about Super Kid. No problem so far, but then she added and your blog. Um ok, sure, I agreed and we arranged a time.
So I headed home and FREAKED OUT. The head has read my blog, she is concerned about it, which part in particular? Would it be the posts in which I regularly discuss parenting and my general inaptitude at it? Perhaps the ones in which I discuss my mental health issues, including posts written from an honest to goodness mental hospital bed? Whatever it was I was pretty sure she didn’t want to meet to ask me for my menu planning tips or home made pizza recipe, so I was worried.
Then I thought about it some more (obsessive, me, never) and started to wonder what exactly my blog has to do with the school. The more I thought about it the more I realised that nothing constructive could come from having a discussion with the school about my blog. So in a moment of bravado I rang the school and left a message stating that any concerns over my son could be discussed at parents evening, and that I didn’t really want to discuss my blog with them. I didn’t have to, right?
Wrong, the head called me back later that day urging me to meet with her, and this led to us discussing the blog over the phone. I say discussing, what actually happened was I blubbed, and freaked out and generally handled it badly. Which is great because I will be potentially be dealing with this lady for the next nine years as all my children go through the school. Way to go on making a good impression eh.
Anyway I think her main concerns where (and I’m trying very hard to be as accurate as possible);
1. That I used a teachers name in a post, which is a fair point (though I’m not sure whether legally this is an issue, if you know do leave me a comment) and I have since changed the post. I don’t usually use any names outside of the Purple family but I slipped up and won’t make this mistake again.
2. That I get my facts straight. In this post I talk about Super Kid being taken to the teachers office and given a serious talking too. As it turns out he was taken to the staff room and given a ‘rights respecting chat’. Now obviously I didn’t actually think that fingers had been wagged in my sons face, Super Kid attends an excellent school with fantastic pastural care, and I trust them implicitly. The post was tongue in cheek, you got that, right?
3. That other mothers from the school might identify with what I’m writing and this might make my life harder. I believe that this is the crux of the problem, and the cause of this delightful situation. I believe another mother from the school read this post, and took offence. Fair enough, it is a little offensive, a joke but perhaps not a well thought out one.
This is upsetting because obviously this person knows me and didn’t feel they could take it up with me, which would have been a much better way to resolve this.
As for the head’s concerns about any further mothers reading my blog and taking offence, perhaps she’s right, perhaps putting myself out here like this is risky in terms of my social standing. Though to be honest I’ve never been great at being popular and would have probably offended people in person if not on here. I tend towards a perminent foot in mouth style of socialising generally.
I’m still not sure entirely how I feel about this situation and the schools involvement. I’d love your opinion on all this, to help me get my thoughts straight. Did the school have a right to take an interest in my blog in this way? Have I crossed a line too far? Let me know what you think.
This has left me completely baffled! From what I can see, you haven’t said or done anything wrong? Let alone anything illegal? Quite honestly, I’d say that it was none of their business.
Thanks, that’s what I thought.
I don’t know about the legality of using the teacher’s name but I agree it’s best not to. Otherwise I would say it’s none of the school’s business if you talk about them in your blog, you do not work for them and you are not representing them so you state your own opinion. As for social standing, I’m a bit like you and wouldn’t really care, if parents are going to be bothered by what you say then they’re probably not the sort of people you’d want to be friends with anyway.
True, in fact I seriously doubt I would have been their kind of gal regardless of whether I wrote this blog post or not.
It’s a tough one. I blog about my family’s life, but nothing I don’t have my facts perfectly straight on. I wouldn’t talk about anything school related unless I had witnessed it with my own eyes and even then I would think carefully about effect on other people. Naming teachers, or anyone without permission is complete no-no. As a school governor I have additional reason to be careful. My hardest core of audience are parents from my younger son’s class who love my blog and my honesty. It’s possible to be honest without offending. If school think your blog identifies them in negative light, they have right to discuss it with you. Hope this helps in some way.
Valid points, but in the original posts I didn’t say anything offensive about the school. In fact I said they had acted appropriately (my exact words). I may have crossed the line into offending but as an 18 month old very honest, tongue in cheek blog I was bound to get the balance wrong at least once?
Other than the teachers name thing, I can’t see how your blog is any of their business. If another parent has issue with something you wrote they should be prepared to take it with you personally and not involve the school in personal matter.
If they can’t bring themselves to approach you, then perhaps they should just keep quiet!
Yes I agree, though the person concerned has now spoken to me about it.
I have a simple rule with my blog, publish only what I would happily say in person.
You could have had the same conversation with a group of parents outside the school. One of them could of gone on and repeated that and someone could take offence and the same situation could be had.
Yeah mentioning the teachers name was as you know a slip up. We all do that sometimes, other than that it seemed by the comments on the ‘said’ post, parents were glad it wasn’t only them that felt like that.
I happily sent a link to one of my posts about bullying to our headmistress. Perhaps they worry about our honest voices.
Keep at what you are doing, it is a great honest blog and quite frankly this world is a little short of that right now. x x x
Thanks Ali, honestly I am a pretty honest, up front person in real life. I guess I need to learn a little diplomacy about what I would say in either situation.
What I also meant was the world can be a bit short of people being honest, not honest bloggers!!! Nearly fell flat on my face with that slip up!
Honesty is always my policy with a hint of the diplomatic mainly because I am such a crap liar 🙂
I like your honesty and so do must people x
Take care and have a good rest of your evening x
As far as I know there isn’t any legal reason you can’t use a teacher’s name. A problem might arise though if you write something about a named teacher that they or the school might take issue with & view as libellous; UK libel laws are some of the most strict in the world.
Yes I have done some research into libel and will be very careful with anyone else’s details from now on.
I won’t mention about the teacher’s name because that’s been covered, but I’d like to speak on behalf of a teacher. If my professional judgement was called into question and discussed on a parent’s blog I would be both devastated and furious. We suffer enough grief as it is without being discussed on a blog. I’d say that conversations about other parents aren’t the wisest unless you’re prepared to say them face to face and take the flack, from that perspective I can see why the head did it. Personal stuff, not school related? None of their beeswax. However, you may want to bear in mind that if a member of staff is made aware of any situation that puts a child’s safey or well being at risk, they are duty bound to report it. Now I don’t know if anything like that has happened (apologies if it comes across in an accusatory manner) but by highlighting an issu on your blog which the school may read, then it’s out there and they ma be forcd to report something. Not that there is anything, it’s just a heads up!
“In fact, as is appropriate, Super Kid had been taken to the staff room and given a serious talking to. Unfortunately he wasnâ€™t duly repentant, which is why I was brought in.” I think I was saying that the teacher acted appropriately in his actions, definitely not questioning his judgement. I would never do that on my blog, if I had concerns I would raise it in real life with the teacher.
The conversation about other parents wasn’t wise, I’ll admit but I don’t really see how it was the schools business. Since I didn’t name any specific people or details. It was more of a school playground stereotypes kind of post.
Thanks for your comment, and if I had written anything bad about the teacher you would be absolutely right.
Better not to name names but otherwise it is your blog and nobody else’s business. If they don’t like it they don’t have to read it!
Thanks., and yes exactly.
Blogs are a way to provoke discussion and attention good or bad. I think unless you post a squeaky clean blog there will always be occasions like this. Don’t blub 🙂 learn from it and use it to gain knowledge which will make you a better blogger! Take on board all the comments and then carry on xx
Thanks Lucy, will do.
Hello, I loved your school run part 2 – and identified with it!
I don’t know what the right answer is – I’m new to the blogosphere so learning as I go along. Not sure if mentioning names is illegal but I can see why the school/teacher would not be happy with that. Apart from that, your life, your blog, your choice about what you share.
Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.
This website has a good guide about the various laws for bloggers regarding defamation http://www.senseaboutscience.org/pages/bloggers-and-libel-law.html
The school has to voice concerns if other parents are bringing them up to them, it’s part of their job. Equally they have to protect their teachers, which includes their identities being published online and ensuring that situations are accurately reported, and the other students.
Thanks, useful website, will post it on a bloggers forum for all to use.
I don’t think you have done anything wrong. If you are worried about what other parents think then maybe consider what you write. If you don’t care what they think, then carry on. I love your blog and your honesty, and your hair looks great!
Thanks. I kind of care what they think in terms of not wanting to be hissed at on the school run. However I don’t think I’m capable of not being honest, my mouth opens and it comes out, ditto the blog.
I’m with everyone else. I wouldn’t mention the teacher’s name, but otherwise you’ve done nothing wrong at all. It was a funny post – I remember it the first time around! I think this is political correctness gone mad!
I purposely do not read other comments until after writing so as not to confuse anything .i may have repeated above comments sorry.
Ok from my understanding in uk n teachers nor pupils names can be use not even initials . But heck I am sure you writing a blog will not have a problem . Some people need to get a life. Like us through our blogs.m
Yes, I have to have a life to have something to blog about 😉
Scamps teacher and head and a few mums from the school playground have read my blog in the past week but no one has said anything so far. I haven’t mentioned the school but honestly if I had and they had an issue I don’t think I’d change anything unless it was offensive or libelous – blogs are personal thoughts – you know that, I know that, but I guess to an ‘outsider’ they may not quite understand it.
She really did read your entire blog by the sounds of it to find those things… You obviously have a great writing style then 😉
I hope it all settles down soon x
Yes, it’s a compliment really.