Saturday, September 25, 2010

Culturally Insensitive Teacher

A teacher is in front of her class of teenagers. Mid-lesson a teenage boy (from another class) strides purposefully into the room, without so much as a bye-your-leave, marches to the desk of a girl pupil (his younger sister) and sets about bashing her.

The beating is fast, savage & expert. By the time teachers have intervened, blood is drawn, lips are smashed, her dress is torn, bruising and black eyes follow.

How was this handled by the teachers?

The Police are not called. Instead the Teacher whose class was interrupted gives the boy detention, or lines to write out (or something equally mild) as punishment for interrupting class & failing to "show respect" for his sister.

A day or two later the teacher is again in front of her class. Mid-lesson a woman (mother of the abovementioned brother & sister) strides purposefully up to the Teacher, without so much as a bye-your-leave, and with brutal swiftness sets about bashing the Teacher.
The first blow knocks the Teacher back over the teacher's table. The table is tipped over, the Teacher lands with a thud on the floor. Class props & student projects are sent flying as the woman's intensely physical attack on the Teacher continues.

This time the Police are summoned. The woman is taken away by the Police, all the while loudly proclaiming that nobody "interferes" by telling her son how to handle his sister AND gets away with it.

The Education Department tut-tutted aplenty and pressured the Teacher into not pressing charges against the woman. The police "investigated" & found no charge to stick the woman with.

The Teachers Union didn't wait for the Teacher to contact them. Instead the union's senior official in the nearest city immediately made a public statement that they would be helping the Teacher with counselling on the matter of cultural insensitivity, and that Teachers in general should be more culturally aware of the norms of the towns in which they teach.

During a newspaper interview (on another matter) the reporter seeks Mine Host's opinion on, amongst other events, the recent high school "incident". Mine Host, having just read in the press the comment by the Union, gives a quick opinion on the topics of:
Protection of Members (union abrogation of),
Common Assault,
Public Disorder Offences,
Safety in the Workplace (as viewed by the Trade Unions)
Classroom Discipline,
Liability of Employers who fail to take measures to prevent staff being assaulted at work.
And a quick character opinion & suggested alternative career of the union official who made the reprehensible statement implying that the Teacher brought it upon herself.

The reporter blurted: "That union officer is my daughter!"
Then calmed down Three seconds later & said "By golly, you're dead right though, I've never thought about it like that before!"

This, in a Queensland state high school, in a Queensland town, in 2010.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Unsafe Workplace

New girl arrives to take up a position.

She filled in an employment contract stating there were no injuries or medical conditions that would impair her ability to work, then signed underneath her words.

This representation was not consistent with her Facebook page, which revealed her discussing Two injuries & how she was going to conceal these injuries until she could get a job & "get compo" for them.

A week or so after starting work, she came to Mine Host for a small cash loan, as she "had to get something at the Chemist's shop"

Eagle eyed Mine Host noted her strolling back from the Chemist shop carrying a bandage & arm sling.

The following day when working alone & unobserved she "injured" her arm in the course of her duties.

Presenting with the injured arm bandaged & in the sling, she announced to Mine Host that she would have to submit a Worker's Compensation claim.

Mine Host then had a brief conversation with her, conducted under the cone of silence.

As a result of this conversation she immediately resumed her duties, having had a sudden change of heart about a Worker's Compensation claim.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Screeching in the Night

Shrieks and Cries that eminate from the nocturnal shadows & surrounds are nothing to remark upon. One can almost believe intelligent gorillas or creatures from the netherworld are occupying the world outside the walls. It is as if childhood fears of bogeymen or the-thing-under-the-bed have returned to haunt adulthood.

However it is not gorillas or bogeymen, it is humans. Alcohol & worse having depleted their their humanity & inhibitions. Under cover of the post-midnight blackness they fight, love, maul, vandalise, drink and destroy.

Blood curdling screams were heard this particular night, from Three o'clock in the morning until an hour or so before the pre-dawn light. Such was the horrible crescendo of the screeching that one could almost believe that the noise was an animal (or human) in mortal peril. (Anyone who has heard Curlews calling in the night will know what I mean.)

At Half-past Seven in the morning Mine Host is loitering at his front gate (as you do), surveying his front wall for signs of damage or attempted entry, whilst simultaneously admiring the verdant peacefulness of the town in daylight.

This is interrupted by the breathless arrival (at a sprint) of the operator of the government canteen Two blocks away. Gasping for breath he states:
"One of my staff has been raped, what should I do next?"
This being insufficient information to formulate an answer, Mine Host conducts a calm-but-rapid interrogation:
"Where is she now?"
"In the restaurant coldroom" (translation: She hasn't phoned from home to say she won't be reporting for work today due to having been raped, instead the matter is immediate)
"Was she raped right there at work, perhaps in the coldroom?"
"Was she raped on the way to work this morning?"
"No, it happened when she was out on the streets late last night, she's been too scared to go home, she came straight to work, she says the attack only finised a half-hour ago"

Struggling to comprehend the way this man is handling the situation, Mine Host advises him that the process for dealing with a girl presenting at one's workplace and reported she's been raped is to immediately contact the police and the girl's mother (she was 16 years old).

Nodding breathlessly he sprints off in the direction of his canteen. A few minutes later several police cars converge on the canteen. A minute or so later most police detach from the scene & accelerate toward the hostel for delinquent youth and it's environs. Residents of the hostel decamp at pace in all directions.

She had been "partying" after midnight on the streets with Two older girls she knew, in the company of several young men from the hostel.

The attack had commenced at Three a.m and lasted until Six a.m. (Everybody for Three blocks around had heard the entire attack).

It had been ferocious. She had been dragged from the park into the hostel & most (if not all) residents in the hostel had had their turn.

Mine Host's senior female staff were of the belief that the first sexual encounter was consensual, but that she was unlikely to have agreed to accommodate the entire hostel.

Any sexual encounter, including rape, is a matter for specialist medical examination, but with his layman's eyes Mine Host noted the following: She had obviously endured a shocking psychological experience. She had been beaten very badly and was barely recognisable. She was covered in streaked and spattered blood, mixed with dirt and mud, making it difficult to tell if she had any cuts or bruises. Clumps of hair were missing and blood streaks made it impossible to see her original hair colour. Her head was swollen from the beating such that if she had a hat at home it would no longer fit on her head. Her nose & teeth were likely smashed. And so on.

The beating had been quite vicious.
Her father is a senior public servant.

The Two friends she was out with are very hard cases. Both are aged over Twenty and have served jail time. It is possible they were amused to spend a few days befriending a well raised girl, then throwing her to those wolves.