Head suspended in 'discipline' probe

A HEADTEACHER has been suspended after parents claimed he shut children in a cupboard for being disruptive, it has emerged.

A HEADTEACHER has been suspended after parents claimed he shut children in a cupboard for being disruptive, it has emerged.

Stuart Livingstone and another member of staff at Coppins Green Primary School in Clacton have been suspended pending further investigations, Essex County Council said.

Police have also launched an inquiry after a number of parents complained about "disciplinary measures”.

A Facebook group calling for the dismissal of Mr Livingstone is host to a debate about the teachers' alleged actions.


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One member, Siobhan Palmer, commented: "Personally I think its disgusting locking kids in cupboards.”

However, Mr Livingstone, who has been head at the school since 2004, has received some support from parents.

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One member of the group, Katie Morris, wrote: "For all of the parents who disagree with the 'chill-out' room, I would be very interested to see your ideas on finding a solution to the calming down of a child who is screaming abuse, thrashing about and spitting.'

An Essex County Council spokesman said: "Following a number of complaints about disciplinary procedures used at the school, the chair of governors at Coppins Green Primary School has suspended two members of staff.

"This was done as a precautionary measure and pending further investigation by Essex County Council and Essex Police child protection officers.'

An Essex Police spokeswoman added: "Child protection officers are working with partner agencies to investigate complaints made about disciplinary measures used on pupils at a Clacton primary school.”

Last month Mr Livingstone told the EADT the techniques were potentially controversial but were aimed at benefiting students.

He said: “It is not a punishment at all. It is a safe room where adults can control an extreme, disturbed child in a safe way.

“It is not something we use automatically. It really isn't used often, except in extreme cases.

“It is a small room, it is not a cupboard, but it is all we could find.”

He said children in the room are watched over by a specially trained member of staff, and are allowed to leave the room as soon as they have calmed down.

The door is held closed on the outside by a staff member and there is no handle inside, but the room has been designed so if the staff member did have to walk away, it would be immediately open, allowing the child to leave.

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