This is a bit long, sorry!
I have a colleague (who I will refer to as X) who repeatedly ignores Duty of Care requirements in terms of supervising students. Whilst I understand that some schools are fairly lax about these things (particularly with senior students), our principal is very particular about stringently enforcing the department's Duty of Care policy as there have been previous issues with litigious parents. We are repeatedly reminded that students are not to be left unsupervised in a classroom whether it be during class time or at recess/lunch. X himself has on several occasions reprimanded some of my colleagues for briefly leaving students unsupervised (eg. seniors working on a project in their classroom during lunch, teacher ducked out to go to the toilet). The hypocrisy of this is infuriating me, as during the last week alone I have had the following experiences with X:
* Students in his classroom at lunch, unsupervised. I went into the staffroom and said as casually as I could, "Oh, X, did you know there's students in your classroom?" to which he muttered something about needing to make a phone call and he'd head back in.
* Finding X in the staffroom when I had seen him lining a junior class up at the start of the lesson. "Um, who's watching your class, X?" The teacher's aide, apparently. He saw no problem with this. It was the bottom year 8 class which is on a special behaviour monitoring program and still so nuts I don't even turn my back on them.
* X was running late to work (a common occurrence) and called the staffroom. Asked one of my colleagues to let his senior class into his classroom. She refused, saying they would be unsupervised. X insisted, saying he would "take responsibility". She again refused, and was extremely unhappy about the pressure he put on her.
* A particular senior student working in his classroom at lunch, unsupervised. Another of my colleagues saw her there and ended up sitting there for the rest of lunch to supervise her.
* The same senior student on her way up to his classroom at the start of lunch yesterday. Knowing what would happen, I stopped her and explained the concept of Duty of Care in very clear terms. She brushed me off and reassured me that she knows that, X ALWAYS supervises her, yadda yadda yadda. Twenty minutes later, I found her alone in the classroom, door closed (ie. so nobody would know she was in there). She had no idea where the teacher was. I explained yet again about Duty of Care and said that although I agreed it was highly unlikely that anything would go wrong, if it did then X was legally negligent. I stressed VERY clearly that she could not continue working in the classroom unsupervised.
* Same senior student alone in the classroom at recess today. Another colleague and I spoke to her and told her she had to leave. X nowhere in sight.
* Today again. Saw X letting same senior student, plus others, into his classroom at start of lunch. Heard him tell them they needed to be quiet. Found X in the staffroom 10 minutes later, students still in his classroom. Told him bluntly, "X, there are students in your room, you have to be in there supervising." X didn't respond but did comply.
To make all this worse, X is my superior and has been teaching for 30+ years. I should not be having to remind him to follow these basic rules!!
I am not sure if I'm legally obliged to report these sorts of things (?), but I at least feel morally responsible, not to mention I'm furious at his hypocrisy. The problem is, I have repeatedly had to report X for other things and I'm tired of being the only one who speaks up and formally complains about him. Earlier this year I got so fed up I wrote an e-mail to the principal detailing X's failings to competently meet the basic requirements of his role (no programs, no resources, no disciplinary support, Board of Studies HSC due dates ignored, etc) and whilst the principal was suitably horrified and promised change, none has eventuated. I pretty much vowed to give up reporting issues seeing as nothing was going to be achieved as I was tired of sounding like a whinger!
I have one week left and then I go on maternity leave, which is another reason I think I should just keep quiet. But my colleagues will have to continue dealing with X and as will I when I return to work late next year, unless I can find a better job. The problem is certainly not just going to go away by itself, and X still has at least 2 years left until retirement
So what would you do in this situation??? Say something or shut up? As a parent, what would you want done?
(A quick clarification - I agree the Duty of Care policies seem a bit OTT in some ways and I would love to be able to leave senior students working in my classroom unsupervised, but I'm not going to ignore the rules because at the end of the day, they're there for good reason AND I know they protect me just as much as students.)