Yesterday, on TES Connect forums, a user 'KarmaQueen' has described in detail her recent complaint about their bullying head. So much detail in fact that I am a little concerned about her (I presume it's a her) being identified.
This teacher seems to have a spinal condition that has resulted in her needing to go home to take painkillers on one occasion. The issue seems to have stemmed from that one incident:
"All I had asked for is to go home and use 50 mins PPA to take painkillers to allow me to return and participate in a parents evening... When this refusal resulted in me having to phone in sick for a day I was subjected to an absence review to justify my absence."
The teacher then goes on to describe the exact actions of the head that she has issue with:
"I was told that if I asked for disability support and the head gave it, it would make me seem to be less professional. He put that in writing with no understanding of the implications i.e. it was illegal to state such. I resent the implication that disabled teachers can't be professional."
And that's it right there, isn't it? On the one hand, disabled teachers, or any disabled people, should be enabled to do any job, with reasonable adjustments: it's obvious and basic discrimination if that doesn't happen.
On the other hand, at what point do you say those adjustments become unreasonable, and you start asking the person to accept the fact that their disability means they are unsuitable for the post? In my opinion, the 'reasonableness' bar is set way too low in teaching, so that we get situations where just allowing a teacher to go home and take painkillers is not reasonable.
I imagine the head is thinking that in their absence, other teachers were covering lessons, or that this teacher was using up time that was supposed to be spent on PPA and other such things. Why can they not be allowed to make the time up back, and return the favour of cover though? No reason at all, making the request perfectly reasonable.
There is also a massive culture of not speaking up against this type of behaviour because it is just to easy to ruin a teacher's career over it. Most people would rather keep their head down and get on with it, or leave the profession, than fight against this and lose their career prospects forever. Teachers need much more protection in this area.