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article imageTeaching assistant suspended for mocking crying girl on Facebook

By Chris Dade     Mar 3, 2010 in World
A teaching assistant at a school in the north of England has been suspended after she posted on Facebook that she found it funny that a 4-year-old girl in her class cried when she was punished.
On February 10 Yasmine Judge, a 20-year-old teaching assistant at Lowerhouses Church of England Junior and Infant School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire sent 4-year-old Faye McDonnell to sit under the "thinking tree" as punishment for something which has not been specified.
Whatever it was the young girl was supposed to have done she denies that she misbehaved in any way and, upset at her punishment, cried as she was made to stand beneath the "thinking tree" for what her mother, Louise McDonnell, asserts was "three or four minutes".
Noting that Faye has laryngitis, the Yorkshire Evening Post quotes her 24-year-old mother as saying of the incident:If the children do something wrong they have to go and sit under the thinking tree, a paper tree on the wall. They have to think about what they did wrong. It's supposed to be a positive thing rather than just telling the child off. Ms Judge sent Faye to sit under the tree. Faye says she didn't do anything wrong but Ms Judge didn't allow her to explain herself. She had to stand there for three or four minutes. She has trouble breathing and when she gets upset she goes red and starts breathing heavily
But what Ms Judge did following the punishment she handed out to Faye has made what is an everyday occurrence at schools around the world in to a news story that is being read by people on the other side of the world.
For she posted a message on the social networking website Facebook, since deleted, which read, alleges the Daily Mail:How funny it was that Faye was crying under the thinking tree, it was nuff funny lol lol lol
It is not clear if Faye was aware of what the teaching assistant had written about her but her mother said that the young girl was reluctant to go to school on what appears to have been the day after she was punished.
She observed:Faye's a very confident little girl. She really enjoys school and she wouldn't tell me why she didn't want to go. I was so angry that the staff didn't listen to her. School is supposed to be fun at that age
Then Louise McDonnell was told by other parents about the Facebook message and went to her daughter's school to ascertain what precisely had happened.
It seems that Ms Judge had already been suspended by the time Faye's mother arrived at the school but details of the apology Louise McDonnell received are not consistent.
The Telegraph and Yorkshire Evening Post indicate that Ms McDonnell received a verbal apology from head-teacher (principal) Paul Scrimshaw, with the Daily Mail reporting that she was "handed a slip of paper saying that the school apologised about the comments and they didn't approve of what had been said".
Regardless of the type of apology made what is being reported by all sources is that upon learning Ms Judge may be allowed to return to her daughter's school to assist with older children Ms McDonnell began a petition, which now has 60 signatures, demanding that the teaching assistant not be allowed to return to the school at all.
She has explained:Faye would still see her in the playground and on school trips. If Ms Judge goes back I will pull Faye out of the school. I don't want my daughter being unhappy
Stating that "All the parents at the school seem to be behind me" Ms McDonnell has reportedly said that, regarding Ms Judge's future at Lowerhouses:every time I asked the school what was happening, they simply told me it was out of their hands
Huddersfield is the largest town within the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees and a spokesman for the borough council has advised:A disciplinary process involving a teaching assistant is ongoing and we are unable to comment about this individual case. However, the school and the council are working closely together to resolve the issue
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