Letter to the Head Master

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michael scuffil
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by michael scuffil » Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:55 pm

Just for the record: I would be vehemently against any concerted action concerned with alleged misbehaviour by members of staff now dead. The obvious reason is that they cannot now defend themselves, and, the corollary, the accusers would not be required to get their evidence together properly (if they had any)*. But there are other reasons. For a start, any cut-off point would be arbitrary (suppose an aged OB came along and said: I was abused by Mr X in 1937?); also, investigations of this sort then tend to take on the character of a witch-hunt (cf. Edward Heath, Harvey Proctor); thirdly, as I have said before, the majority of abusers got their sexual kicks from what was at the time a thoroughly legal and accepted activity, corporal punishment. This would presumably not be investigated.

*note the case of the photographer David Hamilton, who killed himself after one of his former models said he'd raped her 30 years earlier. She carefully timed her statement to come out very shortly after the alleged offence had become non-prosecutable under the French statute of limitations, thus sparing her the necessity of producing any actual testable evidence.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by MrEd » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:15 pm

Re: "(4) did Webb leave the school in 1974 because of any matter for which he has now been convicted in either 2015 or 2015?;
(5) if the answer to (4) is “yes” was Webb ever given any favourable references?" (as others noted, that's '1984', not 1974 surely?

You might want to add something around the following:

"Did the school consider the termination of Mr Webb's employment without notice because of gross misconduct (e.g. child molestation)?" If not, why not?

"Did the school waive any right to contractual or statutory notice in respect of Mr Webb's employment contract in respect of his departure, thereby conferring a benefit on him of excusing him from his contractual obligations?"

"Did the school confer a benefit on Mr Webb by agreeing to provide him a reference?"

"Did the school consider whether or not any reference for Mr Webb would, if not accurate, render the school liable for the tort of negligent mis-statement?"

and

"If the school took any legal advice in respect of these matters, would it be prepared to confirm that fact, and further to waive privilege in the interest of openness?"

Also: "Around the time of the events that have led to criminal convictions, what contact was there, if any, between anyone working for or acting for the school and Sussex Police in respect of these matters, whether in terms of reporting any alleged offences or other contact, formal or informal, whether by the responsible officers of the school, anyone else connected with the school, or any third-party?"

and

"What policies did the school have in place at the time in respect of what is now called safeguarding and/or employment policies or rules (e.g. a staff handbook, and if there were any, what steps were taken to follow those policies and by whom?".
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by rockfreak » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:16 pm

Avon wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:07 am
rockfreak wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:11 pm
Some of these people are exactly what Nick Duffell is talking about in his books about Boarding School Survivors.
Your exhortations on this site to read Duffell's bl**dy book will shortly enter double figures. Are you on a commission?

No. I just think he's got a lot of relevant things to say about boarding schools and would be totally unsurprised by the things that are being discussed here, including the attempts to try and pretend that you'll ever stop this sort of activity. It will inevitably go with the boarding school territory. But what a pity about my limerick. Too near the bone for some people's sensitivities perhaps.

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by rockfreak » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:11 pm

The moderators have emailed to tell me that my limerick has been removed because one or two people have objected. OK, but by the same token Jim Rayner posted a "like" and richardb laughed at it. So how do we decide when something should be removed? If people are going to object should they not be obliged to register on the site and raise their objections in public with their full name and site moniker as I've done right from the start? Otherwise any fading flower from the pages of a Jane Austen novel can have a fit, call for the smelling salts and demand that the moderators remove something that offends them. My limerick (which I thought was one of my better ones) was making a serious point that even the new Beak may not be able to make much difference to the problems that are inherent in the English boarding school system. Ribald? Vulgar? OK, that was my way of getting it across. But then I've never been one for beating around the bush. And the fact that others are so prissy and easily offended and unable to see the serious point behind the vulgarity tells us much about the products of the snotty-nosed English boarding school system.

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by Avon » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:22 pm

Your Limerick was crass, ill-judged and didn’t have any of the witty merit that sometimes means that such things are indulged. If there was a serious point behind the vulgarity then it was spectacularly well hidden.

I complained, but interestingly the site told me that a complaint had already been made. So - two against two, at the very least.

Moderation of this site seems pretty spot on to me. Why not become a blogger if you want to reach the masses? :lol:
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by Mid A 15 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:08 pm

rockfreak wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:11 pm
The moderators have emailed to tell me that my limerick has been removed because one or two people have objected. OK, but by the same token Jim Rayner posted a "like" and richardb laughed at it. So how do we decide when something should be removed? If people are going to object should they not be obliged to register on the site and raise their objections in public with their full name and site moniker as I've done right from the start? Otherwise any fading flower from the pages of a Jane Austen novel can have a fit, call for the smelling salts and demand that the moderators remove something that offends them. My limerick (which I thought was one of my better ones) was making a serious point that even the new Beak may not be able to make much difference to the problems that are inherent in the English boarding school system. Ribald? Vulgar? OK, that was my way of getting it across. But then I've never been one for beating around the bush. And the fact that others are so prissy and easily offended and unable to see the serious point behind the vulgarity tells us much about the products of the snotty-nosed English boarding school system.
I didn't complain and indeed found it quite amusing in a juvenile kind of way.

However to use a word you, as a self professed left winger, will be familiar with and have no doubt levied at those you disagree with, it was INAPPROPRIATE on this particular thread. Richard is trying to pull together a serious document here and the School will be following closely.

Credibility is key to moving forward with this in a way that offers both victims and Old Blues in general assurances that perpetrators are no longer 'in the system' being shuffled around with adequate references in order to lay the blame at another door and endanger yet another cohort of innocent children. Furthermore the aim, as I understand it, is also to encourage the School to take some ownership over helping victims still scarred by the trauma of their childhood abuse at CH.

ODE FROM THE LF BY DAVID REDSHAW doesn't really cut it with Mr Reid in that context does it?
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by richardb » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:42 pm

I have been out and about today so I am just catching up on posts.

One of the first things that you learn in advocacy is to never ask a question that you don't know the answer to. The reasoning is obvious - you run the risk of losing control of the witness and may get a devastating answer.

In addressing my questions to Reid, I have applied similar thinking. I know what his answers will be and on a very short term basis, it isn't going to help me get answers.

In the long term however any lack of openness and honesty by Reid isn't going to help the school. Between the filthy five we have more than 20 victims over a period of not much more than 20 years, so on convictions alone around one victim a year.

But the convictions are just the tip of the iceberg. We KNOW that there were others. The police investigation goes back 70 years. Some abusers have escaped justice through death. Others may be quaking in their boots.

We could probably identify another dozen potential abusers on here just from anecdotal evidence. Teachers who have left in dubious circumstances. The common thread that ties them all together is that the school did nothing but simply moved them on.

The school is in danger of becoming the largest paedophile/public school scandal of the modern day. And collectively we all know the story. There are posters on here who may be willing in the right circumstances to share their experiences.

We all know the more shocking aspects. Baker's lies about Webb, Karim being allowed to resign with some more pay and glowing testimonials, Dobbie links to Peter Ball etc.

This whole sorry exercise is far from over. There will be another flurry of bad press this week when Karim is sentenced and then again when Dobbie collects his prize.

The problem with being the largest such scandal in the modern age is that some enterprise journalist is going to run with the story. Not just write the story about a paedophile filling his boots as will be the case with Karim this week, but will focus on the lamentable and frankly criminally wrong handling of it over many years by the school. And those failings will be further compounded by the school"failure to own up to the detail of what it did wrong.

As a public relations exercise the school will limit the damage far more by being open and honest, but it will be advised to the contrary. I can see Reid having a very uncomfortable time being interviewed on a programme such as Panorama.

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by yamaha » Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:26 am

You are desperately trying to inflate this to its maximum volume.

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:25 am

The common thread that ties them all together is that the school did nothing but simply moved them on.

Let's not be anachronistic. It used to be taken for granted that any institution would seek to protect its own reputation. Not so much by cover-up and denial, but simply by not hanging out the dirty washing in public. (The Sunday tabloids wallowed in stories of dodgy vicars and schoolmasters, of course, but only if they came to court; you can see why great effort was made to stop them coming to court. The serious press wasn't interested.) When Buck resigned for (in his words in a letter to Edmund Blunden) 'loving not wisely but too well' (!), everyone in ColB was told why (I think), but nothing else was said, and certainly not to the press (which had reported on his drink-driving conviction a few weeks earlier). In a letter to my parents, I said that my Latin teacher had left suddenly, and as I'd already reported the drink-driving with some hilarity, I allowed them to think the two were connected.

In Buck's case, however, one might ask why the school saw fit to give him a memorial service with full military honours, so to speak.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by yamaha » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:31 am

Othello.

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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by richardb » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:22 am

yamaha wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:26 am
You are desperately trying to inflate this to its maximum volume.
Not desperately. I think what happened was truly shocking and the school should be honest about it.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by J.R. » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:27 am

yamaha wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:26 am
You are desperately trying to inflate this to its maximum volume.
The alternative being ?????

"Forget the abused ? Leave them to suffer in silence and let the filthy fiddling teachers just disappear into obscurity ?" I suppose !!

You did ask me earlier if I'd care to expand on my comment regarding the press. I really don't think that needs any explanation as it's going to happen anyway as Richard has already noted. The quills are already sharpened, awaiting final sentences.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by jtaylor » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:45 am

michael scuffil wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:55 pm
Just for the record: I would be vehemently against any concerted action concerned with alleged misbehaviour by members of staff now dead. The obvious reason is that they cannot now defend themselves, and, the corollary, the accusers would not be required to get their evidence together properly (if they had any)*. But there are other reasons. For a start, any cut-off point would be arbitrary (suppose an aged OB came along and said: I was abused by Mr X in 1937?); also, investigations of this sort then tend to take on the character of a witch-hunt (cf. Edward Heath, Harvey Proctor); thirdly, as I have said before, the majority of abusers got their sexual kicks from what was at the time a thoroughly legal and accepted activity, corporal punishment. This would presumably not be investigated.
I have to say I’m in full agreement with Michael here. It could be very easy for now-dead teachers and staff to be accused, with no need for evidence, and damage the name of those teachers, and their legacy, family and friends. Not fair I’d say unless it’s as a result of proper investigation with solid evidence.
There are fantasists out there which could easily make eccusations of impropriety simply because they didn’t like a certain teacher.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by DeletedAccount » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:05 pm

This is a slightly tangential point and may not fit fully into this particular thread. Apologies if this is the case and pls. feel free to move/delete if appropriate.

I came across a report on a February 2018 ITV documentary on the scale of sexual abuse in UK boarding schools. I live outside the UK and had not seen this before.

http://www.itv.com/news/2018-02-18/shoc ... cumentary/

As we know, the cold facts and the experiences they reflect are horrifying. Two particular points stood out to me with regard to Richard's proposed letter in particular and other discussion threads more generally:

1 - the sheer scale of abuse, both current and historic, and the number of schools, teachers and children caught up
2 - the fact that not all schools are legally mandated/obliged to report abuse. I presume this includes independent private schools:
Despite the years that have passed ... the reporting of abuse allegations is still not legally mandatory at all schools in the UK.
So, it would appear that whilst the moral, ethical and humane responsibilities regarding reporting are immense, there aren't, and certainly weren't, legal obligations to report abuse.

Is this correct? Does this change anything?

Thank you

ps - and to hopefully offset some reactions, I think that whilst it is important to recognise the scale of child abuse in boarding schools, it is something that contaminates all spheres of society, including state schools, clubs and of course, families.
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Re: Letter to the Head Master

Post by richardb » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:10 pm

No one is ever under any legal obligation to report a crime as far as I am aware.

The problem with CH is that it fostered a culture where staff thought that, if they were caught, they would simply be moved on without the police being involved.

It may be a policy which is not criminal but it was certainly negligent.

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