Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Boy Left Stranded In Tree Because of Health and Safety Policy 73

School employees left a 5-year-old boy stranded in a tree because it is against health and safety policies in the UK to help him down. Instead they went inside to "observe from a distance" so the boy would not get "distracted and fall." The incident reached an even more ridiculous level when passer-by Kim Barrett had the audacity to actually help the child down. Officials promptly called the police and tried to have her charged with trespassing. From the article: "Mrs Martin confirmed that the school's policy prevents staff going to the aid of children who have climbed trees. She said: 'The safety of our pupils is our priority and we would like to make it clear that this child was being observed at all times during this very short incident. Like other schools whose premises include wooded areas, our policy when a child climbs a tree, is for staff to observe the situation from a distance so the child does not get distracted and fall. We would strongly urge members of the public not to climb over a padlocked gate to approach children as their motives are not clear to staff.'"


This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Boy Left Stranded In Tree Because of Health and Safety Policy

Comments Filter:
  • Sounds good. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dsavi ( 1540343 )
    ...Forbid that common sense would prevail over bureaucracy. It's one of the many gifts that humans have over computers, yet so many waste it. GOTO 10
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SleazyRidr ( 1563649 )

      But if you use your common sense you might get into trouble! Don't want that.

      I was just following orders.

    • Re:Sounds good. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by krou ( 1027572 ) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @10:10AM (#31647008)
      I've encountered this type of thinking before. I got onto a train that had arrived at the the last stop, and was about to head back in the opposite direction. I watched all the passengers get off, but there was still a young girl hunched over in her chair. Thinking she was asleep, I got on and tried to wake her up. She was unresponsive, so I tried to shake her awake. Still, no response, just a groan of some sort. Her eyes were fluttering between closed and open. Worried, thinking she could be a diabetic and had fallen into a coma, I went to alert the guard, who promptly told me that she had already been on the train going backwards and forwards on the route for over an hour. Amazed, I asked the guard why hadn't he called for an ambulance, or tried to see if he could wake her up. He just shrugged his shoulders and said, "Not allowed to touch 'em, health and safety." It was only when I pressed the issue that he agreed to get some police and/or health services to meet the train at the next stop to help her.
      • by rcb1974 ( 654474 )
        I am a parent of a diabetic child. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for going out of your way and thinking of others. You very well may have saved her life. I hope that guard really did contact the police or health services. Another thing you could have done is checked to see if she had a blood glucose meter, insulin pump, or medical alert tag, on her possession.
        • by v1 ( 525388 )

          unfortunately, searching the child for such things would probably have only fanned the flames of paranoia.

          as much as you have legitimate useful suggestions, it's unfortunately necessary to consider the tolerance level of the public in such cases.

          And if the guard had been unwilling to assist even after heated discussion, imagine how much more crazy things could have gotten if the man tried to take her off the train and to a hospital?

          Thirty years ago none of this would have been a problem, checking her for di

          • Yup. As an ugly lug of a male about the only people I can freely interact with without raising some alarm is other (obviously) adult males. If a child or female was in need of aid I'd have to do what they tell kids these days to do: find someone who won't get maced to find a woman with children to deal with the situation. Otherwise good intentions become fodder for being viewed as a pedo or rapist.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Forbid that common sense would prevail over bureaucracy.

      That is such an ignorant statement. A human infant's morphology is designed so that it can withstand an impact from a fall much better than an adult elementary school teacher can. If an uninvited intruder wouldn't have trespassed on school grounds to rescue the infant, then the toddler would have eventually just fallen out of the tree on its own accord. Problem solved.

      With adults getting involved, things become much more complicated. Laws were broken, and school and taxpayer liability were at stake. Britain

      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        In the first sentence I thought this was a pretty low troll, but for some reason I gave it a chance and it's one of the better comments on this post.

        Now it's actually all the funnier that it was modded Troll. I bet Jonathan Swift would have been quickly modded to oblivion if he was alive and posting on the Internet today...

      • by spatley ( 191233 )
        Look dumasses the proper moderation on this post is either "funny" or "flamebait" not "interesting. Seriously, what turnip truck did you all fall off of? Were your irony genes mutated by cosmic rays or microwave ovens?
      • You're an idiot. Just because kids bounce doesn't mean you leave them to their own means. We do not need laws to protect adults from themselves. Down that road lies Big Brother.
    • by Cato ( 8296 )

      Here's the rebuttal by the school also linked in comment here; [] - this incident never happened.

      • by TheLink ( 130905 )
        Mod parent up!

        It's one of those Daily Mail Drivels.

        FWIW - it looks like the blogger was better at posting a retraction...

        The Guardian is not much better (they were the ones with the untrue headline "Children should be taught creationism, says education expert")

        So who should have more credibility? The blogger or the newspapers?
      • by BobMcD ( 601576 )

        I read the article, but you missed an important point - it did happen.

        Facts not in debate:

        1) Child, in/around tree, avoiding class
        2) Passer-by intervention
        3) Police involvement

        Facts in debate:

        1) Necessity of intervention
        2) Result of intervention

        Notice this quote:

        Mr Hester took the woman back on to the playground during Key Stage 2 playtime and asked her to identify the tree and then challenged her regarding her entrance to the school via a locked gateway.

        There was a disagreement, in that moment, and at least Mr Hester wasn't certain what this woman observed.

        Without all the facts, this is a basic he-said-she-said.

        I will say, though, that the label of "completely untrue story" is more false than the s

    • The problem with common sense is that often it's exercised by idiots: []

  • was that the boy climbed the tree right as the bell for afternoon tea was rung and the faculty had to meet the tea and crumpet guy in the faculty lounge.
  • by Securityemo ( 1407943 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @05:13PM (#31632566) Journal
    This is it, the essential example. It should be plated with gold and kept in a requilary.
    I had a teacher like this once. Later in life, when I was reading up on Asperger, I realized she was a textbook case; the world is unpredictable and besides the most shallow emotions people are inscrutable black boxes, so just follow the rules and no one will blame you. I also realized this was basically how I had functioned up to my mid-teens.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28, 2010 @05:19PM (#31650402)

      Ah yes. Except that this is a Daily Fail story that combines "it's-health-and-safety-gone-mad" with "won't-somebody-think-of-the-children", two of their favourite topics.

      Oh look, [] there appears to be another side to this story. What a surprise.

      • My kingdom for a mod point. Somebody mod parent informative.
      • That's not even slanting, that's pure fabrication? And people actually read this?
      • There's another side to the story, but why should we believe it? There are still unanswered questions. Is there a policy to leave kids stuck in a tree? Are the school staff lying to cover up malfeasance? Mindlessly believing a rebuttal is no better than mindlessly believing the original story. The government involved cannot be trusted. An international human rights tribunal is the only way we'll ever learn the truth about what happened to that distressed little boy.
        • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

          There's a foolproof way if determining the truth: if the Daily Mail says it is true, then it is false. If the Daily Mail says it is false, it is true.

          This is 100% accurate.

          • by Dewin ( 989206 )

            There's a foolproof way if determining the truth: if the Daily Mail says it is true, then it is false. If the Daily Mail says it is false, it is true.

            This is 100% accurate.

            And if they publish a story claiming all of their stories are false? What then?

        • by DavidTC ( 10147 )

          We have no evidence the kid was 'stuck' at all.

          For all we know he simply didn't want to come in, and the school didn't force the issue (As attempting to pull someone out of a tree can, in fact, be dangerous.), but left him out there with someone keeping an eye on him out the window.

  • by headbone ( 914314 ) * on Friday March 26, 2010 @06:43PM (#31633658)
    The crown will plainly show the prisoner who now stands before you was caught red-handed showing feelings of an almost human nature. This will not do.
    • by plover ( 150551 ) *

      I always said he'd come to no good in the end, your Honor. If they'd let me have my way I would have flayed him into shape! But the bleedin' hearts and the artists let him get away with tree climbin'! Let him hang up there today!

  • The student promptly falls out of the tree - there's nobody around to blame *or* get fallen on! (The win-win scenario)
    "Remember the safety of our staff... um, students is paramount!" (the OSHA style scenario)

    • So if a student falls out of a tree in a forest when there's nobody there, can anybody hear him scream?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dudpixel ( 1429789 )

        duh, you worded it wrong. Of course no one can hear him if there's no one there.

        The correct line would be:

        "If a boy falls out of a tree in a forest, and no one heard him, did he make a sound?"

        • If someone does hear him, is that person automatically a pedio^H peado^H kiddy fiddler?

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by gnapster ( 1401889 )
          The correct line when filling out a Risk Assessment in the UK is, "If a boy falls out of a tree in a forest, and no one heard him, is there any way that anyone could be held liable?"
        • Of course no one can hear him if there's no one there.

          Indeed - there'd be nothing to hear. Nonexistent people are very quiet, even when plummeting from arboreal vegetation.

  • Ho hum: an anti-Health and Safety story from the Daily Mail. I suppose immigrants, asylum seekers, gays, liberals ans women were also involved in this?

  • In my experience, the standard response for a child climbing up a tree and being scared to come down is to reassure the child, "If you can climb up, you can climb down." The child will eventually calm down and climb down. It's when someone else tries to climb up the tree and "help" that you get real problems. And if it's some random passerby, you can't just assume they're okay.

    • yes .. definitely the best course of action. To avoid being fallen on, they even went to the length of going inside and were probably just looking for a megaphone to safely shout at the kid "GET DOWN THAT TREE NOW!" from a distance.
  • what can I say... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by thephydes ( 727739 )
    JESUS FUCKING CHRIST !!!!!! WTF is going on? Has everyone gone stark raving looney or something?
  • I recently ran into a situation where ... having around a hundred chairs that would need to be moved around quickly during a function, I asked the hotel for a chair dolly. It was refused on 'safety' grounds... Lawyers had determined that, if they lent us the equipment they would be responsible if our volunteers hurt themselves with it.

    So our volunteers were left slinging the chairs around by hand.

    For our next function, we used a different hotel.

  • by harryjohnston ( 1118069 ) <> on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:14PM (#31664466) Homepage
    The school in question reports the incident rather differently [].
    • by azalin ( 67640 )

      Very interesting to see the difference between the news story (and the comments here) and what really happened.

  • I wouldn't say she rescued him. The boy didn't want to come down, there was no indication that he needed help getting down. Trying to forcibly get a child out of a tree when he doesn't want to leave is definitely dangerous, and instead deciding to observe and wait for him to come down himself isn't an outrageous way to handle it.
  • I wasn't aware the press in the UK were as truth-challenged as they are here in the US....
  • Yet another example of how life imitates Douglas Adams.
  • Does anybody happen to know of a nerd oriented news website similar to this one that isn't terrible? Between this story and the story about smokers having lower IQs, I think I officially just quit slashdot.
  • What if the child was to fall while you were rescuing him? Who knows what sort of trouble you could get into.

    Knowing this, would you volunteer to help him down? Would you feel comfortable telling somebody else to get him down...?

    The days of "loco parentis" are long dead. Long live the lawyers!

Information is the inverse of entropy.