Parents could face arrest

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The Independent Online
Aggressive parents who intrude on school premises could be arrested under new police powers proposed by a government working party on school security.

Ministers are also expected to announce that the group, set up after the murder of the London head teacher Philip Lawrence last December, will turn its attention to the growing crisis over school discipline.

The report on security, drawn up by Home Office and education officials along with local authorities, teachers' unions, parents' groups and charities, will be presented to Gillian Shephard, the Secretary of State for Education, in the next few days.

It will address growing concern over violent pupils and intruders who pose a threat. Teachers' unions say that these intruders are often parents or older brothers who storm in to complain about the disciplining of an offender. Recent cases have included a father who threatened to throw a head teacher through a window in a row over his six-year-old- son and a male secondary school teacher attacked by the older brother of a disruptive pupil.

Commissioned after the stabbing of Mr Lawrence outside St George's Roman Catholic School in Maida Vale, the report was added to after the Dunblane massacre. Although its authors say little could have been done in that case, they have recommended new police powers to deal with unwelcome visitors.

The move will involve an amendment to the 1984 Local Government Act, which allows police to remove intruders from schools with permission from the staff. They will not only be able to ask them to leave, but also will be allowed to arrest them.

A separate measure already being put in place under a Private Member's Bill introduced by Lady Olga Maitland will redefine a school as a public place so that police do not need permission to enter or to search pupils for weapons.

The security group has agreed that it will continue to meet to discuss problems of school discipline.

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