JSCLASS (1&2 appended)


By John Smith


A 31 year old mother of three with no previous convictions was yesterday jailed for attacking teachers at her son’s school TWICE in two months.

Lena Smyth went berserk after the 11 year old lad was ordered out of a science class for misbehaviour, a court heard.

She split the lip of headmaster Charles Prince with a punch to the mouth after bursting into the school during lessons.

She also called him a wanker in front of 40 horrified pupils in the playground.

The crazed mum then hit Julia Warnsworth in the face as the woman teacher tried to usher the youngsters out of harm’s way.

Finally Smyth lashed out at another member of staff Steven Brown, prosecuting Napoleon Ferram told the magistrates court at Birmingham, West Midlands..

“She called him a f***ing bastard and said, ‘I owe you one’ before swiping out with a clenched right fist and hitting him on the cheek,” continued the solicitor.

“It was an appalling incident on school premises where she had no right to be.”

The terrifying outburst came two months after another attack at the same school - Petersworth High in Ripton, West Midlands.

Smyth was on bail for that assault - when she slapped the deputy headmistress in the face and pulled her hair - as she struck again.

Her jobless husband Wayne, 33, -- the couple live with their children in Ripton - was involved in the second bust up grabbing the headmaster and two other teachers - Frederick Green and Peter Blue - by their lapels.

But he did not hit any of them and narrowly escaped following his wife to prison yesterday.

The flare up came after the couple’s son - now aged 12 but then 11 years old - was removed from class for disrupted behaviour, the court heard.

The lad’s mother heard of the problem and burst into the school shortly afterwards hurling abuse and punches at staff.

She admitted assaulting three teachers by beating on the second occasion and one mistress during the earlier incident. She was sent to prison for a total of 120 days.

District judge (correct) Michael Claude told the shamed mum before she was led away from the court in handcuffs: “Your conduct was outrageous.

“The job of teachers is difficult enough without parents behaving in this way.

“They are regularly faced with angry, unreasonable and violent behaviour from children and their parents.

“And they are entitled to expect the protection of the courts.”

Mr Claude continued: “In society today, people resort to assault all too often because they think it will resolve a problem.

“As Mr and Mrs Smyth have discovered it only increases that problem.”

The District Judge concluded: “All the victims in this case were teachers at the school where the son of this couple attended.

“It seems they were concerned by the school’s actions towards him and like many parents were quite unable to accept that any of the problem lay with their child.

“He had been to four different schools and had had the same problem at each.

“You may think it is clear who was out of step - but it is not part of my duties to comment on that.”

He told the lad’s disgraced father: “It was a really close run thing as to whether you followed your wife down the steps to the cells but you did not because the level of your violence was limited.

“No doubt you were acting out of loyalty to your wife.

“But had you simply pulled her away, the situation might have been far better for both you and her.”

Mr Smyth who admitted assaulting three teachers by beating, was put on probation for twelve months and ordered to pay £200 costs and do 60 hours community service.

Harry Hox, defending, said that Mrs Smyth had been suffering from a medical problem at the time of the two bust ups.

He maintained she was receiving the wrong medication for depression which had led to her “completely losing it.”

She was now receiving different treatment and was a changed woman, he insisted.

The bust ups happened in February and April of this year and Liam is now back in class at the same school after a crisis meeting between staff and his parents earlier this month. A younger child of the couple has also just started at the same school without further problems. Councillor Bill Thomas, chairman of the Education Committee at Birmingham council - which covers Ripton - said last night: “I am absolutely delighted by the decision of the court - it sets a clear example that intolerable and violent behaviour from parents will not be accepted.

“The teachers of this borough and elsewhere will feel safer in their classrooms today as a result.

“This was totally unacceptable behaviour and it was vital that the full force of the law was brought to bear on those responsible as a warning to other parents who may think of becoming violent and abusive to teachers in future.

“Hopefully they will now think again before behaving in that way because they know that prison awaits them if they don’t.”

MEMO TO NEWS DESK. Reference earlier copy JSCLASS. I forgot to include the name of the deputy headmistress injured in the first incident at the school. Her name is Anne Bollings.

Please include if appropriate.


Eamonn O’Laurie deputy general secretary of the National Association of School Masters and Union of Women Teachers said last night: “No civilised society should put up with this sort of behaviour from parents and we applaud the sentence of the court.

“It is gratifying to hear the comments of the district judge involved because they reflect the reality of the situation faced by teachers at schools up and down the country.

“Violence involving parents is a minority problem - but a growing one.

“An increasing number of mums and dads appear to find it impossible to accept that their child can do any wrong.”