Another "fun" day... just came back from a heated discussion with a headmaster and principal of an inner-city private school who have reneged on a deal from last year to release three children's school reports for non-payment after a payment plan was negotiated and has been complied with to date. This is preventing the children from being admitted to a local government school in 2013. The government school will not accept them into the next grade without the reports.
In the meeting, the two school governors, after aggressively hurling insults at the father, decided that they would resolve this best with their fists and threatened to hit the father of the children to encourage him not to "make trouble for school" and to not "make trouble with lawyers". The principal said "the white people say a beast with a long tail can not cross over the fire". I think this saying means that if you have done something wrong you must just accept what happens to you.
The only way to eventually ensure "peace" in the meeting was to stand in front of the father to prevent punches from being thrown by the headmaster and principal. Even with all my years of restorative justice and conflict resolution experience, I failed to move the parties towards resolution.
Tomorrow we, together with the Centre for Child Law, will continue the struggle. The centre has already written a letter of demand to the school stating that if the school does not release the reports we will go to the High Court to seek an order for the release of the reports.