to speak to school even though dd asked me not to?

(31 Posts)
FigAndPear Wed 10-Apr-13 13:03:13

Dd is 11 and in her last term at primary. Her class teacher recently left, so for the final few months they’ll have a new teacher. For various understandable reasons (demob-happy, new teacher, coming changes, funny age), there has been an outbreak of extreme silliness among a group of boys in the class who were pretty silly to start with. Dd and another girl has to share a table with them, and has been coming home upset.

Some of it is low-level: repeating things she says in a silly voice, throwing her jumper on the floor. Others seem more personal: one of them hid his football cards in her bag, then insisted that she had them, tried to get her to look in her bag with her refusing as she knew there was a trick, then shoving her aside and triumphantly pulling them out. This bothers her more – as does an outbreak of willie-and-vagina type chat that they’ve also become keen on. She and the other girl were told to work together with the boys, but they spent the time drawing willies on bits of paper and showing them to the girls, talking about willies and vaginas and “what was up their mummy’s bums” hmm.
Dd is royally pissed off, but blames herself for the way it makes her feel, and doesn’t want me to speak to the school. She keeps repeating that the other girls aren’t bothered by it. “L doesn’t mind – she says her brothers are like that. K just ignores them, and T seems to quite like it. I wish I was like that, but it just annoys me and I can’t hide it. And that makes them worse. It’s my fault.” sad

I’m torn between thinking that this kind of thing is everywhere – so dd had better learn to handle it before secondary – and being bloody angry that her last few weeks of primary are being affected like this. The willie stuff is normal, I know – but I can’t help comparing it to older girls getting yelled at in the street, pestered by blokes, etc. It’s a junior version of the same thing: taking what was meant to be a shared space and turning it into a boy’s space that has girls in it. (The girls have already spent years with footballs slamming into their heads in the playground, which was never sorted out.)

I have no doubt that dd is giving these guys exactly the reaction they’re hoping for, and (especially if the other girls are less bothered) they’ll keep right on doing it. Dd won’t speak to the teacher, and seems to be relying on the teacher eventually noticing for herself. I've tried giving her ideas for things to say to shut them up - "I can't say that. It'll make them worse." and suggesting that she can pretend she isn't bothered. "I can't - it just shows." I know that if she doesn't learn strategies this sort of thing will crop up again and again, but she doesn't seem prepared to try anything. But if I "rescue" her, that will further convince her that she can't handle it herself.

WIBU to reassure dd that I won’t speak to the school, but then go and have a word with them anyway?

kerala Wed 10-Apr-13 13:07:49

I would go in. My eldest DD is only 6 so haven't reached your stage but sounds like this needs to be managed by the adults in charge. Its not fair on your DD and the other girls no matter how much they "don't mind". They have every right not to be treated like this <eyes girls only secondary school down the road with renewed interest>

skratta Wed 10-Apr-13 13:09:19

Yes, talk to the teacher. They are harassing her and making her upset...the behaviour should be dealt with, they are 11 and should know that. If thy always work in table groups, the teacher might at least be more keen to maybe have a kind if move around at half term, and to make sure when working in groups then the groups aren't always the table groups, as an example, and it will mean the teacher can deal with it. If your daughter is upset about it, definitely tell the teacher.

FigAndPear Wed 10-Apr-13 13:10:46

No girls' secondary in our area, or I might have been doing the same, kerala. (Although I went to one, and know that brings its own issues!) I'm also inclined to go in, insisting that whatever is done is done discreetly, without anyone knowing it came from dd. She's going to need strategies to help her cope somewhere down the line, but "rescuing" her for now feels right. She's stressed enough about starting secondary and I wanted her to enjoy the last couple of months of primary.

Branleuse Wed 10-Apr-13 13:11:11

its a form of bullying

thebody Wed 10-Apr-13 13:11:53

Defiantly go in. Get her moved. It's not a request if she is bring harassed.

I also question the teaching ability here.

Yes, go in or phone, they are disrupting her education and upsetting her. she doesn't even need to know you spoke to school, the boys should be split up for their own good as well.

StuntGirl Wed 10-Apr-13 13:12:11

Yes speak to the teacher. It's bullying, not silliness.

Roseformeplease Wed 10-Apr-13 13:12:41

I don't think this kind of behaviour is normal, or something that should be ignored and I would be deeply ashamed if it was going on in my classroom. This is terrible. They are bullying, belittling and harassing her. Add 5 years to their age and you have boys who are normalising sexual aggression. You are doing them, your daughter, the teacher and females in general a favour by reporting this and complaining in the strongest possible terms.

Backtobedlam Wed 10-Apr-13 13:14:57

I'd have a chat with the teacher and ask her advice, she will at least then be keeping an eye on things. Both boys and girls can get a bit silly, especially top end of the school as their suddenly the 'big ones'. However, some of the stuff (like hiding the football cards in her bag) sounds really quite mean. If you don't go in all guns blazing, and explain your dd didn't want you to tell the teacher, hopefully she will be able to deal with it in her own way, with the teacher closely watching and on hand to step in if necessary.

cece Wed 10-Apr-13 13:15:22

Go in and speak to the teacher but I also think you should tell your DD that you are going to do so. Explain to her that the boys are bullying her and that you therefore must do something about it as you are there to help protect her. smile

DaisyBD Wed 10-Apr-13 13:15:58

I had exactly this issue with DS2 in year 7, being bullied by his new classmates (to the extent that even his old friends from primary joined in, to deflect the bullies from directing their attention at them too). It was heartbreaking and he kept it from me for ages, and was quiet and withdrawn. I found out later they had also been taking his lunch from him too, and throwing yogurt at him and pushing him over in the mud and so on.

When I found out, I immediately said I would go in to school and talk to them and sort it out. He begged me not to. Absolutely begged, with desperate tears. It's making me well up just thinking about it now. I was so torn - I was desperate to find a way to make this stop happening, but simply didn't know whether going to the school would make things worse for DS2, whether he would lose trust in me too.

Eventually my brother, who is a primary school head teacher, told me I absolutely had to talk to the school. He said, DS2 is a child, you are an adult, sometimes you have to do things they don't want you to. Schools all have a policy on bullying, they have to, they will sort it out. But they can't do anything unless you tell them.

So I did. And you have my absolute sympathy, because having a child being bullied was the absolute pits. Incidentally, the school did do something but I don't know what - some sort of discipline for the ringleader but the didn't tell me what (and nor should they) and things got better, thank God.

LIZS Wed 10-Apr-13 13:16:16

Think it is horrible but sadly not uncommon. Speak to school, but be prepared to be fobbed off although the sexual element may raise some alarm bells.

FigAndPear Wed 10-Apr-13 13:17:36

I'm glad someone else sees the junior-style sexual aggression angle, as dh just sort of scratched his head when I started about "turning shared space into boys' space" etc. I'm not a teacher, and remember exactly this type of thing at my primary, and it was something you had to deal with - but that was in the 1970s, and I'd hoped there would be more awareness now.

As the teacher is very new (started just after Easter) she doesn't have the measure of them yet, I'm sure. Although I did assume she'd have been warned about combinations to watch out for!

FigAndPear Wed 10-Apr-13 13:19:14

Thanks - this is reinforcing what I think myself - that I will speak discreetly to the school.

digerd Wed 10-Apr-13 13:22:32

I don't understand this behaviour from the boys. We had nothing like that in Primary or Secondary. Boys always treated us with respect. Although, in Secondary our break times were segregated into girls and boys separate play-grounds.
That was decades ago.

manicinsomniac Wed 10-Apr-13 13:22:39

Yes, I would go in.

I have a Y6 class and they are at just that age where they will, very quietly and subservisely, push the boundaries as much as they can. They are on the edge of puberty, have a strong group identity and are desperate to be in that group and not on the edges. They gain popularity by annoying the other gender and making their peers laugh. As a group they can be vile but individually they are lovely, lovely children.

As a teacher I don't see everything. Some of the children are confident enough to come and let me know if there's a problem but sometimes it takes a parent and, at that age, it's fine.

Most children who bully or intimidate another don't actually realise the effect they are having. They want to big themselves up not put someone else down. All they need is a big, clear 'this MUST stop' from an adult and to be shown how the other child/ren concerned feel. They won't see it or stop of their accord.

FigAndPear Wed 10-Apr-13 13:28:41

It's great to get teachers' perspectives - thank you. Manic, I'm going to make sure I tell dd that it's about them bigging themselves up, not dd personally, as she is taking it very much to heart just now.

digerd, I'd love to know where and when you went to school! That wasn't my experience at all, although I was only at a mixed-sex school for primary.

badtime Wed 10-Apr-13 13:43:18

It took me many years to get over the idea that I was wrong in being bothered by things like this, when I was bullied in primary school. I also didn't want to make a fuss, partly because I feared it would make it worse, but mainly because I blamed myself and my reaction.

It needs to be made clear to your daughter that it is fine for her to be bothered, and that her reaction isn't wrong: it is the people who are trying to upset her (or, at best, don't care if they upset her) that are wrong.

You need to speak to the school. Your daughter does not have a clear and mature view of the situation, and you should do what you can see needs to be done.

badtime Wed 10-Apr-13 13:45:07

Oh, and your duaghter will be stronger if she learns to trust her own feelings, not if she tries to act like she isn't bothered. That would just enforce the idea that her natural reaction is wrong.

FigAndPear Wed 10-Apr-13 14:03:17

That's a good point, badtime. Right now she's cross with herself that it seems to bother her and none of the other girls. Of course, she doesn't know what they're thinking anyway - but even if she genuinely is more annoyed than they are (no brothers, quieter nature) that doesn't mean she shouldn't be annoyed, or that her feelings aren't valid.

thornrose Wed 10-Apr-13 14:07:43

I think this is one of those times when you have to do what is "right" and not necessarily what your dd wants. Take control and I think deep down your dd will be relieved.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 10-Apr-13 14:10:52

Agree with you Fig. The boys need to learn now that sexual bullying isn't on and it won't be tolerated. Unwanted sexual talk is now taken VERY seriously in secondary schools.

You will be doing them and DD a favour....them by teaching them a lesson in primary rather than secondary...and DD by showing her how to take care of this kind of thing.

mummytime Wed 10-Apr-13 16:06:30

Definitely talk to the school.
You might want to mention it to the secondary they will be going to if they are all/most going to the same school.
It also sounds as if they need a bit of a pep talk about standing up for themselves/not intimidating others. That is easier at secondary, where it can easily be prioritised in PSHE and assemblies.

WilsonFrickett Wed 10-Apr-13 16:21:10

Definitely go into school. As the mother of a boy, I would be very grateful to have behaviour like this brought to my attention, tbh.

I too would let DD know. Because she doesn't have to put up with it, and neither do you, iyswim. Keeping quiet is normalising her instinctive response to internalise it. It will probably be a hard conversation to have with her, but it's important to role model the right behaviour clearly.

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