Was I wrong to go to the head about my ds being bullied by my friend's ds.

(63 Posts)
Blowin Thu 14-Feb-13 22:11:47

I moved from London to a smallish town in the north of England last summer. Since then, my two boys (aged 7 and 10) have joined the local school and I have been meeting mums and making new friends.

I became very friendly with one lady, as one of her sons was in my older ds class. We get on very well, and up to now, i thought our sons did too.

I found out at the weekend that my ds is being bullied horribly by my friends son. Really nasty stuff, and this lad is getting other boys to join him in the bullying. This boy is pretty popular, good at sport, extremely competitive and confident. He has been physically shoving my ds about, calling him names, like telling him he is "gay, a puff" etc and also saying nasty things to my ds about me and my dh.

I am really shocked and upset about this. I went in to the school this morning to make this issue known to the head, and he has promised me to look in to it.

I have told only one other friend about this, a mutual friend of mine and this boys mum. She couldnt believe that I had gone straight to the headmaster instead of first approaching this boys mum to try and sort it out, seeing as how we are all friends.

However, I feel that because this has happened on school property and in school hours it is a school matter to be dealt with as such. Our mutual friend has made me feel really bad, by saying that i was unreasonable to deal with it in this way, and that it was really unfair of me.

Did i handle this wrong?

I would have gone to the class teacher first, rather than straight to the head, but you definitely did the right thing to speak to the school rather than the other mum.

HollyBerryBush Thu 14-Feb-13 22:18:30

I would have gone to the parent, if I were that close. If no joy then the class teacher. Head is last port of call really

BigAudioDynamite Thu 14-Feb-13 22:20:48

i think you're right. I did similar with dd, when a friend was saying nasty stuff. I am good enough friends with the other mum, that i told her what had been said and that i had gone to the teacher...could you do that. For me it was fine, as we are/were on the same page and agreed what happens at school should be dealth with by school....

i also would have gone to class teacher, rather than head though...but what you describe does sound 'orrible, so..meh

mutual friend should have saved her shock and indignation for the way the other boy is treating your ds

Mutt Thu 14-Feb-13 22:22:55

I work in a school and also have personal experience and you did absolutely the right thing by speaking to the school.

Even the loveliest parents can have their common sense skewed when their DC are accused of horrible things. The school are best placed to get a balanced, truthful account of what has actuallly taken place. They will speak to witnesses and act on fact, without bringing emotions into play.

Whether you approached the Head or the class teacher makes little difference but the school are definitely the ones to deal with it.

Your friend is wrong.

YANBU

FannyBazaar Thu 14-Feb-13 22:23:29

If it was the other way round and your boy was bullying the other boy how would you like your friend to respond?

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 14-Feb-13 22:27:08

I wouldn't have done that, I would have gone to my friend first to see if we could resolve it ourselves, if not, then involve the school.

Exactly Fanny.

Why didn't you go to your friend?

However, what's done is done - all you can do now is damage limitation to your friendship and explain why you did that.

maresedotes Thu 14-Feb-13 22:27:51

Yanbu. My DD was being bullied by a 'friend', I was good friends with her mum so told her. She spoke to her daughter who denied it all and it was brushed off as just girls falling out. Next time I involved the school.

ilovesooty Thu 14-Feb-13 22:28:05

If bullying involves racist or homophobic language I think the Head needs to be aware anyway.

DewDr0p Thu 14-Feb-13 22:31:43

Always always always let the school sort it out.

1 it's happening at school so they need to know
2 you only have one side of the story
3 other parents can go a bit weird when their pfb's bullying is mentioned

I prob would have gone to class teacher first but you have done the right thing.

AYetiAteMe Thu 14-Feb-13 22:32:11

I had the same situation with dd and a girl in her class whose mother I was friends with. I spoke to the class teacher, it was dealt with swiftly in school and my friend has never mentioned it to me or visa versa (and we are still friends!)

I should imagine being contacted by the school and told your child is badly bullying another child is not something you would want to blab about so hopefully your friend will deal with her DS and you need never get involved.

janey68 Thu 14-Feb-13 22:33:23

Yanbu- that's nasty stuff. The school needed to know, and approaching your friend could have caused all sorts of difficulties

Blowin Thu 14-Feb-13 22:34:22

Thank you, i am so glad some of you think i did the right thing. Yes in hindsight i should have gone to the class teacher before the head, but i was so upset and just sort of acted on the spur of the moment when dropping ds in today, the head teacher didnt seem to mind that i had gone straight to him, so hopefully anyway it will be dealt with. I think i will call this friend now and explain to her why i did it that way, and hopefully we can resolve it all without any animosity.

steppemum Thu 14-Feb-13 22:34:53

I would have gone to the school. Probably class teacher. That means it is a school issue, dealt with by school and left at school. If you go to the mum, it stirs up an uncomfortable situation, and she can't actually do much, because she isn't there at school during the day.

steppemum Thu 14-Feb-13 22:38:33

Blowin - don't call the boys mum. Leave it. If she mentions it, then you can talk about it, but she may also be very happy for the issue to be left at school and dealt with by school.

Please don't call the mum. You handled it in an appropriate way.

QOD Thu 14-Feb-13 22:41:42

Say bye bye to that friendship

I did the same and have no regrets. The mum, whilst "lovely" was what I guess you'd call an unconditional type of parent ... Her dd could do no wrong, no one was allowed to tell her off .....

Bluebell99 Thu 14-Feb-13 22:43:20

I think you were right to speak to the school about it and get them to deal with it but wrong to talk to the mutual friend about it. I guess your friend is going to find out about it through her now.

Definitely let the school sort it. I had this with DD when she was 6. I went to the head (with whom I had a good relationship) and she sorted it out. I still do not know if the other mum ever knew about the issue - and we see each other regularly and the girls are still friends (now aged 13).

BigAudioDynamite Thu 14-Feb-13 22:46:00

Damage limitation headinthesand???

Not at all OP...you have done nothing wrong. You are protecting your son. If the other mother thinks that is unacceptable then she is no friend of yours

fluffypillow Thu 14-Feb-13 22:48:42

TBH I don't think that going to the Head was wrong if you didn't feel like you could talk to the boys Mum.......BUT why would you then tell your mutual friend? That isn't a nice thing to do.

bbface Thu 14-Feb-13 22:48:43

You are likely to have lost this friend.

But what you did do is prioritise your DS and his well being by doing what is likely to be the most effective action.

So i think you were absolutely right. Our children should come above and beyond any friendship.

bbface Thu 14-Feb-13 22:49:45

Agreed about telling the mutual friend though. Creating unnecessary drama. From this point on, try to be as discrete as possible about this issue.

blackeyedsusan Thu 14-Feb-13 22:51:29

school. head or class teacher does not matter really. leave it at school so school can deal with the facts. do not ring the mum. it may make mattes worse not better. you will be able to judge how good a friend she is by her reaction.

DoctorAnge Thu 14-Feb-13 22:53:02

You absolutely did the right thing.

Never, ever approach a parent about bullying. Even your best friend.

I was in a similar situation, but not very close to the other parent, though she had always been friendly, we had socialised together.

My child had quite a long spell of low level nastiness from this child (over the years we had spoken to teachers about it), the bully was always so nice to me, when I decided enough was enough I wrote an e-mail to the HT and the class teacher (who was lovely but an NQT and I was really worried) - we had a meeting before school, we'd sent the e-mail the previous evening. They took immediate action, the child pretended to be sorry for a while then started it all again. We went to the HT again, this time the child was seriously reprimanded, the bullying stopped - which is always what I wanted, but it had a lasting impact on my child's time at that school.

The parents wished I had informed them first - but I knew this child would have probably been physically reprimanded at home (had heard that they used physical punishment). I told them the bullying happened at school and needed to be dealt with at school. I didn't debate with them about it, my child took a long time to get over the bullying, I do not regret informing the school the way I did. I actually think I did the bully a favour on some level.

You did the right thing in my opinion. If my dc bully someone I would be so embarrassed and upset, but I think I would prefer the school to deal with it at school.

Mutt Thu 14-Feb-13 22:58:16

It is by no means a given that you have lost this friend as a result of you speaking to school.

If she is a rational person who can accept her DS has acted appallingly and in turn accepts the school's intervention for what it is, there is no reason you can't continue to be friends.

If, on the other hand, she becomes defensive and unwilling to support the school and how they decide to deal with her DS's behaviour, you can assume she would have acted no better if you had spoken to her first. In that event, I really wouldn't waste time worrying about losing her as a "friend".

KatieMiddleton Thu 14-Feb-13 23:01:26

You were right to go to the school but wrong to gossip about it to a third party. That is where you are most likely to get conflict because you discussed it with the mutual friend without speaking to the mother of the child.

Blowin Thu 14-Feb-13 23:07:02

Thank you everyone for the advice. I wish i hadnt told the other friend now, although i do trust that she wont get involved, she did assure me of that, but it was wrong of me, i see that now.

I will not contact my other friend re her ds and just hope that the school will take it from here. Hopefully it will never have to come up between us, thanks for the reassurance. smile

AgentZigzag Thu 14-Feb-13 23:07:14

I would be hurt if a friend went straight to the head saying my DC was bullying their DC, it'd be presuming I'd react in the same way as what happened to mares or the other posters and do fuck all about it.

The other mum might totally agree the school should deal with it, but prefer the heads up so she can calm down get things straight in her head or ask her DS what's going on.

I would prefer to hear it from a friend than get a call from the school out of the blue, even if they'd gone to the head first, especially if they explained it was a knee jerk reaction.

If you like your friend OP, and you sound to, then it would be damage limitation. There's nothing to say the two lads can't work round this and come out of it mates on the other side. Your friends lad could see what an idiot he's been, how his behaviour was totally unacceptable, and apologise.

It's not fair to just write the whole situation off thinking you're going to lose a friend and your DS will have to be kept away from this lad forever more.

If it were me, I would ring and be straight with her, if she's going to go off on one then ringing isn't going to make it worse.

AgentZigzag Thu 14-Feb-13 23:09:20

X-post, will you not mention it if she doesn't then OP?

Won't there be a bit of an elephant in the room if you meet up?

Mutt Thu 14-Feb-13 23:10:08

Zigzag - with the best will in the world, this is bullying that takes place at school.

You cannot control what happens for the 6 hours+ your DC are at school.

The school need to know. And the school need to deal with it, with parents' support of course.

Blowin Thu 14-Feb-13 23:10:16

Agent I am hoping that the school will sort this out without having to involve the mum, by the teacher , or head, speaking to the boy, reprimanding him, and generally keeping an eye on the two of them for a while to make sure it has stopped. It that solves it, i would hope that this childs mum is not even told about it, then there would be no awkwardness for us, and the issue would be solved anyway.

AgentZigzag Thu 14-Feb-13 23:19:28

I didn't say it shouldn't be taken to school Mutt, just that as a friend, I would expect something to be mentioned to me.

I would also find it unlikely for the school not to say anything to her OP, like Mutt says, the parents should be there to support anything to do with bullying where the school's involved.

I would want to know, wouldn't you?

If your friend did the same to you without saying anything, what would be going through your mind after hearing it from the school?

Blowin Thu 14-Feb-13 23:23:22

I just dont know really Agent, i did what i thought was best. It isnt an easy situation. I'm new in this area and still feel unsure of myself, and not totally established in my friendships. I suppose i was also afraid to broach it directly with my friend, not knowing her well enough or long enough, i guess, to know how she would react. I just thought that maybe the school could nip it in the bud, without having to involve parents.

I think you did the right thing, seeing he is also dragging other boys in on the bullying behavior there is more than just the one boy to be sorted out.

AgentZigzag Thu 14-Feb-13 23:33:29

It is possible I suppose, if they went in at the lower end of the scale to try a few low level things to stop it.

But that wouldn't really be OK, because what you describe should be stamped on with really big heavy boots, not flit around the edges of the problem of your DS being picked on, humiliated and excluded.

They shouldn't be trying stuff out to see whether it works, his mum needs telling about what he's been saying and what kind of behaviour he thinks is acceptable, and she and the school should be working through stopping it for the next time your DS encounters him.

It is a tricky situation though if you've just moved in, and it'd be wrong to say the wider ripples of what's happened don't matte, maybe you're right and it'll be dealt with quickly and without much else happening.

How's your DS getting on?

SirBoobAlot Thu 14-Feb-13 23:38:53

I think you did the right thing. Especially seeing as you are new to the area, as much as you might be friends with this mum, it's not someone you have known for years.

Hope the school are quick to sort it.

BookieMonster Thu 14-Feb-13 23:39:16

If the bullying happens at school, it needs to be dealt with at school. You did the right thing, OP.

Blowin Thu 14-Feb-13 23:51:25

My ds is a bit shaken by it, but feels happier that i have gotten the school involved. I really really hope they can sort it out effectively and decisively, and if that means involving the lad's mum, then so be it. Ds's happiness is more important than my friendship with this lady, much as i like her.

TraceyTrickster Fri 15-Feb-13 01:48:59

A friend of mine went through this but with her daughter being the bully.
She said she was horrified to find out how her daughter was behaving and understood why the mum had felt awkward approaching her directly.

Things sorted out well and the mums continued their friendship. (the kids never became friends though)

Tasmania Fri 15-Feb-13 02:10:46

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot:

^I wouldn't have done that, I would have gone to my friend first to see if we could resolve it ourselves, if not, then involve the school.

Exactly Fanny.

Why didn't you go to your friend?
However, what's done is done - all you can do now is damage limitation to your friendship and explain why you did that.^

Ehm... seriously??? Are you out of your mind?

Are you one of those ridiculous (and I'm keeping myself from uttering any other word that would get me banned) parents that values a "friend" more than their child??? Is that why you want to be so considerate?

I would ONLY think about my child in this case. Wouldn't even give a toss about the bully or his mother.

Tasmania Fri 15-Feb-13 02:11:43

*MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot: I wouldn't have done that, I would have gone to my friend first to see if we could resolve it ourselves, if not, then involve the school.

Exactly Fanny.

Why didn't you go to your friend?
However, what's done is done - all you can do now is damage limitation to your friendship and explain why you did that.*

Ehm... seriously??? Are you out of your mind?

Are you one of those ridiculous (and I'm keeping myself from uttering any other word that would get me banned) parents that values a "friend" more than their child??? Is that why you want to be so considerate?

I would ONLY think about my child in this case. Wouldn't even give a toss about the bully or his mother.

Mrspartacus Fri 15-Feb-13 07:31:12

Can you trust the other mum to not tell the bully's mum? That's my only worry.

For info I would of gone to the school too, though to the class teacher, but I wouldn't of told anyone about it, infact having been in your position, I didn't tell anyone. It was all resolved and nobody knows.

joanofarchitrave Fri 15-Feb-13 07:35:06

Always straight to the school.

valiumredhead Fri 15-Feb-13 08:37:22

ALWAYS go to the school if the problem is happening in school.

StuntGirl Fri 15-Feb-13 08:41:20

I would have gone to school too. With all due respect to other posters, you don't know how the parent will react, and you never know which ones are the rational ones and which ones are the batshit crazy ones 'til you accuse their kid of bullying. The OP wasn't in a situation where she was dealing with a long term friend who she knew and understood well, it's a new friendship in a new town.

You did the right thing for your son OP, that's all that matters. I'm glad he's doing better now.

MaryBS Fri 15-Feb-13 08:46:33

I think you've done the right thing. I've had to do this more than once, and it means that the friendship is more likely to stay intact, IMHO, especially if you explain the situation to the school re: friendship.

tiggytape Fri 15-Feb-13 08:47:08

YANBU - you did totally the right thing.
Approaching another parent never works - even especially if you are friends. It would be a very rare mum indeed who listened to your complaint against their son, sympathised with your DS and sought to put things right. In reality she would just defend her son or not believe you at all.

And as this is all happening at school, even if she did believe you, it needs to be dealt with at school which obviously she cannot do as she's not there.

swisscottage Fri 15-Feb-13 09:03:05

You did the right thing OP going straight to the school, head or teacher it doesn't matter but at least they can watch what is going on.
No point going to the mum/friend to try and discuss it, she might be one of those parents who thinks their DC can do no wrong and is certainly not a bully and turn the whole thing around on your DS. There are so many of those type of mothers so best to avoid confrontation, especially if you are newish there.

ChristmasJubilee Fri 15-Feb-13 09:08:15

I would have been very upset if a good friend of mine had gone to the school without mentioning it to me first and it would be the end of the friendship for me. I would also be upset if I discovered she had been discussing it with other people.

My friend was approached by the mother of a boy in her son's class (not a friend) who said my friends ds had been bullying her child and gave examples. My friend tackled her son about it, stopped him going to the school disco that week and got him to apologise to the other boy. It never happened again.

I would have spoken to the mother first to see if it could have been resolved between the boys and let her know that if nothing changed the school would need to be involved.

If she had not been a friend I would have let the school deal with it.

NellysKnickers Fri 15-Feb-13 09:14:57

You did the right thing. I went straight to the head, she thanked me for letting her know as she absolutely will not tolerate bullying. It is unwise to approach parents, the schools, IME, deal with it swiftly and on facts not emotion. YANBU.

TotallyBS Fri 15-Feb-13 09:28:41

OP - if my DC was being bullied by a kid whose mum I wasn't friendly with then I would go straight to the class teacher. If I felt that the teacher wasn't handling it to my satisfaction then I would go over her head and speak to the HM.

But since you are friends with the mum all you had to do was have a 5 min conversation with your friend. If she got all defensive then by all means escalate with the school.

Sorry OP but you seem to have gone straight to the nuclear option. Kiss goodbye to the friendship. As for your class teacher, I don't think she is too happy with you for going over her head without giving her a chance to deal with.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 15-Feb-13 09:31:40

You were absolutely right to go to school. The only mistake was telling the other person, which is not really a good idea. I would also take this straight to the head as it is a serious issue.

But don't contact the mum of the boy doing the bullying, not a good idea.

Hope it all works out ok.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 15-Feb-13 09:33:51

I would never speak with another mum about an in school issue, very often backfires. If the mum denies it fr example, the friendship is damaged anyway. Into school every time.

And don't sweat the class teacher's feelings, it is normal to speak to heads about such things.

DeWe Fri 15-Feb-13 09:54:18

Much better to go to the school.
I know one situation where parent A spoke to parent B and said she was going to speak to school and just ask them to keep an eye on things at school. Parent B seemed really supportive when they spoke.
When parent A went in she found that parent B had rushed straight to school from their conversation and accused the other child of bullying her dd, and said a lot of really nasty things, all of which were made up. shock

Also if he'd bringing other boys in then the school needs to be involved anyway.

armagh Fri 15-Feb-13 09:56:13

You were right to go to the school. You were wrong to tell mutual friend. She may tell the bully's mum and scew the story. I wouldn't phone your friend about it. Leave the school to deal with it. The friendships may not survive but your dc's happiness is paramount in this.

StuntGirl Fri 15-Feb-13 09:57:18

If the friendship is ended over her child bullying your child then she wasn't a friend to begin with, so you've lost nothing!

sukysue Fri 15-Feb-13 10:16:20

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

IloveJudgeJudy Fri 15-Feb-13 10:36:36

I agree that you were right to go to the school. I was in the same position as you; my friend was and is a very good friend, but everything was dealt with through the school. My friend hasn't mentioned it to me, nor I to her, and now finally (at the age of 16) the girls are friendly. I didn't care about them remaining friends, I just wanted the bullying to stop. To be fair to my friend, when a group of families were away and something happened, she and her DH reprimanded their DD very sharply which leads me to believe that it can't have been the first time that something like that has happened.

Like the other posters, the mistake you made was to mention it to a third party. I did not do that.

fromparistoberlin Fri 15-Feb-13 10:38:49

no you did right

This has happended in my DS class, the boys were born in the same maternity ward!

she also approached the teacher not the Mum

mummytime Fri 15-Feb-13 10:46:47

As a parent who has had complaints made about one d her children: such complaints should always go through the school !

I cannot control my child in school hours, as I am not there. Even if (as we do) we speak to them about their behaviour out of school, we can't respond for a long time to each event (days possibly before you can know what our child has done and then we can respond). If a teacher is informed they can spot trouble and respond much quicker, and let us know far more promptly.

Also there could be a pattern of behaviour which indicates a SEN or other underlying issue. Or our child could stop but another child then takes over.

School should always be the first point of call.

lljkk Fri 15-Feb-13 12:52:14

You did nothing wrong, OP. You didn't have any easy choices. I don't know what I would have done in your case. If it's as nasty as you say then I would probably have gone to school because it's happening in school time on school premises and school has to be closely involved in resolving the problem.

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