Secondary bullying - how to deal with this?

(7 Posts)
bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 20-Dec-12 21:12:15

Hi, I have a complicated problem to consider and need some help working through this. I'll give some background 1st, in the hope that it explains things.

My DD is 7 and in a composite class - P4/3. She has developed a new friendship with a girl in the class who is part of the P4s, DD is P3. This is the 1st year she's been in a mixed class. I initially was wary of this girl from how DD was talking about her as she seemed intense and DD was being pushed into things she didn't appear too comfortable with - falling out/getting upset because this girl and another (who DD was friends with before this girl joined the school) refusing to play with her, or insisting that DD played 'their' game instead, or so it seemed, and I had ummed about speaking to the teacher in case there was pressure there on DD to maintain the friendship. I decided to leave it, and let DD work through this herself, and I've also met/spoken to the girl in question (i.e. spoken in general, not about any concerns I had). As things have progressed, I've learned a bit more about the girl, and I think I now realise that there is no malice behind how she is/treats DD as she is just slightly immature, and doesn't pick up others upset that easily, or so it seems to me. I've just impressed upon DD that she should not do anything that she either knows is wrong, or she isn't comfortable with, but to not be nasty or horrible about wanting to maybe play with others or be on her own if she wants that. Part of the problem she was having was that her friend wouldn't leave her alone when she wanted to be alone, or play with someone else, and was struggling to deal with that. Things have settled down a bit though.

DD has been talking recently about things the girl has been telling her about what she's been through. The girl and her older brother had apparently been moved to DD's school as a result of racial bullying they were both being subjected to. The police were involved and I think the whole family were moved, although they haven't moved far (not far enough for those involved in the previous incidents to not know where they are now IYSWIM). I don't know anything about this other than what DD has told me so it's all pretty much 3rd hand IYSWIM. The girl's previous school isn't far, and where we live, althought it's a built-up area, it's kind of close knit in that a lot of people seem to know each other etc. although not necessarily in a 'neighbourly' way, more in a nosey-none-of-your-business way. The girl DD is friends with is mixed race - her mum is white and her dad black (gambian), and while she has been teaching DD all sorts about her family, culture, language, religion (muslim) she has been explaining what she went through before with the racist bullying and having to be moved by the police because it got so bad. Her and her brother cannot even go to the local park because it's right behind her old school and she's at risk from these bullies (according to DD).

Anyway, I hope that gives some background to this situation. So onto my issue. DD earlier told me about some people being mean/nasty to her because she's friends with this girl. It is apparently wide spread that 'everyone' hates this girl, and no one is 'allowed' to be friends with her. Some girls and boys in DD's class have told DD that she shouldn't be friends with this girl, and now a few of them have told her that they will be mean/nasty to her because she's friends with this girl, and if she 'is on their side' they'll be nice, if she's on her friend's ''side' they'll be nasty to DD as well as her friend.

DD is upset by this but not in a tearful way - she is hurt that someone would treat her this way because she is friends with this girl. I've tried to teach her to try and stand up to people who aren't nice to her - if they tease her, she should ignore them, tell them she doesn't care and she is doing this but it seems the girls involved won't let up. I've tried to get DD to explain exactly what they are doing/saying but she seems reluctant to expand, so I don't have a lot to go on what is actually being said/done. While I'm concerned about DD being treated badly because she's friends with this girl, I'm more concerned that her friend seems to have become a target again, and is being subjected to bullying again in her new school. I suspect that there has been some gossip that's followed her and her brother, as they haven't moved far at all, and with her being a bit intense (and possibly hard to like without getting to know her properly - not a criticism of her, just my personal observation of how she seems to interact). I witnessed something a few weeks ago which seemed 'off' but in isolation it wasn't something I was concerned about, but now with the knowledge I've gained from DD, and her recent revelations about her treatment as well as her friend's treatment from others at school, I can see that this girl is being singled out by a lot of people for some pretty awful treatment.

I think I need to speak to the school about this, but I'm concerned that what I have isn't really enough to go on i.e. the school can't really act on what I know. DD is now clamming up a bit on the details, and I cannot get out of her what is being said/done to give me more. I do think I need to speak up for her friend, but again, it's all 2nd hand vague info that I have from DD.

So, any advice? Should I just go to the school and tell them what I know, or do I need more to go on i.e. need DD to open up a bit more before I can really expect the school to act on this?

Mynewmoniker Thu 20-Dec-12 21:22:47

Contact school and they can observe with a little background knowledge. They may already be aware and working on it. They may want to speak privately to your daughter so make sure the school say's to instigators that things have been observed by staff rather than someone 'dobbed'.

If your daughter uses Facebook or such like keep an eye on as lots of bullying can take place on there.

Your daughter needs a break from this stress as well as the victim.

LadyKinbote Thu 20-Dec-12 21:26:57

I would have an informal chat with the school and just let them know your concerns. Make it clear you don't know anything for certain and leave it to them to investigate. They are probably already aware.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 20-Dec-12 21:44:54

Thanks, I'll have to wait 'til they go back in the new year as school stops tomorrow and the head has already gone off on hols. I won't be able to speak to the teacher tomorrow either, so I'll maybe use this time to try and get DD to open up a bit more, maybe with her dad/gran etc. and see if we can get more specifics to speak to the school about in the new year.

DD is 7, doesn't have facebook - neither do I actually! But I'll keep an eye on things, and speak to them in the new year.

neolara Thu 20-Dec-12 21:50:14

You should definitely let the school know. In England schools have a duty to record racist incidents. Are you in Scotland? Not sure if it's the same there. However, I think the school really needs to get on top of this pretty damn quick.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 20-Dec-12 22:20:07

Yes, I'm in Scotland. I don't yet know if the current bullying is racist, as I don't know the specific details of what is being said. DD mentioned one boy who warned her off being friends with this girl, someone she's been friends with since P1, and he is black. Not that that excludes racism as being part of the current problem, but the impression I have is that there is a dislike to the girl's personality in the main in her current school, albeit there is a strong possibility that her treatment is racist in part too. I suspect the dislike is partly fuelled by gossip that's followed her and her brother, but again, I have no proof of that, just my hunch from what I've seen, and what DD has said to me. I'll see what I get from DD over the next 2 weeks, and then speak to the school in the new year.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Fri 21-Dec-12 19:20:17

Spoke to DD earlier after picking her up from after school care, asked about her day etc. I asked if the girls who were mean to her were nice or mean, she said they were OK with her. However, she said that the girls in her class accused her friend of 'breaking glue' (no idea what this is) when DD said her friend had been no where near the glue as they had been playing the whole time and hadn't touched the glue. DD was ignored, and these 5 girls proceeded to shout at her friend for doing something DD says she didn't do, getting her upset. Apparently there were no adults in the room at the time, only monitors (P6 and P7 pupils). I'm just adding this to keep me right, so can refer to it when I figure out what to say to the school. I've asked her gran and her dad to see if they can get more out of her about the specifics of what has been said/done, and hopefully I'll have more to go on when she goes back to school in the new year.

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