Bullied by a teacher.

(60 Posts)
Maria1201 Wed 22-May-13 17:02:13

My 9 year old daughter was bullied by her class teacher. It started in September and we have been back and forth to the school. My daughter had always loved school and had an excellent relationship with all her teachers until this year. The problem was the more I complained and the more the school put in place to protect my daughter, the more the teacher bullied my daughter. Eventually a full time teaching assistant was put into place and the school was very supportive. The obvious bullying stopped.
Then it started again in March. I didn't go to parents evening and I believe that is what angered the teacher. I made a formal complaint and a meeting was held with the governors. The Head then denied everything that had happened. However her lies soon fell apart and she admitted it had happened. The teacher had been advised by her union not to attend.
However when they sent the findings of the panel they just said the teacher had lacked judgement.
I had to remove my daughter from the school as she was having the most horrendous nightmares and was being sick at the thought of returning. I have a son in the school and can't juggle two schools. There is no school that will take them both. I have tried to move her up a year for the last 6 weeks of school. She is very advanced for her years and was supposed to be spending some lessons in that year anyway. However they have said no and will only allow her to move down two years which my daughter would find humiliating.
They have offered her to move into the parallel class but as this is next door she would have to walk past the teacher morning and afternoon to get into class. The teacher has a history of going out of her way to be vindictive to my child so I have no doubt that she would come into the parallel class often to intimidate my daughter. I thought if she was in the year above for the next 6 weeks it would be an acceptable solution. The teacher wouldn't be able to make excuses to go to her classroom as alarm bells would surely ring with other teachers and my daughter would still be able to go to school. She was put on the G&T register over a year ago but the school did nothing despite promising various things to challenge her. She definitely wouldn't struggle in that year for the last 6 weeks. The class she would be in is round the other side of the building so contact with the teacher who bullied her would be minimal. She would be able to spend lunch times with her original class and in September she could join the class again. The school are now reporting me to the welfare officer but I can't send my daughter back to that year. She used to be such a happy confident child and now she is a wreck. She wouldn't cope knowing every time the door went it could be that teacher.
She has been through so much already. The teacher has totally destroyed her and the worst part is the school know that she did it, the governor's know that she did it but nobody is prepared to stand up and be counted. It's all about protecting the school's image.
I have contacted the Department of Education and Ofsted but they all take time to process. My daughter has been out of school for 4 weeks now. I've spoken to the council but they will only intervene if she is below the national average or has special needs. Does anyone have any experience of this?

Maria1201 Fri 24-May-13 10:17:56

I'm hoping so. I suspect this is why I haven't been reported to welfare so far. Although to be honest I think once it goes externally, (i.e. no longer under the schools control) then I may actually get somewhere. They will be under pressure to report me now as it's been 4 weeks.

bunjies Fri 24-May-13 10:22:48

I'm so sorry to read this. It's bad enough when your child is being bullied by other children but for them to be bullied by a teacher is horrendous. Your poor dd sad. You say you have tried moving schools but there are no places for both your children. Have you looked into submitting an in year appeal? You must surely have a very good case, especially if you can identify a school that definitely has a place for your younger dc.

FasterStronger Fri 24-May-13 10:36:44

I cannot see why a teacher would bully as child. I mean why any particular child?

are you sure the teacher is just not incredibly nervous of doing something wrong and being complained about? so acting strangely?

moosemama Fri 24-May-13 10:52:10

FasterStronger, both my sister and I were targetted and bullied by the same teacher in primary school and it's something neither of us have ever forgotten or got over.

She did things like ripping up our work, forcing me to sit next to the bully that had picked on me for years (and the school knew about) and allowing him continue to openly bully me in class, humiliating me by holding up my work for the rest of the class and saying it was rubbish, putting me on playground litter duty all the time, when other children in the class never had to do it (it was supposed to be a rota), hissing threats under her breath etc (she knew well enough not to shout, as if she had, the teacher in the next room would have heard her hmm).

She was vile and terrifying, but back then no-one listened to children. We were both terrified of her and I clearly remember sobbing for days when I found out I was she was going to be my teacher, after the way she'd treated my sister. I can still clearly see her face looming at me like it did when she would get right into my face and hiss at me. <<shudder>>

My sister and I were good students, worked hard and were popular with the other pupils - we never had a problem with any other teachers. The only thing we could think of that could have provoked her obvious hatred of us was that we were visibly poorer than the rest of the children in the school (second hand uniform etc) and were the only pupils whose parents were divorced.

She wasn't nervous or acting strangely, she was an out and out bully who should never have been allowed to teach and thinking about it now, clearly had serious psychological issues.

OP I am so sorry to hear what your dd is going through. If I were you I would definitely take some legal advice and also take her to the GP to get the anxiety documented as evidence for why she is unable to attend school. You should be able to get some advice through the free first consultation scheme that many solicitors offer and from there pay for them to write a formal letter to the school. I would advise you to use a firm that specialises in education though, as, as you have discovered it can be quite a closed shop in many cases and you need someone who knows the system inside out.

I really hope your dd can get past this and go on to love school again. I had a different teacher the following year and she was awesome, a bit like having your Grandma as your class teacher. smile I think she must have known how I had been treated and went out of her way to make me feel safe and validated - restoring my faith in teachers as she did so.

firsttimemum12 Fri 24-May-13 10:59:12

This is a horrible situation to be in. But there are teachers like that in most schools. My mum was bullied by a teacher when she was trying to train on her NQT year. She wouldn't want to go in, be in tears after work and even waking at 4 in the morning crying to my dad knowing what lies ahead. She actually had to leave the school she was at, and started again at another school as the board of directors didn't see the bully, even though the teacher had scribbled all over her work and there was various other complaints about this teacher! But that's a grown woman to another grown woman and i know what i felt about this teacher and how much i wanted to do something about it. so i can't begin to imagine the extent of hurt and emotional damage this could be doing to your dd and how hard it must be for you to see her like this! sad

I definitely think you should seek advice outside of school, solicitors wherever you see fit. Your dd is a critical stage of her childhood and education, and this teacher is tainting that for her!
I hope you manage to get everything sorted for your dc's sooner rather than later! Good luck!!!

Ilikethebreeze Fri 24-May-13 11:02:33

I wouldnt be concerned about your daughter falling behind education wise for now. She is very bright. She will be fine in that way, for now.

personally, as 2 other posters have said, I would see a solicitor for some advice on the matter. Up to you how far you take that.
He may well have some ideas and options of what your choices are at this point.

Maria1201 Fri 24-May-13 12:01:13

There have been a couple of posts on this thread asking why a teacher would do that? I would like to say this. When I was around 10 I was bullied because my cousin's dad was of Indian origin. Her skin was a different colour to mine. I was bullied (for only a short time) by a group of girls who were also of various origins and various skin tones. The point I am making is...that was an excuse to bully me but not the reason. The reason they bullied me was probably nothing more than they were bored. They liked watching other children being scared of them.
Why does a teacher bully? Who knows, maybe my daughter reminds her of someone, maybe she doesn't like the way she looks or the way she writes her T's. Maybe she just likes having power over her. I couldn't possibly answer that. All I know is, bullies cause great harm to others and usually because they have an issue themselves and take it out on other people. She has a noticeable issue with all the bright children as other parents have relayed, maybe she resents them because she didn't do well in something else. Either way it's purely speculative and the only person that can answer that is the bully.
I can only share my experience with you all.

As for everyone else that have shared their stories on this thread, I think it's just terribly sad that this happens. I wish I could say something that would give hope that things are changing. Something positive to offer...

All I can say is that my daughter has been off for 4 weeks now and hasn't had one of her nightmares in the last 7 days. In the last week I haven't found her in the bathroom in the early hours crying. And when I see she is not alseep when she should be, it's because she's trying to sneak reading a few extra pages of a good book, not because she is staring at the ceiling wondering what she could do to make her teacher like her. Or writing heartbreaking lists of reasons why she thinks her teacher doesn't like her. I know something needs to be done for her future but she's smiling again that's my positive for today.

Ilikethebreeze Fri 24-May-13 12:30:11

You are really just having a rant on this thread aren't you. Because of your trying circumstances.

moosemama Fri 24-May-13 12:34:04

Maria, I am so glad to hear your daughter's anxiety has subsided since she's been away from school. That's all the validation you need to know you are doing what's right for her.

I hope you can find a way, when she's ready, to help her back to school in some way that she doesn't ever have to face, let alone deal with her bully again and that she's lucky enough to have a lovely teacher like I did the year after I was bullied to restore her faith in teachers.

I honestly believe that teachers like hers and my bully are in the minority. There are so many wonderful, committed teachers out there that genuinely love the children they teach. Fingers crossed that, once she's past this, she will go from strength to strength.

Maria1201 Fri 24-May-13 13:31:12

Thank you moosemama for those kind words. Ilikethebreeze...no I'm not just having a rant. I was hoping that someone may be able to help having been in my situation as I've exhausted all my ideas and I want to help my daughter as any mum would. I feel I have open and honest about my situation but it seems anyone that has been in my situation or my daughter's have only been able to move on once they were out of the situation rather than a resolution found. I may find that frustrating for all of us but no I would not say I posted this thread as a sounding board.

moosemama Fri 24-May-13 13:53:00

Have you tried contacting some of the anti-bullying charities for advice?

Bullying.co.uk

Anti-bullying alliance

Kidscape

Department of Education advice

Familylives.org

I'm sure they will have come across bullying teachers before and may be able to offer you some advice on how to move forward.

Maria1201 Fri 24-May-13 14:04:56

Thanks Moosemama I have but I've done all the things they advise already, timelines, complaints procedures etc. It seems you can go so far down the road and then there is a dead end. I guess I'm just going to have to hope Ofsted or the D of E investigate it. Failing that I don't know. I guess I just wanted someone to say, I was in this situation, I contacted....and they managed a workable resolution. Maybe there isn't anyone. I can't afford a solicitor even with a free consultation there will be expense after that. I can't work at the moment with my daughter out of school and being self employed I won't be able to save up. Thanks everyone for taking the time to post I really appreciate it x

ProphetOfDoom Fri 24-May-13 14:07:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 24-May-13 14:10:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Maria1201 Fri 24-May-13 14:17:33

The Governing Panel who heard the complaint upheld my complaint in part and said they felt the teacher had shown lack of judgement and had been inappropriate but didn't elaborate. When I asked what that meant for the future for my daughter they emailed me back to say that the matter was now closed and communication was over.
I don't know what if anything happened to the teacher. She is still in class but to be honest I'm past caring what happens to her. She has been complained about by other parents since I pulled my daughter and nothing has been done. My concern and only concern is getting my daughter into school and over this traumatic time.

moosemama Fri 24-May-13 14:32:05

I do understand Maria, we have been in similar positions with SEN provision - sometimes you can only take things so far and then there is just no way to legally enforce them providing the support and/or protection your dcs need. Unfortunately, if you come up against a HT and/or Governing body that are more interested in maintaining their reputation and brushing things under the carpet than ensuring the wellbeing of their pupils, there is often no-one to turn to. It stinks, it really does. sad

We took the same attitude as you in the end. Gave up fighting any further, as we just felt like tiny fishes struggling on the end of a line and we were wasting far too much energy trying to get them to step up and do the right thing - but ultimately knew we were fighting a losing battle. We needed that energy to support our ds, so we backed right off and focussed on supporting him at home and making sure he got the right secondary placement so we won't have a repeat of the same kind of crap he's been subjected to in primary.

He has been badly bullied at his primary school as well and in every instance they insisted they were following the school's policy, but refused to say what sanctions were imposed upon the bullies. (As far as we can see none.) We do have a copy of the policy - but the school hasn't released the appendices that the policy continual refers to, which list the escalation of sanctions against different levels of 'misdemeanour'. hmm

The boys that severely beat him in the playground on more than one occasion, were not only not suspended or excluded, one of them remained in his class. angry I think it's par for the course for schools not to tell you what happens to the bullies - it makes it easier for them to sweep it under the carpet and hope it all blows over. angry

Maria1201 Fri 24-May-13 14:58:56

That's dreadful Moosemama! Did you call the police when he was beaten? I know another parent who called the police and they went round to the boys house. The school soon dealt with the matter.
I'm not sure with regards to all areas but I know there are organisations that deal with children in these situations IF they have SEN provision such as Helping Handz which may help other people.
I keep hoping something will happen like the school do the right thing or a place will come up for the kids somewhere. Probably wishful thinking but...
I hope your son and your family can move on from this experience. It really affects the whole family and puts a huge strain on everyone. Hopefully your son will be stronger for it and go on to have a happy and successful life despite them. He shouldn't have to go through it I know.

moosemama Fri 24-May-13 15:37:47

It was informing the HT that we were going to the police that finally got him to act. Then the main/lead bully was finally moved into the other class in ds's year, although they do still share one lesson.

It's complicated by the fact that ds has Aspergers, so the school would constantly try to blame his poor social skills for any bullying incidents. The final time it happened though there was a multitude of witnesses, who were all asked to write up witness statements. The school initially refused to believe ds's description of events, but every single other statement backed up exactly what he'd said - basically that he was minding his own business and the other boys just ran up to him and attacked with no provocation. sad angry

We didn't get any outside help at all, as at it's worst, ds was only just going through his assessments. He had a breakdown as a result of the bullying and not being properly supported at school and in all honesty, has never really been the same since, but he's happy again now and likes going to school.

Unfortunately, he has been left supersensitive to being bullied, so got into trouble himself last week when another child jumped on and grabbed him - just messing around - and he panicked and hit them (not badly) to make them let go. He's never hit anyone in his life before. sad Interestingly, the teacher was quick enough to jump on ds for raising a hand, so unlike when he is the victim. angry Fortunately, the other child was a friend and they were able to talk it through agree to put it behind them.

I keep being told what a hard time the other boy/s have had over the past couple of years (family issues) as if that somehow excuses their treatment of my ds. In fact,when things threatened to start up again recently I wrote a strongly worded letter to the school, listing the incidents and warning signs and told them that I was aware that the family had had yet another upheaval and sure enough ds was becoming their emotional punchbag - yet again. Fortunately, ds now has a very strong advocate in the form of the Assistant HT who taught him last year and she dealt with things swiftly this time and nipped it in the bud.

I am so glad he only has half a term left at that school. Unfortunately, ds2 has a couple of years left there and dd is just about to start in reception, so it will be a long time before I am free of the place. hmm

You're absolutely right, it's a huge emotional strain on the whole family and just so awful when you feel totally powerless to help them. sad

Thank you for your kind thoughts. I wish the same for your dd.

I am very sorry to hear about the treatment your daughter has received at her school.

I was bullied extensively at child and my head of year actively worked with my bullies against me, so that she could be 'in' with the popular girls. Nothing was done by the school. It is soul destroying being in that situation and you have done the right thing to remove your daughter from that school.

I am a teacher who has contact with home educators in my area, one boy is brought to groups by his nanny. If you have a two year old as well, would a nanny be a possibility temporarily? The nanny could drop your daughter to local groups/sessions and look after your two year old as well.

With regard to school welfare, I would advise you to contact someone at Home Education UK. They will be able to advise you on deregistration, legal issues and how to correspond with various authorities. If you deregister it will stop the welfare proceedings, fines etc.... You could also raise the possibility of flexible-schooling with the Head (at Head's discretion),so that your dd attends part time within another class (even if it is the younger class, she could look at it as if she is helping, the last six weeks of summer term have a lot of fun activities like sports day), in order to keep her place at the school whilst her academic needs are catered to whilst she is at home. Schooling does not have to be Mon - Fri if home/flexi schooling, weekends and evenings all count if you wanted to get tutors for her.

As a secondary aged child that should read.

ItsallisnowaFeegle Fri 24-May-13 16:56:05

My daughter has had a couple of incidences at school with teachers behaving in an inappropriate manner, at the very least.

Her yr 7 art teacher really took exception to her. She criticised and belittled my daughter at every opportunity. My daughter is actually a very talented artist, extremely so and it got to a point where my DD really didn't enjoy art at school.

I attended my first high school parents evening and told the teacher that, unlike a lot of parents, I do not think that the teacher is always right. That it is human and natural to take a 'dislike' to some individuals, without ever really being able to put a finger on why. I suggested this was the case here, that there was a clash of personalities and despite how she may or may not feel, personally, this treatment of my daughter stops now. As a professional, she was tasked with assisting my daughter to gain an education and from this moment on, that is exactly what both myself and my daughter expected and all that we would accept.

To be fair, she agreed to some extent (the clash of personalities etc). And to her credit, I received no further reports of unacceptable treatment from DD. In fact, she told me the teacher was almost tripping over herself to be pleasant.

The other issue was with her French teacher, again in yr 7. He accused her of doing her homework that morning and had rushed it. He made her stand up in front of the whole class while belittling DD by reading her work out. He then ripped up her jotter, before banishing her to the back of the class and refusing to allow her to join in with the lesson.

I was angry as I'd actually helped/ discussed this particular piece of homework a week before, with DD. I don't think my daughter is by any means the perfect pupil at all times but I was livid at this!

I wrote a letter to the teacher and told him that I had personally been involved in this particular piece of homework, that if her work does not meet the standards he requires/ expects, then he should discuss his concerns, in private, and never should he dare make her a laughing stock in front of her peers.

I insisted that he apologise to DD, which he promptly did.

I am very much the type of parent who works with the school if there are issues (i.e. DD was an Oompa Loompa for a few months when she was trying to find 'her place' and I took all of her makeup off of her as a result --until she came to her senses--)

Anyway, a few months down the line from that, I met her French teacher and he said DD had the capabilities to be not one of but the best linguist in her year.

I just don't 'get' why people find it so difficult to believe that teachers, too, are flawed and bullying behaviour can and does occur.

I'm so sorry for your DD, OP. She's being failed by the education system and I hope you are able to find a solution.

LatteLady Fri 24-May-13 21:13:25

Maria, may I ask what you want to happen?

Please be aware that whatever sanctions have been taken against the teacher will not be made known to you. For exactly the same reason, that if your child were the transgressor other people would not know what actions had been taken.

Once we know what you would like to happen, then perhaps we can find a way to achieve it.

Ilikethebreeze Fri 24-May-13 21:31:44

You need to bring in the big guns of outside agencies - police, solicitors, media.
You say you dont have money for solicitors - no idea about legal aid, or a free 30 minute initial consultation.
police - no idea whether they would get involved or not.
media - sometimes just the thought of media getting involved is enough for organisations to suddenly sit up and take notice.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 24-May-13 22:43:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 24-May-13 22:49:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now