Ds1 'encouraged' to lie by Deputy Head in a bullying situation

(19 Posts)
MerryMarigold Sat 15-Oct-16 11:07:23

So, ds1 started a new school last year in Y5. He is now in Y6. He has had persistent problems with a group of boys, and in fact I posted a couple of weeks ago about some bullying, name calling and picking on his clothes/ shoes etc. which other posters said I should deal with, so had a chat to his teacher. ink{http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/primary/2743720-Is-this-bullying\www.mumsnet.com/Talk/primary/2743720-Is-this-bullyin]]g}.

On Friday there was an incident where one of these boys who is quite large and very physical tried to run at him to 'tackle him' (happens often). Ds1 said "You can't catch me," and ran off. This boy then tried to run at him again, but ds saw and dodged him. He then did it again, but this time Ds was talking to someone and didn't see. The boy whacked into him, pushed him onto the ground (he banged his head) and then strangled him. A TA saw and it went to the Deputy Head. The Deputy Head spoke to this boy and he said Ds1 called him fat and so he got angry and that is why he attacked ds1. Ds1 was then called in to Deputy Head and denied calling the boy fat. She said this other boy does not lie and said that if he owned up they could just apologise to each other rather than being banned from playing football for a week. Ds1 is quite insecure, not confident and was very intimidated by being called to Deputy Head - combined with the prospect of no football for a week! So, ds1 decided to 'own up' (He said, "I may have said it by accident, I can't remember." They apologised to each other. Done and dusted. Football rights back.

I woke up last night really troubled by it, but not sure if I am being unreasonable (too much of a coward to post in AIBU). I have had a very good chat to him, and I really believe he did not say the boy was fat. He may have implied it by saying, "You can't catch me..." However, this was in response to the boy coming at him so possibly fair enough.

I feel like he was given no option but to 'admit' to calling this boy fat when obviously this boy knew he could play that card to get out of being in big trouble for attacking ds unprovoked (he is overweight, so he probably knows he can play this 'card' if it has happened before). I am really not 'precious' about my ds and am the first to admit he lets his mouth run away with him when he gets angry. However, in the first instance he is accused of saying 'fat', he wasn't angry. Ds1 admitted to me and the Deputy Head that after the incident he called the other boy a 'stupid idiot' and he was quite worried about that (knows he is not allowed), but Deputy Head said that was ok. I am going to go into school as they did try to call me on Friday afternoon but I was out and left my mobile at home so I missed it.

I just want to know if this is common practise and how I should deal with it when I go in on Monday. What questions I should ask etc.

MerryMarigold Sat 15-Oct-16 11:10:08

Sorry, link didn't work to previous thread: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/primary/2743720-Is-this-bullying

DelphiniumBlue Sat 15-Oct-16 11:27:46

Sounds like he was winding the other boy up, even if he didn't say the actual words he was accused of.
It also sounds as if the other boy may be on the spectrum, ( very much reading between the lines here, sorry if I m wrong); at the very least it seems a bit strange that he continued the chasing long after DS was off doing something else.
DS needs to learn not to wind people up, especially those who are extra sensitive, and know that if he admits to something he didn't do, there are consequences for that too. I'd be having discussion s with him about the trade- off he clearly accepted at the time.
Bearing in mind his admission, I don't think there's anything much you can do about it now anyway.
What are you expecting from the school? How else do you think thery could have dealt with, bearing in mind it's one boys word against the other? Even if the teachers don't know who started it, they will know that one child doesn't attack another for no reason. And that's why the head will have felt that they were both in the wrong.
If you are going into the school, work out what you want from the meeting, and whether it is realistic. If your son wants to be believed, he can't just say whatever is convenient and gets him off a punishment he doesn't want, and then complain afterwards!

MerryMarigold Sat 15-Oct-16 11:39:18

I know it's really hard to understand my ds and the other one. Did you read the other thread? The other boy is definitely not on the spectrum (loads of friends, very popular despite the weight), though ds possibly is.

I agree about ds being believed and I told him that if he had stuck to his word despite the football ban, that he probably would have been believed, as the teacher would have seen that he really had conviction on it.

Do you really believe ds was winding the other kid up when he said, "You can't catch me..." even though there is a history of bullying in that group, and despite this trying to tackle him happening quite a lot?

Keeptrudging Sat 15-Oct-16 11:45:23

It sounds like normal boy behaviour. School have dealt with it, both boys seem to be fine with the outcome. Why are you trying to make more of it? Boys (and girls) do fall in and out, this doesn't sound like bullying as both parties were enjoying the chase, just your son did get 'caught', resulting in a bump.

Keeptrudging Sat 15-Oct-16 11:48:40

Sorry, totally missed the bit about strangling, that's not ok and is more than 'a bump'. Apologies.

Jinglebellsandv0dka Sat 15-Oct-16 11:49:49

No I would not be happy with this. He was forced to admit something he didn't say.

MerryMarigold Sat 15-Oct-16 11:59:18

Keep trudging, he wasn't running when the boy ran into him, he was talking to someone.

Also just to clarify he didn't complain at all and didn't want to talk about it really. He asked if school phoned me, I said I missed the call. (I think they phoned regarding the bump to the head bit week clarify that). I then asked what happened. I think he found the whole experience really scary as he has never been sent to head or deputy in all years of primary school and just wanted to get out of there. It was only with some careful questioning (I asked him to tell me exactly what happened from the beginning of break onwards) and why be lied that this all came out.

Jinglebellsandv0dka Sat 15-Oct-16 13:11:04

Whst are you going to do merry? I'd probably go in.

MerryMarigold Sat 15-Oct-16 14:16:00

I will go in, as I've had enough of the bullying tbh and I want the Deputy Head to hear it from me now as I've been talking to teachers all of last year and this year. I can't wait for him to leave tbh, but this can't go on for another year, so I am just going to mention that it has gone on for a while and that he didn't call the boy 'fat' but felt like he had to say he did. I am trying to persuade ds to have the meeting with me, but he doesn't want to yet. I feel it would be better coming from him though.

To add to it, the Deputy Head is covering for the SENCO who was absolutely useless and left in the summer, and I do need to talk to her about his needs as he had an IEP in his old school, but nothing at all has been done here. This school was Outstanding Ofsted at its last inspection (only a couple of years ago), but I've been very surprised at the lack of support compared to his last school.

Slightly off topic! But suffice to say, I do need to meet with her anyway, and I want her to be aware of what is going on with ds.

sparepantsandtoothbrush Sat 15-Oct-16 14:16:23

very popular despite the weight hmm

Are you sure your DS didn't call him fat?

If DS didn't complain to you about it until you questionned it I would leave it but just keep an eye on things and let DS know to speak to an adult straight away if he's being chased again

MerryMarigold Sat 15-Oct-16 15:15:21

sparepants, that was in response to a poster who thought the boy who hurt my ds may be asd and that my ds had provoked him. And I know a lot of overweight kids do get bullied/ teased, but not this one - which is great. He's not a super insecure, asd kid who is overweight and just bursting to lash out. I'm sure that does exist, and tbh I would have some sympathy with that, even if it was my kid who got hurt.

But this child is popular, and has been bullying my child verbally and a bit physically for a year.

I'm not sure ds didn't call him fat as I wasn't actually there at the time. However, I did encourage him to tell me exactly what happened and I said he would not get punished again by me as school have dealt with it, but he kept saying he didn't say it. And he was honest about calling the boy 'stupid idiot' after the boy strangled him, which he really did think was an awful thing to say, and was very surprised he wasn't told off about it.

Witchend Sat 15-Oct-16 19:20:49

Before you think about going in, I think you need to think how this looks from the school's point of view:

You've been telling the school that this lad has been bullying your ds for the last year.
However your ds admits he went up to him and said "you can't catch me." and ran off
Now this does seem a slightly strange thing to do if he genuinely is afraid of him. My ds does this sort of thing (year 5) but it's to friends, he wouldn't do it to those who he doesn't get on with.
Your ds has admitted calling him "fat". Now I totally agree that he was left in no situation to deny that. However he was heard calling him "stupid idiot" which I would say was as bad.
However it may be (like ds' school) they have a list of words that should never be used as insult and that is one of them. In ds' case it gave him a list of words he'd never even thought of using as an insult (thanks hmm)
but it does mean that they take those specific words much more seriously because they have been told specifically not to use it.

So the things I think you need to focus on is that the physical reaction of this boy was disproportionate to what your ds did. Schools I've been with have the reaction that almost no verbal insult is equal to physical violence. So they shouldn't have been looking at getting the same punishment anyway.
And the other thing is that the reaction of the deputy did put your ds into the position of having to say he said it. Now I don't think I would go on too much about him not saying it, school may or may not believe you anyway. But the point is that he didn't have any other option.

Starlight2345 Sat 15-Oct-16 20:20:24

Yes I would raise it with the school..I do remember a girl in school telling a dinner lady I had called her fat..( this was 30 years ago) my response was..I hadn't but you are.. I was 7 and so annoyed she lied...So yes I can believe your DS.

It sounds like there are issues that need addressing regardless..

I am also not sure why even IF he had called him fat..Pushing him over and strangling him is in no way an appropriate response.

strawberrybubblegum Sat 15-Oct-16 21:51:27

Your poor DS. I would believe him too: I remember admitting to something I didn't do when I was about the same age. I didn't even get threatened with punishment, I was just surprised and overwhelmed at a teacher (who I thought walked on water) insisting I did it. So I agreed I had.

Saying 'can't catch me' is an understandable response to someone trying to attack him. Perhaps not helpful, but he's only 10 and it was probably just what came to mind under stress. Certainly not winding the other boy up or being insensitive.

I'm not qualified to give advice (my DD is much younger) but I think my approach would be:
1. Say that you believe your DS, and that you think he felt intimidated into saying he did it (so that they know that)
2. BUT before it can get into a disagreement about that, say that you're not worried about that - as far as you're concerned it's dealt with and water under the bridge
3. What you DO want to discuss is how they're going to stop the bullying your son has experienced.

The teachers aren't the enemy - you need them on-side to improve things for your son.

Really hope it goes well, and together you can find a way to improve things.

bangingmyheadoffabrickwall Sat 15-Oct-16 22:15:53

I would be concerned that any DHT would say "This boy does not lie".

Implies that no matter what your DS would say, the DHT would not believe him anyways and had passed judgement before all facts and statements were considered.

I would be making an appointment to see the DHT ASAP.

prettybird Sun 16-Oct-16 11:21:30

Where did you read that the OP's ds "admitted that he went up to the boy and said 'you can't catch me'" witchend? confused

In the OP, she describes what happens as, "[the other boy] ^tried to run at him to 'tackle him' (happens often). Ds1 said "You can't catch me," and ran off.^"

And the whole point of the OP is that she believes that her ds was forced into "admitting" that he said things that he didn't say - and is now doubting himself, as the other boy "doesn't lie" - so by inference, her ds does. hmm

But I agree with other about going into the school on a non-confrontational basis and concentrating on what they are going to do to stop the ongoing bullying - whoever is at fault.

MerryMarigold Mon 17-Oct-16 10:12:44

Thanks all. Have phoned to make an appointment. Asked ds to come with me but he doesn't want to 'get told off for lying and saying he said it when he didn't.'

I am really bad at confrontation with people I don't know well, so I don't think I'll be too confrontational. I will need to focus on making my point.

Witchend, he wasn't 'heard' calling the boy 'stupid idiot', he admitted it to me and the Deputy Head - and felt like that was really awful. This is partly why I believe he didn't say fat, as he was ok to admit the 'stupid idiot' bit. He was very surprised he wasn't told off for it, though under the circumstances, having just been knocked over and strangled, I think the Deputy Head had no choice but to let him off! He said the boy (who he was talking to) who saw it all, kept asking ds if he was ok over and over again, so it must have been quite bad.

Lymmmummy Mon 17-Oct-16 18:32:36

I thinks you are overthinking it - not unsurprising given the history - the positive is your DS is now learning some skills or confidence in standing up to the other boy/s

However I do think the deputy head was totally out of order to say the other boy never lies - probably said to get the issue resolved quickly - but in all honesty quite a ridiculous thing to say as at some point everyone lies. and the chances of the boy lying in the circumstances to defend or deflect blame from himself must be pretty high

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