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To feel physically sickened about what happened today? DD's 'father' (who she's never met!) is one of the staff members at her after school club!(176 Posts)
I'm still in shock, so sorry if this turns out to be a bit of a ramble. Not spoken to anyone in RL about this yet today, as every time i mention him to friends/family, they just rant and name call, whereas i need a sensible, outside perspective.
DD (just turned 5yo) has started going to a sports club in the gym hall after school for an hour on Thursdays.
Today was the first session.
When i went and picked her up, i noticed my ex - dd's father - was one of the sport coaches/staff members. He was dealing with the register and ticking off the kids' names as parents came for them. I didn't even recognise him for a moment. I called on dd then turned to tell him her name (so he could mark her off the register) and that's when we both seemed to recognise each other.
He looked terrified. Looked at me, then dd briefly, then turned away to another parent who was telling him to mark her child's name from the register.
I grabbed dd and bolted home with her.
She had no idea who he was. He, it would seem, had no idea who she was until he saw me and put two and two together. They'd spent an hour together not knowing who each other was.
I'm now sickened and in shock. I can't believe this has happened.
He is a vile, horrible man (well, he was to me anyway). He was abusive in our relationship, mostly emotionally, would force/blackmail me into having sex with him, called me names, hit me twice, trashed my flat one time because i was delayed amswering the buzzer to him (i was vaccuuming so couldn't hear it).
When dd was born, his anger problems worsened. I begged him to get help, he didn't. He'd invite his friends round to my flat, get drunk, while i was expected to look after newborn dd.
He was drunk one night and almost dropped her down the stairs when she was 3 days old. I burst into tears and he got angry with me for crying and 'making him feel bad'. He shoved me against the wall while i was holding her.
He left. A few days later, he was round for a visit (trying to make excuses for his behaviour/apologise etc). Stupidly, i agreed to let him stay the night on the sofa. DD was not sleeping through. She was crying all night. Partner stormed upstairs yelling at her to shut the fuck up, picked her up and started shaking her, screaming 'you've been fed and changed - what the fuck else do you want?'
I told him to leave. Only when i threatened to go to the police did he finally go.
The police visited me in the morning. They said it would be hard to press charges as it would be my word against his. I had taken dd to the docs that morning too and she was fine, no marks etc. He only shook her a little, not enough to leave physical evidence.
Anyway, never saw him again after that. He never made contact, and i never bothered to look him up. I changed dd's surname back to mine when she was 18months old, and gave her a new middle name, hoping this would stop him being able to locate her easily (e.g. seeing her name randomly in the local newspaper etc).
So today is the first time i've seen him since dd was a few days old.
What do i do? DD has autism, and her father's brother has it too. I can remember ex and his vile mother calling the brother horrid disabilist names, slapping him, telling him he's an idiot, teasing him about how he'll never have a normal life etc.
This man is an animal. No matter how much i complained in the past about his antics, it was always my word against his, so he has a clean police record. He was very clever.
Due to dd's autism, she finds social situations difficult. When i read the info pack for this sports club i thought it would be the making of her! She has been looking forward to it for weeks. She'll be heartbroken if i take her out of it for no (apparent) reason.
I'm so confused. This man shouldn't be teaching in schools He shouldn't be around kids. Especially mine. But i'll look like a maniac if i go into the school and reveal his past when i have no proof.
What if this makes him suddenly decide he wants to be a part in dd's life? What if he tries to make contact?
I feel scared about taking her to school tomorrow. After i'd left, he could have went and spoke to the Head about dd for all i know. He could request to see her school record etc. I feel so powerless. How can a man - a stranger to dd - be allowed to just waltz back into her life so easily?
DD is desperate for a father figure. I've never had another relationship since her father (who was my first). I think she notices she's the only child in her class with no dad. SHe constantly quizzes me about him. I try to give honest, neutral answers. 'He didn't want to be a dad' 'He and Mummy didn't get on very well.' 'Your very lucky because you have a mummy, and some people don't have mums or dads at all.'
If she ever got wind of that man being her father, she'd be all over him like a rash.
My stomach is in knots.
Told you this would be a ramble.
Is it just possible that he has managed to turn his life around,now?
He may not be the same person you knew him as?
Having said that, I can understand how you feel. I think I would mention it to the school,actually. Its a safeguarding children thing ,and the school needs to be aware. The Head is your best bet.
And don't let her go to the club again ,find something else for her to do. I'm sure you can find some excuse to give her if she asks why.
And thanks Mosman for your remarks about those of us who have CRB checks. Very helpful.
Poor you! Horrible situation for you to find yourself in, you have my sympathy.
You need to talk to the school, today. Make an appointment and insist its urgent. Don't expect it to be resolved instantly though, it's likely that the head will not have dealt with a situation like this before so s/he won't know what to do for the best straight away. You do need to talk to them though, so at the very least they can support your dd if she's upset about being withdrawn from the club. Her class teacher and the TA working with her need to know so that they can protect her adequately.
Is there anyone who was around at the time that knows what happened with this man and can back you up, or at least give you some emotional support?
I would definitely speak to the head. Yes, on a legal level it's your word against his, but on a personal level the head will know what he's like. If i was the head I'd want to know. S/he needs to know, to understand the situation it's put you and your DD in, and to know about him and his temper, and attitudes towards disabled people, so that s/he can better protect the other DCs. The head may not be able to act on it with no evidence now (although you don't know unless you ask) but if they know what he's like, the head will surely at least be watching him more closely.
I think you have a duty to your DD and the other DCs to inform the school of what kind of man they have in their midst.
"Her class teacher and the TA working with her need to know so that they can protect her adequately."
Absolutely. Also they need to know so if he does start making requests for info, they know it's inappropriate.
CRB checks prove nothing the perpetrators haven't been caught yet at best, too many people - including myself have put too much faith in them over the years.
Legal/personal whatever, the head being told "what he's like" will hold no weight, where is the proof ?
I think the OP jus needs to be realistic, the head will not be able to "do" anything on hearsay.
Definitely speak to the head confidentially- I imagine he won't come back to the school.
Horrible situation - and a huge shock - but the added factor here is what you say ^DD is desperate for a father figure. I've never had another relationship since her father (who was my first). I think she notices she's the only child in her class with no dad. SHe constantly quizzes me about him. I try to give honest, neutral answers. 'He didn't want to be a dad' 'He and Mummy didn't get on very well.' 'Your very lucky because you have a mummy, and some people don't have mums or dads at all.'
If she ever got wind of that man being her father, she'd be all over him like a rash at the end of your post^
I do think you need to tell the HT and discuss the situation as much for safety but because that will be someone who can perhaps advise you independently. The more people you tell the more likely this is to come out - if he is as you say then he probably won't tell anyone, and then its still your choice as and when you tell more to your child. If it comes out even as a whisper how will that impact you DD?
Agree with all the posters saying talk to the head.
I'm assuming that it is an outside sports club who come in to run the activity. They may well run activities at lots of schools and the head could contact the organisation and ask that the guy be switched to another school.
I don't know what people can get away with saying on these occasions but if the head were able to say it was: "on account of him being the estranged father of one of our pupils, with whom he has had no relationship with, since she was a newborn, the relationship having broken up acrimoniously. Obviously I can't comment further but the mother is clearly frightened of him and very distressed" it would speak volumes without making any accusations.
I'm afraid I agree with others that you need to take her out of the club. Then your next steps, if any, can be considered on a non urgent basis.
Not sure of how to tell her though- maybe others have some good ideas? One thing could be to get the head on board, and see if she can come up with an alternative for DD?
Although it would be good if he could be transferred or something it doesn't seem very likely.
So sorry you are going through this.
Thanks for the advice, everyone.
Had little sleep last night, but feeling slightly more level-headed.
He does have PR (on birth certificate). However, when writing to the Deed Poll people, i advised them through letter what happened, how i don't know his whereabouts, and how he has played no part in dd's life since she was a week old. And they agreed he was an absent parent and allowed me to change her name without his permission.
Mosman - i completely believe what you're saying. And that's my worry. I have no proof whatsoever. The only witness i have is his mum (ex admitted to her in front of me that he'd hit me, and she told me to suck it up, her parner used to beat her daily, so me just getting hit once or twice wasn't a big deal).
Something tells me she won't give evidence. And i'm sure assault charges can only occur within 3 years of the attack?
The sports club is council/LA run. So he's a council employee. I don't think the Head will be happy to ask him not to come back just based on my word. The chances are he went to the Head himself yesterday after seeing me, and suggested i might come to her at one point and spout a load of 'lies' about him.
I definitely need to take dd from the club. But i'm dreading telling her. I've tried her with so many other things and this is the only one she's actually enjoyed.
It's notifying the school that i'm worried about. They can't ask him not to come back. The Head may very well think i'm just some mad ex with a grudge.
I really can't believe this is happening.
I can only give my opinion based on my experience as an adoptive mother.
If I took DS to a club and his birth mother was a staff member he would never go back there again.
My son also has ASD, his b.mother also has a history of violence and aggression. she was also never able to put his needs/safety first.
There is no way I could trust her to do that now. I don't care if she has 'turned her life around'. I could not take that chance. My DS comes first.
So does your DD. SHE is the important one here. Can you trust your EX not to approach her without consulting you first?
The damage done to any child, let alone one with ASD in five minutes by a selfish b.parent can last a lifetime.
If your DD is to have contact with this man it needs to be supervised, it cannot be in this secretive, unmonitored way.
This may be a jumping off point for discussing your DD's dad with her, with a view to contact in the future. It can't carry on this way. Its not safe for her.
I think you really should tell the head.
Not so they can sack him but so they can be aware there is an issue.
If you are calm and explain things factually the can think what they bloody want, they still have to listen to you.
They will be interested that they are employing the estranged father of one of their pupils. They will be interested that she has never met him and doesn't know him and you are concerned.
You can tell them that the relationship was violent. You don't have to ask to have hi sacked but why should you not tell them?
I am sorry, this must be really shocking for you at the moment.
The head won't think you are some mad ex, she will be able to see your genuine upset and concern about this situation.
You don't know yet what the head can and can't do, but she does have a duty to safeguard your child, and she can't do that without the relevant information. Take the paperwork you have with you that confirms you changed your dds name. That will be enough proof to show that there was an issue. Anyway, what the head thinks about you personally is irrelevant. She will have to deal with the situation as its presented to her.
Well one bit of evidence you have is your Dr's appointment the morning after he shook her. That will surely be on her records as something like: "Mother worried as father shook baby last night. Father has left home. Police called. Baby checked and fine" and the HV will have been informed.
I reckon if you think about it there will be more evidence to back you up than you think. The letter to the Deed Poll people, for example.
The head will know that DV can be difficult to prove. But if you can show him/her that this is something that was documented when DD was a baby he/she will know that you are not making it up on the spot out of spite.
I very much doubt that he had the presence of mind to approach the head last night. You said in your OP he looked terrified, he was probably as flustered as you. You need to get in there first.
See the head. Any decent head teacher is going to take this seriously. I am so sorry you are going through this. There is no way the head is going to brush you off as a mad woman. If your daughter is somehow at risk then the head has powers to intervene as your daughter is on school premises.
ScaryWary please don't base your actions on the minority view of mosman! Almost everyone here is saying speak to the head.
From my limited experience of mosman on these boards s/he can be pretty harsh / judgemental IMO. His / her comment on this thread made my blood boil actually!
No decent head will see you as unhinged for trying to protect your child. Abuse of women by their partners is very common indeed. If you were planning on telling the head your ex was an alien / part of a government conspiracy, then yes you'd look deranged!
For the head to hear that your ex was abusive to you is (sadly) not something uncommon. Any decent head would want to hear this.
Echoing Lovelygoldboots there as it's an important point!
The school need to know, as mentioned above as:
- how can they can properly support your DD when she asks about why she can't go to the club if they don't know the full story?
- it can't hurt to tell them. Think about it, the worst you are worrying about is that they think you a but odd (and seriously does that matter really?!). But they may well be able to do things to protect you from this man if they know. The potential consequences of them not knowing are much worse than them knowing.
- they need to know if your ex tries to get hold of your details, that it's inappropriate. It's your data, and you need to take steps to protect it
They can't help you if you don't help yourself! You need to take action.
Why not show the head this thread?
The OP didn't say at first the "father" was on the BC which rather changes things.
We have personal experience in our family of head teachers being told a pack of lies by one parent against the other and rightly the head said well great if you can just show me the evidence of this i'll gladly ban them from the premise etc etc. Sobbing and looking distressed mothers doesn't cut it. Obviously they couldn't - which is the situation the OP finds herself in.
Firstly the school has to be made aware of the situation. They have a duty of care and cannot care for your child properly if you withhold the information.
Withdraw your DD from the sessions and find something better. Your DD will adjust after the disappointment.
Keep it factual when telling the school. Ex was abusive to you and DD (as a baby). Under no circumstances do you want them to have anything to do with each other.
Also it is possible that he will take on more and more roles with in the school - dinner person/crossing warden/supporting young readers etc. The head needs to know
The head will not treat you like a mad woman. Domestic violence is a fact of life and by not telling the head, you are failing to protect your DD.
I expect your ex is laying low hoping things will pass without fuss. I expect he hasn't mentioned anything to the council/head.
Just be factual. Write a letter stating everything in a calm way and then have a short follow up meeting about how to move forward. Enable the school to protect your DD.
Mosman, if a school is informed but doesn't protect a child, they would be 100% responsible if something happened at a later date as a result of their negligence.
You do need to tell the head OP. Not in a 'he's a twat and I don't want him near my child way' but in a calm, 'this is what happened and you'll understand my concerns' way. And they will understand.
You must do this. He has parental responsibility and that can open a whole can of worms for you.
Mosman has a fair point. CRB checks dont mean a lot. Someone can have a clear CRB check because they haven't got caught yet, and the CRB is pretty much not valid from the moment it is printed, because it doesn't account for what someone may do in the future.
The head may be limited in what he or she can do, but I would go and talk it over with them anyway. I would assume they could stop this gym club coming on to the premises, if they wanted to. Whether they do or not is another matter. It depends on how seriously the head teacher takes this.
What I would be more concerned about is this man having your dd's personal details, and for that reason alone I would be going to the headmaster to try and figure out a solution.
Just the fact that he is an absent parent (evidence being that your dd has no idea that he's her dad) is going to show them that something is not right.
You really need to speak to the head as it is a safe guarding issue.
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