DS has been excluded for a week

(19 Posts)
FrancineSmith Thu 16-Jun-16 15:41:26

DS(12) has been excluded from school this week due to 'bullying' apparently. To give you a bit of background, he is ASD, has started the school this year and has a long history of behaviour issues throughout his school life. On the whole, these issues have revolved around refusal to work, occasionally damaging property (eg, graffitiing a swear word on a door after a bad lesson) and once in primary school biting a child who had him pinned to the floor. Since starting secondary, this has escalated to include being very rude and disrespectful and swearing at teachers.

School have been in reasonably regular contact, although this has tailed off recently only for me to be told things had come to a head and informed of several more (similar) incidents recently. He has been on report almost since the beginning and they are talking about a 'managed moved' to a school that can support his behaviour. It feels like they have always dealt with his behaviour (albeit inconsistently) but never really support ed the ASD which is causing it. In fact it was only a couple of weeks ago that his head of year told me she didn't realise he had an actual diagnosis, which we have discussed on numerous occasions.

In addition to this, school flagged him up quite early on as a target of bullying. There have been numerous minor incidents as well as a couple of slightly more serious ones over the year. He doesn't like to talk so will often keep things to himself and his upset will come out in his behaviour instead.

On Friday I got home to find a voicemail telling me that he has been excluded for a week because of bullying another child, trying to force feed him something from the floor and hitting and kicking him.

DS's version of events differs somewhat. He was doing this with another child, the 'victim' was a friend of his, they were playing a prank and 'patting him on the head and tummy until he ate it'. DS claims he 'patted too hard', friend started crying, he stopped and apologised and friend said 'it's ok, you didn't mean it'. He was spoken to by a teacher a while after it happened. Both boys involved were excluded for a week.

DS is not especially reliable at recounting events as his perspective is often very skewed. The thing that is worrying me is that this is so out of character. He is often angry, but this usually comes out in attitude or on objects, never people. His behaviour has gone downhill hugely in general since starting secondary, but he is generally a kind hearted boy who tends to gravitate toward the more vulnerable children for company and feel safe with them. I cannot get my head around him as a bully.

Have I become one of those delusional mothers who says it could never be her little darling? I'm generally very aware of his behaviours and have been upfront with with the school from the beginning, but his issues were never this bad before. Head of year has said, in one email to me, that she thinks it was 'a joke that went too far', but surely they wouldn't exclude him for a week if they thought that? And I'm sure it didn't feel like a joke to the poor boy they were doing it to.

I just don't know where to go from here. I'm simultaneously disgusted with DS as it looks like he may have become a bully, and angry at the school at their lack of support which has contributed to him getting to this point. We have a readmission meeting tomorrow and I don't know what to say. I will not excuse his behaviour, but I do want to address how it got to this.

RedHelenB Thu 16-Jun-16 17:02:51

His version of events merely exchanges the word patting for hitting I think. So it was 2 boys trying to get a third to eat something of the floor?

sunnydayinmay Thu 16-Jun-16 17:11:30

I have a dc in year 7, and in my experience they have been absolutely strict about any physical bullying/fighting, regardless of whether it was a "game".

DS has two friends who were in detention for pushing another , more vulnerable, boy. They said it was just play fighting. The boy said it was play fighting. BUT, knowing the background, one of ds's friends has history for " play fighting", the victim getting hurt, but nothing being done because they were too scared to admit it wasn't a game.

Your DS shouldn't be "patting" anyone, and I think the school were right.

Saying that, it does sound as though this may not be the best place for him if he needs more support. Have they suggested another school? Do you like it?

FrancineSmith Thu 16-Jun-16 17:28:13

Red, yes that seems to be what happened.

Sunny, I quite agree he shouldn't be 'patting' anyone and there needs to be consequences for it. I'm just not sure if the school have handled this particularly well, although I'll be the first to admit this may be coloured by the fact that I don't feel they've handled much of anything well lately.

His previous school was extremely supportive and the kids were generally understanding of his quirks as they had a lot of SEN pupils. I do think it's become apparent that this school is wrong for him, but I've no idea how to judge which one is right. When we looked around this one they said all the right things, DS hit it off with HOY and wanted to go here. If my judgement was so off last time, I'm reluctant to move him again in case it's another mistake. His self esteem is already rock bottom. I've wondered if this is just the difference between primary and secondary? That less support/ understanding is maybe a given now?

mary21 Thu 16-Jun-16 17:48:28

Have you contacted IPSEA to discuss exclusion of a child with special needs. If not do so asap.
Children on the autistic spectrum who misbehave aren't being naughty. There behaviour is conveying a message that something is not right. It is important to use this as an opportunity to get the support your DS is receiving right. Do ensure all the paper work is completed again IPSEA should be able to help. Sossen may also bed worn contacting. And post on the special needed children's board as there are lots of experts there.
The important message is he is not being naughty but using behaviour to express his needs.
Do be aware if the school aren't managing him they may be trying to manage him out.
More reasons to get expert advise

FrancineSmith Thu 16-Jun-16 18:06:36

Mary, in theory I know that the behaviour is communicating something, but I'm finding it very hard to accept that in practice. I have never allowed him to use his ASD as an excuse for bad behaviour as it worries me that he would think he had a free pass and could get away with whatever he liked. I have tried to understand the reasons behind the behaviour, but still teach him that actions have consequences, disability or not. The problem is that he has never really responded to consequences, positive or negative, so nothing has ever had any real impact.

I'm starting to think now that I've done the last 12 years completely wrong, because so many people were telling me 'he was so mild' and it didn't seem like he had 'anything wrong with him'. I've never really had to fight his corner at school before as the last one was so good at getting the balance right between understanding and high expectations.

I have posted on the SN board about him before and not got much response, but I will try again. I will try to contact IPSEA tomorrow and see what they say, thank you for that advice.

mary21 Thu 16-Jun-16 18:35:33

Don't forget puberty is probably also kicking in.

RedHelenB Thu 16-Jun-16 19:11:08

I don't see that the school has much choice but to exclude him though.The bigger he gets the more force he can "pat" with. Children on the autistic spectrum are capable of understanding right from wrong so you are right not to make excuses for him. Do you think that the other person involved may have been leading him on. If that is the case definitely ask school for more support with making friends.

sunnydayinmay Thu 16-Jun-16 19:33:07

You won't have done it wrong! He's just growing up, so it is new challenges. I see it with my ds, who has already well and truly hit puberty. Just just have deal with each thing as it happens.

Taking advice is a very good idea.

FrancineSmith Thu 16-Jun-16 20:06:41

Yes, I'm sure puberty is a factor.

He has admitted that the teacher has told him before to avoid the other boy as he does tend to lead him into trouble.

Thank you for all the support and wise words of advice, I do feel better just having got this off my chest. I'm really struggling to know what to do with him for the best lately.

noeuf Thu 16-Jun-16 20:31:49

Op once you are over 5 days in a term you have rights regarding governors meetings etc, so just bear that in mind and keep a record.

However, I agree that asd can't be used as an excuse to an extent. I think sometimes the asd is causing the behaviour in that there is a lack of awareness of social boundaries, empathy etc etc. So mitigating factors. I would ask to see the Senco to make sure you have a plan in place for some support for next year.

peachpudding Thu 16-Jun-16 22:58:42

Special needs aside, my DS was slapped in the face whilst several kids twice the size watched and laughed. My DS came home ready to commit suicide.

Obviously I made a major intervention and result was temporary exclusion with apologie because the bigger boy wasn't aware my DS didn't realise it was a 'fun joke'. I actually believe that's what they thought but I also saw it brought my DS close to self harm.

RedHelenB Fri 17-Jun-16 07:53:51

Sounds as though the school id dealing with violence and bullying then which is good.

fuckincuntbuggerinarse Fri 17-Jun-16 07:56:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrancineSmith Fri 17-Jun-16 12:12:03

Peach, I'm so sorry your son went through that. I can empathise with the boy which is why I'm horrified that DS did this.

Having had a meeting at the school this morning, it is clear that DS's needs are so much greater than we realised at school. School are agreeing that this was very out of character as he has never been nasty or tried to harm anybody before. They are certain that the other boy was leading DS and that DS genuinely thought this was a game that the 'victim' was enjoying too. The problem is with DS recognising when the other person's feelings towards the game change and he needs to stop, which he obviously didn't until the boy actually started crying.

While I appreciate this incident will undoubtedly have had an awful impact on the poor lad, I have to remember that DS didn't intentionally do something bad and my job as his mother is to make sure his needs are met and fight his corner. It honestly goes against every fibre of my being not to be very cross with DS and think that he really should know better at his age, but I'm beginning to realise that he very often doesn't know better and as awful as incidents like this are, we have to use them to help him learn and get support where he needs it. I'm not for a moment excusing what he did, but I'm finally beginning to understand how incapable he is of managing himself in so many situations.

PeterandJudithSurname Fri 17-Jun-16 13:14:46

Have you tried the SN boards? The people there might have knowledge/experience/advice that would be useful

apple1992 Sat 18-Jun-16 10:28:51

Children on the autistic spectrum who misbehave aren't being naughty.
Sometimes, but often they are.

mygrandchildrenrock Sat 18-Jun-16 21:07:47

I would say it was the other way round apple, often they are not being naughty, but sometimes they are!

foreverclockwatching Sat 18-Jun-16 21:17:24

Does the school have any kind of social provision to provide support at unstructured times? We have a lunch club which is (mainly) frequented by boys with ASD. It is a safe, calm space where they are monitored by staff, generally it is voluntary but we have a few who for their own well-being have to attend (because they are so easily led astray). We facilitate their socialising to try to help them to develop those skills. We find this makes a massive difference to the students enjoyment of school. Also do they offer any kind of social skills programme around say protective behaviours or the use of social stories?

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