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Bullying At The School Gate?

(6 Posts)
juicyfruitqueen Mon 06-Jun-11 17:12:10

A parent at the school has told me that she is being bullied (have posted this issue in WWYD) by another parent at the school gate.

She said that she was being ignored/not included in chat/her children were being ignored. She asked if we could talk again about this another time.

I don't know a huge number of people there as I am always rushing to/from work. I did, since she spoke to me, try to observe more carefully (instead of running through 'what i have to do' mental lists).

I saw that her children were chatting with their classmates, and that the said mum was very distant (so much so that if one were to talk to her, then you wouldn't easily see one's own child coming out the gate, iykwim).

The pressure is on now as she has sent me a text asking what day/time would suit to talk (we have a parent contact mobile list at our school).

I don't want to be involved, and am a little freaked out by her persuing this with me. I didn't see any of what she complained to me about.

If I am honest, then I feel that stuff like this only exists on telly!

Am I unreasonable to not believe in the issue of parents bullying at the school gate at all?

Al1son Mon 06-Jun-11 20:45:14

A few years ago a parent started telling school that we were ostracising her so much she couldn't bear to come to school and her mum had to do school runs for her. It wasn't happening but she clearly believed it so it was a problem.

I told the rest of the parents in the year how she felt and the next time she showed up (it was quite while) we made a point of speaking to her. She now comes every day and is in the centre of any group chats.

It didn't take a lot to sort it out and it was worth making that bit of effort to show her that she was welcome.

It's easy to assume that if someone is not socialising it is out of choice. Having chosen to confide in you she's probably hoping that you will make an effort to invite her to join you as you stand chatting. Maybe if she can start with you she'll realise that she can approach others to initiate conversations and will eventually feel less isolated.

Obviously there's no need to discuss the bullying unless you see evidence of it yourself. You can just move the conversation on to something less controversial.

Lotkinsgonecurly Mon 06-Jun-11 20:49:13

Maybe she feels lonely and left out and is seeing it as bullying. School gates can be rather catty but can also be lovely places. Can you try and include her as a way into talking to some of the other Mums? Maybe she's trying to be friendly and is using this as an excuse to have a coffee with another Mum? If it were you in that position someone to talk to who is clearly seen as friendly ( ie you!!) would be a great way to start.

ledkr Mon 06-Jun-11 20:51:40

tbh id just text back to say you are very busy with work and school and dont have the time. I od wonder about women who's socail life revolves around school mums,i couldnt care less who speaks to me on the school run,i have my own friends.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 06-Jun-11 20:52:26

This is the second time you've posted this in Aibu.

TheRhubarb Mon 06-Jun-11 20:54:07

Why is she telling you? Are you a member of the PTA? If not I would listen sympathetically and then suggest that you both go to someone from the PTA - with you as moral support. Although remind her that you haven't seen any of this so cannot be a witness.

If you are PTA then perhaps a chat with the other mum to mention that she seems a bit distant at the moment and is she ok? Does she get on with the other mums? When you get her chatting she might reveal another side of the story or perhaps she's going through a rough patch and is simply in a world of her own.

I avoid the school gates like the plague. I arrive just as the class doors open, I collect my kids and I go. I nod and say hello to familiar faces but that's all I do. I can see the cliquey groups a mile off and would rather not go there.

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