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Who's in the wrong here?

(93 Posts)
Shazjack1 Sat 18-May-13 16:48:58

Would love your opinion, not sure who's in the wrong.

I'm furious at the way DS was treated at school yesterday. Long story short he's 12 and has had the same bunch of pals since start of primary. One of his pals was given a silly nickname last year. Not offensive in any way but apparently the pal is sick of the nickname now and it's upset her but she never said anything to DS or friends, if she had they wouldn't have used the name anymore. So her father went into school yesterday and told staff his daughter was being bullied by her friends. They have been threatened with all sorts and screamed and shouted at before even being allowed to give their side of the story. I don't know who I'm more disappointed at, school or her parents.

MummytoKatie Sat 18-May-13 23:52:02

larry - do you really think the friendship can survive? Yes - in the short term Op's son can apologise but forever more they will all be wary of doing something that might upset her. And friendship doesn't really work if you are wary and formal around someone. So in the long run I just don't see how it will work.

And that's assuming she wants to be friends with them - if they were bullying her (which is what the majority of people on here think) then why would she want to still be friends? And if she does want to be friends, why was she happy to watch them all get put on report for bullying?

StuntGirl Sat 18-May-13 18:35:08

Oh OP you are spectacularly missing the point and seemingly deliberately ignoring the girl's point of view.

I'm sorry your son feels upset and being told off - and if that happened as you say then you must raise that with the school as a separate matter.

I agree that this is a good learning opportunity for your son in empathy and understanding. He 'did not know' the nickname was hurtful (and whether he was genuinely in the dark or being pig-headed over this we don't know without knowing the nickname). Well either way, now he does. He should apologise to his friend if he ever hurt her feelings and move on. He will know better next time.

ShellyBoobs Sat 18-May-13 18:32:47


Reading everything you've said, it seems clear that your son has bullied the girl and yet you're upset that he's been branded a bully rather than upset for the poor girl!

And as for contacting her parents? Well that just reinforces to me that you're only upset about your son being outed as a bully. You don't even mention aplogising to the parents, just that you had a go at them because your son is now known as being a bully!

cory Sat 18-May-13 18:22:12

Agree totally, larry.

Except I would advise a little caution about the complaint until she has heard the school's side of the business. Going in to find out what happened sounds like a better idea. One (perfectly reasonable) cause for complaint is that the school didn't hear the boys' side of the version. But that would be rather undermined by not listening carefully to the school's version.

larrygrylls Sat 18-May-13 18:19:45

Of course the friendship can survive. The OP's son needs to apologise to the girl concerned for upsetting her and say that he had not realised. He could also ask her to let him know first if she was upset in the future. If she accepts the apology graciously, they could become great friends again.

The OP could also explain to her son that the school overreacted and that was not her fault but that she is going to complain to the school for the massive overreaction which was actually bullying in itself

If handled well, it could end up with everyone learning something. Way too much negativity.

KurriKurri Sat 18-May-13 18:18:12

OK I think I misread the post about the name - apologies if I have got hold of the wrong end of the stick.

cory Sat 18-May-13 18:17:50

Yes, I agree that if they did genuinely scream at them that was very poor handling and I would not have been pleased either.

Otoh I have to say I have not found my own ds totally reliable on the subject of tellings of- particularly not when later investigation has revealed that he knew himself to be in the wrong. He can get very emotional and experience a slight hardening of tone as shouting at him.

Anyway, what matters now is whether the boy is given help to move forward or not. I don't see anything wrong with saying: I appreciate you didn't mean it, it is quite possible that the school were wrong in the way they handled it, but at the same time, you need to sort out things with your friend and be very careful about how you handle nicknames in the future; they are not very safe things.

Dd got horribly badly treated by her school re a slightly different. I accepted openly that the school were wrong in the way they handled it. But that doesn't mean dd doesn't have a problem and that she doesn't have the responsibility to sort out the way she handles it. The two are not mutually exclusive.

MummytoKatie Sat 18-May-13 18:16:11

The trouble is that Op has not given the exact nicknames that they all have (and shouldn't as it would be identifying) so it is impossible to know if the Op's son should have known that she didn't like it.

Kids do give each other nicknames - and sometimes it is part of bonding as a group and sometimes it is used to bully - and none of us know which.

Eg It would be hard for Bazza, Gazza and Dazza (whose parents called them Barry, Garry and Darren) to guess that Mary doesn't like being called Mazza. But it doesn't take much maturity to understand that she probably isn't't overly fond of being called Smelly.

Either way I think the school has not reacted particularly well to this if the Op is accurate.

Whoever is in the wrong I don't see how the friendship can survive this which is a shame and maybe could have been avoided if the school had reacted differently.

KurriKurri Sat 18-May-13 18:15:41

Well she may have been Ok with it to start with, or at least gone along with it, but from what I understand she was being called a 'boys name' - now a while ago she might not have minded being thought of as 'one of the boys', but she's growing up now, going through puberty, becoming aware of her appearance etc etc and might have become more sensitive to the idea of 'looking like a male'.

It's possible she tried to say something but wasn't 'heard' by her friends, and her parents found her crying because it was all getting on top of her. Yes they may have over reacted, but most of us over reacted when we think our child is being hurt by other children.

The school should have given the boys a chance to state their side of the story.

Maybe it would help your DS understand how she might have felt if he thought about how he would like to be repeatedly called by a girls name?

larrygrylls Sat 18-May-13 18:09:03

"How about giving the boy the emotional toolkit to deal with a telling off from his teachers, larry? Why does the emotional resilience have to be all on one side?"

Hmm, it is a little different. One looks upon teachers as role models, in a completely different way as one looks upon one's peers. To be injustly screamed at by a role model is hard to deal with aged 12. Not impossible and, yes, ultimately, he should be able to deal with it. But he should not have to.

AgentZigzag Sat 18-May-13 18:07:44

'Are you, perhaps, one of those types who looks for slights in every personal relationship and thus finds herself a little bit isolated, thus justifying their own incorrect perception of persecution?'

As it happens, I am grin

larrygrylls Sat 18-May-13 18:07:14

Unless I have missed something in the OP, the girl and her son were in a group where everyone called one another by nicknames in a friendly way. Suddenly, her son and others get hauled up, screamed and shouted at, and termed bullies, just because she has suddenly decided she disliked the name, no request to stop using it first, nothing.

I can totally understand his sense of injustice and where the OP is coming from. Might just as well have been her son changing his mind about the nickname and her getting the bollocking out of the blue. Had it happened that way, would that have made the girl a bully and her son bullied? I don't think being bullied is solely a matter of subjective feeling.

And, even if it is, unless one is genuinely frightened (which would be a completely different matter) a sensible parent would advise their child to ask for her friends to stop in the first instance.

Startail Sat 18-May-13 18:06:46

If you are the group fall guy, the one they tease, you hope one day they will grow up. You hope they will leave primary school sillyness behind. You laugh, you smile and you pretend not to be bothered.

Suddenly it's the end of Y7 and you realise they haven't and you burst into tears in front of your DDad, who behaves as Ddads protecting their DDs do.

Me and DD1 have both been there. The only difference is that I wouldn't have let my DDad within a million miles of school and DD1 is dyslexic and could let of steam to a lovely TA in learning support.

You have only your DS word for how OTT the schools reaction was. Either you need to write a calm email or let it drop. Personally I'd leave it, only if threats become actions is there any point in getting involved with school.

Instead you could sit down eith your DS and see if you can get him to see that as children grow up nn and in jokes don't fit anymore.

It's not easy and in truth time is the only cure. By Y9/10 both DD1 and me found it got way better. DD1 is far more socially assured than she was and her peers realise that she may not be interested in all things teen, but she's nice hardworking and useful.

FreddieMisaGREATshag Sat 18-May-13 18:06:40

You don't get it.

You're never going to get it.

Your son has been a bully.

He has been called on it and he is having to deal with the consequences.

You calling the other parent was totally out of order.

The poor girl. Think how miserable she must have been and for how long.

cory Sat 18-May-13 18:05:57

Shazjack, I can only repeat my advice: help your son to move forward by accepting that it was not intentional but that it had unforeseen consequences and that it can be sorted. Don't leave him stuck in it!

CrapsWithBears Sat 18-May-13 18:05:08

Blimey, wish I'd never asked. Well of course you do, you didn't get the answer you wanted.

AgentZigzag Sat 18-May-13 18:05:07

'School put them on report with the word BULLYING written across it so every teacher they had on Friday saw it and was disgusted with them.'

I must say that I find this kind of black and white branding of children just as bad as it was when bullying was ignored.

I don't think your DS is a monster Shaz, the way they've handled it they may as well made him walk round the school wearing a sandwich board with bully written on it.

It's just setting him up to be bullied by the other children IMO.

DoctorAnge Sat 18-May-13 18:04:09

You really don't get it do you OP? hmm

You were totally out of order calling her patents. They don't need to answer to you.

cory Sat 18-May-13 18:04:09

How about giving the boy the emotional toolkit to deal with a telling off from his teachers, larry? Why does the emotional resilience have to be all on one side?

Shazjack1 Sat 18-May-13 18:03:59

Blimey, wish I'd never asked. They all have different nicknames, are they meant to be mind readers when one of them gets naffed off but says nothing.

CrapsWithBears Sat 18-May-13 18:03:43

normal age appropriate joshing

There's a big difference between joking around with someone, and keeping someone the butt of a joke for a year.

PureDeadBrilliant Sat 18-May-13 18:02:38

I severely doubt they were "screamed and shouted at".


Think of the girl. She feels like she us bring bullied.

larrygrylls Sat 18-May-13 18:01:14


It is amusing that it is you who have decided to use personal abuse against me whilst asserting I am "one of those types who pick up on what other people feel uncomfortable with and then use it as a shitty stick to poke them because you think they should be less sensitive and you're the one to teach them that important lesson". Hmmmmm

I have both been bullied (not greatly but enough to know what it is like) and dealt with people who have cried "bully" as a dog whistle word to get others in trouble when they have not remotely been bullied in any objective sense of the world. It is not the girl's fault as she is still a child. It is, though, possibly her parents fault for not giving her the emotional toolkit to allow her to deal with normal age appropriate joshing.

Are you, perhaps, one of those types who looks for slights in every personal relationship and thus finds herself a little bit isolated, thus justifying their own incorrect perception of persecution?

cory Sat 18-May-13 18:00:30

Shazjack1 Sat 18-May-13 17:56:42
"And yes I am worried about how the friendship is going to pan out. It's such a shame the way it's been handled."

I think your reaction is going to have a great part to play here. Talk to your son. Tell him you accept that he didn't mean any harm, that you are confident that he can sort this out with the girl, that you know that next time he will be more careful and that they will all get over this, concentrate on the can-do aspect - and it's likely to work out fine.

Make him concentrate on how hard done by he is and how outraged you are- and he is likely to dwell on it for a long time and not in a way that will be helpful to him.

As I see it, it is very much about building resilience.

AgentZigzag Sat 18-May-13 18:00:09

Sorry lljkk, I didn't mean to upset you, I just feel really strongly about it having had similar shit myself.

You sound like you've been through the wringer too.

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