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to complain about the school play shambles?

(94 Posts)
jazzmin Sat 25-May-13 21:40:06

My year 6 daughter got the lead part in the KS2 play (she is year 6, small school). Another girl cried. And cried. Her mum went in. Three days later my daughter was asked in an intimidating way(by a teacher) to give her part up to the other girl. My daughter just shrank and said nothing, she is extremely polite and likes to please the teachers. The next day she was told the other girl would be lead in one show, she would be lead in the other. She was paraded in assembly as being kind for giving up her part, then came home and crumpled. She hasn't stopped crying since. I can't believe a girl can cry and cry and get her own way, and my daughter is being punished for it. She was shouted at for being upset about it, and told if she continued the whole play would be cancelled (though the other girl cried for 2 days and got the lead part!?) I am a primary school teacher myself, I have never known this in 15 years of teaching, now it is half term... what should I do?

Sparklymommy Sun 26-May-13 10:39:26

I think this was handled appallingly and I would probably make an appointment to see the head and ask what on earth is going on. Maybe hearing it from the school would put a different perspective on it. If it is as the op says though, I think it's horrific. Giving in to tantrum throwers is not good practise. I do agree that in the real world of performing arts there is a lot of rejection. If girls want to perform they need to learn that.

MummytoKatie Sun 26-May-13 10:39:50

The problem is not that the dd is only getting one show but that she earnt two (by doing the best audition) and then had one taken off her.

Imagine if at work you were told you were told you were getting a £5000 bonus for working every night for a month then someone else (who had only worked two evenings) kicked up a huge fuss about only getting £2000 so they said "ok - you can have £3500 each and if you complain then no-one will get a bonus at all!"

I may have been happy with £3.5k if I had got it originally but now I want my £5k that I earnt!

imaginethat Sun 26-May-13 10:42:10

I think this sort of shit goes on in workplaces too with staff literally stamping feet/crying to get their own way.

Floggingmolly Sun 26-May-13 10:44:13

Of course it's unfair. It's the equivalent of telling a toddler he has to share, every time another toddler snatches a toy out of his hands.
Extremely poor of the school to give in to the tantrum, both the girl's and her mother's.

Floggingmolly Sun 26-May-13 10:45:32

MummytoKaties example was better grin

musicposy Sun 26-May-13 10:47:45

It's unfair but does happen in the real world too shock.
DD2 was in professional panto (to be fair they have more than one of everyone). Within her group she was chosen for an extra role to go and do something with the lead actor. She was thrilled and we watched a couple of times - we were so proud. The director came up to us and saying how well she was doing, how pleased they were with her etc.
About a week into the panto run one of the other girl 's mums was chaperoning and kicked up a fuss, saying her DD was so upset about it, she'd been involved with panto for years, all her family were coming from timbuctoo etc etc. and basically threatened that her DD was so upset they would pull out hmm.
Instead of tell her to suck it up or leave they took the role away from DD and gave it to this other girl on half the remaining nights, which included the ones all my family had booked. The production manager said to DD "Jane is very upset so you won't mind sharing, will you?"
She had to take it on the chin and so did we but it was very annoying.
These things happen. They are unfair and it shouldn't be a case of he who makes the most fuss, but sadly it often is. DD lost a role recently to a child whose mother sucked up to the director like you wouldn't believe, homemade cheesecakes, you name it. It's a very unfair world I'm afraid, particularly anything to do with acting. You might think it would be different if it wasn't school, but it wouldn't be.
The best thing you can do as a parent - and I've been there- is try to emotionally detach a bit from your own disappointment. Once you get over the injustice yourself you'll be able to put it a bit into perspective for your DD. I always say to DD "this won't be the last thing you ever do on stage and it wont be yhe most important" which helps enormously.

EduCated Sun 26-May-13 10:53:14

I'm sure it does happen in professional drama. But this isn't professional, this is primary school and its blummin' sad if we can't treat children fairly there.

TheBuskersDog Sun 26-May-13 10:55:19

But even if the school had decided beforehand to have a different child play Alice in each of the two performances it still might not have been the crying child who got to share the part, it may well have been jazzmin's daughter and another girl.

HabbaDabba Sun 26-May-13 11:15:22

Mummytokatie - this is a year 6 play. This time next year none of the other parents will remember or care who played the lead. Bit silly comparing it to adults in a work situation where serious money is involved.

HabbaDabba Sun 26-May-13 11:22:27

lionheart - if there was only one performance then I would be most upset if it was my DD that got pushed to one side. But that isn't what is happening here.

The OP's DD was asked to be the lead in one performance and not two as originally planned. And this was enough to make her cry for days???

Did I misread the OP? I'm sure it said that the DDs are Year 6. That makes them both 11 years old right?

Catbert4pm Sun 26-May-13 11:40:11

Sounds like a badly handled situation which I can see could be upsetting. But I think the kindest thing would be to explain that these things happen sometimes and we just have to put on a brave face. And have a quiet word with the school to try to avoid such mishandling in future.

BUT I know how these things can really get to you. Every year in primary school the summer fete programme was populated by the same kids' drawings (offspring of the highest echelons of the PTA), and none of them were Picasso (I was a PTA member, but low ranking). DD noticed the pattern. Her disappointment got to me more than it should, so, for a giggle, in her final year, I pencilled a picture and DD coloured it in. I still smirk when I think about that year's programme.... with the drawing in it!

She's in middle school now, so easier to help get see that sometimes things happen which are hurtful, but sometimes you just gave to suck it up and remain dignified.

Bet she'll be the best anyway! smile

Catbert4pm Sun 26-May-13 11:41:03


mrsjay Sun 26-May-13 11:47:35

It is school plays galore on here this weekend nobody is every happy whatever happens confused it is all a bit divaish imo all this stropping about parents marching into schools sigh

mrsjay Sun 26-May-13 11:47:49


Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 26-May-13 11:48:13

I think it's terrible that a child can cry and cry until they get their own way. What is it teaching them? Stamp your foot and you'll get your own way in life. Great.

NorthernLurker Sun 26-May-13 11:49:25

The school have made a crap choice by doing a play with such a big part for one child - and a part that only 50% of the class had a chance for unless they were going to be very progressive. I think that if they'd split the role at the start (which is what they should have done) they would be no reason for your dd to be upset BUT as it is she does feel she'd lost something and that's happened because of somebody else making a fuss. I don't blame you for being cross Op but there's bugger all to be done about it now. I agree make a big fuss of her on non-performance night.

GibberTheMonkey Sun 26-May-13 12:13:09

It's the shouting at ops dd for daring to be a bit upset that is the worst bit for me.
If they had comforted her and talked to her about how they had been a bit unfair not to let more people have parts and they're asking her to be grown up about it she would probably had her bit of disappointment and moved on. Instead they upset and scared her.
That would have been the thing to make me feel shaky and upset if I had been her dd, not so much the losing of half the part.

maddening Sun 26-May-13 12:17:23

I would complain about dd being shouted at for crying when they pandered to the other girl.

lunar1 Sun 26-May-13 13:09:44

I'm another one that would complain about your daughter being shouted at and basically bullied in front if everyone into agreeing. Disgusting behaviour from the school.

I would love to see what they would do if all 30 children sat crying until they got what they wanted, it just sets such a bad example.

Hulababy Sun 26-May-13 13:17:30

School went about it entirely wrong. Girl who cried should not have been given into to.

However it is often the case that lead roles are shared in many schools. We are doing Charlie and the chocolate factory with y2 and we have 2 Charlie, 2 Wonka and 2 of some of the other principal parts. We have 90 children to fit in and there are a lot of lines to learn. We are only doing one show and the characters change half way through the show. It will be made clear on the programme that his is occurring. It's quite normal though ime

LIZS Sun 26-May-13 13:31:44

They should either have decided form the outset to have 2 kids in each lead role or cast it and not given in. But drama teachers are notorious for being less than level headed . We had one cause ill feeling by selecting certain children to take what was originally a double cast/all yr 6 show to a festival which ultimately never took place - the children chosen didn't even play the same roles as in the original production. Sounds like the school has created a monster and they should certainly not blame the children for the fall out. However you do sound as if you may be encouraging this a little by suggesting your dd is being punished. Accept it in good grace , as they won't backtrack now, but if your association with the school ends this term make a complaint about how poorly it has been handled.

MoominMammasHandbag Sun 26-May-13 14:02:43

I honestly think that the best thing you can do is to teach your daughter to take it on the chin and bounce back.

DD2 is a quiet, studious kid, always with her nose in a book. The big parts in her school play went to the loud show offs more confident children in the class and her part was a bit rubbish. We just told her to give it her best effort and played down her disappointment.

During the rehearsals it became evident that DD was actually quite good and her part was enlarged. Come the performance quite a few of the lead children froze, mumbled and forgot their lines and were generally poor. DD absolutely shone.

She does drama as an out of school activity now. Everyone gets a chance to shine and it's really helped her confidence.

HabbaDabba Sun 26-May-13 17:27:03

It is not 'normal', assuming that the OP isn't exaggerating, for a 11year old to be crying for a couple of days over something this minor. Hasn't anyone considered that there might be deeper issues involved here than merely a spoilt child throwing a tantrum?

EduCated Sun 26-May-13 17:45:40

Like what, Habba?

Floggingmolly Sun 26-May-13 17:55:55

Oh, don't do the special needs thing, Habba! hmm. It could reasonably be the case that every time she cries for whatever length of time, Mummy runs to the rescue and demands that her every whim is pandered to.
If anything isn't quite normal; it's the mum of an 11 year old dashing up to the school to do battle for her child over a part in a school play.

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