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to ask if anything can really be done about bullying?

(27 Posts)
whothehellknows Sat 17-Jan-15 12:58:17

My eldest is in year 2. Also in her class is another pupil who seems to consistently strive to hurt and upset her peers. The behaviour has been ongoing since the children were toddlers and the other child's nanny used to bring her to toddler group. When they were little, the behaviour was things like pushing, scratching, etc, but also things like following a child until they down their special comfort item grabbing it, refusing to give it back. Even when she was very young, her behaviours seemed calculated to cause maximum distress.

Years on, there is still kicking, pushing, scratching, and slapping. But also things like telling another child she would sneak into her house and hurt her new baby brother. Or saying "my teddies can come alive at night and you better leave your light on or they will come to your house and kill you". Really disturbing stuff.

It doesn't seem to be a case where any (obvious) SN are involved. Each day, one child or another will come home in tears or hurt by something this child has done. The school are well aware, parents have notified them in writing of many incidents, and escalating their complaints to the governers. Other parents have spoken to the child's parents, asking them to intervene and sometimes turning into shouting matches in the school yard. The only thing that seems to have changed is that the child is dropped off and collected separately to all the others so that she and her parents don't come into contact with other parents. Some of the parents have instructed their kids to hit back if they are hurt by the girl.

Unfortunately, being a small village, there is only one school. One family actually moved to get their child away from this girl. The rural location also means that most kids join the same outside activities, so the bullying happens there too.

I just don't see how anything will ever change. I'm sure the school has tried to address the behaviour, but nothing has changed in the 3 years all the kids have gone there. Unless she moves house, it feels like the kids(and parents) are always going to be worried about being hurt at school. Do kids grow out of this kind of behaviour if it's been going on for so long? Is this just a part of school life that the kids have to get used to?

whothehellknows Sat 17-Jan-15 12:59:07

Sorry, I've written that while juggling kids and I know my punctuation and grammar is crap.

BuzzardBird Sat 17-Jan-15 13:15:44

I think I would encourage a few of the parents to get a meeting with the Head and ask them to tell you all what they are going to do and what has been done so far about the situation.

A child with this many issues should be getting help. The school should have flagged that by now.

I have a very similar issue with a girl who is still a problem in year 3 and I have to just keep reporting incidents and making a nuisance of myself. The mother just blames everyone else.

Good luck.

whothehellknows Sat 17-Jan-15 13:23:29

I do feel like the child should be getting help-- This kind of behaviour wouldn't seem to indicate a happy and well adjusted child. And the fact that she's going to find herself left out of birthday parties and activities with her classmates is only going to make her feel worse.

ILovePud Sat 17-Jan-15 15:28:42

Sorry that your DD is experiencing this at school, this shouldn't be happening and of course things can be done about it. The situation sounds awful for all concerned at the moment. You say you are sure the school has tried to address it which made me wonder if you've not kept up regular dialogue about this with her teachers, maybe just because you feel the situation is hopeless, I'd suggest you need to reopen that dialogue and keep the emphasis on what plans are in place to keep your daughter safe rather than what they are doing with the other girl. Hope things start to look up soon. brew

emmelinelucas Sat 17-Jan-15 17:11:10

Keep telling the school. They are supposed to be safe places ? The girl needs help, but children should not be subject to her behaviour.
What a terrible situation.

wheresthelight Sat 17-Jan-15 17:24:24

if you aren't getting anywhere with the head or the governors then I strongly suggest you speak to the area education office.

they are not allowed to ignore the behaviour and they should be dealing with it better

whothehellknows Sat 17-Jan-15 19:01:09

Well, we sort of have to take the school's word that they're taking steps to deal with it, as they can't really go into much detail about what they're doing with another student. Another problem is that when we speak to teachers or head about particular incidents, the response will often be "well, staff didn't see/hear that happen, so we only have your child's word for it." So that isn't helpful.

CaspoFungin Sat 17-Jan-15 20:24:43

We'll if she's like this to all the children then I'm pretty sure she will be excluded from the others and soon it will probably be her being bullied. Poor child, if they aren't doing anything wrong at her then her poor parents. They might be trying all they can to improve things, what if nothing's working? Imagine it was you and you had to resort to dropping off and collecting your child at different times as the other parents were hostile to do despite you doing your best.

calmexterior Sat 17-Jan-15 20:29:27

What are the parents doing? The girl sounds like she needs some help. I wouldn't really call it bullying if she isn't roping other children in, I would say that she has a personality disorder. But I'm not an expert and I dread all this with mine....

ChocLover2015 Sat 17-Jan-15 21:00:22

I think their is fault on both sides. The poor mother too intimidated to pick her child up because of parental playground bullies is shocking.

Another problem is that when we speak to teachers or head about particular incidents, the response will often be "well, staff didn't see/hear that happen, so we only have your child's word for it

Not saying that is the case here, but it is pretty common for a 'naughty' child to get blamed for all manner of things ,real and imaginary, even when they haven't been at school that day. Kids cotton on that making up stuff about child x gets their parents' attention.

It does sound as the girl has some 'issues' going on and I am sure the school have involved what ever agencies necessary .They are clearly not going to get rid of her or they would have done so already, so you must encourage your children to stand up to her. As regards physical violence, yes hitting back is probably the best way for your child to protect themselves. Wrt to the 'psychological' stuff, that pretty soon loses effectiveness when their threats don't come to pass.

wheresthelight Sat 17-Jan-15 21:01:19

just because it is 1 girl and not a group does not mean that it isn't bullying.

I suffered at the hands of a solo bully for years and i am afraid that it was teachers with opinions like yours that refused to believe me. I was put in hospital by her and they still wouldn't admit it was bullying.

whothehell it sounds like the school aren't trying hard enough and whilst you won't get the infinite details they should be giving you a broad overview of their actions. I would be asking for a copy of their bullying policy and go through it with a fine tooth comb

Inkanta Sat 17-Jan-15 21:10:06

This is for the adults to sort out. Children should not have to endure bullying when they go to school. It's for the adults to swiftly intervene and safeguard their environment.

emmelinelucas Sat 17-Jan-15 21:14:04

IME it is the children who hit the bullies who get punished.

ChocLover2015 Sat 17-Jan-15 21:52:13

I think children should be encouraged to fight their own battles wherever possible without running to mummy or teacher

IME it is the children who hit the bullies who get punished. Maybe, but it stops the bullying.

whothehellknows Sat 17-Jan-15 22:26:00

Why does bullying have to involve roping other children in? And if a single person isn't bullying, then what would you call it? She makes persistent efforts to hurt or upset her chosen "victim" until she gets the reaction she wants. Yesterday (at an activity outside school) she began by making animal noises at a girl, then calling her names, and eventually slapping her in the face so that she cried.

I think she probably will be left out of friendship groups and excluded from outings and birthday parties by parents, simply because it's really upsetting to feel that your child will be unsafe or that their special day will be ruined by nasty words or actions. Although the children may not want to play with her, I don't think they'll resort to bullying or being nasty to her. They're a lovely group of kids.

I do feel sorry for the parents. I've observed a couple of tantrums she's had with them, and they certainly have their hands full. And I'm sure it must be awful to sense that no one likes your child, and to be left out of the general chat at drop off and pick up time. But at the same time, shouting and being aggressive in the school yard towards parents who are upset that your child has injured theirs, isn't going to attract much sympathy.

whothehellknows Sat 17-Jan-15 22:51:59

Actually, I don't think it is the "poor mother too intimidated to pick up her child because of parental bullying". My understanding is that she became shouty and aggressive in the school yard when another parent approached her to talk about the situation. I can't say for certain, but I believe the school made alternative pick up arrangements to prevent further incidents.

Overall, I've found the parents at the school quite an understanding and inclusive bunch. There are a couple of kids with SN who can hit out in certain circumstances and have managed to properly injure other students (and teachers) including both my kids. But then we just talk through what's happened and why with the kids, everybody accepts it as part of life and nobody blames their parents.

choclover it's interesting that you mention the idea of the "naughty" child who gets blamed for everything. That has sometimes been the school's response, as well as her parent's. "Oh, child X always gets blamed for everything, the other kids are picking on her." They're entitled to their perspective, but it's tough to swallow when you see your own kid emerge sobbing at the school gates because of something she's done.

WitchesGlove Sun 18-Jan-15 05:26:12

This isn't automatically SN, some kids are just nasty pieces of work.

It's not an excuse for bullying others anyway.
Incidentally, do you know what happens when other kids hit back? does that make her stop?

Perhaps the other children should have a buddy system where when she bullies there's always someone else to help protect against her.

When she name calls, tell your dd to scream blue murder in the girls face, and do anything possible to get a teachers attention.

If she is sensible give her a personal alarm and get her signed up to self defence classes.

BuzzardBird Sun 18-Jan-15 13:07:47

You have to keep complaining. You need other parents to back you up. You need to know exactly what their policies are on bullying.
You need to let them know that you will take it further if you are not satisfied with them safeguarding your child.

NewYearsHangoversHurtAlot Sun 18-Jan-15 13:15:18

Flipping it round to her perspective.

To me it sounds like she's being excluded (a form of bullying in itself) by the other children, so to make herself seen and heard and to get attention she lashes out. This is reinforced as a positive by her parents reaction and so the cycle continues.

I'd bet a lot of snipping at her is done by the majority of kids away from the teachers and she then gets the blame as she holds the naughty kid label.

Have any of the kids attempted to befriend this child properly? Or are they all too intent on getting her into trouble?

Lucyccfc Sun 18-Jan-15 13:50:20

Of course she has been excluded by the other children. Who wants to play with a bully?

We have a similar issue at my DS's school, but unfortunately the bully also lives near us, so my son has now stopped going out to play football on the communal area because of this boy.

I know a bit about his home background and did have a lot of empathy for him and used to invite him round to play and have lunch etc. unfortunately the situation got worse at school and I lost all sympathy for him. My sympathy was with the other kids in the class who he was kicking, hitting and slapping. He constantly disrupts games and when the other kids ask him not to, he will hit or punch them. He pushes in line constantly and kicks the other kids when they say anything. He name calls for the slightest thing. He has also started pinching the girls who have started to develop. He pinches their buds. He is an all round nasty price of work and most of the other kids don't feel the school is doing anything to help them in terms of his behaviour and bullying.

Myself and other parents have been going in to talk to his teacher since the start of the year and if there is one more incident with my DS I will be escalating it to the Head. I would then report to the Governors and if all else fails, I think the Local Authority would have to be informed.

It really isn't fair that children have to put up with this for years and years - imagine the impact on their education and self-esteem.

My DS and I are so looking forward to him starting at senior school, as he won't have to put up with this particular child.

BuzzardBird Sun 18-Jan-15 14:04:08

We don't exclude the child at our school though. Part of us knows that the child is a victim too. It makes no difference but I have had to stop playdates (which she begs me for) as the physical harm done to DD at the last one was terrible.
I keep addressing the school and the new teacher has told me they are aware of a lot of issues.

Pestering the school is the only way to go sometimes.

SorchaN Sun 18-Jan-15 16:45:00

I would tend to suspect that the bullying child is a victim of bullying by her parent(s). There was a little girl down the road from me a couple of years ago who bullied other kids in the street. When I saw her with her mother it was immediately obvious where the child's behaviour originated.

SorchaN Sun 18-Jan-15 16:49:09

As for what can be done about it... I was talking to a friend about a situation where one of my kids was being bullied at school. He said his child (same age as mine) had been bullied (in a different school). I asked how he handled it and whether the school were helpful. He said the school seemed unable to prevent it so he got took the bully aside and threatened him with physical violence if the bully didn't stop bullying his son. This seemed to solve the problem. Not sure I'd recommend it though.

Patsyandeddie Sun 18-Jan-15 19:59:25

Get your kids to a kick boxing class and then tell them to deal with the little shit!

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