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Should I remove DS (11) from school? (Bullying)

(96 Posts)
ClaireD2212 Sat 06-Feb-16 00:45:09

Hi, sorry if this is in the wrong place, I'm new to Mumsnet. If it is, I'll delete it and put it somewhere else smile

I just have no idea who to turn to anymore, no one is listening to me, or my poor DS. Here's the story:

DS started Secondary School, in September, he was getting on well (so I thought) but during the Christmas Break, he came to me and just broke down. He explained to me how he couldn't go back to school and he can no longer deal with it anymore... I asked him why, etc. he explained that there is a 'gang' of people - some are in his year and they age all the way up to Yr 11 and they have been picking on him. They have been calling him names (he is quite small for his age) and sometimes even physically hit him, I told him that things will be okay and I would sort it.

We went up to the school (I had an appointment with his Form Tutor, after Christmas) he said that he'll put in a 'Bullying Report' and that was it. DS went back to school and when he got home, I asked him how it went and he said that everything was much better. I thought it was fantastic how quickly the school resolved things.

However, 2 weeks later, I was borrowing my son's laptop and there was a lot of history linking to many Tumblr pages - some about anorexia/self-harm/suicide, etc. this worried me a lot and when DS came home, I spoke to him about it and he said he was just looking at all different Tumblr sites, but I wasn't happy with that and I said I would rather he now used his laptop in the living room. That was that, I thought I would see how things went. A few days later, I was sorting out some of his Christmas bits, in his draw I found a pencil sharpener blade (it was loose, not inside a sharpener) and then I got a call saying that DS hadn't turned up to school. My heart sunk and I drove up to the school and explained the things I had found (I was thinking the worst) but then I got a call from him and he was asking me to come and pick me up, so I went and got him and he broke down and told me that things weren't better at school, but he didn't want me to worry. We had an appointment with the Head and Pastoral. They were both really nice and said he could be with them at break/lunch, while they sorted through everyone involved and got him to speak to a lady from the YMCA charity. However, no child was excluded.

Self-harming became a very frequent thing (with my 11, ELEVEN year old son) and this is when he got a CAMHS referral - we are still waiting to be seen. DS went back to school and, what the KS3 Pastoral described, 'had a mental breakdown' saying that 'no one is helping him', 'no one has stopped them tearing him apart' and I was called to collect him and take him to the hospital, which I did, he was assessed by CAMHS there and then said he would be followed up in the commuinity, this was yesterday. I'm just so lost. I cannot watch my child suffer like this, but I don't know what to do - he is locked away in his bedroom and doesn't want to leave and when he does, he will just sit and hug me and that's all he is doing. Does anyone have any advise? Sorry that it's so long, but I didn't want to have to keep adding bits sad

tomatodizzy Sat 06-Feb-16 00:53:04

I'm so sorry, I don't have advice but I do have a son of a similar age and I cannot imagine what you are going through. Can you look at other schools? What does he want to happen? If the self harm thoughts are coming from the bullying and the bullying is involving students in multiple years then the school needs to do much more than they have been doing. I know that doesn't really help. I'm sorry flowers

memyselfandaye Sat 06-Feb-16 00:53:09

I don't have any wise words, I wish I did, but in your shoes I would be waking him up right now and telling him he won't be going back to school.

Whether that's right or wrong? I don't know, but it's what I would do.

AlwaysHopeful1 Sat 06-Feb-16 00:58:32

That's truly awfulsadpoor boy. Op if it were me I wouldn't send him back. You can look at other options but nothing is worth your child feeling this way. Just hate bullies angry

ClaireD2212 Sat 06-Feb-16 00:58:57

tomatodizzy - he really isn't in a good way, he says he doesn't want to talk, because he isn't good enough to be talking, etc. I'm trying to get him to stop thinking that way, but I'm really not a professional. Going to a different school has to be a must, I just worry it'll be stressful for him as he is only a Yr 7 and mid way through the year will be so tough. Yes, the school hasn't seemed to have done much.

memyselfandaye - I think I'll have to, I just would hate to do the wrong thing, but I'm glad you think the same smile

ClaireD2212 Sat 06-Feb-16 01:00:17

Always - it's awful, it's ripped him apart and I thought things had been sorted sad I'm thinking he should be HS for the rest of this year... I just don't know

itsstillgood Sat 06-Feb-16 01:01:09

It is a decision only you can make.
If it is any consolation as a home educator I have heard tales such as yours so many times it is heart breaking and I have never heard anyone express regret at pulling their child out. Some only stay out for a short time before trying another school. But the big thing is the child seems to have felt listened to and more in control.
Find your local home education group (Facebook is good place to start) and ask for advice and support. Pulling out of school now doesn't have to been out for ever.

ClaireD2212 Sat 06-Feb-16 01:02:57

itsstillgood - thank you, that's what I'm thinking smile

AgentZigzag Sat 06-Feb-16 01:03:30


If it were me I'd keep him off until the school had their shit together and were able to guarantee that he'd be in a safe environment when he goes back.

You (and your DS) need to hear what strategies they're going to put in place to make that happen rather than just hearing their assessment of what's gone on (the pastoral description).

Keep reassuring him and drilling it in letting him know that he can come to you at any time, for any reason, and that you'll worry far more if you think he's not telling you about stuff that's happening to him.

I know there are all the procedural routes you'll have to go down with the school etc, but it's the weekend and two days can feel an eternity when you know your DC is going through such serious shit.

Was the blade there for the reason you thought it was?

AlwaysHopeful1 Sat 06-Feb-16 01:03:58

Yes hs would give him some time to deal with everything. Maybe get some counselling for him in the meanwhile and slowly integrate him back to school when he's ready. As an adult we find these things hard enough, I can't imagine a little child coping. You do what you feel is best for him. thanks

ClaireD2212 Sat 06-Feb-16 01:07:05

AgentZigzag - thank you for that advise and yes, it was sad

AlwaysHopeful - yes, I think CAMHS will provide all the counselling, etc. I really hope it isn't too long, he needs it sad thank you x

AgentZigzag Sat 06-Feb-16 01:09:48

'Yes, the school hasn't seemed to have done much.'

The school might have thought it had been dealt with (as you did), it depends what happened as a result of the 'bullying report', did they say at the time?

I mean was it just a log of what'd gone on or did it start the ball rolling on an investigation and things to resolve it for your DS?

ErnesttheBavarian Sat 06-Feb-16 01:10:07

My ds was bullied at primary. Then he moved to secondary and dome of the bullies unfortunately we're also in the same vlass, plus one new one for good measure. He also had such s hard time from his class teacher who I'm bullied him as well and certainly failed to adequately deal with the child bullies. I put forward the idea of him changing school and he was keen. He chose a boarding school and has been there since September. He comes home every Friday.

He is do much happier, much more confident, hasn't had any bother in fact seems to get on much better with the other kids and his marks have all improved. I'm not saying send your kid to be btw. But we changed and it has worked out perfectly.

It is so terrible for the kids but also for you as a parent worrying about him. I hope you can get it for you and cake for ds.

antimatter Sat 06-Feb-16 01:12:38

What about schools response?
nothing from them?

I would keep my child off school for now.

AgentZigzag Sat 06-Feb-16 01:14:48

sad Very disturbing for an 11 YO to be thinking along those lines.

It's something I associate (rightly or wrongly) with hormonal changes in DC a few years older, what happened to him must have been very traumatic for him to be thinking in such dramatic/drastic ways.

ClaireD2212 Sat 06-Feb-16 01:14:55

AgentZigzag - maybe, but I just feel like he should be looked out for, etc. like I do for him at home. It was a report which would be sent to his head of year.

Ernest - I thought about a day private school, there's meant to be less bullying at them, but I'm not sure I would want him there all week - I'm glad it worked out for your DC though x

ClaireD2212 Sat 06-Feb-16 01:16:30

antimatter - just that they're trying their best.

Agent - I do see what you mean, he's just so young and such a little boy too sad

ColdTeaAgain Sat 06-Feb-16 01:17:36

Think I would be considering HSing for the rest of the school year or at least until he feels ready to try a new school.

Are there any activities or clubs outside of school that he could join to help with his confidence?

Feel for both of you, it must be torture seeing your child so low but you are his rock and it sounds like you are a huge comfort to him.

ClaireD2212 Sat 06-Feb-16 01:20:16

ColdTea - I think it is a must. He was such a keen swimmer, he was on a squad, but said his back was playing up and couldn't do it, but that's obviously not the case - hopefully he'll be back to it soon smile thank you, we are very close.

AgentZigzag Sat 06-Feb-16 01:20:29

Same here with DD1 Ernest, but her school sorted it effectively within hours after me telling them.

It should be an expectation that schools will go all out to sort the inevitable bullying that goes on in every school, but there seem to be so many times they don't get it right and children are left defenseless in a place they have to be by law.

It's shameful.

tomatodizzy Sat 06-Feb-16 01:23:20

I would also keep him off. It would be my first response and I think the last thing you want is to send your child back into an environment that is having such a dramatic affect on his health. Is there a smaller school that could be an option or even look at private? You are 100% not doing the wrong thing by keeping him off school. I would do the same in your shoes.

itsstillgood Sat 06-Feb-16 01:27:22

This is what my practical advice would be.

Monday, take him to the doctors and get them to sign him off sick for a fortnight. Or just phone the school and tell them that is what is happening.
Promise him he won't have to go back if he doesn't want.
Spend the week on the sofa cuddling, watching films, eating chocolate. Resist the urge to question past or future.
Spend some time researching home education and chat online with some local home educators.
Make an appointment with the school for the second week, with or without your son to discuss what support could be done.
Take your time to talk it through with your son, both what school has put forward and how you both see it working if he comes out. Really make him feel listened to.

ClaireD2212 Sat 06-Feb-16 01:29:46

Thanks you 3! Great advise itsstillgood x

tinfoilhat Sat 06-Feb-16 01:45:34

I'm so sorry your poor son is going through this, heartbreaking for you all.

Don't let him go back to that school and very importantly, make sure he knows that you will never send him there again. Write a deregistering letter (Home Ed advice websites have templates of these, keep it short and to the bear facts) and make sure the school gets it on Monday. Then just let your son heal, don't worry about doing any 'work' until he wants to, just concentrate on the most important thing - his mental health and wellbeing. Spend time doing whatever he wants to do and help him find the joy and fun again in life. Don't worry about when/if he will go to a new school, just concentrate on getting your boy back.

You DON'T have to engage with the school, so if they say you 'must' attend a meeting to discuss your DS future/whatever just politely refuse. Once you have deregistered he is nothing more to do with them, all they do is advise the LA that he is no longer on their register.

Whereabouts in the country are you? Might be able to point you in right direction of local home-ed groups. As someone said upthread, unfortunately there are far too many children having similar experiences and once their parents pulled them out, life began again and they wish they'd done it sooner. There is plenty of support out there for you and your son.

You won't regret not sending him back to that school, you will regret the damage it will do if you do let him go back.

Hugs to you and flowers It isn't an easy decision to make, but once you've done it, the relief on your child's face will say it all. X

memyselfandaye Sat 06-Feb-16 01:48:02

If he was an adult I'm sure he would be signed off work.

He needs some breathing space. You say he loves swimming, are there any private pools for hire near you? We have lots around here, they aren't expensive, I pay £14-£16 per hour for me and my little chap.

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