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WIBU - to keep my son off school?

(23 Posts)
MissTeri Tue 17-Oct-17 11:52:28

(Sorry, this is long - NC'd for this one)

My son is 7 years old and is being bullied by a child at school (also 7 years old). The child also bullies lots of others but my son seems to get the worst of it. Parents won't allow their children out playing on the street when he is out as he's threatened to kill them and has hurt them.

Earlier this year (before summer holidays) this child hit my son in the stomach and face with a rock. The school were aware and the child was told off and missed a lunch break. I also told the childs mother as we are/were friends and she was upset and told him off and things were better for a while.

Last week this child slammed my son into a wall on the first occasion. Then on another occasion slammed my son into a wall, my son fell to the floor (he says because he was so hurt) at this point the other boy kicked my son in the stomach and then the face!

I went to the school and the teachers were aware of it and said they'd keep him in all his playtimes next week (meaning this week). I asked what would happen the next time this happens and what they have planned for future problems as obviously this is ongoing and now my son no longer wants to go to school over it all. They said next time they'll inform the head teacher. I decided it wasn't good enough and contacted the head teacher myself, he was horrified and has arranged a meeting for next week (he's away this week) but has said that this week my son would be safe at school due to the other child not being allowed his break times.

Again I told the boys mum what had happened, largely because we're friends and I didn't want her to feel that I'd gone behind her back in speaking with the head teacher. Also because he son has anger issues and she's trying to get him help, I felt she needed to know about these things as it may help her when trying to get help if that makes sense? I was so nice to her about everything, I said I understand how difficult it is for her too and that I didn't think us falling out would be helpful for the boys. Her reaction could not be further from her reaction the first time around, she was insisting her child would not be missing his break times - I told her if she has a problem with that then by all means contact the school and not me, she didn't apologise nor did she ask how my son was. She just kept reiterating that her son would not be missing break times and that she would keep him off school if that were the case so he wouldn't have to hmm She also said her child said he had only pushed my son (her son had told me himself he'd done it at pick up time on the day it happened which I told her) I told her I was shocked by her reaction and didn't feel we could continue our friendship.

Later that day her son and her husband came to the house to apologise. I asked her son what he was apologising for - for kicking my son in the face or for pushing him (which is what he'd told his mum he'd done), he admitted kicking him in the face. His mum later messaged apologising for her reaction and everything and said they'd taken the decision to home school him - I very much doubted she would do this but whatever. Yesterday her son was off school so I kind of thought perhaps she would be home schooling. Yet today her son was back at school.

Now I'm wondering if she kept him off yesterday to get hold of the school to see if he would be missing his break times ... and if the school have in fact backed down over the punishment. If this is the case then ideally I'd like to keep my son off school until I can have the meeting with the head teacher next week as they've gone back on what they have told me was in place to at least keep my son safe this week. Would I be unreasonable to do so?

fantasmasgoria1 Tue 17-Oct-17 12:11:27

Goodness how awful for you and your son! I can only say I was bullied horrifically at school and on occasion I didn’t go to school because of it. I resorted to skiving off school to escape the bullies and on occasion my mum allowed me to take a day as she would rather me safe at home than skiving , hanging around in a park etc if you feel that his safety is threatened then fair enough. My mum went to school on many occasions and nothing was ever done about the bullying but at least you are being vigilant and communicating with school. Tell them you are keeping him off perhaps they can give him some work to do at home?!?

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 17-Oct-17 12:21:41

Call the school and speak to the deputy head, relaying your conversations with HT and state if the boy has had the punishment rescinded how are they keeping DS safe?

MissTeri Tue 17-Oct-17 12:27:24

Tell them you are keeping him off perhaps they can give him some work to do at home?!?

Good idea about the work to bring home. I'll definitely ask for that if it comes to keeping him off. Thank you.

Call the school and speak to the deputy head, relaying your conversations with HT and state if the boy has had the punishment rescinded how are they keeping DS safe?

The deputy head has gone somewhere (I have no idea where) and won't be back until after Christmas apparently, I'll have to find out who the acting head is for the week. From my conversation about it with the HT (email and phone) he has said he is having a firm word with all the staff regarding the problem and that he would make them aware of the contents of our emails so whoever is currently in charge for the week should know.

Hoping I'm just getting ahead of myself and that they will follow through with what they said initially. I'm feeling nervous sat at home waiting to see how my son is getting on today sad

taratill Tue 17-Oct-17 12:46:01

I wouldn't keep my DS off school in these circumstances. If the school is failing to keep him safe then you need to consider other schools.

Have a meeting with the head, it is a safeguarding issue. If the bully is not being punished what steps are they taking to keep your child safe? NO child should have to stay off school for this.

Poor you, poor your son.

taratill Tue 17-Oct-17 12:46:41

Plus if you keep your child off they will be marked as unauthorised absence and they/ you could be punished for someone else's wrongdoing.

steppemum Tue 17-Oct-17 12:59:58

Ok, you are in a difficult situation as both HT and DHT are out.
This would be my plan:
At pick up check with your ds that the other child was in at break time. If he was, then leave it, school is doing as they said and you can then follow up with head next week. If ds says he was out at playtime then tomorrow morning:
1. go in to school with ds and ask to speak to whoever is acting head this week. Be calm and clear that you cannot leave ds at school until you have spoken to someone.
2. repeat to the person you speak to that HT had promised you other child would not be out at break and so ds woudl be safe. You would like reassurance that ds will be safe at break, guarantee that other child won't be there.
3. If the perosn you speak to cannot guarantee that, tell you will have to keep ds at home to guarantee his safety.

I am guessing that the above will be enough to ensure he is safe.

Next, you need to deal with the situation next week with the HT.
Just to be clear, the HT cannot discuss another child with you. Your priority for the discussion is the safeguarding of your own child. It sounds as if the head is on the ball, and it is his classteacher that has allowed it to slip.

Don't get into any further discussion with the other boys mother, just smile and say - the school is dealing with it, and disengage

taratill Tue 17-Oct-17 13:04:56

Why should the OP take her child out of school to keep him safe? If he is unsafe due to the actions of another child then THAT child should be excluded.

I hadn't picked up the the HT is not there, I'd call the LEA if you cannot resolve it.

steppemum Tue 17-Oct-17 13:18:31

tara - the OP should HAVE to take her child out of school, but if the school (in the absence of the HT) is not acting and the other child is left free to roam, then insisting she will keep him away unless they can guarantee his safety is the only option that might get action.

taratill Tue 17-Oct-17 13:21:50

steppemum but the school can mark that as unauthorised and her child is missing on an education.

It would absolutely and utterly be my last resort and only after complaining to the LEA.

Taking her child out is removing the problem for the school without the school having to take action.

steppemum Tue 17-Oct-17 13:31:45

I hear what you are saying tara, but at 8:40, when given a choice between leaving him there without an assurance of his safety, or removing him, I would remove.

I think it is highly unlikely that the school will allow her to remove him, by that I mean that they will work something out so he can stay.

MissTeri Tue 17-Oct-17 14:02:42

I wouldn't keep my DS off school in these circumstances. If the school is failing to keep him safe then you need to consider other schools I tried that. I contacted two schools nearby just before the summer holidays and applied for a place there. They told me there were absolutely no spaces left and a waiting list for that year group (room in every other year group though - sods law)! They did tell me I could appeal which I intended on doing but the other child was actually due to move away last week with his family but the move fell through last minute. That's why I ignored the initial pushing into a wall thinking the child would be gone by the end of the week, after a conversation with his mum (prior to the latest incident) it transpired they wouldn't be moving after all.

I'm at a point now though where I really don't want to move my son. I feel like it would be setting an example of walking away and no sticking up for yourself? He lacks confidence and never sticks up for himself and I think I need to show him by my actions that sticking up for yourself can be a good thing if you do it in the right way.

I hadn't picked up the the HT is not there, I'd call the LEA if you cannot resolve it To be honest I'd feel I hadn't given the HT a fair chance if I go to LEA this week as he can't help being off (he says work related), which is why if all else fails this week I'd prefer to keep my son off for the next 3 days and then hopefully sort something with the HT when he's back. If nothing is resolved then LEA is my next port of call.

Although I'm not entirely sure what the HT can do long term to ensure the safety of my child. He did say it shouldn't have been possible for it to have even happened as there are enough supervisors around at break time, his response implied he'd possibly be having a word as to why this was allowed to have happened. He did take it seriously but obviously they can't keep the other child in permanently. I have requested a copy of their anti-bullying policy and that a record of all corrospondence be kept on my sons file too. I'm not sure what I can expect from it all realistically, in some way I feel they're failing the other child too as from conversations with his mum it seems he's not getting the help he needs either (but that's her battle and not mine).

Mittens1969 Tue 17-Oct-17 14:09:41

I’m so sorry you’re going through this, the school should definitely be doing more to resolve this. This boy is clearly out of control and it’s horrible for your DS and the other kids that he’s hurting.

I do agree with the idea of giving him work to do at home so that he doesn’t get too far behind.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Tue 17-Oct-17 14:15:16

This is a horrible situation for you and your child to be in. It sounds as if you are tackling this in a very level headed and sensible manner.

Please remember this - in years to come, when your ds remembers this time, and what this boy did to him, he will remember how you were his staunch protector, how you stood up for him, and how much you did to ensure his safety, both physical and emotional.

As a victim of school bullying myself, I am sure that this support from you is vital - without it, as I know to my cost, the damage can be life long.

Allthewaves Tue 17-Oct-17 14:25:48

I find it worrying that the head teacher wasn't informed straight away. If any child lays hands violently on another child in dc school they are sent straight to the head teacher.

Have the school got their complaints policy on website. Usually it teacher, head teacher, board of governors then Lea.

Schools failing both kids here. Not protecting one child and not having adequate supervision for the other child.

There's no money now so parents are left fighting to try and get additional support and everyone looses.

I get the mums reaction a little. I have one with sen linked anger issues and the worse thing that can happen is being kept in a break and lunch - he becomes like a caged animal and then meltdown/lashes out. So once you said about loosing break then that's all she probably had in her head and didn't hear anything else.

MissTeri Tue 17-Oct-17 14:40:14

As a victim of school bullying myself, I am sure that this support from you is vital - without it, as I know to my cost, the damage can be life long thank you, it really means a lot to me. My brother also has suffered life long effects of bullying and I know how heartbreaking and devastating they can be, I can't let that happen to my son. I'm so sorry you went through that and that you're still suffering the consequences flowers

I find it worrying that the head teacher wasn't informed straight away. If any child lays hands violently on another child in dc school they are sent straight to the head teacher Both HT and I were concerned that he (and I) were no informed about it too, I'm quite sure that won't happen again (I bloody hope not anyway).

Have the school got their complaints policy on website. Usually it teacher, head teacher, board of governors then Lea No school website but I'll ask for the complaints policy during the meeting.

I too understand the mums reaction to an extent, I think everyone can feel on the defensive when it comes to their children, completely natural. I would hate to be in her position as much as I hate being in mine.

bunbunny Tue 17-Oct-17 14:43:36

OP, get an email to the school so there's a paper trail documenting everything.

Make sure that you put in it that the school is failing in its duty to safeguard your child. (unfortunately there is a system in place whereby you can use other words that mean exactly the same but they don't trigger the same special internal response that OFSTED looks at and that the school have to react to).

Explain what you were told was going to happen, state that it seems that this is not happening and ask as a matter of urgency that you are informed exactly what measures will be taken to safeguard your child while the other child is in school.

State you realise that the HT and DHT are not currently around so that it needs to be picked up by whoever is in charge in their absence, but copy them in for info/politeness.

Might be worth copying in the head of governors if you feel that might make them take it more seriously.

Might also be worth contacting the education officer at the council (no idea of their exact title, but I'm sure you should get passed on to the right place) and asking for their advice - saying that you are worried for your child, feel that currently the only way you have of keeping your ds safe at the moment is to keep him off school but you don't see why your son should have to suffer as a result of being bullied...

Good luck and hope your son is ok.

MissTeri Tue 17-Oct-17 16:12:41

Back from the school run.

Asked my son as soon as he come out if the other boy was out at break time and surprise surprise he was. I asked for a word with both boys teachers (they're same year but the year group is split). I did initially say I'd like to remove my son for the next 3 days until I could speak with the HT, but having heard them out I think my son will be safe enough and I'd just be pulling him out to prove a point. The gist of it is that the boy is now having one on one supervision during break times which is a more suitable long-term solution and one I'm also happy with. I did ask if this meant he wouldn't be punished though as I do feel that really he should be as it was a serious incident, they assure me he is being punished and that they couldn't say more about that which is fair enough. It seems as if the other boy may be getting more help too which is a good outcome. They did apologise for going back on their word but I think I'm happy with what they've put in place as an alternative. I just hope this will now be the end of it. fingers crossed

steppemum Tue 17-Oct-17 16:39:12

That sounds like a great solution, let's hope it works.

I think Allthewaves has a good point actually, while he needs to be punished, I do think keeping some children in at break/lunch can be very counter productive as they need to burn off extra energy. I assume that is one reason they have changed the punishment

emmyrose2000 Wed 18-Oct-17 02:44:24

I think the school is letting you down massively here.

They didn't follow through on today's punishment.

They didn't alert the HT as soon as the original incident happened.

They aren't taking serious steps to deal with this boy's behaviour.

They aren't keeping your son safe.

They are letting him get away with his bullying and your son is suffering as a result.

If I wasn't given an appointment for first thing the day HT is back, where all my concerns were addressed to MY satisfaction (not theirs; MINE), I'd escalate this all the way through the education department if necessary.

In the meantime, send an email to the HT, cc to the governors (or whichever is relevant in your area). In it, list out all the incidents' so far, and the school's lack of response to them. Tell the HT you will be in first thing Monday morning (or whatever day they're due back) to discuss this in further detail. Mention the school is failing in its duty of care to keep your child safe from this bullying.

And stop wasting time worrying about the bully and his mother. They aren't worthy of a single second of your concern.

GirlInASwirl Wed 18-Oct-17 04:40:03

You also have the option of going to the education department above the school - via your local council. And explaining that you need a dialogue to be opened about the lack of child protection and failing that the education department could tell a school in the area to accept your son in the circumstances - even if they say they are above numbers.

You have this in your arsenal if speaking to the head again smile

TheHungryDonkey Wed 18-Oct-17 06:39:23

I’m surprised the school doesn’t have a website. That’s rather basic and I thought certain information had to be put on it.

WhatwouldAryado Wed 18-Oct-17 06:47:38

If the school is failing to safeguard your son then the school is inadequate and you need to act accordingly. Too many schools don't try to tackle very persistent bullies. They won't act until they stand to get an inspection

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