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Does the school need to do more about bully?

(35 Posts)
AmiU Sun 11-Feb-18 22:28:16

I need a bit of advice as this is my first child in school and I didn't go to primary in the UK, not sure if my expectations are unreasonable. Sorry in advance for the incredibly long post.

My DD5 started Reception in September. A couple of months in, she told me a little boy was pushing and hitting her repeatedly. I'll call him Jack (not his real name).

I spoke to her about the importance of standing up for herself and saying 'Stop. I don't like that'. I taught her to tell a teacher every time he doesn't listen and continues to push/ hits. I went in to speak to her teacher, to make her aware of the issue. I also explained that Jack isn't a bad person, but if he behaves badly there is nothing wrong with telling a teacher. DD5 is very shy, quiet and non-confrontational so I thought it was important to keep the teacher in the loop, and she said she fully agreed with and supported our approach. She said they've had a lot of trouble with Jack, and have assigned one TA to keep an eye on him at all times. So far, so good.

The problem I have is that the actions don't really seem to match up with the words.

- when my DD5 initially came to me, she told me she had first told a TA about Jack but the TA told her "if you don't know his name, there's not much I can do". DD5 didn't know his name but easily pointed Jack out to me. Surely the TA could have asked her to point out the child?

- DD5 has continued to have problems with Jack. She told me this week that when he wouldn't stop hitting, she told the TA but the TA said 'I'm busy right now', so there were no consequences for Jack. She's now nervous to interrupt the TA again.

- the parents are invited to attend Reception on Wednesday mornings to help with group work. I've repeatedly observed that either a TA has to be dedicated to Jack or he hits and pushes the smaller/ quieter kids, particularly the girls, particularly when out of sight of adults. A lot of the younger kids are still 4 and haven't told their parents. The school hasn't told the parents about the hitting either. I know because he hit a little girl extremely hard (enough to push her to the ground) in front of me, so I spoke to her mum who is a friend, as I know this child has been bullied before. The little girl then said Jack has hit her repeatedly, and she sometimes tells the teachers. The parents of the little girl weren't informed.

I have a bit more to say about some troubling reactions I've noticed from Jack's parents, but I think my post is too long already. One last thing, I don't think Jack should be villified at all. He is a little boy who needs support. My little sister was a terrible bully and the school worked with my parents to discover she had undiagnosed dyslexia which caused her to lash out at school, even though she was a great kid and is a great person.

But, AIBU to say:

- there have to be consequences to hitting every single time
- it's unfair that one of only 2 TA's has to be dedicated to Jack all the time
- the school should at least inform parents that their kids are being hit?

BlueMirror Sun 11-Feb-18 22:57:27

On the first occasion I agree that the ta should have got your dd to point out Jack IF it happened how she told you. If she's not very confident maybe she just told the teacher she didn't know who it was?
It's also not unheard of for kids to have to wait when a teacher/ta is busy with something else so you need to encourage your dd to either find another member of staff or wait if it's important.
Parents should certainly be informed if their child has been hit and it's been seen which I'm assuming it was if the child has a ta with them. There should also be a consequence.
I think that considering what you have said though Yabu to say it's unfair that he has a ta allocated to him. It sounds necessary and will surely help your dd and the other children who are being hit if as many instances as possible can be averted.

AmiU Sun 11-Feb-18 23:26:10

Thanks! I guess I'm just a bit worried that although the teacher backs me up when I speak to her, the overall approach is quite "sweep it under the rug".

i think I might as well set out the stuff with Jack's parents as well.

At a birthday party, I had stepped out to take a call, all the other kids and parents were in the hall, I saw Jack follow a little girl out (not seeing me in the corner), and hit her to the ground. His dad was in the doorway and was the only other adult who saw what happened. He just guided Jack back into the party, no telling off or apology, and ignored the little girl who I helped up once they went inside.

- I know this sounds like I'm a terrible eavesdropper but completely by coincidence my DD lost a bit of uniform, and I went into her classroom to find it. The teacher was clearly in the middle of speaking to Jacks mum about the bullying, and the mum said 'jacks never ever had a problem with hitting'. Obviously this isn't true, and I've seen him hit his mum in the playground for 'getting the wrong jumper' and throw incessant tantrums in the playground

- last Friday, I took DD to a cafe after school for a treat, she got a biscuit. Then Jack and his mum came in, and sat at the table next to us. He had a brownie. He kept showing it to my DD, saying things like 'I got a big brownie and you just got a biscuit'. Not a word from his mum. When he'd finished, he came over to my DD, and said 'actually I wanted a biscuit like yours'. I could see DD was a bit intimidated, when she didn't say anything and he kept staring at her I finally said 'I'm sure they have more', but again not a word from the mum, although she chatted to me about other stuff.

I feel like the parents don't seem very concerned and the school seems to managing rather than sitting the behaviour.

Totally ready to be told I'm being over sensitive for my PFB

BlueMirror Sun 11-Feb-18 23:37:34

None of what you've said changes the issue imo.
I would assume the dad thought the little girl was with you and as she wasn't hurt didn't want to start chatting about it while you were on the phone. Maybe he forgot later or was avoiding a difficult conversation?
His mum may not know that he has a problem with hitting and think it is occasional? Especially if the school isn't reporting it happening there.
The conversation in the cafe is typical kids stuff tbh. I would probably have told my kid to stop gloating but I'm sure most young kids can easily deal with that kind of thing themselves.

DaviesMum Sun 11-Feb-18 23:43:09

Jack sounds a delight. I think, at the risk of generalising somewhat, that some people (and children) are just bad. There is no rhyme or reason, be it biological, medical or social - they are just horrid. Jack sounds like one of them.

KeepServingTheDrinks Sun 11-Feb-18 23:45:50

But, AIBU to say:
- there have to be consequences to hitting every single time
- it's unfair that one of only 2 TA's has to be dedicated to Jack all the time
-the school should at least inform parents that their kids are being hit?

So, hitting isn't great, but these kids are only little - age 4 - 5? - and they're still learning. Giving 'Jack' a 1:1 TA means the school is doing a LOT.

I find it confusing you want to school to 'do something' but the something they're doing, you object to. They're giving him 1:1 support to minimise any harm and (hopefully) to help him find other means to communicate with his peers.

The school should absolutely inform the parents if their child is marked in any way. Otherwise, no, not really.

I really don't think you should be discussing 'Jack's' antics with other parents or other children.

KeepServingTheDrinks Sun 11-Feb-18 23:47:16

That's very harsh #DaviesMum

He's very young for you to write him off so absolutely.

AmiU Sun 11-Feb-18 23:55:36

sorry, I think I was unclear in my OP. There is another little boy with SN, he has been assigned a 1:1 TA. Jack hasn't been assigned, just one TA has been asked by the teacher to constantly stay with him. I do think it's unfair, as the school thinks the class has 2 TA's, but effectively only 1 is left to deal with everyone else.

Re speaking to other parents, I know 2 other families I'm friendly with and whose children have been targeted, and I haven't said anything because I wouldn't want to see a little boy ostracised. The girl whose mum I did tell (I'll call her Anna) was because Anna's mum had confided in me that Anna had been bullied badly in nursery and had really struggled to tell an adult. In that case, I felt it was wrong to watch her be bullied again and not mention it.

Thehogfather Mon 12-Feb-18 00:14:33

I think the school should be telling parents if dc have been hit hard enough to fall over, but at the same time if other parents are bitching about bad jack then I can understand their reluctance.

Dd went to primary with a child who 'unfairly' had a class ta to himself in reception, because he had sn and didn't yet have the funding for 1-1. He also tended to lash out when he was struggling. And funnily enough the parents and staff didn't go round in reception telling all and sundry about his sn being the cause. Nor did I feel jealous that he needed a ta to himself.

It's also perfectly possible the hitting is a new thing.

The school do have a duty to protect the other dc from being hit etc, which they are failing at, but otherwise it's none of your business.

I also think it's pretty shitty to go round eavesdropping and to go sharing this boys behaviour and circumstances that you witness as a helper. Also shitty to call him a bully when it sounds like he has a problem of some sort.

BlueMirror Mon 12-Feb-18 00:27:28

So there is a ta funded for a child with sn, one shadowing Jack and another for the rest of them? That sounds like more than enough tbh. I've never known a class have more than 1 general ta.

AmiU Mon 12-Feb-18 00:34:01

blue thanks, that's the sort of info I didn't have, as I don't have any experience of what primary school is supposed to be like. It's good to know 1 TA is quite enough.

thehogfather I'm not sure if you read my posts? I haven't discussed Jack with anyone, bar one mother and the teacher. No one is 'bitching' about Jack. I wrote 'bully' because I think that's the correct word forone child persistently hitting others? You state that the school are "failing in their duty, but other than that it's none of my business" but that's my whole question: are they failing?

BlueMirror Mon 12-Feb-18 00:39:48

Maybe others have a different experience but some classes in my dd's school only have one part time ta and it's an oversubscribed school with 32+ kids per class. It would be very unusual for there to be 2 general ta's in a class in state schools at least - I've never heard of it.

RandomUsernameHere Mon 12-Feb-18 00:53:04

YANBU, it sounds like a horrible situation and I would be upset in your position. If a child is pushed to the ground by another child, the teacher should absolutely be informing the parents of both children. It sounds like "Jack" needs a lot more support and that the school should be doing more to protect the other DCs.

SandyY2K Mon 12-Feb-18 01:03:45

I have experienced bullying with one of my DDs. She was also quiet and one particular boy targeted her. Pushing...shoving. ..on one occasion her punched her in the chest ....I was furious. I asked the teacher what they were DD told me he also hit other kids... .usually girls too.

I said I send my DD to school and expect her to be safe.

To make matters worse. ..they paired them up to do some work. ..he was nothing but a headache for DD. I asked why she was put with him...when he was giving her grief. ..the response "they try to put a naughty child with a well behaved one they can try and learn from them".

I's been a few years...he isn't learning and my DDs learning is being affected having to work with him. So I pretty much demanded that she not be paired with him any more. They complied.

I don't know if he has behavioural problems or was just a bully. ..but he continued bullying my DD even on the year 6 PGL trip. It was 4 years of this behaviour. Not on a daily basis. ..but incidents occurred from year 2 to year 6.

So ...they were going to the same secondary school. .and I asked that he should not be in her class or have any lessons with her at all. The chances would have been slim anyway. he's much lower ability. .but they could have been in the same tutor group.

Some kids are just plain naughty and unpleasant.

Jack's parents are ignoring his behaviour which is typical in my experience. I used to help out in school too..and often parents of naughty kids. .especially the boys...tried to pass it off as "lively" "boisterous" "energetic".

NO. You have a naughty child. with it and stop making excuses, while they torment other kids.

OP. ...if you aren't satisfied. ..make an appointment the head teacher. Using the words "It's affecting my DDs learning is key". I told the HT. ..I know he's bullying other kids. ..I know you can't discuss thst for reasons of confidentiality. ..but I know it's happening. I told her the names of the other kids and she just nodded. I knew because the other parents had told me.

You send your child to school to learn....if that's being affected. ..don't let it go.

I see it my role to protect my DD..... because she was too quiet to keep telling the teacher. ..but she told me all the time.

toomuchtooold Mon 12-Feb-18 07:19:42

Maybe there would be less chat about Jack among the other parents if the school were on top of this. They should be telling parents if their child had been hit, although in the UK IIRC they can't tell you who the other kid is (when my twin DDs were in nursery this led to the Kafkaesque situation where I'd be separately informed that one of my children had been bitten by another child, and then that my other child had bitten another child...), the TA and teacher should be alert to reports of hitting, not dismissing it, and they should be looking to get him some additional support.

We've had the same issue with one of our kids' little colleagues in Kindergarten (we're in Germany) and although our KG is as gossipy as all hell, I've actually never heard anything about this kid from any of the other parents. They got a dedicated TA for him and although he's still a bit of a terror his behaviour has improved a lot and he seems a lot happier. It's not just for the other kids that this is important, it's also for the boy himself. If they get him a bit of help now he should be able to sort himself out and actually benefit from his education.

gingerh4ir Mon 12-Feb-18 07:30:43

sorry, I think I was unclear in my OP. There is another little boy with SN, he has been assigned a 1:1 TA. Jack hasn't been assigned, just one TA has been asked by the teacher to constantly stay with him. I do think it's unfair, as the school thinks the class has 2 TA's, but effectively only 1 is left to deal with everyone else.

where do you think a 3rd TA just for Jack would come from. it all boils done to funding and money. My DD has autism and severe LD and has 1:1 support but we had years of fights to get things into place and now we have an EHCP. but it isn't as easy to just put another TA in.

also unusual that your DD's class has 2 TAs. 1 TA is pretty standard and she still has that.

AmiU Mon 12-Feb-18 07:34:42

I see it my role to protect my DD..... because she was too quiet to keep telling the teacher. ..but she told me all the time.

This is exactly how I feel, I hate that she's already being taught her voice and experiences don't really matter as much as this boys

CoraPirbright Mon 12-Feb-18 08:41:12

Well, they may have told a TA to keep an eye on Jack but its not bloody well working, is it?? In the nicest possible way, stop pussy footing around and go in and see the teacher again and tell her you are going to the head if things dont improve immediately. Jack will, in all probability, grow up to be a lovely young man but just now, just in his 5 yr old self, he is a nasty little bully and needs to be told that this behaviour is not acceptable. This isnt happening either at school or at home apparently and your dd and others are being assaulted on a regular basis. Nobody seems to be pulling their fingers out to sort this - you need to push harder!

AmiU Mon 12-Feb-18 09:58:10

Cora thanks you're right, I think I need to go have another talk as it's been months and there doesn't seem to be any progress or update.

Tbh, I think the incident at the cafe really rattled me. When he came up to DD to demand the biscuit I could see her frozen with fear all over her face and I'm livid to think she could feel that way at school, without anyone to back her up.

HollyBayTree Mon 12-Feb-18 10:01:57

Jack hasn't been assigned, just one TA has been asked by the teacher to constantly stay with him.

How do you know this ?

AmiU Mon 12-Feb-18 10:21:18

holly I assume, as the TA's have been the same for a couple of years (friends kids attended the same reception class) and no new TA's have been added during the school year.

Sorry if the TA was a red herring, my AIBU is I don't think the school is handling the situation effectively, just 'keeping an eye' and 'monitoring' without really solving the issue or updating parents

GreenTulips Mon 12-Feb-18 10:31:20

You need to email the school with each and every incident of violence
Schools work on evidence and without evidence they don't have a paper trial to give him the suppprt he needs - it may feel like telling tales but you word it as

'DD has been upset today because of X incident - she is bed wetting/refusing school/not sleeping as a result of these issues

Tuesday DD has come home saying X hurt her in the play ground - please explain how you will safe guard my child in future

Wednesday DD was upset after school today because Jack through her to the ground and pinched her fruit. Again can you clarified how you intend to safeguard my child please

Keep going

AmiU Mon 12-Feb-18 10:48:50

greentulips thanks it's become clear I need to have another conversation.

I don't know how to do it without sounding accusatory - I want to make it clear to the school that I want to work with them and I don't expect overnight progress but at the same time, we need some updates/ progress

GreenTulips Mon 12-Feb-18 10:52:47

Your issue here is that you're too busy concerning yourself with Jack - Jack isn't your problem

Your problem is keeping your daughter safe at school - it ends there

What Jack gets in terms of help or punishment isn't your business

Your daughters well being, mental health and physical state is your priority

You can be as understanding as you like but it won't help you or your daughter

Thehogfather Mon 12-Feb-18 15:20:10

Disagreeing with you op doesn't mean I haven't read your posts.

Whether jack is lashing out for a genuine, faultless reason (sn, recently adopted etc) or because his parents are idiots who allow bad behaviour, it has no bearing on the schools responsibility to protect other dc from him. Until such time as Jack can control himself it is the duty of whichever adult is in charge to ensure he doesn't hurt anyone. And I do think that is a valid concern to raise.

I just don't agree with the assumption he must be a bully. Maybe his parents are the type of witless pfb fools who view his behaviour as spirited and typical boy etc. In which case he is no more a bully than a 2yr old who hits without thinking, because at 5 he still doesn't know any better.

Or his behaviour could be the result of a genuine issue that isn't the fault of he or his parents, in which case to accuse him of having the mindset of a bully is pretty vile.

Regardless of whether you agree with me, if you go into school with the mindset that Jack is a bully and it's unfair he hogs a ta, backed up by the evidence from your eavesdropping, and the admission you share situations you witness as a helper, then your valid concern that school should be safeguarding your dd will not be taken seriously. You need to stay away from what is happening with jack and focus on your dd's right not to be hurt.

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