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To not send DD back to school?

(61 Posts)
MumInTheCity Sun 10-Mar-19 11:49:28

DD is 13 and in year 8. Throughout primary school she was happy, intelligent, sociable but could be quite anxious. Since starting secondary school she has been extremely unhappy and her anxiety is through the roof. It’s been getting worse and worse since the beginning of year 8, mainly due to low level bullying. DD hasn’t really made any friends at school, she says none of the children like her, they all try to avoid being anywhere near her, they exclude her and they argue over who has to sit next to her or stand near her in the line.

DD’s anxiety became so bad that she started to self harm and talk about suicide. I have had endless meetings at the school, involvement with social services, CAHMS, and various other services. I have been as cooperative as possible, but nothing has changed.

Last week DD confessed, after much coaxing, that the bullying had stepped up a gear. She detailed some incidents of name calling, her being humiliated in front of a big group who all laughed along, and showed me some memes on her phone which had been sent round about her, criticising her appearance mainly.

DD is absolutely terrified of going back now that she has told me all of this. She says now that she’s told on them she will be bullied even worse and beaten up by them. The schools response has been to tell me that teenage girls are horrible and DD needs to learn more resilience. That the bullies will continue as DD is giving them the reaction they want (crying and being distressed.) As far as I’m aware, no action has been taken against the bullies.

In light of this, I do not want DD to go back there. I can’t put her through it and I no longer trust the school to safeguard her adequately. I have completed an in year admission form for other schools but there are no places available right now.

I’m not sure what will happen if I just keep her at home for the time being? Can I get in trouble? And AIBU for refusing to send her back?

Waveysnail Sun 10-Mar-19 11:55:29

If she's self harming I wouldn't be sending her back.

Madratlady Sun 10-Mar-19 12:03:39

You could see if your GP could sign her off while you find another school place. Alternatively you can deregister her and home educate. It’d be up to you and your daughter whether it’s a long term thing or whether you just do it until you find her a place elsewhere.

LittleOwl153 Sun 10-Mar-19 12:06:31

I would pull her out. She shouldnt need to go through this at 13yrs old. What is the area you live in like for schools? Can she go to another school without being massively out of area? (Just thinking it might be hard for her to fit in if she never sees school friends outside fo school due to living so far away).

Yes if she just doesn't show up you will have the education welfare at your door, as it will be unauthorised absense. Can you get your GP involved? will they give her a 'sick note' for a couple of weeks - will that help her? It would keep school of your back for the period but not indefinately.

You need to rebuild her confidence. Are you in a position to home school for a while - get in with the local homeschool groups so that she does not become isolated further? Things might have changed but it 'surprised' me how quickly a school place became available for a home schooled child. Personally I wouldnt want to take on homeschooling a secondary kid for any length of time as they do need to keep up to get their exams (and I wouldnt be able to cover a broad enough syllabus).

Mosschopz Sun 10-Mar-19 12:07:57

It’s very common to see these problems in Y8. It seems to be the year for it. Every individual incident needs to be fully investigated, statements taken and a meeting with yourself and your daughter arranged so it can all be discussed. Only then will it be possible to identify any fault and get a balanced objective view on what has actually happened. Your DD’s perception of events may not presently be the complete picture and if you move her schools without exploring what the issues are and how you can support her developing resilience, the problem will just follow you.

Madratlady Sun 10-Mar-19 12:13:27

LittleOwl that’s not entirely correct- there’s no requirement for a child to do certain exams, either at the time they would at school or at all. A home educated teen could spread out their exams over a longer time or focus on fewer exams if they need specific ones for future study, they could study an alternative qualification or in some areas colleges run 14-16 programmes for home educated children so that could be an option.

SnuggyBuggy Sun 10-Mar-19 12:17:07

I went through this at her age and it was very damaging. I don't see much benefit to her being in that environment at all.

MereDintofPandiculation Sun 10-Mar-19 12:27:41

I went through this too, and it was damaging. Not just in terms of self esteem, but also I was being excluded from social groups, so while other children were practising their interpersonal skills, I had little opportunity to do so, and the more my interpersonal skills slipped behind those of my peers, the more I was excluded. That has had a lifelong effect.

I don't know what the solution is. Resilience is important, and that comes from self esteem, not needing the acceptance of others. But it will be difficult to work on this while she's still in the same school - her position in relation to her peers has already been established.

adaline Sun 10-Mar-19 12:28:28

Is there the option to change schools?

Please don't send her back there sad

NaughtToThreeSadOnions Sun 10-Mar-19 12:29:43

Just want to say wow moschops nice victim undermining there. Christ. I'd hope to fuck it wasn't very common for a child to be so excluded in year 8 thst they talm about being suicidal. I was badly bullied throughout school, and i can safely say this level of bullying is not "very common" at all. And your suggestion that the victims account is some how to be disregarded is quite frankly distrubing. As is the schools attitude.

op i don't think you can reasonably send her back as you've saud you've lost faith in their ablity to safegaurd her. Howevef as others said you need to do at least one pf two things, either go to the GP and get her signed off with anxiety, or deregister her and home educate. Remember home ed does not need to follow the tradional curriclum or indeed take place within school hours. I'm wondering if deregistering and de schooling might be good for her, at least in the short term until the start of year 9, when hopefully she gets a fresh start at a new school.

I woukd recomend if you take this route though you look in to home ed groups, hobby groups (sailing, horse riding, guiding, scouting, even sport clubs football, swimming) so that she doesnt become totally isolated. And it might even help build up her confidence if she finds herself making friends. Because despite what the school say im absolutely sure not all teens are so nasty they can drive another child to such desprate messures

FullOfJellyBeans Sun 10-Mar-19 12:30:22

Don't agree to home school but don't send her back in on Monday. Take her to the GP as PP suggested. Look for another school place. Your poor DD. Can you afford any kind of private counselling for her?

VelvetPineapple Sun 10-Mar-19 12:39:11

I went through this too, and it was damaging. Not just in terms of self esteem, but also I was being excluded from social groups, so while other children were practising their interpersonal skills, I had little opportunity to do so, and the more my interpersonal skills slipped behind those of my peers, the more I was excluded. That has had a lifelong effect.

I can vouch for the truth of this. It happened to me and at age 40 I still have difficulty trusting people and making friends. I’ve led a very isolated and unhappy life because of the long term effects of this sort of exclusion bullying.

There’s little chance of things changing in the current school because her position of being a figure of ridicule and disdain has already been established. Once you’re known as “Scabby Abby” or whatever, and kids are laughing and calling you gross and disgusting, no kid is going to risk themselves by bucking the trend and being friendly. The bullies will continue to bully and the rest will continue to exclude and ignore so they’re not tainted by association. If you are able to remove your DD from school please do so. Enroll her in extra curricular activities to build her confidence and either home educate or send her to a different school.

MumInTheCity Sun 10-Mar-19 12:41:19

I hadn’t thought of getting her signed off by the GP, that’s a really good idea. I am homeschooling at the moment but I do work part time and I’m a single parent (she has no contact with her father) so it isn’t a long term solution.

We are in London so all of the schools near us are oversubscribed.

I do agree that DD needs to work on her resilience but I don’t think that is going to happen in an environment where she is terrified and depressed all the time.

I have tried to get counselling for her but she refuses, she gets really anxious at the thought of talking to a stranger, and on the one occasion I did take her she just sat in silence and refused to communicate with the counsellor.

MumInTheCity Sun 10-Mar-19 12:42:57

Just to clarify, when I say I am homeschooling at the moment, I don’t mean officially. She is still registered at her current school, but I have bought lots of resources and put together a timetable so she is still being educated whilst at home.

SnuggyBuggy Sun 10-Mar-19 12:43:20

Definitely what MereDinto said.

OMGithurts Sun 10-Mar-19 12:46:48

The schools response has been to tell me that teenage girls are horrible and DD needs to learn more resilience. That the bullies will continue as DD is giving them the reaction they want (crying and being distressed.)

Have you got that in writing? That's appalling.

MumInTheCity Sun 10-Mar-19 12:51:11

OMGithurts - sadly not in writing, but said on the phone by a head of faculty who I really liked and had always been helpful and supportive in the past. I was so disappointed and told him he was victim blaming, and pointed out that at least 50% of the children bullying DD are boys, so it’s nothing to do with girls being bitchy. He became defensive at that point and the conversation soon ended. We have a meeting with him at the school tomorrow to discuss everything.

Lostmychristmasspirit Sun 10-Mar-19 12:53:21

GPs can’t sign people off from school. They can write a letter of support for which they can charge as it is not an NHS service.

I would take her to the GP to discuss further CAHMs/therapy referral.

Also the school sound fucking pathetic to be honest and totally victim blaming your daughter. Why ‘should’ she work on her resilience? Saying they will keep doing it because your DD gives them the reaction they want? Fuck that, I would have gone nuclear on them if they had said that to me. Remove her NOW.

t1mum3 Sun 10-Mar-19 13:15:22

Naught "I'm wondering if deregistering and de schooling might be good for her, at least in the short term until the start of year 9, when hopefully she gets a fresh start at a new school."

OP, if you deregister, you may want to check what impact that has on finding a future school ie. you may need to re-register in order for your in year application to be taken forward I believe. Worth checking.

On the resilience aspect, in general I don't think it hurts to role play some basic techniques for de-escalating bullying. Whilst it is absolutely not the target's fault, it's like learning self-defence. If you can play through some of the scenarios and practice different kinds of responses, that can be really valuable.

DishingOutDone Sun 10-Mar-19 13:17:06

OP, I am a long way down the line with this my DD is under CAMHS and now in year 11 - there are a number of support groups with a wealth of information about the school's responsibilities. Whatever you do at this stage please do not de-register her. Here's one of the groups, add yourself on their facebook pages and you will see there are a couple of others that are excellent; you'll be able to talk to parents in the same boat and others that are very knowledgeable:

www.notfineinschool.org.uk

Is your daughter currently seeing a CAMHS practitioner? We had to get (pay for) a letter from the GP, even though my daughter was under CAMHS. Also in your area there may be an IAS provider - independent advice for people whose children are struggling to attend school. You can get a caseworker to advise you on your rights and help you to tackle the school. Service varies by area but they will be able to answer all your questions. There is so much support out there you just have to do some digging:

councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/information-advice-and-support-services-network/about

(IAS support children with anxiety and depression as well OP)

Hope some of this helps.

SnuggyBuggy Sun 10-Mar-19 13:17:32

Resilience is important but so is teaching that it's better to avoid toxic people and to give them limited headspace where avoidance isn't possible.

ScarlettSahara Sun 10-Mar-19 13:24:53

Mum in the city - I am so sorry this has happened to your DD. School should have nipped this in the bud. I’m afraid this behaviour amongst teens is not uncommon but it shocked me when I came across it.

I think the sick note is a good idea. Would it be possible to home ed and look for your DD to repeat the year at another school? It does sound as though it is going to be difficult to redeem the situation at her current schoo.l flowers

bluejelly Sun 10-Mar-19 13:27:24

So sorry your dd is going through this. Definitely think about changing schools. Even if they are oversubscribed in year 7 they often have gaps higher up the school.
On a separate note - I was bullied quite badly at that age. I got through it, mostly because my parents were kind and supportive. The school was shit. Now in my 40s I do think it helped me develop empathy and resilience. Don't lose hope, your dd will get through this with the right support.

BarbarianMum Sun 10-Mar-19 13:35:48

Resilience is for the occasional off comment, or for when friends fall out. Not for bullying on this scale! OP get her out of there. At home for next week whilst you decide what your options are. Poor kid.

OMGithurts Sun 10-Mar-19 13:46:19

OP make sure you take notes at the meeting and then get a written summary from the school.

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