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Really want to have it out with school but maybe im over reacting?(162 Posts)
So to cut a long long story short me and OH split up a few weeks ago after a long abusive relationship. We’ve never lived together but he was staying at my house a lot. I kept going back because I thought there was no other choice, but once he hit me in front of our child I realised what i was doing and left. I got a non molestation order and even after the non molestation order was served he continued to harass me by phone and email. I called the police a couple of times but it seems that if they go to his house to arrest him and and he doesn’t open the door there’s nothing they can do. All they say is his name is circulated and if he ever gets stopped and searched then he will be arrested. (What are the odds on that?)
Anyway after I’ve done all this and finally started to control of my life again he’s started to try and control me in other ways. The day after I changed my email address and phone number he rang my daughters school (she’s just started reception) and spouted a load of accusations about me to the head teacher. He said things like I don’t feed her, she lives off of chocolate, never has breakfast etc and probably a lot of other nasty things. The school then got in touch with my social worker (who I have because of the domestic violence) and the social worker came to my house and literally said if there were any concerns then it would of been apparent before. She asked to look at my cupboards and freezer and said they were well stocked. She herself said this was a way of control because I’ve taken all the control away from him and now he has to try something different. She told me not to worry and that he will probably try something else soon. Now my problem is my daughter has come home from school today, yesterday and the day before telling me her teacher has been asking to look through her lunchbox to see what she has to eat. I asked if she did this to everyone’s lunchbox or just hers, and she said just hers. I don’t think her lunches have been bad with a sandwich, cut up cucumbers, an orange, banana, grapes, some strawberries and a croissant. Some days she’s had cocktail sausages instead of croissant. I’m just fuming that the social worker can see it’s all a lie and a way at getting back at me for cutting off all contact but the school are taking it seriously. I can’t feel ok inside knowing the school will probably check her lunch everyday and probably ask her everyday what she had for dinner the night before. Although it seems like nothing I really don’t like it. I was just about to call the school office to speak to the teacher but I stopped myself. I can’t move on with my life and try to feel a happier more confident person if I’ve got anxiety about this aswell as everything else. Surely they could have checked it once and then seen it was fine and left it at that. I won’t be made to feel like I’m being tested everyday of my life.
They have to check the lunchbox. Children being sent with nothing can still have food filled cupboards at home. They’re just doing their job.
Wouldn’t checking it once and seeing it’s fine be sufficient?
I haven't voted as I think it's a bit of both. You know it's your ex getting at you the only way he can, your social worker also sees this. The school have a duty to safeguard children in their care. They are checking because if it was true they don't want to miss it. I would maybe contact them and say your daughter is noticing only her lunch is checked and if she is noticing others will too. They could do random checks on all lunches and achieve the same thing. I would partly be glad the school take it seriously. Have they heard back from your social worker to confirm what is going on? Do they know your partner has left?
I can understand that this is upsetting when both you and the social worker know that she is well fed but the school really are just doing their job. They have to put the child's welfare first and take all accusations seriously, even if they end up being shown to be malicious. I'm sure that they won't be checking her lunchbox for the rest of the time that she's attending that school!
I used to work in a school and 99.99% of the time these kind of accusations were false.
But imagine the 0.01% of time they were true and it hadn’t been picked up because someone hadn’t bothered to spend 2 minutes checking a lunchbox.
I know it’s really horrible for you and I’m sure the school think everything is fine but can’t you see why they have to check?
The school have to act independently of social services. They will need to make their own checks. Its nothing to worry about as you say she has a reasonable lunch. You could always book her in for school dinners if it bothers you. They are free for reception/yr1/yr2.
Tell you daughter not to worry, that they are just making sure she's OK. Don't ask her to much about other kids it will only worry her.
Clearly the ex is going to be difficult. Save your energy for the next thing he chucks your way.
Wouldn’t checking it once and seeing it’s fine be sufficient?
No. What if a parent was on guard for a few days and sent lovely packed lunches before returning to sending nothing once the heat was off? They need to check more than once.
I can see why it's upsetting but the school are doing the right thing in checking up. Can't imagine it's going to be a long term thing.
for you though, sounds like a very stressful time and while it would be easy to take it out on the school, they aren't the major issue here.
I am so sorry for what you have been through, and I understand that you feel victimised by the school - but they are looking out for your daughter. Surely you wouldn't want them not to bother following up an allegation? Schools have a legal duty to protect children in their care and follow up concerns. Once they see your daughter is well provided for they will stop. Imagine if an allegation had been true and the school didn't bother to follow it up. It would be awful.
They know everything. They know I have a non molestation order. They have said they will not allow him to try to collect her and if he did try they will call me straight away. They’ve spoken to the social worker themselves and I’m pretty sure the social worker would of said it’s all lies. The social worker actually has no concerns and said she won’t come round anymore so I’m anxious that the school aren’t so sure.
Actually this could work to your benefit.
If school are checking all the time and can see there’s no issues, and you make it clear that you are happy for them to check they are less likely to believe anything he says in future (they may still have to act, but it’s human nature not to believe someone who has lied before.)
You also have independent evidence that you are doing a good job should it be needed later in court.
I would look at it the other way. I know that I'm doing the right thing and the school will realise that soon enough. But, if these measures would stop another child from abuse I will do as needed.
Yabu unfortunately. Schools have a duty of care to their pupils. They can keep a factual eye out on the wellbeing of their charges without making their own assumptions. Your daughter may be one of the lucky ones, but what about the next child? If they dismissed things on the basis of worrying how the parents will take it, many children would slip through the net and not get the help/protection they need.
The key here is fact. Schools record facts not opinion. If they are keeping an eye out on DD’s meals and recording that she is being well fed, all that will be on record if your ex makes trouble again. A picture will be being built up of a mum doing her best and a dad stirring up shit. Let him dig a hole for himself
Schools and social services are primarily there to look after the best interests of children. They are often criticised for not checking up on potentially at-risk kids.
If they are having a quick look at your DC's lunchbox then just be glad that they are doing their job. It's not meant to be a criticism of your parenting.
Some of the big cases recently where children have died - awful cases - partly happened because one responsible party thought 'oh well, x or y service said so and so was fine, so we will not follow up on our concerns '. So now every responsible party has to satisfy themselves that all is well as best they can. Try to remember it is not personal. It is a system designed to be belt-and-braces. I'm a teacher and we always have it firmly impressed upon us that is doesn't matter what we personally think about the truth of any allegations or concerns, they all have to be followed up in the same way, regardless. It definitely can cause upset to parents such as yourself, and that is regrettable, but the potential benefits to kids outweigh that risk.
That sounds really hard and he sounds awful but the school are just doing their job. You have nothing to hide so don't need to feel you're being tested (easier said than done I know). Much better theyre checking where its not needed than some poor kid going hungry and they let it slide so as not to cause offence.
As above really, this is additional proof you’re doing an amazing job. Also, there is a chance they do check others but your daughter isn’t aware. You can always ask what the policy is, and if you feel she’s self conscious ask them to sort that out.
I understand what you’re all saying. It’s just hard to take in because older DD was there for 6 years and then went into secondary school recently. (Not same dad) and they’ve never had any concerns about her and Infact they said she was the most well bahaved and intelligent person in class. Her teacher said she was so good at maths that she could see her working for NASA so it is upsetting to think that now I’m being watched for something so awful as not feeding my kids properly.
What a pp said. The fact that the school is checking (and they have to if only to tick a box to prove that they're safeguarding) then you have another independent organisation who will back you up if things go further.
The more people (in an official capacity) who have factual records to say you're doing a good job, the better for you.
Also it works in your favour if he tries to pursue the accusation. The school can say he's lying because they checked the lunchbox several times.
The school have to take this seriously. Imagine the situations where it was true and they hadn't checked.
It's a shit situation but just try to stay calm and collected; you'll come off better.
I'd rather the teacher discretely check a child's lunchbox, than miss a child being neglected.
Your social worker is too lax. It's great that she has no concerns, but making statements like "if there were any concerns then it would of been apparent before" suggests she's not remaining vigilant to possible risk, as she should with any client.
I know what you mean, you feel like the school should know you well enough to know how unlikely this is. Thing is they likely do. But that's totally irrelevant, they have to check. Even if you were the teacher's best friend or the sister in law of the head, they would still have to check. It's a legal requirement. So try to remove that fear that they are judging you.
I understand why this is upsetting, but the reality is, they're just doing their job. Concerns have been raised - however unjustified - and they are following up to satisfy themselves that your little girl is ok. It sounds like she is absolutely fine, so you have nothing to hide.
Try to see it as them caring about the wellbeing of your daughter, rather than checking up on you. And perhaps ask for a meeting with them to see if you can reassure them that you are caring for her appropriately and want to work with them to promote her wellbeing. The more open and less defensive you are about the situation, the more likely they are to see that things are fine.
Yep, definitely don't "have it out" with the school! They could be your greatest ally in the future. You need to have them on your side. Don't get stroppy with them.
They're not doing anything wrong. It would be nice for your daughter if they were being a bit more subtle, but I honestly don't think they'll do this often or for long. Like I said, they need to tick a box in their records. But that box might be really helpful to you at some point.
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