to think that my darling teen niece has lied about something so serious she has potentially ruined someones career?(355 Posts)
My lovely neice is 13 years old. Since the start of secondary school at age 11 she has been bullied. Although it has been all verbal and never violent, it has had a huge impact on her life and i've seen her go from a bubbly, confident girl to one who sits in her room constantly and doesn't know how to communicate anymore. It got to the point where DNeice was getting abuse from most of the kids in the class at every lesson, at break time, walking home from school, so it was happening several times a day. She is very bright but hates school or anything remotely academic as a result of the bullying.
My sister (neices mum) knows all about the bullying but has as much told her to get on with things and tell the kids to fuck off. Easy enough if neice was like that, but she is so painfully shy, it is never going to happen. I have thought about going into school to sort it for neice, but I didn't want anything bad to come of it, like making it worse for her, or my sister and I falling out. My neice has asked sister to move school on so many occasions, but Dsis has always refused, just for an easy life I suspect.
So now after 2 years of this DNeice has made an allegation towards one of her teachers. I can't go much into it but the teacher has been suspended and police have been involved. Dsis is STILL making DNeice go to school while all of this is happening and somehow, the kids in her class have got to know about it and as you can imagine, her life is a living hell with all the questioning and pointing, and word spreads quickly, so most of her year know about it now.
Thing is, I think my neice's allegations are false. I completely understand her reasons for coming up with this allegation, she wanted a way out, a way to actually make sis send her to a new school as it was probably the only way for her to get out of this hell hole of a school. I don't know what to do. If I ask DNeice directly, she will think I don't trust her and I am really the only adult figure in her life who she sees as reassurance and trustworthy, someone to talk to (least I hope she feels that way). Please advise.
Why do you think she is lying?
It is possible that it's true.
for your poor niece. Unfortunately in situations where a young person is under tremendous pressure (more often from home or home circs), teachers sometimes do get dragged in.
Is she an intelligent girl? Will she understand the enormity of what she has done (assuming you are correct in your impressions) warrants her making the bravest decision of her life and actually admitting that she did not tell the truth. If there could be some light at the end of the tunnel for her in this well, such a resolution to her troubles, then it may turn out not to be the worst thing that will happen to her in this decade.
I think you are right to want to protect your status as privileged adult in her life. Is there any chance you could take her for a long walk and get her talking and thinking through what she has done?
I think you need to stay out of this because you may think her accusations are false, but you don't know for sure and she's not going to tell you.
Wow. Tough one. How sure are you that she is not telling the truth?
You need to give her a safe way out. Talk to her alone, and tell her straight, that you understand exactly why she might have made up these things, explain your thoughts, tell her that you need to know for sure, and that its okay to admit the truth. Tell her that you will help her and support her anyway.
If you make it safe enough for her to admit the truth, if you can help to give her support without judgeing her, if she trusts you enough she will tell you the truth. It's hard to back out when you are in such a mess, you need to let her lean on you.
If it's a false allegation, there isn't really a 'safe way out' though, is there?
Because if I were that teacher, i would be looking to take action against the pupil who made a false allegation. Teaching Unions would agree on this.
Not suggesting it is false btw, I have no idea, and i don't know exactly what you know OP, but this is a really serious situation and if she's lied it ought to have big consequences. The girl's mother may well have dealt with the situation very badly, and not been the mother her daughter deserves, but neither does a teacher deserve to be falsely accused.
Thanks for your replies.
I have my neice coming over later and it will just be the two of us, so I hope to get some truth but I very much doubt she would own up if she is lying.
I just so get the feeling that it isn't the truth. Things can't get any bad for her at school, so what does she have to lose by telling this lie? She is going to be moving schools in a few weeks DSis just emailed me, so through lying, she got her result.
She is a lovely young girl, but I can't help but think she isn't telling the truth. FWIW, the allegations against the teacher are sexual. So very serious. I think if she is lying, when she is an adult, she is going to look back on the lies - if indeed they are lies - with so much regret, disappointment in herself and hurt that she ruined this teachers life and possibly also, career.
The big problem I see is that what if it IS true?? If, as you say, you are one of the few adults she can trust, then questioning her is going to shake that seriously at a time where that may be the last thing she needs.
You've entirely convinced yourself she is lying.
You really need to take a step back if you want to have any hope of getting her to talk to you, because she's going to be able to sense your conviction from a mile away.
Keeping in mind of course, as you mentioned the allegations are sexual, that many sexual predators choose children that are alienated, vulnerable in some way or less likely to be believed.
You can't know what happened. You weren't there. All you can do is support your neice emotionally. You are not really in a position to question her. No doubt she will be questioned by the appropraite authorities who will be experienced in these matters.
If i were you I would treat her normally and listen if she talks about it but would not ask her any questions.
I agree with Cammelia
Your best bet is to stay neutral.
She will be questioned very closely by specialists and you have to put your faith in their ability to get to the truth.
And whichever way it goes, she's going to need support, because if the allegation is true, then she's going to have been through a bad time, and will need emotional support. And if she's lied, then she will be in for a really bad time.
I think your problem is largely with your sister - whom I'm really angry with for you
Your poor niece is in a very difficult position because if it comes out she is lying it sounds like your sister is likely to make her stay at that school and not help her
Yes of course predators pick on vulnerable children but if she is lying it will be too much to live with in the future.
This is what I would do (only if it was me). I would talk to her and tell her that I fully supported her, that I would intervene on her behalf to move schools even if she was lying. I would tell her that her consequences for lying would be unbearable in the future and i would say that I thought her mother ought to have her move schools. And I would make that happen - going to the school and involving social services if necessary.
She sounds desperate so I would offer her all the love and support I could and I would tell her that I understood if she was lying and that i could see that she needed to.
I hope you do get at the truth. If the teacher has deserved the allegation, then all well and good, and good on your niece for raising it; but, and this is a big but, if the allegation is false and you find this out, then you have to tell someone, as no teacher deserves to have their career (and life) ruined by false allegations.
Even if the allegation is proved to be false, the stigma of having been accused will hang over that person for the rest of their career, as even though the allegation has been proven malicious, it won't be possible to fully disclose what has happened in order to protect your dn.
Teachers are people who have families and kids of their own. Your dn's allegation could trigger a social services investigation into that teachers home life and how their own kids are. Teachers who have been accused in the past and who have been innocent have killed themselves because of the pressure on them and their families.
Now your dn has got the result she wants, hopefully she will withdraw the allegation if it is untrue.
Good post scaryteacher.
That is how serious it is if she's lied. She will be directly responsible for ruining another person's life.
IF she has lied.
Plenty of rape victims have also killed themselves because the people they trusted most didn't believe them.
I agree with Cammelia.
My dh is a teacher and the consequences for our little family would be even worse - our foster daughter would be immediately removed if an allegation was made against him at work.
So our previously abused foster child would be taken that day from the only man she has ever trusted because someone at school alleged something against him.
yes, we have all the safe caring techniques in place at home and he does the very best he can at school to minimise allegations (he doesn't do school trips because of her now) and he only sees children with another adult present but it could still happen.
I have to say this is the only thing I really worry about and we have even talked about him going to live with his mum if that happened so that dd could remain with me.
The trouble is I don't know how you can possibly broach this with her without her hearing 'I don't believe you'. And I'm with expat and Cammelia - that's the last thing you want to do if the allegations are true.
I think all you can do is show her you're there for her, perhaps tell her how glad you are she's moving school and talk to her about that and see where it takes you? But not bring up the allegations directly.
Poor girl, either way .
I do tell my foster daughter that I don't believe her when she lies. She did something a few weeks ago that I knew she lied about (a gut feeling about the way she was telling the story). The key is too attach no emotion or consequence to why she told the lie, reiterating always that I am hear for her, why lying isn't helpful in our relationship, saying that everyone tells lies sometimes for many reasons.
I am always upfront with her when I don't believe her, always honest with her and always saying that I am still here even when she doesn't always tell me the truth.
Your niece needs someone to trust - I really hope that it can be you
please excuse all the spelling errors in my post, typing fast
please please take notice of everyones good advice and listen to your niece.
hope you can provide the support she needs!
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