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To think that many schools do not take bullying seriously enough?

(8 Posts)
poshsinglemum Sun 27-Sep-09 11:48:20

I am reading with horror an article in today's Sunday Times entitled ''The bullying of common sense.'' It outlines a case whereby a dinner lady was sacked because she told parents the real details of how theoir daughter was tied up by a group of boys and whipped with a skipping rope. The school had just told the parents that the girl was involved in 'a skipping rope incident.' apparently the dinner lady had breached confidentiality.

I am fuming. It seems to me that many schools are more concerned with maintaining a reputation than sorting out bullying.
I am a school teacher and I am aware that many schools are a hotbed of bullying among both staff and students. I have been on the other side of the fence and was bullied psychologically at a prestigious private school. The teachers did very little to help and in fact the whole set up seemed to foster bullying.
One could of course argue that bullying at school is inevitable. Anyone who has ever read Lord of the Flies will be aware of how cruel kids can be when sorting out the social hedgemony in a group. Some people also drone on about how bullying is a 'right of passage' and makes people stronger.

I on the other hand believe that schools need to face up to the bullying issue and try to foster a supportive environment whereby staff are trained to spot signs of bullying and deal with it effectively.Also students must be encouraged to stand up to bullies and include those children who are isolated from their peers.

I am terrified for dd and the 'happy slap' culture that is so endemic in the UK.

Incidently I am aware that adults can be just as bad in the workplace and I am kind of sick of it.

sickofsocalledexperts Sun 27-Sep-09 12:00:51

I agree poshsinglemum. I think schools have lost their way in all this "nurturing the child" or "praising the good behaviour" and have forgotten that many kids are savage little shits who need to learn that unacceptable behaviour - particularly bullying - gets them a bad result, so that they learn not to do it again. In our world of star charts and self-esteem, we have lost sight of the need to discipline what are in the end just young human animals. In no other species in the animal kingdom do the young rule the roost, yet that's the way we're going in this society where feral teenagers can drive a woman to take her own and her disabled child's life rather than suffer bullying in her own home. Don't get me wrong - I would neever advocate violence, but I do need we need to find something in our schools which is aversive for kids. This is a particular issue for me as I also have a special needs child, who quite literally cannot answer back to bullies (he can't talk much). I dread the day when he is alone in the world with people who will call him terrible names or worse, because they have been brought up to respect no-one but themselves and their own needs. Rant over!

cheesesarnie Sun 27-Sep-09 12:05:41

i agree.ds1 was being bullied and the school more or less said oh dear.they were far more concerned about the bully and his family than my dc.i know of atleast 6 children that have been bullied at my dc school and left because of it,whilst the bullies carry on to the next child until they leave.ds1 didnt leave-we put up a fight!

Nancy66 Sun 27-Sep-09 12:16:27

I agree that serious bullying needs to be tackled in a much firmer way.

But, on the other hand, I think many parents are quick to shout 'bullying' at something that is nothing more than run of the mill playground behaviour. I've got two friends that are primary school teachers in London who say that a mum will come to them about their child being 'bullied' pretty much on a daily basis. Often these incidents are something as basic as one six year old saying to another 'you're not my friend and you can't come to my party.'

Unfortunately I think over protective parents can distract from the bigger problem.

But with regard to problems like the girl tied up with a skipping rope and beaten then, yes, there should have been swift and decisive action. Many schools seem to claim they have a 'zero tolerance' towards bullying but nobody seems sure of what that zero tolerance policy actually is.

cheesesarnie Sun 27-Sep-09 12:23:26

'Many schools seem to claim they have a 'zero tolerance' towards bullying but nobody seems sure of what that zero tolerance policy actually is. '

very true.our school had no idea.i asked for a copy of the anti bullying policy and had to wait 3 days as they 'didnt have it to hand'.hmm

poshsinglemum Sun 27-Sep-09 12:34:07

Nancy- But saying that someone isn't your friend because they are nasty is one thing. Saying someone isn't your friend because they are 'uncool' is entirely another.
Ostracising is a harmful form of bullying.
If a kid is awful and hits others then I think a fair dose of ostracism is fine. I do think mabe kids need to be encouraged to include others if they are decent.

sickofsocalledexperts Sun 27-Sep-09 12:53:56

Maybe we on mumsnet should come up with a zero tolerance policy for schools to implement on bullying - mumpower at work! What about - any bullying on grounds of race, religion, disability, hair colour or brainpower to be punished with a 1 hour exam, to be taken in the head's office over the lunch hour, in silence, and to be marked so that if it not up to the passmark, it is taken again the next day. Would that be a deterrent? It could be a written or maths exam, depending on where the kid needs most work? Or, the bully's name is given out in the parents' newsletter at the end of the week, for naming and shaming? I can just hear the bleeding heart liberals claiming that these punishments are cruel. No, they're not, not in any real world where we are properly disciplining our young, but they might just act as a deterrent. And for the parents who make teachers' lives a misery by refusing to accept the teacher's word about their brat's behaviour ("it's the school's fault, you're not challenging him enough so he's acting up because he's bored"), name and shame them in the newsletter too and let the mums' mafia loose on them at pick-up time!

deaddei Sun 27-Sep-09 14:32:36

Yes bullying happens, and any school which says it doesn't is lying. The teachers just don't know about it or ignore it.
But I agree with Nancy that unfortunately some children perceive it to be bullying when it's just friends falling out, not wanting to play with that person at that time, or a genuine accident- being bumped into in the playground.
Sometimes only children find it hard to deal with "banter"- when you have older siblings, you get used to being called silly names (poopoo head springs to mind).
I was bullied- my dd was bullied in yr 4, so I know what it's like when it happens. Girls are the worst- and it's happening younger and younger.
In my job, I deal a lot with bullying, and it's amazing how many head teachers in very middle class schools who come up against parents who refuse to believe their children are bullies- and perpetuate it at the school gates with comments to other parents in front of the children.
I hope the head and governors at the Essex school has to resign- their behavior was despicable.

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