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8 yr old ds being isolated from friends by school friend

(19 Posts)
Partridge Sat 16-Aug-14 19:50:39

My ds (8) is a quiet boy - quite anxious, takes a while to make friends, obedient, hates getting in trouble. We live in Scotland and he has just gone into p4.

Towards the end of the holidays he was expressing increasing anxiety about returning to school. In p1-3 he had a few good friends who shared interests and were on the quieter/nerdier end of the spectrum. In p3 a boy was moved into ds class from the other class as his behaviour had become unmanageable. I think he has additional needs and I know he has strong learning assistant support (1:1) in class but not in the playground.

He has poor impulse control, swears at teachers, climbs on tables and hits and intimidates children in the class. Up until mid-p3, my ds had managed to avoid him, but then he turned his attentions to ds. I see this boy as vulnerable - not intrinsically bad but i know he comes from a chaotic background and he acts out at school. He decided he wanted to be friends with ds, but that involves my ds being completely controlled.

Initially ds was coming home heavily bruised repeatedly and increasingly anxious, but this term it has escalated to this boy threatening and intimidating ds friends, hitting them or ds if they play together and isolating ds. I was called in to see the ht who expressed concern about my ds being unhappy and as this term approached my ds was dreading returning to school. This involved drawing pictures of this boy as a monster and feeling ill/sad when he thought about this boy and schoolsad.

Having been tolerant of this friendship I now see my ds becoming scared, intimidated and isolated (this is confirmed by other parents I have spoken to) and I don't know what to do for the best. The other kid is vulnerable and I don't want to stigmatise him but ds is too young and sensitive to manage this behaviour. I also am beginning to hear some nasty things from him towards another vulnerable kid in his class.

Does anyone have any experience/ideas for how to manage this? I am leaning towards telling him to avoid this boy completely and we are practising assertiveness, but I am worried that all his other friendships have drifted hmm Sorry for length...

Partridge Sun 17-Aug-14 07:44:22


17leftfeet Sun 17-Aug-14 07:57:08

Unfortunately this is a common story across playgrounds

I would talk to the school again -your son has a right to feel safe at school and should not be coming home bruised
If the other child cannot manage his own behaviour in the playground then the school should be doing it

Is there anyway you could encourage friendships with other boys outside of school -invites for tea etc?

Partridge Sun 17-Aug-14 08:25:19

Thanks for responding 17. Yes, I am trying to encourage other friendships, but it seems that lots of the boys have been threatened not to play with my ds. I feel a bit like I have been caught napping on this one and it has all got a bit out of hand sad

17leftfeet Sun 17-Aug-14 08:32:04

It's very common in girls -not the hitting so much but the social isolation

It's incredibly hard when your children are upset but ultimately it's part of navigating friendships and socialising with their peers

If you are in discussion with school about what's happening, and doing everything you can to build your own child's confidence -then you are ready doing everything you can

Your final option if you don't think the school will handle it is move schools but for me I would always try and work on it before making that decision

QueenCardigan Sun 17-Aug-14 08:41:13

I didn't want to read and run as I know how upsetting it is when your child is miserable due to another child's actions. All I can suggest is that you continue to communicate with the ht and show him/her the drawings that your ds has done. He has a right to feel protected and safe at school and coming home covered in bruises is not on at all. This other boy is also displaying bullying behaviour by threatening other children and whether he has a chaotic life or not the school need to deal with this.

If you feel that the head teacher is not listening to you then put it all in a letter or email and keep a copy. If all else fails then I would personally escalate to the governors as it is a safe guarding issue if he is covered in bruises.

littleblackno Sun 17-Aug-14 08:50:17

I've had this with dd towards the end of last term, shes 6. I would agree with going into school, and keep going in if you feel they are not taking you seriously.
Have you spoken to your ds about it? I've had several chats with my dd about how friends should behave towards each other and I've made my feelings about the friendship known. I've made sure that she knows it's wrong and that it's ok for her to distance herself/ play with others or just not be friends, she also knows that she can and should speak to a teacher- although she rarely does.
It's so difficult to see your child in this situation. I hope you get it sorted.

tobysmum77 Sun 17-Aug-14 10:01:29

what about asking if ds can move into the other class?

Partridge Sun 17-Aug-14 10:36:11

Thank you all. Tbh I am not sure how I feel about the way the school has dealt with it. On the one hand the ht has been great, calling ds and boy in the other day and discussing the rules of friendship. On the other hand, I have had endless discussions about supervision of the other boy and yet these things just keep on happening.

I think that moving class/school would be very last resorts. I love the school and am the chair of the PTA, so it would be making a huge statement about my lack of faith in the school which doesn't reflect how I feel.

3littlefrogs Sun 17-Aug-14 10:40:42

This is a safeguarding issue.
The HT has a duty to prevent your child being injured at school.
The boy in question clearly needs 1:1 in the playground.
You are being far too nice OP.
Just because you are chair of the PA doesn't mean the normal rules of safeguarding don't apply to your DS.
Take your PTA hat off and put your parent hat on.

3littlefrogs Sun 17-Aug-14 10:43:42

Also - I suggest you put everything in writing.
If the boy in question is not supervised, copy all to the governers.

I had a similar situation and ended up taking my DS out of the school.

The other child subsequently injured 2 other children, both of whom needed hospital treatment. The child needed help that the school were not providing.

Partridge Sun 17-Aug-14 10:51:46

Thanks 3littlefrogs. Tbh I think I needed that kick up the arse. I am trying to be diplomatic and not a "difficult" parent. This week has been a real eye opener - I have written 2 long emails to the ht on Friday stressing that this kid needs more than vague supervision in the playground.

Other parents have had similar experiences with this boy and I think people are relieved that he has moved on to my ds - but they are generally supportive and some will be writing their own emails this weekend about how this boy has affected their children.

What are the rules of exclusion? The more I speak to my ds the more I hear about this boy swearing at teachers, accusing another boy of "sexing naked in the bathrooms" with a girl in the class (who has incidentally left - possibly because of this boy), disrupting classes and bullying other kids. I have had my head in the sand and this is a wake up call.

Goldmandra Sun 17-Aug-14 11:44:55

The rules of exclusion are not your concern to be honest.

Your concern is how the school propose to safeguard your child while he is in their care.

He has a right to attend school free from fear of injury and free to choose with whom he interacts socially. Those rights are not currently being met.

The HT needs to hear from you that your DS's experiences have affected him so strongly in the holidays and how he feels about returning to school. Make it clear that you have considered moving him to a different school but would prefer that the issue is just managed better so he can stay. Also express concern about the impact this will be having on his ability to learn.

Please share the pictures with the HT too. The school needs to be aware of how this child is perceived by his peers because it is an indication of how much they are letting him down.

When you talk, always speak in terms of your own child's well being and the school's responsibility to safeguard him.

3littlefrogs Sun 17-Aug-14 11:49:57

Goldmandra is right.
You cannot discuss the other child except with regard to the injuries and intimidation he has inflicted on your child..
You must focus on your own child's right to learn, to feel safe, to not be physically and psychologically abused and attacked.
"Safeguarding" is the key word here.

When I took DS out of his school, another parent actually had the cheek to tell me I should have stayed because "her child" (and others) were still being hurt. My response was to ask where she and the other parents were when I was trying to get the issue addressed.

Unfortunately, there is a tendency for other parents to just feel relief that the perpetrator has moved onto someone else.

Partridge Sun 17-Aug-14 11:50:21

Oh don't worry goldmandra, I do. I just wanted to know for my own peace of kind that if someone gets seriously assaulted or the situation escalates then there is a final sanction. Because the situation is becoming intolerable.

The picture is not very nice - I would be embarrassed to show it, but I'll keep it in case I need it.

3littlefrogs Sun 17-Aug-14 11:52:56

My DS endured horrific abuse for weeks.
Over the Easter break he became more and more distressed about going back to school.
Essentially the HT blamed him for being the victim.
Then he tried to jump off our roof, reasoning he would be better off dead.

I found a new school and informed the HT by letter that he would not be coming back.

Partridge Sun 17-Aug-14 11:56:24

I'm so sorrysad. Thanks for the heads up. He is an anxious kid anyway and has had a wonderful summer of reading the beano and chilling. I feel terrible he is now brutally back in the fray.

How is your ds now?

Partridge Sun 17-Aug-14 11:57:29

By the way, our ht is great. Honestly.

3littlefrogs Sun 17-Aug-14 11:59:13

DS is absolutely fine now thanks. He is grown up, runs his own business and is eternally grateful that I listened to him and took him out of that school.
It was life changing for all of us.

I cannot stress enough that the other child is not your responsibility. Your own child is. He has no-one else to fight his corner.

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