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I need advice on what to do and what to expect after nasty bullying incident this morning

(57 Posts)
SomethingFunny Tue 18-Nov-14 09:59:30

My son is 7 and in year 3. He is part of a mixed friendship group with boys and girls.

One of the boys in the group can be horrible. He is, sadly, what I would call a bully. He has a weird control over the rest of the group, where he is nasty to them, but controls them and pulls their strings like a puppeteer. None of them are brave enough to stand up to him and they can't as a group seem to realise they would be better off without him.

It is currently my son's 'turn' to be the focus of this boy's aggression. This has been going on and escalating since before half term.

He drags my son around and stops him playing with others. Before half term, he was throwing my son to the ground and hurting him and the rest of the group were standing around laughing. This was happening several times a day. I spoke to the teacher who said she would talk to the boy and to his mother. After half term, she did speak to the boy apparently, but has yet to speak to his mother (who incidentally works in the school, so is not hard to contact). There has been no let up in his behaviour.

This morning, before school started, I caught the boy holding my son by the collar and banging his head against a wall. Obviously I told him to stop and told him off. My son then immediately came over to me and took a ball of green leaves out of his mouth. The boy had been trying to force him to eat them. There were girls from the group watching.

I spoke to the teacher immediately and told her about the incident. She seemed quite shocked, but as I was in a fluster and so was she because she was just taking the children into school, I didn't really find out what would happen next.

Should I go back in after school and speak to her, explaining that this was unacceptable and a serious incident (firstly, proper bullying; secondly, my son could have been hurt; and thirdly, I have no idea what those leaves were). Should I ask her what she or the school is going to do next? And what happens if that doesn't work? What should the school next- speaking to the boy again seems pretty pathetic as it already hasn't worked and this incident was serious. Speaking to his mum seems to be a bit of a cop-out. Should the other children be spoken to as well?

What should I do? I am furious and very upset about this. I don't want to over or under react, but I want my son to be safe at school and he isn't at the moment.

Floggingmolly Tue 18-Nov-14 10:05:20

Never mind going back into school to speak to her; you should never have left without finding out how she plans to deal with this shock
Demand to know how they plan to keep your son safe; including supervising the playground at all break times.
I imagine the fact that the boy's mum works at the school is significant in their attempts to ignore what's happening; go in and raise holy hell until they take you seriously.

SomethingFunny Tue 18-Nov-14 10:09:22

I know, I should have left. I was all in a fluster having just witnessed it. I almost didn't let my son go into school. I wasn't in the right state to be thinking clearly, but I am now. Thank you for your help.

It was before school in the morning- there is supposed to be a teacher there keeping an eye on yr 3 before school for ten minutes. Parents leave their children when they are in juniors. I was at school, but had to take my reception child to his classroom- and when I came back I saw the incident. There was no teacher. The bell went seconds later.

Floggingmolly Tue 18-Nov-14 10:12:05

Hope you get sorted at pickup flowers Seriously, though, don't allow them to sweep his behaviour under the carpet because his mum is a member of staff.

JustSpeakSense Tue 18-Nov-14 10:13:05

I would phone the school and leave a message for her to call you back at break time. Or, I would phone & request a sit down meeting with her after school. You are not overreacting in any way, this needs to be dealt with immediately and appropriately if you feel you are getting brushed off you must demand to speak to the head.

SomethingFunny Tue 18-Nov-14 10:19:19

Thank you. I am now thinking I might phone up and ask for a proper meeting. I have got "bullet points" in my head now, so I feel I can have a proper discussion about it and make them take it seriously.

I have no idea if the Mum's employment by the school is having any affect on their reaction, but I suspect not and that they would be this crap with anyone involved.

Another question- should I speak to the mum. I do know her quite well and she is fairly nice, but I am a little scared of her and don't know how she would react. I suspect she might just say it is boys being boys...

YeGodsAndLittleFishes Tue 18-Nov-14 10:22:39

I think the school needs to deal with this in two ways. To educate all the students on what bullying is and isn't and how they can help to prevent it and not take part in it. Taking the rest of the group (not the bully) to one side to spell this out to them first can give them some experience in how not watching and laughing, turning away from giving the bully attention, fetching an adult to witness and challenge the bully while calmly remembering the events to tell an adult clearly when asked would help deal with this. Can be made a part of their bullying policy if it isn't already.

Secondly, meanwhile dealing with the bully and the family to find out what he needs to learn to become a decent member of school society.

The school needs to do both.

heather1 Tue 18-Nov-14 10:24:49

Op I've been in your situation and I understand feeling flustered. It shocking to witness or hear about violence against your child. It used to kind of make me emotionally shut down as I was so shocked.
I would say you need an immediate ( before the end of the week) meeting between yourself, the head teacher and your child's teacher.
You need clear steps they will take to keep your son safe.
Have you asked your son how he is feeling? This is information you can bring to the school to explain the effect it is having on him, and you all as a family.
Has he become more withdrawn, upset or angry.
Is he excessively happy at the weekend? These can all be signs of being bullied.
It is possible the bully may have his own problems. That is not your issue. You need to explain clearly you expect the school to take seriously the safety of your son.
In the mean time I would also suggest something like Karate/self defence of your son so he has the confidence and physical skills to be able to defend himself.
Ask what are the schools anti bullying policy. How is this transmitted to the children. What work are the doing currently, each week, to ensure the children speak and treat each other with respect. They should be doing something like this. Especially if they have a child/group exhibiting bullying behaviour.
When we had meetings at my child's school I also tried to take my Dh or a supportive friend. They helped me to stay calm and would often remember things that I would forget because it was emotional to me.
Good luck

fatbottomgirl67 Tue 18-Nov-14 10:25:25

I would phone now and request a meeting with the teacher and the need to ask to see a copy of their anti bullying policy. Do not let this go without knowing it has been addressed.i would be very surprised if the school is not aware of this child's behaviour -most are.fight your corner as this is not acceptable.hope your sons ok

heather1 Tue 18-Nov-14 10:25:36

I wouldn't speak to the Mum. Only when and if the school do not deal with it.

Larkfields Tue 18-Nov-14 10:27:17

Surely this is quite serious and unacceptable. I would consider asking to speak to the Head or at least Deputy Head and asking for details of the school's policy for dealing with bullying. Follow up on any discussion that you may have with any member of staff - don't feel that they are "too busy" to deal with this - it is clear that someone will be hurt before too long if this boy is allowed to continue to get away with his dreadful behaviour.

theHowlatWooooooCorner Tue 18-Nov-14 10:33:17

Good advice from others.I realky don't think you should speak about thus with the mother - keep everything official.
And remind your DS that he should tell you of any other incidents so that the school can stop it.

heather1 Tue 18-Nov-14 10:33:23

If it helps This Morning are doing a segment on bullying this morning.

ClawHandsIfYouBelieveInFreaks Tue 18-Nov-14 10:33:49

I think this boy's behaviour is a real red flag. That's not normal at age 7...the head banging combined with stuffing leaves in your son's mouth is extremely worrying and the school needs to investigate the child's home life. They also have a duty of care towards your son and their actions so far are indicative of neglect!

YeGodsAndLittleFishes Tue 18-Nov-14 10:33:52

I wouldn't speak to the mum. I'd look at this as a far bigger problem than just one child. It isn't your problem to solve though, it is theirs. You can ask to see the bullying policy (you may already have a copy) and ask how exactly they deal with bullying.

If it were my child, I'd be inviting some or all of the other children in the friendship group around for tea and some fun, non aggressive playground games. A ball game if balls are allowed in the playground. Show them how to stop playing when someone spoils the fun, move away and exclude the spoiler, who can watch until they understand the rules of the game ( no contact/grabbing/dragging/rudeness) and get invited back in when they stick to the rules. They probably already know about yellow/red cards in football, they can choose to set the rules, it will only take 2 or three of them to stick together and decide that aggression doesn't have a place in their game.

SomethingFunny Tue 18-Nov-14 10:33:58

Thank you all.

I am interested that a lot of you have mentioned having a meeting with the teacher and the head. I was thinking it was too soon to play the head teacher card and that I would do that if this wasn't resolved immediately and satisfactually. Or do you think the head should be involved due to the seriousness of the incident?

The school must be aware of this boy and his behaviour. I know that several mums (including me) have spoken to the school over the last couple of years about him. He has also been in trouble for non-bullying incidents within the school.

Thank you for all the pointers about what the school should be doing. I have checked their policy online and it does have all these things in it. So far they have given him a warning. Step two is a second warning and talking to parents. So I guess that is what they are going to suggest again.

SomethingFunny Tue 18-Nov-14 10:37:24

ClawHands- The boy comes from a very respectable family and the other members of the family are very nice. I don't think there is anything home-wise causing this. I think he is just nasty (and a bit over indulged). There have been incidents of him bullying his cousins...

Partydilemmas Tue 18-Nov-14 10:56:01

Omg your poor son! sad

I agree with pp to call and have a meeting, today if possible.

SomethingFunny Tue 18-Nov-14 11:00:02

Should I ask for the head to be involved at this stage?

Pancakeflipper Tue 18-Nov-14 11:00:54

Have you looked for the anti-bullying policy on your school website?
Read it and if the staff do become resistant to tackling this - quote from it.

I think it is time for the HT because it's been going on for some time now and if the child thinks he can get away with it - he'll continue and do worse to your child or another. That's how bullies work.

ClawHandsIfYouBelieveInFreaks Tue 18-Nov-14 11:03:33

Funny "respectable" families can be abusive families just as much as "non respectable" families.

needastrongone Tue 18-Nov-14 11:07:51

Everything that heather said, 100%. And yes, a meeting with the Head. And be very insistent. Sorry, the teacher has had the opportunity to deal with this, did you have a feedback meeting with her, even in an informal capacity?

Don't be afraid to be assertive but polite, perhaps using Heather's post, turned into questions iyswim?

And get a diarised feedback meeting, after your meeting, with both the Head and teacher.

I am sorry for your poor son sad

needastrongone Tue 18-Nov-14 11:08:45

This sounds like a 'whole school' policy re bullying, therefore, yes, the management need to be involved.

I think you were right not to march in and try to deal with the situation at once - for two reasons. Firstly, you were clearly flustered and upset by what happened (rightfully so), and by coming home you have given yourself a chance to regroup, calm down and get what you want to say, and what you want to happen, clear in your mind.

Secondly, the teacher would not have been able to rush into action there and then - she had a class to get in and get started on the school day, and she hadn't had time to investigate what had happened for herself - which she needs to do before she can act further.

If I were you, I would ring the school and say that you witnessed this incident of severe bullying in the playground before school, that you intervened and stopped it, and reported it to the teacher, and that you want to know what action the school will be taking. I would tell the secretary/receptionist that you are following up the call with an email to the Headteacher, which you expect to be dealt with urgently.

Then write a clear, factual account of all the incidents that have led up to today, and today's incident, including exactly what you said and did. Then you need to spell out what you want to happen next - do you want a meeting with the teacher and the Head, and if so, how soon do you want that to be? Could you be available at the end of the school day today.

I would close by saying that you consider what happened this morning to be an assault, and that you will have to escalate the matter to the Governors and the Education Authority, if there is not a swift and satisfactory conclusion to this matter, and that you expect the school to put a stop to this boy's bullying behaviour.

fatbottomgirl67 Tue 18-Nov-14 11:25:41

Please don't speak to the Mum . leave it to the school to sort out they have procedures in place and that is your best course of action. If you are unhappy after the meeting write to the chair of governors. But please get the head in on the meeting. They really need to be aware of what is happening and that other children gave had problems with this boy too.

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