Sending this letter to another mother(19 Posts)
ITs a long story but my 9 yo ds has been bullied on an off for the past 4 years at school, his twin brother who has joined him in the class is now also a target. the school is absolutely useless at dealing with the problem and are very good at doing victim blame. On friday he was defending his twin brother in the changing room when about 5 of the boys laid into him. He came home with marks on his kneck where a child had 'strangled' him. Another poked his fingers into my ds's eyes. I am sending this email to the mother of the 'eyes' boy. I am emotional about it so I need some rational feedback.
I don’t know if Lxxx told you that there was a conflict between the boys again on Friday in the changing room after sports.
I don’t want to get into any discussion about what happened or which children were at fault, but I do want you to know that Lxxx stuck two of his fingers into Txxx’s eyes. If this was a one off I wouldn’t tell you about it but unfortunately Lxxx has done this several times to Txxx and I have decided to tell you because it is a very dangerous thing to do.
On the first occasion after Lxxx had stuck his fingers into Txxx’s eyes Txxx had a very nasty and persistent eye infection which needed strong antibiotics and cortisone to clear up – we didn’t mention it to you then because we didn’t expect Lxxx to do it again.
However we feel about the boys, the fighting and bullying that is going on in this class I think we would all be devastated if a child caused permanent damage to another. Sticking fingers into eyes could easily cause permanent damage to those eyes.
I expect you are not aware that Lxxx is doing this and I am sure you don’t feel very happy reading this email but I guess that Lxxx is not aware of how dangerous this is or what the consequences could be if he damaged another child’s eyes, so I feel obliged to tell you.
I would be happy if you did something to help prevent Lxxx from doing this again.
I wish you all the best.
If it happened on school time, make school deal with it. Escalate it quoting their own policy wording , to head, governors etc and ask what they will now do to safeguard your dc. Review this every week or when incidents occur. Don't go direct to the other parents. They will have heard a different version and become defensive.
Hi Liz....Thanks for the feedback. I don't remember how old your kids were when you left Switzerland but if they were in school here you will probably remember that they are absolutely useless at dealing with bullying. Last year my DSs teacher told me it was my son's own fault that he got pulled on the ground, sat on and punched in the head and face (daily at one point) ..... we are doing everything we can to make the school do something but it is like trying to make a hole in a brick wall with a toothpick. usually I don't go to the parents because as you say they become defensive. That is why I have tried to word this so that there is no blame or discussion of who is at fault. IMHO the only approach that works to stop bullying is a no-blame approach.
I'd move schools if the attitude to bullying is so bad. I moved my
Children from one such school and they've flourished in a new school where they feel safe and valued.
the kids go to the local village school (in Switzerland) and sending them ot another village to school isn't an option we are given. the only other option would be private school . we have thought about moving but wanted to see if it would be better with their new class teacher this year.
Ah I hadn't registered your situation fully. Yes I do recall how dismissive they could be ( not our dc but others' experience) especially towards expat/ non native speaking children. Unfortunately it isn't as easy as swapping schools, you are allocated the local one and would struggle to negotiate otherwise with authorities.
The problem you have is that you say you don't want to get into any discussion about what happened but then proceed to do so. That is going to get the other parent's backs up - rightly or wrongly.
Really, if the school will not deal with this, you have two options:
1. Involve the police;or
2. Move schools
Some parents are very effective at dealing with their children and would be mortified to receive this letter.
Hopefully they would march DC to apologize to your DS
The problem with a school not dealing with bullying means the children deal with it themselves because the adults aren't stepping up.
Report to the school
See if there is a safeguarding officer at the local authority - and request a meeting to see what your rights are
Then contact an MP if you have one
It's an excellent letter and I think given the circumstances, non action of school etc. it's probably worth sending. Two things to consider through- is a mum generally reasonable and what's your standing in the village? If she's a queen bee or you feel outsiders already that makes it more complicated.
I agree with a PP that part of the problem is that you say that you don't want to discuss it then go on to discuss it from your perspective.
Can you ask the school to hold a meeting with you and the other parents? Then at least you would be keeping the school involved. The problem with going to the parents is that they can't control the childs' behaviour at school so if the school is ineffective it undermines whatever the parents say.
Thanks all for your feedback.... it's really, really helpful.
I have tried in the email not to get into a discussion about what happened on Friday but specifically about the eye poking thing which the boy is doing quite often. I will read the email again and try to see how I would feel if I got it. as well as I know this mother will try to work out how she will react. His parents see him as a victim of the situation - he is a sheep not a leader and sticks with the stronger group but definitely does his part (he is one of the boys who I sat on mine last year and punched him in head and face), but he is not the main bully. Because they see their boy as 'poor little harmless Lxxx' I can imagine that they have told him that sticking his fingers in someones eyes is a method of self defense....
Sending this letter is definitely not going to improve my relationship with this woman but I don't care. I have a group of friends in the village - none of them are parents of the boys in this class. And we don't do the school gate thing like the UK, the kids walk to school by themselves.
we will definitely be discussing involving the police with the school, but as DH says we need 'proof' which pretty much means videoing the incidents which we have been advised (for privacy reasons - tis is switzerland) not to do.
I think a doctors note re eye infections and a statement from both your boys plus any other boys - will be proof enough
Do you have the complaints procedure anti bullying policy and behavior policy ?
Find them - refer to them - use them to discuss the situation - knowledge is power
Can DS move class?
Complaints procedure, anti-bullying policy, behaviour policy ... I am 99.99% sure that they don't exist although I will check. I will also ask the head teacher to send me a copy of them. that should get him thinking!
No class change possible, there is only one class for the year. They are academically good, but not strong enough to go up a year unfortunately. Although we need to start discussing these options again.
Phone the police. Your ds has been assaulted.
Most schools also have a community police officer - worth asking about that as well -
I'm also in Switzerland. I wouldn't send the letter, I'd telephone the mother. Ask her if her son's talked about a problem with your boys. Tell her you're worried about the eye poking. I've been called before and also called other parents, it has always been civil and has resolved the problem.
I would agree with Beresh (also in CH despite user name).
I would also get your boys into a martial arts class ASAP so that they can physically hold their own. The attitude seems to be don't give it if you can't take, which also means if you are giving it you are entitled to be on the receiving end.
I appreciate all your comments very much. I didn't send the email. I will try to 'bump into' the mother sometime this week and try to pluck up the courage to talk to her about the eye poking thing (I am hopelessly over-emotional and struggle to deal with confrontations). The whole bullying issue is far too complicated, involves a lot of kids and unfortunately needs more than a chat with the other parents to sort it out. The OH has spoken to the head teacher today and he is a bit more positive that the situation will be taken more seriously than it has been in the past. He acknowledged that there is a serious problem in the class. We should have a meeting with him in the next few weeks (which was planned anyway for other reasons) so we will put him under pressure. I appreciate all your comments. Kateinkorea - I agree absolutely with doing martial arts, one of them has started Karate which we have noticed is helping him, but it will be a while before he can actually use it to defend himself. The other DT will probably start soon as well.
I think it is not a bad idea to send such letter, however I just hope the other mother doesn't respond critically. As in, if her child tells her a different story, it could lead to quite a messy situation.
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