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Threat to kill in Y4 - what would you do?

(16 Posts)
CookieTramp Wed 11-Jan-17 17:16:49

Hello all. My son has had trouble with a particular boy for a couple of years - targeting, name-calling, kicks in the genitals, and fake tale-telling to land him in trouble. Unpleasant as it is, it has not been constant and the saving grace has been that my son is not the only one on the receiving end, and he does have a couple of very good friends. For me that means it is a problem but not too much of a worry.

Just before Christmas he told my son "I'm going to kill you", and not in an angry, hotheaded way. My son was disturbed but not unduly frightened. However, the boy then told my son's friend "I am going to kill x" (my son). There was talk of whether he would or would not go to jail, being under 16. He also said he was going to grind up glass and put it in his sister's food. My son and his friend told me all about it, over and over, trying to process it.

I did tell the school (in person, in the office) and it was dismissed as "probably watched something the night before", with a slight eye roll. I followed it up with an email, to formally report it. No reply. The school is not good with dealing with bullying, and kids have had to leave rather than have it dealt with properly.

I don't want to get it out of perspective so I am checking here what others think. Am I silly to be worried or want something done? Is this just par for the course in school, I should just shrug it off?

As background, I was bullied and ostracised from age 8 to age 16, with no friends at school to speak of (a couple were friends outside of school but could not be friends with me in school for fear of getting targeted too). It has affected my whole life, so I am very jumpy about this kind of stuff.

So please tell me what you think and what your approach would be. I am so aware that mine is always from a skewed viewpoint and I may sometimes overegg something that does not need overegging.

Over to you...

Satansbanana Wed 11-Jan-17 17:20:11

If you are getting no joy with school, make a formal complaint to the Governors.

JellyWitch Wed 11-Jan-17 17:21:55

I'd probably have a word with my local police quite honestly.

Penndragon Wed 11-Jan-17 18:07:07

A child in Year 4 may regurgitate something they saw recently on the television, especially if they know its adult stuff or gets a reaction, but I don't feel they would sustain a particular behaviour pattern over a long period unless there is something else going on. You are describing escalating abusive behaviour that now includes detailed accounts of intended harm to a girl (not sure if its your son's sister or the perpetrators sister) and death threats to your son. YANBU.
This is not socially acceptable behaviour. This is either a emotionally disturbed child or a compulsive attention seeker. Or both. They need help, and an assessment of whats happening in their life or their mental health to cause them to behave in this way. They may need help. No doubt the perpetrator may say that they would never have acted on their threats, but unfortunately no one will know that for sure until it may be too late. An early intervention may be a positive for a troubled child.
I would firstly sit down and really try and ensure you have all the facts. Your son needs to be completely honest about whether he has done anything that may have resulted in this behaviour. Kids are tribal at this age. Could he or his friend have upset one of the perpetrators friends, cousins, extended family with a stupid remark. Kids do. If you still believe its a completely unprovoked serious intention then send a formal recorded delivery letter giving specific, factual non emotional details of events to date, to the headteacher, copying in the local education authority and giving the headteacher 7 working days (with a specific date) to give you a detailed written formal response as to what they are doing about it. Demand that the school protects your son and his friends identity and they should not disclose where the complaint came from to prevent escalating the situation.
There are safeguarding concerns for at least 4 separate children at present if it is a serious threat. The perpetrator, the sister, your son and his friend.
Yes you may have emotional baggage of your own but that doesn't mean your son imagined this.
If you don't get an acceptable proactive response from the school then potentially I would consider waiting another 2 weeks to see whether the child gets bored or changes their behaviour but potentially would consider going to the police if the threats continue or escalate. Do not approach the childs parents directly, or gossip about the child concerned with other parents. It always backfires. Do everything to de-escalate the situation. Advise your son not to respond in any way to the other child and simply remove himself from the situation if it occurs again. But warn him to never go off with the perpetrator or the perp's friends. This needs to be handled carefully to prevent long term fallout that you and your son could still be stuck with in 5 years time in a small local community.

HorridHenryrule Wed 11-Jan-17 18:15:07

Do you live in a town, village or city. If you can move to a different school I would do that. I would write to Ofsted with your concerns because they will make them change believe me. The school in my local area had problems like how you describe 170 parents complained. You can't sit back and watch it happen.

CookieTramp Wed 11-Jan-17 18:38:00

All good advice. To clarify, the the threat was to the perpetrator's own sister and we live in a sizeable town.

First education authority and then OFSTED, or other way around?

And yes I do believe my son has done nothing to bring this on. He can't be mean and won't stick up for himself because he doesn't want to be. He is lots like I was as a kid, which worries me :-/.

I am very nervous of kicking up so much stink and making myself unpopular with the school, who reacted as though it was nothing.

IslaLettuce Wed 11-Jan-17 18:42:13

I would report it to the police. Report to headteacher, class teacher and governors. If someone threatened me I would be too scared to leave the house.

WalkingDownTheRoad Wed 11-Jan-17 18:48:31

The school should def be taking this very seriously and the bully should be being referred to CAMHS. That is neither normal nor acceptable.

LadyMonicaBaddingham Wed 11-Jan-17 18:55:52

I work in a school and I can tell you if I was told about this behaviour, I would be immediately reporting it to the member of SMT responsible for child protection and expecting vastly more than an 'eye roll'. Find out who that is in your school and go straight to them. Tell them you are seriously considering going to the police and wanted to 'keep them in the loop', as it were... Emailing a summary of your conversation afterwards is always a good idea as it creates a 'paper trail' (albeit without any actual paper). Copy in the chair of governors.

CookieTramp Wed 11-Jan-17 19:12:48

LadyMonica, what is SMT? I know who the chair of governors is, but SMT is new to me. How do I find out who that is?

And thinking about the wording of my formal letter copying everyone in (class teacher, head teacher, chair of governors and the smt/child protection... what am I actually asking them to do? I have already reported it... I am not sure what I am asking them to actually DO about it.

CookieTramp Wed 11-Jan-17 19:14:46

And also, what if the child concerned just denies everything? 8 cannot prove it, and two children are not good enough witnesses in the school's eyes for them to take any action, surely? (Anticipating being fobbed off, as I have been before with more minor incidents :-/)

Potnoodlewilld0 Wed 11-Jan-17 19:15:11

I would speak to the local police too. Stuff like this needs nipping in the bud ASAP. People put too much trust in the schools sorting this stuff out when in fact they really have no impact of the kids today.

Potnoodlewilld0 Wed 11-Jan-17 19:17:23

They may deny it cookie but st least they know they are being watched.

It will be logged
Then start logging everything so that if it does escalate the police will act swiftly

HorridHenryrule Wed 11-Jan-17 21:36:23

Take him boxing so he can learn how to defend himself. I worry about my son when he gets to school age. I think boys do get a hard time as well as girls but boys are more aggressive. Let's face it all bully's are cowards.

WalkingDownTheRoad Wed 11-Jan-17 21:40:08

SMT = senior management or leadership team, so the head, assistant head/s and Sendco.

If the bully denies it there are two children who are saying he said these things, so the balance of probability suggests your ds telling the truth.

girlywhirl Sat 14-Jan-17 08:28:44

Do not worry about making yourself unpopular with the school. Seriously.

Obviously the preference is always to work calmly and collaboratively with the school but don't be scared to be assertive if you need to. I'm a pleaser and have no qualms about being seen as a pain if that's what it takes to protect ds.

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