Is it standard policy for Head to interview bully and victim together? (Primary)(24 Posts)
DS in Y4 is being physically bullied by a group of four boys in his class.
Every time the incident is serious enough (assault) I go to the HT with the facts as I've been told them.
Following all three assault allegations the HT has responded to say that DS had told him the story true to my account when he's on his own with him. However DS apparently always changes his story when he's in front of the HT with the bully to say it was not as bad, or was an accident.
Well of course he would, he's terrified of them and the potential repercussions
So nothing ever gets done because I get "There are clearly differing accounts and we can't prove anything on this occasion" from the HT
It's incredibly frustrating. Other children who've witnessed the violent behaviour won't back up DS because they're frightened of these boys too.
Meanwhile, DS gets a "happiness chart" to fill in so he can put a sad face on a piece of paper every time he gets thumped or stamped on by these horrendous kids.
Christ on a bike, I'm fairly boiling with rage on your and your DS's behalf! That must go against every single bit of official guidance on bullying. Plus it's completely shit.
I think you need a meeting with the HT asap, and tell him his approach doesn't work, in fact it exacerbates the problem. And please if this is ongoing, get the LEA or Ofsted involved. This is a safeguarding issue.
Oh, and you should find out what the school's Anti-Bullying Policy is. Every school must have one.
Thanks for the advice, cingo.
And thanks also for the rage - the HT is making me feel like the unreasonable one so it's good to know I'm not!
DH has met with him and said it was like getting flannelled by a politician.
The Anti-Bullying policy is apparently being updated
That sounds appalling logic from the HT - how on earth can they justify that approach?
I would definitely call them out on it, and raise it with the governors if they don't change their ways.
Glad my rage was of some help. FYI, by law, all schools must have an anti-bullying policy that parents can see. That is a legal requirement. If it's "being updated", then ask for the one currently in place.
So DS has come back from school today telling me that HT directly influenced him into retracting his accusation against the bully.
HT would deny it, of course.
I feel so angry and powerless. Why is he trying to make this go away and leaving my son open to being hurt? Too much paperwork, probably
I would be very tempted to go back into school, say that your ds has been very upset by the fact that the HT has effectively stopped him from making the bullying complaint and as such, you are making the complaint for him.
I would then go on to say that their actions amount to a failure to safeguard your son - both in creating the conditions that meant your ds was bullied to start with, then by not enabling him to make a proper complaint - and as a result of that - not safeguarding him from the bullies going forward (because if they don't have a formal complaint then ergo they don't have a problem so they don't need to do anything). As a result of their failures already in regard to the bullying, you want to know what they are going to do going forwards to safeguard your son when he is in school, to keep him away from the bullies.
Furthermore, you would like to see the anti bullying policy - now. If it is being updated then fine, you accept that it is in process of changing, but that must mean that there is already an old anti-bullying policy in existence that they should be able to provide to you immediately, as that is the one that will be in place when the incident happened (if they are still updating it then they can't have issued it to the school). Therefore you would like to see the existing policy immediately and the new policy as soon as it is issued, in order to see what the current policy is and how it has changed. If they are unable to issue you with a copy of the current anti-bullying policy then you will assume that they are unable to because they don't have one.
Finally, I would go in and have a meeting about this - taking a list to go through so you can't be fobbed off by the head - and record it and/or make notes, then send it back to school as an email or letter and cc in the chair of the governors too, for info. Might just get the head to take notice that you're not a parent to be fobbed off when her child is being bullied.
Next time (or now) go to the police. It is assault. If the school deals with it, great, but if not involve the police.
School governors - I'd write to the head saying that it is an ongoing issue that is just not being dealt with satisfactorily, in fact rather mishandled. Ask what their anti bullying policy is and what sanctions are to be taken put on the children who have been accused if reieated violence and bullying. Copy in the school governors.
They may be following the what's it called 'no blame bullying' (BULLSHIT) policy. This results in things like good kids who always work hard and have had days off due to illness not being allowed to prom, whilst another child who's been sexually assaulting another child, to go (I kid you not).
I've not R the whole FT but I understand the gist.
If it's assault, take it to the police - end of.
My dd? She was bullied badly at one point. The teachers had her and the other girl bullied make a statement to say how upset it had made them feel - then they shared it with the fucking bullies (excuse my French!!) - part of the no blame bullying bullshit wet-behind-the-ears namby pamby bollocks that is the same as the bullshit that lets paedophiles out on suspended sentences..... World's gone bloody mad and all I can say is, fight. The normal rules of politeness and sorting things out amicably go out of the window at some point.
I think I'd send an email formally requesting the current anti bullying policy and that in future your child is not interviewed ever with the bullies present as your dc has been let down by this approach. Make sure you mention safeguarding and hoping this is sorted before you need to contact the governors. Or just cc in the governors. It's not acceptable.
Just dashing out but look at Kidscape website it is excellent. Their helpline is great too.
Also ‘restorative justice’ doesn’t work for bullying x
IME schools will do anything to cover up bullying. Even if they have a well written anti-bullying policy. I had to go to the Education Board to get something done. I didn't give a shiny shit what the school thought of that. We need to stand up to these schools. Look out for our children, because they won't. Make a fuss. What's the worse they can do? They're not above the law and what your son is going through is psychologically distressing. There needs to be outside intervention now.
That's a bloody stupid idea from thr head!
OF COURSE thr poor boy is going to be minimising it in front of the bullies. The boy is clearly terrified.
You absolutely need to speak yo the head. Their awful way of handling this risks emboldening the bullies because they'll get the message they are untouchable.
I hope that this is the head thinking 'i know I'll try a restorative meeting' and it being well intentioned but ridiculous rather than an actual attempt to investigate bullying. What a shambles OP.
When I was bullied I was accused of being a lesbian and hounded because of it there reasoning was that I was a virgin at 14 therefore I clearly wasn't into boys they held a knife to my friends throat and told us to stop >insert sexual act here < the head gave them a religious lecture and told them I was going to help for my sexual deviance
I'm not a lesbian I was a child
Shame things haven't changed
The anti bullying policy won't say much, just it not tolerated
Ask for the complaints procedure and behaviour policy
Read them and quote them
Now write an email paper trail, for the record discussions aren't recorded emails are
Emails have to be acted upon verbal doesnt
Tell them X Y and Z happened and you expect A B and C to happen per the D policy
Then state 'I require a written response worhin 5 days per the complaints procedure etc
Quote safe guarding
Ask what they intend to do to protect your child or safe place one teacher in charge one dinner lady to approach
How are they helping the children 'speak up and speak out?'
Oh and I think (having read it on here previously...) that OFSTED take bullying very seriously and if you report this appalling way they have dealt with the bully to them, they could find themselves having an unexpected visit from the inspectors...
I think most schools are supposed to have a link on their website to their ofsted page and there should be a link for you to provide feedback on the school that they gather on an ongoing basis rather than just during an inspection.
OfSTED won't have anything to go on at the moment as there's no paper trial
There is a small email trail which has this from the HT:
"I have now investigated the incident from yesterday by speaking to (DS) and lots of other children. I ask (DS) what happened and he explained that he was hit in the stomach by another child and that when he went to tell the lunch break supervisor he was stopped from going there. He told me the names of the children who he thought would have seen the incident.
I spoke to 4 other children and they all told me that there were no incidences yesterday during football and when I ask them specifically about (DS) they did not know of any incidences. When I spoke to (BULLY) he was aware of an incident where they both went for a 50/50 ball and they barged into each other. He insisted that it was an accident. This was seen by a another 2 children who also felt that it was not deliberate.
I spoke with (BULLY) and (DS) together and asked them to act out what happened, They both enjoyed doing this, and (DS) explained how they both went for the ball and banged into each other. (BULLY) said that (DS) did fall over and that another child helped him up and asked if he was OK.
Having spoken to (DS) after doing this he said that he does except that it was a 50/50 ball and that there was no intent to hurt him.
I ask (DS) again to explain what happened when he tried to tell the lunch break supervisor and he said that after the incident (BULLY) and another boy told him that it was an accident and so he decided not to tell the lunch break supervisor and because he was enjoying the football he played on.
I know this is probably going to feel very frustrating – but I spent an hour investigating this this morning and I genuinely do feel that (DS) was not deliberately hurt and on reflection (DS) has said the same. "
My take-away from this is that DS 'spoke up and spoke out' but when put in the same room as his bully and under influence from the HT he backed down.
It's worth noting that according to DS the HT told him that it would have been an accident before he'd even spoken to the bully.
I asked DS why he'd changed his mind about the story. He said "I didn't change my mind mummy - but the way Mr. (HT) told it back to me I thought he must be right"
I asked him if he still thought he was deliberately punched. he got really frustrated and said "Yes but no one believes me so what's the point"
PS I'm really not an over-anxious mum and I know football involves argy-bargy. I'm totally fine with that. But this was a sneaky punch in the guts when the bully thought no one would see.
PPS: I am of course DYING to correct HT on his except / accept error
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