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Parent approached my son and made allegations

(19 Posts)
Ausparent Wed 18-Oct-17 20:56:29

Hi,
I am just looking to get a bit of feedback here. My son is 7 and last week I was at a parents evening when a man came up to me and said that his daughter is in my son's class.
He said that she had accused my son of beating her with her umbrella and with another child had held her and tried to pull her trousers down. I was naturally shocked and said that I would talk to my son and that we would cooperate with any process the school set up to resolve the issues. The story was a bit odd as he said she couldn't remember who the other boy was, although there are only 7 boys in the class. The following day I spoke to the school. They said that they were not aware of any incident, nor is the daughter or her father reported anything to them. They said that she and my son play together a lot but that they also fall out a lot and that problems tend to be 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. They expressed doubt as to whether this second incident could have happened given the supervision at school and agreed that it would be very out of character for my son. I asked if I could be kept informed of any issues and said I was available any time to come in. My son confirmed that he did hit her once with his umbrella in retaliation for something she had said. We strongly dealt with that and in addition he is not allowed to take his umbrella to school any longer. However, he claims that the other incident didn't happen.

Today, less than a week later, my son came home and said that a man approached him at school and said he was this girl's father. He accused him of hurting his daughter's finger and said that if he didn't leave her alone, he would call me and the headteacher.

Now I am not blind to the faults of my son and if there is anything happening I want to know about it, but I am really uncomfortable with the fact that this man has directly approached my son. For me speaking to the school should be the first resort, not something you threaten someone else's child with. My son told me that after I spoke to him last week, he hasn't even played with this girl. Without involving the school, there can be no proper discussion and clarification of what has happened and no way to try and resolve any issues.

Putting aside the question of guilt or innocence, am I wrong to feel angry that he has approached my son in this way? They do not know each other and the children have never had playdates or interacted outside of school so there is no relationship there.

My son normally goes into school alone in the mornings but I feel now that I should accompany him to deal with any issues which come up. We have offered full cooperation to the school and the father, but he has bypassed us. If my son hadn't mentioned it I wouldn't even know that there was an issue

dementedpixie Wed 18-Oct-17 21:39:17

The man was out of order to approach your son. I think this is reason why our school does not allow parents through the school gates. He should be contacting the school if he has a problem

dementedpixie Wed 18-Oct-17 21:41:28

I think you should contact the school to say this man is accosting your son on their premises and ask what are they going to do about it? Our newsletters always say to go through the school and not to take matters into your own hands

DancingLedge Wed 18-Oct-17 21:43:08

Don't approach the other parent.
Tell the school what happened, in detail. They should be onto it like a shot. Parental accusations on school premises are absolutely unacceptable.

Nothingrhymeswithfamily Wed 18-Oct-17 21:47:51

Your poor son.
Talk to the school there's no way he should be approaching your son.
I'd be livid if someone did that, but the sensible thing is to get the school to deal with it.

TitaniasCloset Wed 18-Oct-17 21:50:58

I wonder if the little girl enjoyed the attention last time and is now making stories up?

Either way he was completely wrong to do this and you must report this to the head so they can have a firm word with the dad.

Ausparent Thu 19-Oct-17 05:33:42

Thanks for the support. My son is not perfect and I am sure he is not blameless in the situation, but I am frustrated that we have been cut out of the process. On addition, I hate the idea that talking to me or the school has been used as a threat. My son suffers from anxiety and I am regularly in the school to see how things are going and we have worked hard to enable him to trust his teachers enough to go to them when he is feeling bad. Using them ad a threat could really undo this work. I will go to the school today and see if I can get them to talk to the other father.

Nothingrhymeswithfamily Thu 19-Oct-17 07:25:22

I'm not surprised he suffers with anxiety with idiots like this piling in with half the story hours after an event. It's hardly like your son has the maturity or confidence to say "yes but she did x" or "I know, I'm sorry we were playing and got carried away, I said sorry at the time"

Poor little bean.
Good luck with the school

Ausparent Thu 19-Oct-17 07:54:32

Just a quick update here.

I went into the school and met with the Head this morning.
She said that the girl had also made the allegations directly to the school but that it was against different children. They also had an issue last year with an allegation made by her and backed up by her sister against a different child which for some reason was proven 100% to be untrue. They spoke to her parents at this point so they should be aware that this happened.

They are going to meet with the parents to discuss it but feel that it is an issue between them and the school and that we don't need to be involved. They will make it clear that any concerns should go directly to the school and not to the parents and absolutely not to the children.

They were really supportive and helpful and really reassured me. One of the allegations involved one boy holding her whilst another tried to pull down her trousers. Her father had said she told him it was my son but she told the school it happened with 2 boys from a totally different class.

Bullying is so serious and my heart goes out to anyone who is going through it with their child. If my son was doing anything on purpose or without realising it which was making another child unhappy in school, I would do everything possible to stop it as all parents should want to do but the idea that had we reacted differently, our son could be being punished and feel that his parents were angry with him for something he didn't do is very worrying. He could have ended up feeling betrayed by us which would have undone a lot of progress in our management of his anxiety.

I know I am lucky that this has been dealt with so quickly and effectively.

Thank you again for all the support. It is hard to discuss this with friends as I don't want them to think badly of my son so coming to a forum was really helpful.

Notreallyarsed Thu 19-Oct-17 07:56:44

I’d argue that it’s your son who is being bullied. By the girl who keeps making allegations and by her father who thinks it’s acceptable to accost a 7 yo child rather than approaching his parents or the School.
I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this, it must be very hard for your son too.

Ausparent Thu 19-Oct-17 11:03:18

Thanks for that Notreallyarsed. Fortunately, because of my son's anxiety issues, we handled it gently so apart from when the father approached my son directly, he is not really aware of the discussions which have been going on. I did tell him last night when he spoke to me that it was absolutely not on for a parent to talk to him and after this morning I will reassure him that he should go straight to a teacher if it happens again.

I don't want to demonise this girl either. She is only 7 and although her actions could have had severe consequences for my son, I am not sure she would have grasped that. She and my son will probably be in school for a long time together and I want to leave the path open for them to resolve things so I don't want to be too critical of her to my son.

In the same way, I feel that although her dad handled this wrong, if his daughter is coming home and telling him these things, I can understand him perhaps panicking and trying to resolve it himself.

My son often comes home with tales from school and it can be hard to balance our overwhelming need to protect our children and the need to let kids be kids.

I only hope that working with the school we can find a resolution. I can't speak highly enough of the school and am so glad that he has such a great team around him. I will keep you updated with any developments!

NewDaddie Thu 19-Oct-17 11:17:05

This sounds like it is a mess.

The school should not be divulging details of the girl’s other complaints to you. That is very unprofessional. (Ofc that is not your fault)

If the school are behaving unprofessionally I’m not surprised that things are escalating and the father feels justified in behaving like a moronic bully.

Ausparent Thu 19-Oct-17 11:21:37

I should clarify, that we are not in the UK so the same rules regarding confidentiality don't apply here. There are not the same restrictions on schools to discuss things with parents in the UK. We were in a UK school for a year so I know it is very different. One of the reasons I have found it so stressful is that I wasn't confident how these things were handled and what the consequences are.

I agree NewDaddy that if this was a UK school, this would a breach of the rules.

Apologies for causing confusion

RockinHippy Thu 19-Oct-17 11:40:11

You need to contact the school & tell him in no uncertain terms that threatening your son, however mildly is not acceptable & you will report him to the authorities if he continues in any way.

We had something similar with a DM of a DC who turned out to be obsessed with my DD & didn’t like that she had other friends, so complained repeatedly to her DM, even complaining that DD was bullying her by refusing to give her access to a communication thing (blackberry something or other) that DD didn’t actually have.

This escalated quite quickly with the DM (who turned out to have SN herself) physically threatening my DD who was only 9 at the time. DD became frightened to go into school because of this woman

Act now & act strongly, this behaviour is very far from acceptable

Good luck

RockinHippy Thu 19-Oct-17 11:43:46

Just spotted the update

I agree it’s your boy who is the victim of bullying here, not the girl

NewDaddie Thu 19-Oct-17 12:23:30

Please don’t apologise you have more enough on your plate to deal with! I alsoagree with @RockinHippy your son is the one that’s being bullied here.

FWIW I think you’re doing an amazing job and taking a really balanced, neutral and mature approach to solving these issues. I hope that numskull of a dad eventually sees sense and also how fortunate he is to have you around.

brewcake

TitaniasCloset Thu 19-Oct-17 12:31:23

So I was right, sadly.

I think you did all the right things OP and I'm happy that the school already has a handle on it. Hopefully your son will be left alone now, poor thing.

Thanks for the update!

Nothingrhymeswithfamily Thu 19-Oct-17 17:03:42

You've handled it spot on and it sounds like the school are on it. It must be taking all your power not to go up to him and have a go at him. But it is much more powerful for it to come from the school, it also reinforces your taking the correct route to complain. .

Ausparent Tue 24-Oct-17 11:53:37

So to put this to bed, I got a phone call from the school yesterday. They have access to a counsellor who is shared across several schools and as a neutral party she spoke to all of the children involved (there were 5 boys against whom allegations had been made, in different classes and not in the same friendship group)

They called to tell me that the girl had admitted that she had made up the stories and that the events didn't happen. The school are calling her parents in to discuss that plus the way in which the father approached me and my son directly. They asked if I wanted to attend which I still feel is a bit odd but still.

Now I am left feeling partly very angry about the whole thing (I am 7 months pregnant and have had sleepless nights for a fortnight thinking about this) but also feeling sorry for this girl and her family. No doubt the other parents involved are also feeling angry (although their children were more shielded until things were investigated because the allegations were made to the school and not to the parents) and although I feel that what the dad did was really unfair on my son, I can understand the urge to protect our kids.In addition, we don't know many parents at the school and I think the girl's parents are far more well-connected so I still worry about what he may have said to other parents at the start of this. I can't think he will rush to correct the information and I can hardly get a megaphone and shout about it.

Surely there must be a better way? Having read the other threads on this board there are clearly children who are suffering physical and emotional torment which has to be stopped at the earliest possible moment but I wouldn't want another parent to go through what we have.

Maybe this should be a new thread altogether, but I would really want to hear people's thoughts on this. How can we protect our children whilst ensuring that the school is taking things seriously and dealing with things? That the normal playground politics of tens of young children having to learn how to get along doesn't get blown out of proportion, making this process harder for all of the children involved.

I would say categorically that I was never bullied at school, but I had days where I had fallen out with someone and they said nasty things which made me not want to face them the next day. How do we help our children manage situations like those whilst ensuring that we protect them when we need to? My parents would have been far less involved in my school life that I am in my children's and that worked out fine, but I am sure people of our generation who suffered bullying at school at a time when parents didn't get involved would feel very differently.

In an ideal world, would love for there to be a sort of independent relationships manager (not tied to or loyal to the school) who any parent or child can go to with concerns or problems and who can meet with the relevant children and parents to assess whether this is a matter of people not getting along or bullying. I don't think that the first case is less of a problem for the child but should perhaps be managed in a different way to a child being subjected to physical and emotional abuse.

They could escalate issues where needed which would mean when the school is officially involved, the groundwork is done and they can't sweep it under the carpet. In addition, if there is more a problem of children struggling to get along, the relationships manager could mediate between the children and/or parents to find a resolution. It would provide a link between parents and the school and in addition, the RM would know about all allegations or issues related to bullying so if in the case of our situation, a child was making identical allegations against multiple children in unrelated incidents, they may pick up on that, or if several children were making similar allegations against the same child/children, this could be collated.

Parents wouldn't get the runaround as they would have a single point of contact and a robust process would give parents more confidence. Plus, parents whose children have been found to be bullying could get help and advice on how to deal with their children and stop future incidents.

Are these things which already exist? Are these unrealistic ideas?

What do people think? Is there a better way?

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