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Bullied by a teacher.

(60 Posts)
Maria1201 Wed 22-May-13 17:02:13

My 9 year old daughter was bullied by her class teacher. It started in September and we have been back and forth to the school. My daughter had always loved school and had an excellent relationship with all her teachers until this year. The problem was the more I complained and the more the school put in place to protect my daughter, the more the teacher bullied my daughter. Eventually a full time teaching assistant was put into place and the school was very supportive. The obvious bullying stopped.
Then it started again in March. I didn't go to parents evening and I believe that is what angered the teacher. I made a formal complaint and a meeting was held with the governors. The Head then denied everything that had happened. However her lies soon fell apart and she admitted it had happened. The teacher had been advised by her union not to attend.
However when they sent the findings of the panel they just said the teacher had lacked judgement.
I had to remove my daughter from the school as she was having the most horrendous nightmares and was being sick at the thought of returning. I have a son in the school and can't juggle two schools. There is no school that will take them both. I have tried to move her up a year for the last 6 weeks of school. She is very advanced for her years and was supposed to be spending some lessons in that year anyway. However they have said no and will only allow her to move down two years which my daughter would find humiliating.
They have offered her to move into the parallel class but as this is next door she would have to walk past the teacher morning and afternoon to get into class. The teacher has a history of going out of her way to be vindictive to my child so I have no doubt that she would come into the parallel class often to intimidate my daughter. I thought if she was in the year above for the next 6 weeks it would be an acceptable solution. The teacher wouldn't be able to make excuses to go to her classroom as alarm bells would surely ring with other teachers and my daughter would still be able to go to school. She was put on the G&T register over a year ago but the school did nothing despite promising various things to challenge her. She definitely wouldn't struggle in that year for the last 6 weeks. The class she would be in is round the other side of the building so contact with the teacher who bullied her would be minimal. She would be able to spend lunch times with her original class and in September she could join the class again. The school are now reporting me to the welfare officer but I can't send my daughter back to that year. She used to be such a happy confident child and now she is a wreck. She wouldn't cope knowing every time the door went it could be that teacher.
She has been through so much already. The teacher has totally destroyed her and the worst part is the school know that she did it, the governor's know that she did it but nobody is prepared to stand up and be counted. It's all about protecting the school's image.
I have contacted the Department of Education and Ofsted but they all take time to process. My daughter has been out of school for 4 weeks now. I've spoken to the council but they will only intervene if she is below the national average or has special needs. Does anyone have any experience of this?

EvilTwins Wed 22-May-13 17:43:19

What did the bullying involve? What records did you keep at the time? Do you have notes from the meetings with the school, or a note of the date and time of incidents and/or meetings?

Maria1201 Wed 22-May-13 18:26:18

The bullying involved humiliating her in front of the class. When she would get upset she would make her sit in class and cry and refused to let her go to the bathroom. She even sent her one day to the medical room when there was nothing wrong. Even when my daughter told her she was fine she insisted. She knocked her confidence so much and then would make her stand at the front of the class and explain to the class why she hadn't done more despite the fact my daughter would have had her hand up for the whole lesson as she was stuck.
Despite the teacher being told not to approach my daughter after another meeting about the bullying the teacher ignored the head and went straight back to class and told my daughter she wanted to speak to her. She made her wait 3 times throughout the whole day using excuses like, "I'm busy eating my pudding come back in your last break". She then questioned how she felt being in her class. The other children would say to their parents that the teacher would say mean things to my daughter but say it with a smile on her face in a kind voice so it didn't look like she was being mean.
My daughter regularly came home in tears and could hardly breathe. She started having nightmares about the teacher smashing her teeth in with a cricket bat so she couldn't tell anymore. She would barely sleep at night.
She then encouraged my daughter to write a concern for the worry box and then told the class how selfish a girl had been and referring to my daughters worry about a class play. All the children knew it was her by the way she did it staring at my daughter. She said she felt like she had a tennis ball stuck n her throat she was trying so hard not to cry. She broke down in the playground as soon as she saw me.
My daughters levels dropped significantly and by November were lower than when she was in yr2. The TA noticed my daughter's change in behaviour as the head was very aware. The teacher changed the grades that she reached the previous year to look like she was progressing. Unfortunately for her the head had done her levels so when it was pointed out she said she would like into it.
When she had upset my daughter so much she was just crying over her homework I said to stop and I would write a letter explaining. Instead of feeling bad about what she had done, she accused me of being defiant and contemptuous of the homework policy.
I kept all dates and detailed minutes of each meeting. I provided statements and witnesses during the panel meeting. I did everything by the book.
When I got the minutes from the meeting that they provided it was as if it was a different meeting altogether. It had been heavily edited and the only thing factual about it was the date.
The only thing I didn't provide was video evidence. The school are determined to now change their stance and support this teacher despite other complaints.

pusspusslet Wed 22-May-13 18:26:40

Hi Maria,

I'm happy to say I have no experience of anything like this, but in your position I'd go to see a solicitor tomorrow and get him/her to write to the school (copying in the Local Education Authority) threatening to sue for negligence if appropriate steps are not taken immediately. You say that the HM has had to admit to the bullying, and if that's the case then it seems to me that you'd have a strong case. Hopefully the threat of proceedings would concentrate the minds of those responsible for the budget, since those responsible for the welfare of your child don't seem to be interested.

I'm so sorry to hear about this nightmare. I hope your daughter survives it unscathed.

clam Wed 22-May-13 18:43:08

I'm struggling to comprehend why on earth a teacher would behave in such a way. What's in it for her? Why would she go out of her way to seek your dd out in another class?
What is your HT's take on this?

Maria1201 Wed 22-May-13 18:57:47

Thanks for the advice.

We are struggling to comprehend it also. The teacher is quite young and inexperienced and she reacts badly to criticism. She has absolutely no self control. However the HT whilst accepting all that had taken place is now referring in writing to the incidents as a lack of judgement and inappropriate behaviour as are the governor's. Despite all that was said verbally.
Given the vindictiveness of the teacher's past behaviour and 'knee jerk' reactions (HT words not mine) then I firmly believe she would seek out my daughter to intimidate her. My daughter's confidence has been replaced with fear of this teacher and I just don't think she could cope. Another teacher at a recent meeting with the HT said maybe it was time my daughter was forced to face her fears. She is 9. She is too polite and nowhere near brave enough to stand up for herself against an adult let alone a teacher. When the teacher was told in no uncertain terms to not speak to my daughter, she walked straight out of the HT office and went to speak to my daughter. When we spoke to the HT again she again referred to it as a lack of judgement but that she meant no harm. When I pointed out it was metal abuse she said nothing and just agreed that the end of the year would welcomed so my daughter didn't have to be in her class anymore.

chartreuse Wed 22-May-13 18:58:42

So sorry to hear that this has happened to your daughter. We had a very similar situation with ds and we lost all trust in the school and are now home educating him. His self esteem was destroyed by a teacher, and even though we did everything by the book the school tried to deny all knowledge of the events. It has been horrific. Our dd is still in the school, she has a fantastic teacher and is very happy, but we will be moving her in September.

The stress this has caused has been enormous, I feel I have aged 10 years in he last few months. Home educating was not in my plan, but it has worked out so well for ds and he has returned to his old self having suffered so badly from stress and anxiety caused by the school situation. I feel so disillusioned with the school, I trusted them and they really let my child down. Worse still, there is very little we can do about it.

Maria1201 Wed 22-May-13 19:02:33

In response to what's in it for her. I don't think there is anything, at least not that I can think of other than I spoke to the HT about her which angered her. The HT dealt with it and it stepped up a gear from then. Even the HT agreed with us that it was a control issue for her. That is what I am most disappointed with. The HT knew what was going on. She said on many occasions how frustrated she was but it just seemed the more we complained the more it happened. I don't know whether the school can't do anything about it or whether its just all about brushing it under the carpet.

The teacher has been there 3 years now and has had 3 formal complaints against her that I know of.

Maria1201 Wed 22-May-13 19:09:15

charteuse I totally identify with how you feel. The stress this has caused my family has been awful. I too feel like I've aged. Anyone I have spoken to that have had similar things happen have all taken their children out of school and now home school. It's just so unfair that there is nowhere to turn. This wouldn't be allowed to happen in any other walk of life but schools seem untouchable. My son is in the same school and has a fantastic teacher. I just feel for my daughter so much.
She is very academic and just loved school and learning so much. She calls herself The Nerd and she loves the label. She's proud of it. It's such a shame that this teacher has been allowed to destroy her like this.

cory Thu 23-May-13 07:44:02

If I were you I would think very hard to see if there wasn't some way in which you could let her move schools, even if it involved paying somebody else to take her there or to take her son to school.

We stuck it out in a school where dd was badly treated, didn't realise the effect it was having on her then, but she went completely to pieces once she felt safe in her (lovely) secondary school and has lost a lot of her education to that breakdown. I now wish we had done things differently.

musicalfamily Thu 23-May-13 08:54:28

I cringed when I heard this and I believe these things are rare but do happen. When I was in primary my teacher bullied a child badly and although I was there only for 2 years (Y2 and Y3) I remember it vividly, in fact it is the only memory I have of that class, the teacher and that child and the horrible things she said to her.

My mum removed me from that school as somehow she had a vibe that the teacher was a little unhinged (we had the same teacher all the way through) and didn't like me being taught by her, but I am sure the parent of that child didn't know how badly her daughter was treated and if I were you I would remove my child from that school at all costs.

It shouldn't be the child who is removed but you have to put her interests first and I can't imagine a way in which she could move on when she has to see that teacher every day, even just in the corridors.

NutellaNutter Thu 23-May-13 11:23:30

I certainly support reforms which enable rubbish teachers to be sacked more easily.

greenformica Thu 23-May-13 13:09:19

The school are failing in their duty of care. They are loco parentas in your absence. See a solicitor?

Maria1201 Thu 23-May-13 14:31:43

Thanks everyone. I can't believe the situation we are in. We have always been supportive of the school, supported the kids through it. Both my children are in the top groups for everything and really well behaved. I just don't know how we got here. I'm still gobsmacked and it's been going on for months.
Through spending a lot of time trying to resolve this you realise that unfortunately this situation isn't as rare as you would think. Whilst there are some outstanding teachers out there, there are also average ones and unfortunately very bad ones. As is the case with any profession. But clearly no other profession is as protected. Or so it seems from my experience anyway. Schools all seem to want to work with families...until you say something they don't want to hear.
I spoke to the council and they said they work in schools everyday and you will never find a more arrogant institution. Which is all very well but doesn't really help me. I'm not going to slag teachers and schools off as a whole as that is a massive generalisation. I just think it should be more widely accepted that all teachers are not caring and not all schools are good at dealing with difficult situations. When there are bad teachers and bad leadership in schools there should be organisations that will step in. Not just the department of education and ofsted that take over a month to tell you whether they can even investigate the matter because it may be classed as an individual issue and not a school issue. My child has been abandoned by the system because she is above the national average. I was told by the council if she was below I could take my pick of organisations that would be fighting to help. How is that right?

musicalfamily Thu 23-May-13 15:37:59

what's being above the national average got to do with being bullied? I don't really see a link, unless they are linking the being above average to the reason the teacher was bullying her?

musicalfamily Thu 23-May-13 15:39:10

ps I am not sure bullying is dealt well anywhere, to be honest. I work and have worked in very large organisations (private) and seen some terrible cases of bullying, with terrible consequences for grown up professional individuals and the culprits just being moved somewhere else to cause more damage.

Maria1201 Thu 23-May-13 16:41:15

Apparently there are organisations that would step in if the child was below the national average as they need support. They would go to the school with you for ANY issues and make sure that the school were supportive in every way. There used to be an organisation that would step in if a child was registered gifted and talented but the budget was cut and now no longer exists.
It seems that the powers that be feel that if a child is not in need academically than everything else related to that child is irrelevant.
The council did try and help by ringing round to find anybody that would help me but as soon as it was answered that she was on the gifted and talented register they said they couldn't help.
I don't understand it either. It's just so frustrating!

musicalfamily Thu 23-May-13 18:46:20 be honest I would get a solicitor if I was you and in the meantime look for another school..

NotAnotherPackedLunch Thu 23-May-13 18:55:10

Or at least tell the HT that if there are any further incidents you will be contacting OFSTED.

Jibberoo Thu 23-May-13 19:02:18

To me this is beyond unacceptable. I feel for your whole family. If it was me I would be going to solicitor ASAP and moving my child. No child should suffer from someone so cruel and a school so uncaring (to be honest I would also name and shame both everywhere I could and would go to local papers too but then I'm quite hot headed). Wishing you luk and your dd happiness.

soapboxqueen Thu 23-May-13 20:20:57

I feel so sorry for your daughter. Bullying is bad enough but much worse when it comes from an adult. One that is supposed to be a trusted professional to boot. I honestly don't know why schools allow these situations to continue. It's not about sacking staff or the inability to. It's entirely possible to do and more often than not the person jumps before they are pushed. Yet nothing changes.

I am a teacher and I was bullied by another member of staff. He also bullied the rest of the staff off and on as well as the children. I complained, other staff complained, parents complained. Nothing happened. it was like complaining that water was wet. My head teacher was very sympathetic but ultimately did nothing but come up with excuses for him. Thousands of teachers every year leave a job because of bullying. Some of these bullies only target colleagues others anyone and everyone.

I really don't know what the answer is. I left that job because I didn't know what else to do.

rainbowsocks Thu 23-May-13 20:29:30

What an awful situation. I don't know if Ofsted can actually act on complaints relating to individual children,can they?

You're right about certain schools and staff being protected. I have a serious problem and am getting nowhere. The Governor's have denied everything and threatened legal action against me for slander hmm. They don't appear to have followed any complaints procedures but as they won't supply a copy of their policy I don't know what the procedures are!. The LA are ignoring my requests for explanations.
Most complaints end with the Governors decision - you cant challenge it or they simply call you vexatious and refuse to respond sad.

I suggest that you contact the LA Head of Education and Learning for 'advice'and see what they recommend. They won't want the hassle so are likely to speak to the school and make them take some positive action. Hope you get it sorted.

mercibucket Thu 23-May-13 20:33:59

can you home ed? this sounds really awful, she needs to get out of that environment. or at least go to the parallel class and get the new teacher to protect her sad

Maria1201 Fri 24-May-13 09:44:52

I'm self employed as is her father and he works away a lot. I have a two year old also and whilst I have had to turn down serious amounts of work already to be at home I can't continue to do so. Because of the nature of our work it means lots of travel so juggling two schools, one nursery and childminders is impossible. I have contacted over 80 schools now going further and further out to get one school to take both but I have had no joy. I have already complained to Ofsted some weeks ago but there is a backlog and no guarantee they will investigate as it's an individual rather than a school. Although I'm hoping the number of complaints will equate to it being a school issue. I have spoken to the Department of Education who said they would only look into it if I officially complained and even then it may be the same answer as Ofsted, (out of their remit). I did this but again it takes weeks.
The school sent me the newsletter yesterday and in red at the end it stated any parents who fail to send their children to school will be reported. Clearly my own personal message.
I have no desire to stay at that school at all and have put the children on waiting lists but there is such a shortage of places.
I have also gone to the newspaper who said they are interested in writing a story but as with anything it will take time to investigate it.
Due to an inset day it is now half term. Breathing space for a week at least.
A teacher I know at another school has been kind enough to give me some work to keep my daughter going and I've signed her up to English and Math's at Kumon. So far it's going ok but having a 2 year old at home, when she is not at nursery makes home schooling awkward. I can't afford to put her in nursery full time as I'm not working as much due to the home schooling.

Rainbowsocks..The school are not allowed to deny you the complaints procedure so straight away they are in the wrong. I too was told the Governor's decision is final and anything said after a decision was made would be classed as a vexatious complaint. However that is just to intimidate you. The Governor's and the school may not have to look at it again if it has been dealt with appropriately and gone through the whole procedure but that can't deny your complaint without following that procedure. They also can't stop you taking it higher.
I'd like to say by taking it higher you will get somewhere but as someone who is the process of this I am doubtful. Unfortunately you can go through all of this and there seems to be nothing you can do about it in the end. However if you have the stamina for the stress I would urge you to follow it through. Ofsted and the D of E will definitely not look into anything that hasn't been followed through correctly. (Not that I know they will definitely anyway).

I guess you just have to keep fighting for what is right. I'm not pretending to be any crusader. If I managed to get another school today I will be grabbing it with both hands and running as I don't care what happens to the school, my kids are my priority and that would be in their best interest. However whilst I am trapped I will fight her corner as best I can.

Catmint Fri 24-May-13 09:55:06

Lack of judgement and inappropriate behaviour may not adequately describe what you dd has been through but they should be enough to give you enough leverage to get a better outcome for your dd. they still show a failure on the schools part to uphold their duty of care to your dd.

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