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Another incident at school.. teachers thoughts welcome

(29 Posts)
Jampots Wed 15-Jun-05 18:39:04

My ds (who has been on the receiving end of another child's bullying for a few years now) was called "fatty" today by a different child who has previous called him this at morning break. The another boy started calling him "fatty". Then boy 1 put his foot out and tripped ds up, and he fell and knocked his head on the corner of a cabinet. He cried and told the teacher in charge and had an ice pack. He told me this at lunchtime when I went ot collect him for an appointment so I ended up speaking with this teacher. She said that she got 2 stories, one from ds and a conflicting story from the perpetrator who is known to be a horrid little child (although older than ds). Therefore she couldnt do anything. This is pretty much what happened when the original bully threw a shoe and his my ds in his face - the perpetrator got off on the basis that there were 2 conflicting stories.

Anyway I asked if the teacher had written this incident in the accident book and she hadnt as she told me he had just told her (hello! she gave him an ice pack 2 hours before). Anyway I requested that she does put this in the accident book.

Obviously, I understand that the teacher cant punish on the balance of probabilities and in the absence of the truth makes it very hard but this is sending mixed messages to my ds. I tell him to tell the truth and stay out of trouble, then he gets hurt, listens to lies and the perpetrator gets off, whilst he gets frustrated.

happymerryberries Wed 15-Jun-05 18:42:44

Oh hell that sounds awful.

Were there no other witnesses?

hercules Wed 15-Jun-05 18:45:54

Sadly, the teacher needs to see it happen or another child have the guts to be a witness or the bully to admit to it.

It is very frustrating plus the kids know the system too.

Lonelymum Wed 15-Jun-05 18:46:15

Sounds to me like she is refusing to face up to the situation. It is tricky knowing how to tackle it as a parent isn't it? All I can suggest is that you keep on drawing the school's atention to every incident that occurs so that after a while a picture will build up. If you think something really bad has occurred today, then you need to discuss this with the teacher again (make an appt, not just when you are in a rush to go to your other appt) or if you get no joy there, speak to he head. You could try asking to see their bullying policy and seeing if, in your opinion, they are folowing it.

happymerryberries Wed 15-Jun-05 18:47:40

I hate it whan I know soemthing is going on but if I don't see it, or have a witness then there is nothing much thatI can do about it. And some little toads lie with such ability.

Freckle Wed 15-Jun-05 18:48:22

Jampots, have you looked at the Kidscape website? They have some very good tactics for dealing with bullies. They don't always work and often don't work at first, but perseverance pays.

You can also download a bully log from there, which involves the child telling an adult of every incident, writing it in the log and getting the adult to countersign. Ask the school for a copy of their anti-bullying policy - this usually signals that you are serious and they start taking things a bit more seriously.

Where possible, try to get your ds to be with his friends, so that, when there is a conflict of stories, there are witnesses to back up your ds.

Mind you, this is coming from a parent who has withdrawn her son from school because of bullying, thereby letting the bullies win .

If your ds tells of every incident, sooner or later even the slowest of teachers will spot a pattern. My experience though is that certain teachers just do not have the willingness to deal with bullying. If your ds's teacher is of this mould, then you are probably fighting a losing battle and need to take the fight to a higher level.

hercules Wed 15-Jun-05 18:48:24

More to the point, the bullies lie convincingly to their own parents.

Miaou Wed 15-Jun-05 18:48:42

Is there no supervision at breaktimes? Can't someone supervise and keep a special eye on your ds?

Moomin Wed 15-Jun-05 18:49:26

Poor you and poor ds, jampots. Yes, you're right - if a teacher has 2 conflicting versions then it's very hard. Most of the time the teacher knows who is lying and who is telling the truth but they also know that accusing a child of lying is a verrrry tricky one, and can cause a lot of trouble with the parents of the liar as well! Much of the time, unless the liar has been seen by other witnesses or is caught red-handed there isn't a fat lot that can be done. A consceientious teacher, though, would log it down (mental note or real one) to help build up a case against the bully if it's needed officially at some point. It might be worth doing this yourself in case it ever comes to a complaint that you feel you would like to make. Good luck.

hercules Wed 15-Jun-05 18:50:58

Agree with moomin. The teacher should make sure all other teachers know what happened so an eye can be kept for any thing in the future and kept apart in lessons.

There is not enough staff to supervise individuals.

Moomin Wed 15-Jun-05 18:55:49

Yes - in our staff briefings, form tutors or heads of year will often report an incident like this (and also say or imply who they think is the bully, when it's obvious!) just to raise awareness with other staff.

Jampots Wed 15-Jun-05 18:56:09

well, original bully was in fact one of the teachers' children and Im fairly sure she is blissfully unaware of the trouble her ds has caused. The school feel they dont have a bullying problem but to me its a case of "head in the sand". This child who started calling my ds fatty today doesnt have a lot to do with him to be fair but when their paths cross, then the trouble starts. Im not saying my child is an angel 100% of the time but I know (and the teacher has confirmed) that he would stay out of trouble at all costs and is known as "one of the gentle boys"!

tiddlypom Wed 15-Jun-05 23:08:53

Happymerryberries and other teachers - what about Miaou's point - are playground supervisors briefed or expected to notice bullying? I ask because at our primary school they don't seem to be, and they don't appear to see it as their job.

If they did feel it was their job, they would be able to see much more of the bullying that goes on; but it would mean them taking a much more proactive part in the playground, including observing and listening, and helping isolated children join in; not just waiting till a child falls over and then mopping them up.

janeybops Wed 15-Jun-05 23:14:19

Agree about the will to want to tackle this but where I work there are 3 teachers on duty and 350 kids on the field/playground...

janeybops Wed 15-Jun-05 23:25:22

As for your son, if I was his teacher, even if I couldn't prove it this time, but 'knew' the bully was lying, I would log it and monitor the situation to see if there was a pattern.

Bullies do lie about it but I have siad in the past in situations like this something like - well if you are not picking on them when I check every Friday they will say you aren't! Usually stops it once they know I know iyswim

Does the class have circle time where they could address the name calling?

Jampots Wed 15-Jun-05 23:55:31

not entirely sure about circle time - it seems a bit "hit and miss! His teacher is lovely but this is her first year of teaching and although she is brill i think she's feeling a little jaded right now.

His head is still sore and Ive just adjusted his head on the pillow and he yelled out in his sleep. Am v cross that he keeps getting hurt and nothing is being done. Obviously he's not the only one.

Ailsa Wed 15-Jun-05 23:59:55

Jampots

If his head is still sore, I would take him to a&e. Just to be on the safe side. (I am paranoid when it comes to head injuries)

Ronniebaby Thu 16-Jun-05 00:07:36

Yeh ring in tomorrow to say you are taking him the hospital after an incident at school and you'll be in later to discuss with head

happymerryberries Thu 16-Jun-05 06:29:20

Re the playground supervisors, the ones in our (secondary) school attend the same briefings as the teaches so warnings about specific children and problems get to them. That said it is a big school and the can't covery everything, but they are good at keeping an eye open. It might be worth while raising this with the school (re the supervisors keeping a weather eye on your poor ds)

Hope that he is better today, Jampots.

jampots Thu 16-Jun-05 07:44:49

he seems ok this morning although says his head is still sore to touch. Think im going to go and speak to the head this morning about ds's view on these incidents and ask what I should be teaching him to "survive" school (ie. its okay to lie if you're not going to get found out). Dh and I have seriously discussed moving him to another school close by to the one where dd goes (which may assist us in getting him into teh secondary school when hte time comes) so maybe the time would be right soonish.

Forgot to add in my original post that at teh end of school yesterday I saw one of the boys who called ds "fatty" so whilst he was struggling with the door I asked him whether he had called ds this name, he looked embarrassed and smiled a bit so I simply told him in a nice but firm way not to do it again. Now my friend who was with me thought that was out of order and wouldnt be happy if I had said that to her son. She felt it was a school thing and should be left to them or taken up with the boys parents. ANy views on that?

ssd Thu 16-Jun-05 08:03:08

To be honest I would have done the same as you and quietly addressed the bully if I felt the school was ignoring it.

What's wrong with sticking up for your own kid?

Maybe your friend would change her tune if her ds was coming home crying with a bump on his head....

Freckle Thu 16-Jun-05 08:09:16

I spoke directly to one of ds1's bullies, but did it with a very sweet smile on my face and used non-inflammatory language. Stopped the bullying for a while, but clearly the bully's desire to hurt and distress outweighed his fear of what I might do.

homemama Thu 16-Jun-05 09:19:33

Sorry to hear about your DS's situation, Jampots. As the others have said it is very difficult for the teacher to call this other child an outright liar. In her defence, as she is an NQT and its now June, she is probably physically and mentally exhausted.
However, there needs to be a firm, whole school approach to bullying otherwise it doesn't work. Children need role play and discussions so they know how to recognise when its happening to their classmates. There should be a culture of encouragement and praise for coming forward to report what was witnessed. Older children should be appointed playground mentors (sometimes younger ones feel more comf. talking to older child than teacher)
There needs to be zero tolerance. The only way to get rid of it is to make it totally unacceptable by staff AND pupils.
Ask to see how the topic of bullying fits in to the curriculum (in PSHCE) It should be structured and built upon each year- otherwise they're not being proactive.
Good luck!

jampots Thu 16-Jun-05 09:26:01

well ive been in to see the head and surprisingly he took notes and said he will speak to all concerned. He said that a proper investigation should be carried out by asking others in teh area at the time and said he'd speak to the teacher about it. Did also tell me that knowing "young Mr ****" (the perpetrator) he did trip my ds up! Also concurred name calling is to be stopped and he will speak with the whole school on this as its happening with other children too.

homemama Thu 16-Jun-05 09:34:13

glad to hear it

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