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DS was bitten by another boy on Fri and is still very upset...

(12 Posts)
theotherboleyngirl Tue 20-Sep-11 08:06:10

DS in Yr 1 was bitten, very badly, by another Yr 1 boy on Fri. He was wearing his sweater and shirt at the time but the bite punctured the skin with 3 teeth and another 5 or so are visible as very nasty bruises. He had to go to hospital have it cleaned and dressed (as advised by the school, not me being neurotic!) it was that bad. It's healing brilliantly and physically I'm sure he'll be fine.

However emotionally he is far from fine. Saturday he was awful - he had what I can only describe as a rage. Completely out of character. Followed by 45 minutes of sobbing. Since he has been much better, but very very easily upset. Like he is on edge continually. Apparently at school yesterday he was "fine" - but that is DS all over - he doesn't show his emotions normally.

The school took things pretty seriously on Fri. The other boy was really told off and excluded from class for the day, had to be with Yr 6. He also apologised to DS.

The thing is there is a background of issues between DS and this boy. Last term I went in three times because DS was upset about him. He was coming home at least 3-4 times a week having been pushed, hit and shoved by him. On a previous occasion he had red marks all around his neck and upper arm where he had clearly been swung around by his shirt. However the TA and teacher were dismissive at the time saying that X wouldn't be able to hurt "a big strong lad" like DS because he "can barely hold a pencil". DS is your classic gentle giant.

At the time they described it as "hero-worship gone wrong". Apparently DS had really taken X under his wing when other boys have pushed him away. The problem then came when DS wanted to still be able to play with the other boys and they got fed up because X always followed DS and ruined the game. DS, obviously not having the emotional maturity to deal with it, tried to distance himself from X, and X's response has always been to push, shove etc. DS just lets him! Ds is the type of boy to let every child keep piling in front of him for a slide etc, he's not assertive at all.

I'm going in to see the Headteacher this morning and I'm wondering what I can realistically expect from the school. DS was awake again in the night last night worrying about X. I'm furious that last year's teachers didn't pass on to his new teacher that there was a problem and as a result sat the boys next to each other. I'm pretty upset that the situation has been allowed to get so out of hand my DS has now been badly bitten, but more than that is so upset. I feel I want some help from the school in how to help DS become more assertive, and some help with the social side of school - is that realistic? They at the moment just say he seems "fine" at school - but he's not at home. In fact last year they tried to suggest DS complaining about X was a "smokescreen" for something else worrying him. I am pretty sure there is nothing else worrying him, and surely a bite requiring hospital treatment is more than a smokescreen??

The boys needs to 'get along' and be given help because there are only 8 boys in the class - I feel all the class should be helped with the social side of school more through PHSE and talking through how you handle friendships and times that you don't want to play with someone, and times that you do. Is it realistic to ask them to do this? I feel I'm doing and have done everything I can from home (short of teaching DS to push X away, which I've refrained from doing so far, DH says it's time to abandon that policy but I think DS is too young to understand why in this instance it's ok to push but normally it's not) but none of the techniques are working.

Sorry this is so long, I didn't want to drip feed.

heather1 Tue 20-Sep-11 08:11:22

After reading your post theotherboleyngirl I was wondering if the boys have been brought together then the situation talked about and then the biter made to apoligise.
No matter what the reason biting is not acceptable. This biter should not be allowed out to play for at least one playtime and then should be supervised until his behaviour is deemed acceptable.
My two pence worth anyway.

theotherboleyngirl Tue 20-Sep-11 09:34:47

thank you. They were brought together at the time as X was denying it. But another of DS' friends had actually tried to prise X off him and was saying X did it. And of course there was the obvious bite mark! Then X admitted it. He did apologise and drew DS a picture but DS then had to leave to go to the hospital. But I do know he was kept out of Yr 1 all day.

My feeling is DS needs to SEE something happening to change the situation. He needs to see he's being taken seriously. And at the moment I don't think that's happening. And from everyone's account on Fri DS did nothing to provoke the bite. They were happily playing a game, X got annoyed that DS got to 'base' first and bit him.

sparkle12mar08 Tue 20-Sep-11 10:21:16

Have you photographed the marks? I'd be collecting any and all evidence of physical or emotional bullying and my next step would be a private meeting with the head. At which point I'd be hinting that any further such physical assaults (for that is exactly what they are) would be reported to the police to build up a file. They may or may not take action but they will at least be aware of the situation. The school must put steps in place to protect your child.

Start getting serious with the head.

I think you need to get them to formally recognise this as bullying. As them for a copy of their anti bullying policy and ask them how the incident has been recorded by the school.

Then ask them what strategy they will put in place, in accordance with their anti bullying policy, to stop this happening again.

oliandjoesmum Tue 20-Sep-11 14:46:48

You also need to consider whether there are any Special Needs considerations involved here with the biter. Ashamed to say my DS1 used to behave like this, he has aspergers. No excuse I know, but unfortunately if there is any Special Needs involved the normal sanctions etc sometimes just don't work. Additionally, I don't think it is fair to class as bullying if this is the case. Not making excuses, I would be very upset if this happened to my other children who have never done anything aggressive in their lives, but just trying to explain the method of dealing with it may need to be adapted.

busybee20 Tue 20-Sep-11 16:37:12

Sorry to hear about your child being bitten. I have read many posts similar to this on MN and what I have found a common occurrence is that the schools/teachers are most of the time useless! Seems they don't want to believe such behaviour can take place by their student and always seem to play down the matter. And these nasty children that do this kind of bullying are not deterred by being told off/ having playtime missed etc. They still repeat behaviour.
I have advised my children that if anyone ever hits/ pushes them then to do same back to other child. And it works, other child doesn't expect retaliation. I know many will disagree with me.
With regards to being bitten - this is a VERY serious matter and you need to demand that school takes serious action with child and family.

Hulababy Tue 20-Sep-11 16:55:37

As predicted yes I do agree with the following:

"I have advised my children that if anyone ever hits/ pushes them then to do same back to other child. "

If you do this then the child who was originally bitten will be in as much trouble as the original biter. In schools we do not teach that violence and aggresion is the answer. We would ask that the child reports the incident immediately to the nearest grown up, or gets a friend to if they can't, so it can be dealt with straight away.

As a TA (and ex techer) in a Y1 class we do take such behaviour as very serious and we would be working towards it not happening again. However class teachers do have to go through various stages and follow school guidelines.

If there are special needs these will be taken into consideration but if a child is serious hurt then we would deal with that aspect first and foremost. It is important that the hurt child sees that the teachers care about what has happened, that they will do something about it and they will try and stop it happening again.

In such a situation as this we would have contacted the biting child's parents there and then to discuss the matter.

It does sound as if this is an ongoing problem and I think you are right to go and see the headteacher about it. I would ask direct questions as to how they are going to protect your son and also how they can help your son in the social side of things -there are a few things the teacher/ta could do with a group of children to demonstrate assertiveness, and it is definitely not out of the ordinary. I regularly do such activities with various children in my classes.

theotherboleyngirl Tue 20-Sep-11 17:21:07

thank you everyone, and particularly thank you for a teacher's perspective hulababy

I had, I think, a very productive meeting with the headteacher. She herself described it as bullying. She has already spoken to all the staff about the situation. Yes the other little boy does have (as yet) undiagnosed special needs and of course I feel compassion for the other mum (who phoned me on Fri to see how DS was and apologise). The HT was very reassuring about doing more work with all of the children in PHSE about how to behave in the playground etc. She also said DS needs some concentrated help on assertiveness and she did think this was important and is speaking to another member of staff in the school to provide that for DS. She also got DS in whilst I was there and reassured him that he is safe at school, that he can always talk to her or any of the teachers and she explained briefly to him about how to say "no" and got him saying it nice and loudly to her which he thought was hilarious! The boys have been permanently separated in the classroom which DS is very happy about especially as he's been paired with the boy he likes to play with most. The HT is going to review in a week and see where we're at then.

Thanks again, I realise I'm not very assertive either and so this thread has really helped me see I need to lead by example with DS and let him know he's being taken seriously and we're looking after him.

grin delighted it was such a productive meeting.

The HT sounds great.

Hulababy Tue 20-Sep-11 20:55:08

Good to hear that you had a productive meeting. It all sounds very postive, so fingers crossed for you and your boy.

busybee20 Tue 20-Sep-11 22:02:38

This head sounds very good. Mainly because he/she actually recognised this as bullying. There are many heads that would not want to admit this let alone use the word bullying. good luck.

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