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I'm so angry I'm shaking but don't know what to do

(104 Posts)
muffinflop Thu 06-Oct-11 11:02:51

I had a phone call from school this morning asking if I could pop in when I had time because DD had had a 'little accident'. They said it wasn't anything to worry about but DD was crying and wanted to come home so could I go down and then decide if she should come home or not.

So, obviously, I went straight down. I found DD in the office shaking, pale and sobbing so much she was heaving and the TA was holding a sick bucket just in case sad It turns out she was attacked by a boy in her class. He pulled her chair backwards making her fall off, she hit her head on the floor and then he got on top of her and was pulling her hair, shouting in her face and kicking her legs. And all because the teacher said she'd drawn a lovely picture. I was told of this away from DD but could hear her in the next room crying for me the whole time so I said I couldn't deal with it now and there was no way I was leaving DD there today.

I don't know how the boy has been dealt with but I did pass his mum on the way out and she kind of looked at DD crying and said 'oh dear is she not well' but I was so f*cking angry I just walked away from her (I know I would have cried if I'd stopped to say anything).

I've just phoned them back to tell them I want a meeting with the teacher and the HT this afternoon and they were very understanding and said they'd see me after school pick up. But what do I say? I'm so angry I'm shaking. I don't deal with confrontation well but there's no way I'm letting this go seeing the state of DD sad

SummerRain Thu 06-Oct-11 11:12:44

Your poor dd sad

It sounds like the other boy has issues far beyond normal childish roughness, I'd certainly question whether there have been problems with violence before and if so why he's still in a room with other children and clearly not enough adult presence... what you describe was a prolonged attack, I can't understand how it went on for so long before he was pulled off her... how far away was the teacher/TA?

I'd also make it exceedingly clear to them that if they ever trivialise an incident in such a way again you will bring the matter further... telling you she had a 'little accident' and not to rush when she was so upset is scandalous... if the school had said that to me I'd have taken my time and sauntered in after finishing whatever I was doing (disclaimer... my children's school rings for everything from a cough to a nosebleed to a bumped head!). You should have been told it was urgent and had the situation explained to you on the phone so you were prepared and didn't need to waste time discussing it with teachers when what your daughter needed was to leave immediately.

BelleEnd Thu 06-Oct-11 11:25:27

Oh God. That's terrible. Hope you're okay. I know I'd be fuming and shaky too sad

"DD did not have a "little accident" as I was told on the phone. She was attacked, quite seriously in my opinion, and it was a prolonged attack. Why was it not sorted out before it escelated?"

"I leave my child in your care every morning, and trust you with her. You have the responsibility over her during those hours, and if I don't feel you're taking appropriate steps towards pupils that endanger other pupils, I'll have to consider what steps to take."

macsaid Thu 06-Oct-11 11:28:54

as Belle said and also be prepared with notes if necessary and take someone with you to the meeting.

belgo Thu 06-Oct-11 11:32:42

How awful.

She hit her head as when the boy pulled her off the chair? I would take her to the GP and get her checked out.

How old is she?

midnightexpress Thu 06-Oct-11 11:32:56

How old is your DD? Not that it makes any difference to you and your poor DD, but I wonder how long this child has been at school ie how much of a 'history' of behavioural problems he has (if any).

I hope your DD is feeling better soon.

DeWe Thu 06-Oct-11 11:36:48

Poor dd.

I'm surprised they told you who it was, or were you guessing from previous behaviour? They're usually very careful not to give names out for obvious reasons, and sometimes I've been surprised when one of my children has reported behaviour out of the ordinary, who it's been.

I'd suspect that if the mum was on her way in she didn't know what had happened, so her comment was not unreasonable. They'd probably said there'd been an incident and she needed to come in, it wouldn't really be the sort of thing you can discuss over the phone.

I'd agree with the issues bit. Particularly with the reason they gave for him doing it. I don't think there was necessarily not enough adult presence, what you describe could have been a matter of seconds, stll very traumatic for your dd sad and seeming a very long time to her, but in real time much less. If the teacher had just said it was a lovely picture they were probably pretty close to them at the time.

I wouldn't have an issue with them calling it a "little accident". I also again don't think it's best described on the phone. Mind you my school doesn't phone up unless it's urgent/bad etc. so I would drop everything and dash if told that. If they'd told you everything over the phone then do you feel you would have been better prepared? I'd probably have arrived at the school in such a state it wouldn't have been helpful for anyone. I think even saying she'd been attacked by another pupil was probably best said to the face. Just how I would feel.

Hope the meeting goes well. Be prepared they almost certainly won't tell you what "sanction" the boy gets.

LoonyRationalist Thu 06-Oct-11 11:37:17

That is terrible. Your poor dd. I hope she is feeling better now she is safe with you.

I would definitely want to know why they misled you on the phone. They should have said that your dd needed you urgently.

Ask why this attack was allowed to go on for so long?

Point out that you need to confidently assure your dd that she will be safe in their care & therefore need to know what are their plans to prevent the incident reoccurring going forward?

I agree with those who have said take someone with you if you can.

BertieBotts Thu 06-Oct-11 11:39:38

How awful for your poor DD. Why on earth did they tell you it was nothing to worry about and imply you were not to rush?? angry

I bet the other mum was mortified when she found out why your DD was upset, though I'm sure that isn't much comfort.

I would definitely think carefully about what you want to say. Write down your main points or even a full letter if necessary, and make sure you keep a dated copy. I agree with take someone with you - do you have a partner?

Maisiethemorningsidecat Thu 06-Oct-11 11:40:18

I'm not surprised you're shaking - I'm sitting at a screen open-mouthed with shock at what you've described. I work about 40 minutes away from my DC's school, and can imagine not rushing back if I'd told it was just a "little accident".

I would make it quite clear that you consider the meeting with the HT and teacher nothing more than an initial conversation, before you take time to think about the information they've given you and how you want to proceed. I'd also make sure that I leave the meeting with a very clear understanding of exactly what measures they will immediately be putting in place to ensure that the little horror won't do this again.

Would your DH/P be able to attend with you, so that you've got some moral support? Your poor DD, I hope she feels better soon.

Foubijou Thu 06-Oct-11 11:47:37

How old are they? I'm sorry it sounds dreadful.

mummytime Thu 06-Oct-11 11:48:03

Is there a chance you could get a doctor (or a nurse at the GP surgery) to see her? So there is a written record on her medical file.
This afternoon ask the HT etc. what steps they are going to take to protect your daughter and other children from this boy? You can also ask to see their safeguarding and bullying policies. I would make it clear your daughter will not return to school until you are sure it is safe for her to do so, and that you want measures in place to reassure her of her safety in school. (Is there anyone you can take with you?)
I would also make a written record (maybe notes whilst talking to them) recording all that has happened today and all they promise this afternoon.

ragged Thu 06-Oct-11 11:51:39

How did the boy manage to do all that, I don't understand how the staff didn't restrain him quickly. (This would be one of my main questions).

Contrary to myth they are entitled to restrain a child who is attacking another.

The other parent is probably just as upset as you are, OP.
Hope your DD feels better soon.

lightroom Thu 06-Oct-11 11:55:28

Just hideous. Definitely write down what you want to say and don't worry if you get upset in the meeting - your dd's been assaulted. This is serious and it's appropriate to be upset. I'm sure the teachers will want to take it very seriously. It might be worth asking for a follow-up meeting this time next week - not with the anticipation of further problems but just so that they can tell you how your dd is doing in the classroom and so that they know you're taking this as seriously as it deserves.

Kick2down Thu 06-Oct-11 11:55:30

How awful. And to call it a 'little accident' on the phone is seriously off. You're not supposed to be second-guessing their call-out policy - they should always be honest and up front immediately.

These things absolutely are best discussed on the phone if there is need to do so, which there clearly was. They should have explained clearly that she had been attacked by another pupil, but did not require medical attention, was safe in the care of the office staff, and that you should come as soon as you could.

The other mother may well have been unaware what happened at the time you saw her. So be glad she did see your DD, as she'll be aware how badly it affected her son's victim.

Don't let them sweep it under the carpet. You don't say how old the kids are, but children can be excluded for attacks like that. I would want to know very clearly if there's history of this, and how they will keep your DD safe in the future.

Bugsy2 Thu 06-Oct-11 11:57:15

Your poor DD & poor you. What a horrible thing to have happened. I'm going to disagree slightly here and say I think it is a good thing the school described it as a small incident on the phone. I for one would probably have crashed my car, if I'd had any idea of what had actually happened.
However, agree with everyone that you need to take what happened very seriously with the school. These kind of things do happen - but they need to be recognised as serious incidents & recorded as such too. At this stage you don't know anything much about the other child involved & actually, the school shouldnt' really discuss him with you - BUT, what they must do is explain to you the steps they will put in place to ensure that the liklihood of such an incident ever happening again is kept to a minimum.
Big hugs to you - really grim for you & your DD. Try and keep calm when you talk to the school. I would write stuff down before I went in as I tend to forget things when I'm feeling stressed.

slavetofilofax Thu 06-Oct-11 11:58:54

I would be asking about what they are going to do to ensure your dd's safety in the future. Ask to see their safeguarding and bullying policies, and ask them to point out how they are complying with those.

I would also ask how they are dealing with this boy, they won't want to tell you anything but you need to say that you have to reassure your dd to protect her emotional health, so you need to be able to tell her how it is being dealt with. Unless she knows that this boy is being dealt with properly, she cannot be expected to feel safe, nor can you be expected to trust your dd's saftey to their care.

Make it clear that if you do not feel this has been dealt with appropriately that you will be prepared to go to the governors and OFSTED.

The teachers will be bricking it just now!

I hope your dd is ok. Is there anyone (independant) that could go to the meeting with you to take notes and act as a witness?

LingDiLong Thu 06-Oct-11 12:00:13

I think you need to, when you've managed to calm down a little, write down a list of questions. I think I'd want to know - is this an isolated incident or has the 'attacker' been violent like this before? How long did the attack go on for - where was the teacher? What steps are they going to take to ensure this never happens again? How are they going to help your DD feel safe in school in the immediate aftermath of this attack?

I don't think you necessarily need to think of this in terms of 'confrontation' right now. More 'investigation', in that you need to find out how this came about and what they will do to prevent it happening again and help your DD get over what happened. If you're going to confront them over anything I think it's the fact that they played the incident down and asked you to 'pop in when you have time'. I think you need to make it clear that this didn't give a true picture and that you might have dawdled when your DD clearly needed you there ASAP.

The fact that they sounded understanding and were happy to meet with you as soon as possible would suggest you won't need to get into a confrontation with them anyway.

spamm Thu 06-Oct-11 12:10:25

Muffinflop - I am going through something similar, although not as serious as you. My son was stabbed in the face, very close to the eye, with a plastic fork by a classmate in the cafeteria on Friday. It was deliberate, not an accident.

This is what i have done:

I had a meeting with the asst principal and I then sent an e-mail recording EVERYTHING that had happened and was said. I also asked for additional assurances, about the punishment given to the other child, and about how they intend to ensure my son's safety in school. I asked for them to ackowledge the receipt of the e-mail, and for a subsequent meeting to answer my additional questions. I have also said that I intend to meet with my son's teacher to discuss how we can help him feel better about school, as he now says he does not want to learn.

Good luck, and do not be afraid to let them know how angry you are, but try and do it in a controlled way if you can. They need to know you are serious and want action taken to keep your Dd safe and help her feel better in class after something so terrible.

BertieBotts Thu 06-Oct-11 12:14:01

Good idea to go to the GP as well. I don't know if counselling or anything like that is recommended in this kind of situation?

savoycabbage Thu 06-Oct-11 12:15:29

sad How bloody awful! I second what Ling said.

SenoritaViva Thu 06-Oct-11 12:23:09

Poor you, this sounds horrible.

I agree that the school should have stressed some urgency, e.g. 'Your DD will be OK but there has been an incident at school, are you able to come down and when?' If you had said 'I'll come now' then I think that would have been enough. Hearing the incident over the phone would have had you in a serious state before arriving.

You need to go to the meeting today prepared with what you want to say.

Contrary to what some posters think, the school may not be at fault. I could have happened in seconds and with tables/chairs etc. the staff might have got there as quickly as possible (you cannot have every child within arms reach and something like this can take just seconds). I would ask them to tell you exactly what happened, without accusing etc.

Your next main objective is to find out what the school are proposing to do to ensure that this does not happen again. Whilst they may not share how they are dealing with the boy (this might be confidential) you need to ensure that your DD will be safe in future. Secondly, what do they propose to do to ensure that your DD trusts her environment again when she returns to school. What will they do? What will they need from you? They need a full action plan with this and if you are not satisfied then speak up. E.g. if they come up with one idea push them and say, what if she still feels frightened, what will you propose then (their answer may be to review this with you which would be acceptable). Get them to commit to some diarised meetings as follow up, what's happening, how's DD etc. There should be a few over the next few weeks where you can review the action plan together and make any necessary adjustments.

Good luck, how horrible for you and DD.

tethersend Thu 06-Oct-11 12:24:00

1. Have they completed a risk assessment on this child's behaviour either before or after the incident?

2. What measures have they taken to ensure every child's safety in light of this incident?

3. How are they going to reassure you that they are able to fulfill their duty of care?

4. How is your DD going to be supported to regain her confidence in class and feel safe?

5. Why was medical attention not sought for a blow to the head?

6. What are the next steps wrt this boy and your DD?

sun1234 Thu 06-Oct-11 12:29:19

I think you should be careful that you daughter hasn't got concussion since she fell and hit the back of her head.

As to the school, it sounds like they are taking it seriously. You can't make it undone unfortunately, so all you can do is find out what the school has done to protect your daughter going forward.

How old are the children involved? Whatever age, it is a traumatic thing that she has endured but the older she is, the more good school experiences she will ahev to set against this one very bad one.

gramercy Thu 06-Oct-11 12:30:42

Presumably if you bumped into the boy's mother at the school, then she had been summoned.

Agree with others that you need assurances from the school that such behaviour is being dealt with appropriately and steps are in place to prevent a recurrence.

Don't be fobbed off: you can say you will write to the Chair of Governors if you do not feel the matter is being properly addressed.

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