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Bullying - governor's meeting with aggressor's parent present? Is this appropriate?

(22 Posts)
TerrysAllGold Thu 02-May-13 16:18:07

I'm posting on behalf of a friend. Her daughter (R) has been bullied by a boy in her class. Steps to address the problem so far have been half hearted to say the least and have included keeping R in at alternate break times so that the boy can't hurt her and, a couple of days ago putting R in the "naughty room" for the day because the boy was being troublesome.

R's family have come to the end of their tether and made it clear that the police, the LA and their MP will be involved if the bullying continues - R is coming home each day with new bruises and is suffering from inability to sleep, nightmares etc. Unsurprisingly the headteacher didn't want R's family to do that so has arranged a meeting between herself, R's family, the governors and the bully's family.

It's that last bit which strikes us as odd and possibly a bit intimidating. It's definitely going to affect what R's family say at the meeting and make them loathe to discuss anything of a confidential/personal nature.

Is this common practice? Is it best practice? Is it something which R's family should welcome or should they be better asking for a meeting with the head and governors alone?

All advice most gratefully received, thank you.

Katiebeau Thu 02-May-13 16:29:04

I've no clue if its normal practice but what arse of a teacher basically punishes a child for being bullied. angry

Report the school anyway, they are crap clearly at managing a bully. Surely physical harm evidence would warrant the intervention of the LEA.

For R thanks

Madamecastafiore Thu 02-May-13 16:31:18

Refuse to be part of the meeting. Demand a copy of the anti bullying policy and make sure they follow it to the letter.

I would keep my child out of school until this is rectified too.

freddiemisagreatshag Thu 02-May-13 16:33:53

DS's school suggested this when he was being bullied.

I went in and saw the V-P who was in charge of discipline and told him it would be happening over my dead body and could I please have a copy of their anti-bullying policy.

I then went through the policy with a fine tooth comb and wrote a stinking letter detailing every time they hadn't adhered to it - eg "In para 6.2.1 of the bullying policy it states xxx. This has not been done. I expect an explanation"

EuroShaggleton Thu 02-May-13 16:34:00

To be fair, I think the involvement of the bully's family will be helpful in tackling this behaviour. If there are things they do not want to discuss with the bully's family present, R's family should state that and ask for them to wait outside while that issue is raised.

It does sound like the behaviour is being handled appallingly badly though.

freddiemisagreatshag Thu 02-May-13 16:35:33

And my advice is if R comes home with any more bruises, go straight to the police and report it as assault.

TerrysAllGold Thu 02-May-13 16:52:43

They are going to report any more bruises/physical harm to the police, Freddie and R's nan (who's the one who was so cross she demanded to see the head this afternoon and got this meeting offered to her and R's mum) has today gone through the school's anti-bullying policy with the head and pointed out the various areas where it hasn't been followed.

(Moral of the story - don't mess with Grandma!).

Grandma did this as a result of me advising that the family go over the bullying policy and involve the police if any more takes place (unfortunately I speak from past experience, when my own child was bullied). I'm just concerned that R's mum, when she gets in the meeting, will feel intimidated by the presence of the bully's parents and thought the suggestion at best odd, maybe even inappropriate. If it's normal procedure and it works then that's great, I've just never come across the suggestion before.

Pancakeflipper Thu 02-May-13 16:58:40

In some situations it can be a suitable situation but only if both parties are willing to discuss it in a civil manner as a way forward to resolve the situation. If the mother feels uncomfortable then it is not apt and she should ask for a separate mtg with the year head, Headteacher and a member of the Governing body (tell her to write all instances in a diary /date format, any photos of the bruises would be good too).

And keep waving the bullying policy. Schools have stats on bullying instances that are seen by Ofsted etc.

admission Thu 02-May-13 17:05:46

I would say that this is not necessarily a clever idea. There is not only an anti-bullying policy in the school but will also be a complaints policy. That complaints policy will probably say that the first complaint will be to the head teacher who needs to respond around the complaint. If the complainant still feels it has not been addressed then it goes to the Chair of Governors to review the complaint.Then it could well go to a panel of governors.
My point is that this meeting will have potentially cut right across the agreed policy and leave all of you in no-mans land in terms of what can now happen.
I would get hold of the complaints policy and see what it says exactly and then instigate it. I would say that any meeting should be with the head to start with. The head can meet separately with bully's family to explain the problem and what they intend to do about it.
Sorry but to me this sounds like the head taking the easy option of hoping that a face to face meeting between the families will resolve the problem. I don't think it will resolve anything, the head teacher needs to be taking action against the bully.
My only concern in all this is that the actions of the head teacher might suggest that they have concerns about exactly who is the instigator of the trouble here. Could it possibly be that R's daughter is actually the catalyst for what turns into a bullying issue, that is the daughter starts it?

learnandsay Thu 02-May-13 17:08:40

This won't be happening to a child of mine. After one incident and with no solution presented immediately any further incidents would automatically be reported to the police and the staff involved for child cruelty and neglect.

adoptmama Thu 02-May-13 17:37:56

I would not involve myself in such a meeting if I were considering going to the police. I would advise your friend to inform the school they will not attend the meeting. You arrange a meeting between parents when children cannot get on, not when one child is physically abusing another, which is what this bullying is. There is nothing to be gained by the parents meeting in this way and a lot of harm that could be done. The school has not met its legal responsibilities or acted adequately. Personally I would get a lawyer to contact the LEA and take it from there. I would also look for a new school for my child if necessary and would expect the LEA to support a transfer.

TerrysAllGold Thu 02-May-13 17:38:30

admission, thank you - I honestly don't think that it is R who's the cause of this though obviously I'm not in possession of superpowers so can't swear to it. I can only say that all I've been told suggests otherwise.

The boy who's been hurting R has some form of special needs (I don't know what), which appears to be why the school are isolating R to "keep her safe" and are unable or unwilling to act with as much power as they might otherwise do.

learnandsay, I agree with you wholeheartedly. My poor child suffered too much and I learnt the hard way. This is why I've strongly advised R's family to go to the police if there is a next time and to "make a fuss" from now on.

iseenodust Thu 02-May-13 18:09:26

I would not attend the meeting with other parents. The behaviour of the other child needs a behaviour plan agreed between the HT and those parents. Your friend's complaint is about the safety of the daughter and the unfairness of isolating her.

Another option would be to ring the education welfare officer at the LEA and explain that if the girl cannot go to school without suffering harm then she will be kept at home until a normal sleep pattern returns and school is a safe environment. This is not saying home ed. (They really hate non-attendance, it screws the school's figures.)

ILoveToLaugh Thu 02-May-13 18:55:55

Kidscape (anti bullying charity) has a wonderful website which helps victims and their parents. I wish your friends and child well.

Jimmybob Thu 02-May-13 19:06:42

I would be a bit worried unless the head is really good at conflict resolution - I do this with organisations and I never get both parties together straight away, there is always some pre work so that people know that they have been listened to and feel safe to talk about what need to be talked about. As the school are part of the issues, I feel they would find it difficult to be impartial and not defend their position. I would write to the Chair of Governors, personally being clear about what you want to have happen. It is potentially a safeguarding issues that needs to be managed so that your daughter feels safe.

auntevil Thu 02-May-13 19:37:12

The issues of the bully are for the school and the HT to agree with the parents.
The issue re bullying with R are for the school and the HT to agree with the parents.
I would have thought that the schools policy of confidentiality also came into play here as well. Would you want any parent to be at a discussion between you and the CT re behaviour to voice their opinions? So why should they be allowed to do this at this meeting?

TerrysAllGold Thu 02-May-13 20:03:38

Thank you all. Clearly it's not just me overthinking it, other people would have concerns too.

I've passed the link to this thread to R's superGran, who's taking notes and also says thank you very much, this is ever so helpful.

ryanboy Fri 03-May-13 12:18:39

Highly inappropriate I'd say
The boys behaviour, and the protection of R should be treated as 2 separte issues, each being kept confidential from the other set of parents.
Are you sure that it is not that one set of parents will go in and then the other.
How old is the alleged bully?

byah Sat 04-May-13 16:30:51

Sorry to hear of all your problems TerrysAllGold . The following information is aimed at stopping this sort of inappropriate treatment of a child being bullied or abused in any way, and will stop schools from dealing with abuse cases themselves without bring in outside agencies.

The Reporting of Abuse : Time for Change.

All parents need to know that although some school deal very correctly and report any cases of abuse that may occur that:
" At present there is no legal requirement on anyone working with children in England ,Wales or Scotland, to report allegations or witnessed abuse of a child, including rape, to either the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) or the police."

This lack of mandatory reporting allows schools to "deal with" cases of abuse entirely within the school and by their own staff and has led to some well-documented cases of abuse continuing within the schools.

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/educationgovuk-introduce-law-requiring-adults-working-with-children-to-report-alleged-abuse-mandatenow

To help changes to happen please join :
Petition found by opening the above link
Twitter @MandateNow

perfectstorm Sat 04-May-13 19:09:11

" At present there is no legal requirement on anyone working with children in England ,Wales or Scotland, to report allegations or witnessed abuse of a child, including rape, to either the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) or the police."

Including rape?! Oh my God. Adults are allowed to fail to report to the police assaults on a child in their care, up to and including rape? Is it just me, or is this something Mumsnet should be campaigning on? I thought reporting on child abuse was mandatory - who gives a crap in terms of damage to the victim if it was an adult or a peer?

OP a joint meeting at this stage would happen over my dead body. Conflict resolution work should, as someone has mentioned, involve earlier separate meetings. This is terrible. And if the perp has special needs, he is being let down as well. Education is not solely about the three Rs.

byah Sat 04-May-13 23:02:28

Yes Perfectstorm... great idea that it is something Mumsnet could be campaigning on . There is so much in the news now about child abuse that was never reported at the time ... and if those who knew about it then had known that they could be prosecuted for failing to do so, many children would have been saved from abuse..

LatteLady Sun 05-May-13 12:43:44

Firstly, it is inappropriate for governors to be at this meeting as this is day to day management and not strategic.

I am assuming that you have a copy of the school's Bullying and Harassment Policy and have followed it to the letter, and the school has failed to do so. Next you need to ask for the Complaints Policy and go through it step by step to complain about the manner in which this matter has been dealt.

Finally, if any "punishment" is meted out to the bully, tell your friend not to expect to know what it is, that is between the school and his parents... all your friends should know is that the matter has been addressed and their daughter is safe and happy in school.

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