Primary school head, bullying and kids in trouble, please help!(29 Posts)
Hi guys, this is my first time on here and hope you can help as I'm getting so frustrating with my kids school and in particular the head teacher. Both of my children have complained that they have been teased/bullied by other children. One of my kids is being assessed for ASD as he has a few issues and the other is 'normal'. They are 9 year old boys. They both have a lot of friends and are lovely, friendly and sociable. However, the issues with them being picked on in school hasn't been addressed by the teachers and my DH in desperation said to them that if the teachers wont do anything then you deal with it. This, whilst in my day, would have been the best solution, stand up to the bullies, but the school doesn't see it this way. And have called me in to deal with their behaviour. The head isnt interested in the fact that they were defending themselves and they have never started a fight in their lives but all of a sudden he's threatening me with internal exclusion and possible total exclusion if they dont buck up. I have explained that they are clearly feeling frustrated that their concerns arent being addressed and are lashing out as a way to stop the situation but he wants a stepford school and anyone who doesnt tow the line isnt welcome. I have spoken to numerous parents who have told me issues that either they or someone they know has had problems with this guy. He is totally officious and believes he is completely correct even when I have made very valid points. We have had SENCO and school psychologists involved but although he says he understands these issues and wants to work with us, he really doesnt. He has even asked a parent to remove their ADHD child from school when there was an Ofstead visit. I dont want to remove my kids from the school as aside from the few bullies, they are settled. I dont know what to do
How far have you escalated your complaints about the bullying not being dealt with? There should be a process for escalating beyond the head if he has not dealt with it adequately. I'd also make sure you keep a log of every incident that you hear of if you aren't already. Then you have something to put in front of the head or the teacher or whoever you escalate to to show the pattern.
I know there are divided views on telling children to hit back. Personally I think it's a really bad idea. As you've seen, the victim then gets in trouble - which the bullies will be delighted by, so they'll probably bait them some more. There's a lovely storybook image of poor bullied child hits out, coward bully never bothers them again. Except I don't think it works like that in real life, because the bullies will have face to save and are often actually bigger and stronger or will gang up.
You can't expect him to agree to your suggestion that your kids should lash out and deal with it themselves. You have told your kids that this is a viable option so now it's not clear to them that they cannot behave like this in school. Bullying is hard to deal with when the other child hits back because then it becomes tit-for-tat. If one child bullies another and the victim does not retaliate, the blame then lies solely with the aggressor and it can be dealt with.
If you ring a parent and tell them their child is bullying another, but admit that the child they bullied gave them a black eye or broke a tooth or even created the tiniest of bruises, then it makes it hard to punish the aggressor. "Hi Mr Jones, your child keeps calling Joe names and taking the mickey out of him. Joe punched him in the face just now and you are going to have to take him to see the doctor I think. But because your child called him names and started the problem he is also now excluded". Mr Jones: "what? My boy just made a couple of silly jibes and now he has a black eye and an exclusion?"
You need to tell your kids that while they can defend themselves if they are out and about in town and without adults around, while they are in school they are not allowed to hit anyone, they tell a teacher. That way 100% of the blame is with the other child.
You need to follow the complaints procedure about the bullying and take it to the governors once the head has responded. What paper trail do you have thus far? Don't rely on other parent's gossip and certainly don't fuel it yourself. A physical response was always going to get your DC into trouble so you need to accept the consequences of that and refocus on the bullying issue and how the school reacts to that.
My ds had lots of incidents that in his view, he was doing the right thing, in reception. He pushed the boy who pushed him. He pushed the boy who jumped the queue. He pushed the boy who was nasty to him.
He got into trouble. He learned the lesson.
I sympathise with your feeling, but once they resort to violence, they cannot be just the victim. I think you need to separate the issue, tell your DCs not to retaliate, and pursue with bullying with school.
I hope it works out.
You cannot right a wrong with another wrong. Whilst I accept that it is a natural reaction to retaliate in the circumstances, I am afraid that the reaction of the head teacher was 100% correct in my opinion.
You need to approach this is a different way. If you children are being bullied and you need to define what exactly you and your sons deem bullying, then there is a right approach.
That approach is when the bullying happens to write to the head teacher giving details of the bullying, say you wish to make a formal complaint and then wait to see what reaction you get. The one thing your sons cannot do is respond in kind to the bullying. You need to get the head teacher to investigate your formal complaint. The school will have a formal complaint procedure and the first step is a formal written complaint to the head teacher.
Wait and see what response you get. You should get a written reply, which may or may not result in some action being taken and you might or might not feel satisfied with the response. If you are not happy then the next step is a formal complaint to the Chair of Governors about the lack of action by the head teacher over the bullying.
You may find, if you comments about the head teacher are correct,that you will be just ignored and to be honest at some stage you will have to decide whether a school move is appropriate. The problem for you and your sons is that any retaliation will in those circumstances lead towards fixed term and permanent exclusion. That can also be fought but you need the written factual evidence to do so. Formal complaints are a good way to start this evidence base and will also be helpful if you decide to move your children from the school in a case of an admission appeal.
I've just read through all the replies and think you have been given fantastic advice. Sadly I have been through this myself and am still going through it with my 9 year old ASD son. He is bullied and teased at school for being 'different', and despite my pleas to him to just 'tell the teacher', 'get help' and 'don't hit or you will get into trouble', he does sometimes hit back. Just 2-3 weeks ago he hit one of the boys who had been taunting him for months (calling him really horrible names) right in the nose (causing a bleed) and then he was given a fixed term exclusion (2 days off school). The head was sympathetic that he had been provoked and did accept that the other child's behaviour had to be dealt with but it didn't change the outcome for my son. I understand that and am always telling my son - violence isn't the answer. Sadly he has real difficulties controlling his emotions, especially when he has been wronged. My advice would always be to make sure your sons know that they can't hit back in school - they will be punished and it will not matter who started it. Good Luck.
i used to teach cc with various difficulties and found the best way to help them deal with bullying was to role play what happened and then role play different solutions . They and i were elated with the successes that resulted ..
I'm sorry. I appreciate these responses have tried to help you as much as possible but I do not agree. Yes, true two wrongs don't make one right but what else is the kid meant to do?
My view is if the school hasn't tackle the bullying issues, hasn't excluded these kids etc but now they want to include yours despite your best goes at solving the matters and raising it appropriately I'd tell the head I'll sue for disability discrimination. How can he say he'll exclude your kid and get all tough on you for one incident when he clearly hasn't done anything about the other kids?!
Violence is nearly always dealt with more harshly than words, even racist or homophobic ones. You can continue with the position that hitting out is ok but no-one will ever agree with that. I would try to find a way through the situation by using the anti bullying policy and getting your DS's difficulties recognised and dealt with. Working with the teachers is the only answer. By encouraging violence it is likely your child will be seen as the unacceptable child. By way of integrating him back into school, you should have had a chat about how this would work. You ask what else can your child do? Learn not to retaliate is the answer.
Thanks everyone, I am going to follow the official complaints procedure as we've just had a disastrous meeting with the head and head of year, who also happens to be one of their teachers. I agree that my son shouldn't have retaliated and told the head that I dont agree with it but the school are now denying they knew anything about him being bullied. I have in the past asked for any incidents be given to me in writing but they only did this for a few weeks. And aside from the odd chat from the teacher after school about an issue we havent heard anything more. They havent put anything in writing to us although he says they have it all written down in school. I myself have reported to the teacher and the head numerous times my concerns and he had the audacity to say they knew nothing about it. He challenged my husband when he tried to explain why that the fact my son felt ignored and this could be why he lashed out (which was in answer to his question) and became highly defensive and arrogant as he wouldnt have it to be that there was an unaddressed issue with bullying. My husband walked out in frustration while I explained that I was incredulous that he thinks we havnt spent numerous visits at the school trying to resolve the problem. I really dont want to move them as I feel that if they just stopped the bullying or at least listened to the children when they come to them with their worries, we wouldn't be in this position now. I have done nothing but support the school up until now but I've lost all faith in their abilities to care for these kids. Like I said, it isnt just my children who have had these issues but the school seem reluctant to look at the underlying reasons.
I'm going to read through this thread properly later as I'm going through exactly the same with my ds aged 10. They wind him up and he is now fighting back and so now is the problem . An example is on Friday they were dissecting something and one of the main snidey ones was waving his bloody glove in ds's face. Rather than doing it back or telling he gave the boy a shove. This was the only thing the teacher saw. Lots of the same type of incidents last wk. They wind up and stand back when he blows. So as a result my ds had a crap weekend losing screen time and the other child went on about their business with a clear conscience I'm sure his parents didn't get the phonecall I received on Friday evening.
Will be back later
OMG have just spoken to a couple of other parents, one whose child is still at the school and another who had to take her 3 children out because they were so distressed. Its seems that this head has bullied out at least 3 members of staff as they dared to disagree with his policies and he has told numerous other parents that if they dont feel that the school arent doing a good job then they are more than welcome to leave. Great attitude! Regarding the lady who took her children out, the head called the new head to bad mouth her and her husband! This is after this lady had worked at every fund raiser and even worked as a dinner lady, I've been told that I wont get anywhere by complaining to the governors as they are all in their own little bubble and despite numerous complaints nothing is ever done. The trouble is, this is an academy so they basically run themselves, even the deputy head is the headmasters wife which I would have thought shouldn't be allowed. Feels like I'm banging my head against a brick wall. These are our children and we have to entrust them into schools where we get absolutely no say in how that school is managed and yet we are forced to put them there day after day knowing this goes on. Yes I could move them but why should I interrupt their lives, their schooling, take them away from their friends and all they know just because the school wont address one small issue. The head believes that they dont have bullying at their school, children dont misbehave when they're bored and have complete control over their emotions, feelings and behaviour at such a young age. I'm absolutely disgusted by their attitude
Typical isnt it, the teachers never see the real bullies but are quick to judge when they see when a child has had enough and stands up for themselves. They dont ever ask why did they react though, that way they can lay the blame at someone elses feet. Not only is the child bullied, not listed to or ignored, they then get punished for their instinct to protect themselves. And they wonder why kids behave they way they do these days??
I would move my child, if I was in your position. Does it worth fighting?
The school sound like the place you don't want to send your children everyday.
i read on a prev thread that there is an edu ombudsman. I'd follow the path laid out and document by sending a recap of the meeting with the head as to what was said =a paper trail. Go on to the next step =governors , even tho you have been told it's useless,; then the next step=edu authority and so on. The eventually you will get to the ombudsperson. I may have missed a step.
It is an Acamemy. That says quite a lot. They probably want you to move so their life is easier. They are not accountable to anyone.
Sadly, children do wave bloody gloves about if they get the chance. That, in my opinion, is not bullying, it is done to get a laugh and is not a hanging offence. Apart from a bit of annoyance, what harm was actually done? The teacher should deal with this as part of classroom management in that the children are not working as effectively as they could. The one waving the glove around could have been moved. If you describe a child as "snidey" are you ever going to fit in? It all sounds confrontational to me.
I think you need to be very careful about listening to others' experiences. The situation and reaction will have differed, don't allow it to feed your own frustrations. HM is very unlikely to have taken the trouble to call another just to stir it, more likely to have breathed a sigh of relief and moved on. Presumably there is a bullying policy, usually on the website. Quote from it when you make your written complaint. If you think your dc Sen are not being taken seriously call Ipsea for support.
As I said the bloody glove was an example. I called him a snidey kid because he is the one who does the whispering about his clothes, how ugly he is. He sets my son up and then stands back when he gets upset. Yes I agree waving a bloody glove is normal kids mucking around but in this case it's not as there's a massive back story. We have had in the past year one shoe get thrown away, cyber bullying, his nuts kicked so hard they swelled up, being excluded from joining in at playtime and lots more. He can only take so much and now he's fighting back.
I very much would say he's being bullied
Typical isnt it, the teachers never see the real bullies but are quick to judge when they see when a child has had enough and stands up for themselves. They dont ever ask why did they react though, that way they can lay the blame at someone elses feet
Hold on a minute. I get that you're annoyed but don't tar all teachers with the same brush. This isn't typical.
I would also say to the poster who suggested that it was because it was an academy that this has nothing to do with it. Over half of all schools are now academies. They are funded by public money and so are accountable.
I can see both sides here. Like I said my ASD son is taunted, excluded from games, called names, laughed at, etc. He hits back (not always) but he does hit. The Head Teacher has to come down heavy on physical violence - often these children don't PHYSICALLY hurt my child (but he feels very hurt by their words and actions) and so my son is the one who has had 2 suspensions now - he is 9. Obviously it hurts that my son has been suspended twice, but he has to learn that he can't hit others, if he doesn't learn this when he is a child then he will end up in much greater trouble when he is an adult. This is something I am constantly supporting him with. Sadly people wrong us all the time, we have to learn to deal with that anger appropriately and being violent is NOT appropriate. It just causes my son more pain in the end. He is a much happier child when he is in control of his anger and when he gets help from an adult. He feels great satisfaction when he sees the other boys punished for how they have treated him and he is praised by the teachers for 'keeping his cool'. I know it's hard, but it really is best to try and work with the school as much as possible. This is what is best for your son. Best wishes.
All the people saying kids shouldn't hit back.. My feeling is in most cases if a kid has been pushed to hit back he's been through too much bullying and the school hasn't acted upon it at all.
Move them. It doesn't seem like you're going anywhere with this head.
But please do sue them for disability discrimination. It's probably the only thing that will take this head down and stop him/ her from doing this to more kids.
That's exactly the conversations I have with ds, that he will never come off best when he lets his anger take over. It's better to ignore and walk away and let them get caught. Very hard to do but it will help them as they grow up.
It does make me sad for him but I suppose they have to try and make their own decisions and take responsibility for their actions. Work in progress
Well, from teasing and silly names to both boys (twins?) being threatened with permanent exclusion, that must have been quite a fight back.
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