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I probably didn't handle this very well but I don't think the head did either

(37 Posts)
MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Tue 26-Apr-16 15:10:49

Long story short, head was dd1's teacher in yr 1&2 when dd1 was being bullied by a classmate. We had a few conversations about this girl. Dd1 is now in yr 4 and the bullying continues, albeit in a low grade everyday casual cruelty type of way. It escalated last week when the girl hit dd on two separate occasions. She was apparently spoken to after the first incident but clearly not enough because she then did it again.

I have had enough of dd being subjected to this girl. I told her if it happened again to bloody well hit her back. I don't think she would to be honest but she knows she'd have my support if she did.

I mentioned it to the head in passing and she didn't know anything about either incident. I told her what I'd said to dd and she was horrified and said she couldn't possibly encourage that. Fair enough, obviously not, but I've got no faith in the schools ability to deal with bullies. Children have left over the schools inability to deal with bullies.

Dd now informs me that the head took assembly yesterday and told the whole school that anyone that hits back would find themselves in worse trouble that the hitter.

I am a bit worried by this. I don't think the head should be telling children that they can't defend themselves. Obviously I'm not suggesting that they all go around fighting but to tell children that they might be victims of bullying and be punished for it seems a little off to me.

I want to say something to the head but I don't know where to start. If anywhere. Am I overreacting? I just don't know if I ought to let it go now.

irvineoneohone Tue 26-Apr-16 16:18:15

I couldn't believe the thing I just read! Children who fights back gets into a more trouble? That is shocking. I don't encourage fighting back, but that doesn't sound right at all. She should be encouraging no hitting or any kind of bullying.
My ds got into trouble once for hitting a girl after she kept on pulling his hair numerous times even he told her to stop, but she was made to say sorry to him, and him to her. I thought that was fair, they both lost same amount of their golden time points.

t4gnut Tue 26-Apr-16 16:22:56

I'm with you on this one - if the school has proved to be ineffectual you are teaching your child to stand up for themselves and not be a victim. We know its not the right way to do it, but turning round and smacking a bully on the nose means they won't do it again.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Tue 26-Apr-16 17:14:49

Well that's kind of my thinking but you try saying that to a teacher! They can't be seen in any way to endorse that kind of behaviour. They close ranks!

Dds class teacher pulled me aside tonight and reiterated that she's sorry if I'm unhappy about it all but that they definitely are in control of the situation. I'm not really convinced and I think she got that, she didn't look impressed. I also mentioned what the head had said in assembly and how it had come across and she was almost indignant that of course that's not what was meant. I said well that's how dd communicated it to me so clearly that's how some children understood it.

She said you can't stoop to the bully's level by hitting back. I said well I just don't think the gently, gently, holistic approach always works either. I asked to see their anti-bullying policy. To my knowledge no one's ever seen it.

I still don't think this is resolved. I think I'm going to get grilled by the head tomorrow. She's done a lot for the school and kind of gets put on a pedestal a little bit and is used to praise, not having her methods questioned. I'm really not sure what to say.

I asked dd on the way home if she felt happy now and confident that the girl wouldn't hit her again. She said no. sad

CodyKing Tue 26-Apr-16 17:30:14

Look at the complaints procedure

Then look for the "shall I tell my child to hit back" thread on bullying forum

Not sure how to link - but given DD has not hit back yet - I fail to see how hitting back is a crime when teachers are ineffective

KP86 Tue 26-Apr-16 17:31:12

If you are meeting with the school tomorrow, can you threaten to get the police involved if they don't 'keep on too of it' and the bullying and hitting continues? You don't have to follow through but it might remind them that they do need to act and not sweep it under the rug.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Tue 26-Apr-16 17:39:58

Thanks CodyKing, I think thats the thread I was on that started this one! grin

I'll see if they say anything tomorrow. In the mean time I'm going to make myself familiar with the anti bullying policy. If I can find it.

Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies Tue 26-Apr-16 18:07:34

I suspect that the head didn't say the hittee who hits back will be in more trouble than the initial hitter. She probably said something along the lines of: "If you hit back, and we've seen you, but we didn't see the earlier hit, then we'll have to punish you..."

It's always a bad idea to encourage hitting back. At best it escalates the situation. And at worst the person hitting back does end up in more trouble. Because teachers can only really punish what they see. As soon as they meet a 'he said, she said' situation their hands are fairly well tied.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Tue 26-Apr-16 18:59:29

Apparently that's exactly what she did say. That the hittee would be in even more trouble than the hitter. That's where the confusion lies. I can't believe it either.

Your username is most appropriate. I won't say why.

irvineoneohone Tue 26-Apr-16 19:35:23

It can be a tricky situation with hitting back. When my ds hit a girl, initially only he was in trouble because adult only seen him hit the girl. Upon asking about the situation, ds told the teacher what happened, and the girl admitted that she started first, and both ended up in trouble. It wasn't a case of bullying, just mucking about among friends got escalated. But if it was in the different situation, ds could have been in a big trouble.

Goingtobeawesome Tue 26-Apr-16 19:39:30

FFS when will,school staff start standing up to bullies? angry. My eldest had to move schools due to bullying and my youngest hadn't been to school for weeks as another head teacher is choosing to not follow their own polices hmm.

I also told the head that my child had been told to hit back and while I expected him to be disciplined I expected it to be at a lower level given the years of bullying that has gone on with this child.

CodyKing Tue 26-Apr-16 20:07:01

I wish schools had to report bullying as part of their OFSTEAD or similar reports - they might take it more seriously

Bitlost Tue 26-Apr-16 20:19:18

She's an idiot.

Patry Tue 26-Apr-16 20:38:39

Put it in writting.
I have no experience yet but I keep hearing about kids getting into trouble for defending themselves. I get it but only to a certain extent.

I would write something along the lines...

X and x has happened to my daughter recently. This and that is the history and so far the school has not provided any security on this situation.
I have now being told that kids were urged to not defend themselves at assembly. I understand why nobody should hit but believe the way this was told encourages bullies and victimises the victims. I am extremely concern about the bullying issues in this school and how my daughter has been treated. If My daughter gets attacked once more I will have to call the police. Moreover, if I don't see a clear plan to tackle bullying and a complete refusal to victimise the victims even more I will have to report the matter to social services.

admission Tue 26-Apr-16 21:31:50

The school must have an anti-bullying or behaviour policy. It should be on their website. If not ask the school for it along with their complaints policy.
You are never going to win an argument with the school or allowing your child to retaliate and it is just going to lead to more trouble if you encourage this. Having said that I do agree with Patry that a written letter to the school about the bullying that has gone on and that it does not appear to be being resolved. To be honest the police will not be interested, so I would say that you will be making a formal written complaint to the Chair of Governors if there is another incident. A formal written complaint to the Chair of Governors will mean that they do have to investigate and something might happen.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Tue 26-Apr-16 22:41:40

Thank you, you've been very helpful. Certainly something to take forward. I'm fully expecting to be ambushed by the head tomorrow as it's my day to volunteer so I'll be there for a couple of hours. I will mention that I disagree with the assembly and that I may put something in writing. I will ask again about the anti bullying policy and I will also suggest a meeting next week with her, the teacher, me and Dh to see how things are progressing.

CodyKing Tue 26-Apr-16 23:54:31

The anti bullying policy will be in conjunction with the behaviour policy - however -
The behaviour policy tend to deal with individual incidences - rather than build a bigger picture

Only you or DD can do this - email every time - get a paper trail

Ask - what are they going to do to ensure DD safety?

The thing is - and I've been there - is the longer it goes on and it turns into tit for tat - the harder it is to decipher blame - so they will appear equally guilty -

The teacher need to nip this in the bud - and agree a way forward -

bojorojo Wed 27-Apr-16 00:23:48

A good bahaviour policy does escalate sanctions for children who have a history of poor behaviour. However, with young children, the results will not be immediate. You are not saying if the child who hit has special needs. They may have behaviour problems or do not retain the instructions they are given. They may not understand that they should not hit - not every child has good parents. They may hit out because they are inarticulate and hitting gets them attention. Perhaps no-one at home says it is wrong. The school should be working with the parents to eliminate this behaviour but it rarely stops overnight. Hitting is not bullying. It is not premeditated or systematic. It is often frustration and not knowing any better.

The behaviour policy and the anti bullying policy will not be an overnight cure for such children. However, you should be assured that the policy is being followed and the school are doing everything they can to promote good behaviour. You child will be seen as a problem if she hits back. This is never the answer and you must see that. What would happen if every child lost their temper and did this? You only have to look at football matches to see that players who retaliate are often sent off whist the player committing the original foul stays on the pitch. It is the same in schools. The children who are better behaved, have to stay calm, report the incident with friends who can corroborate the story and not be encouraged to strike other children. If you encourage your child to do this, you will be seen as the problem parent.

corythatwas Wed 27-Apr-16 17:11:07

I have always been rather worried by the idea of dc hitting back, and my worries were not lessened when ds did hit back and nearly broke a friend's nose. Blood all over the place apparently. School were rather sympathetic towards ds as the other boy had clearly been the aggressor, but I did not at all like the idea that he might have done somebody a serious injury (if it could have been a broken nose it could also have been concussion or a damaged eye). It wasn't so much about how the school would view it as about the amount of harm he might actually do iyswim. Ds admitted that he panicked and wished he hadn't.

Otoh when ds was little and was being bullied, he was so puny that any attempt to hit somebody back would have resulted in him being hurt. Wouldn't have been happy with that either.

So my advice has always been the same: get help from someone in authority; if you see somebody else in this situation get help on their behalf.

irvineoneohone Wed 27-Apr-16 17:23:58

I just wondered, if the hitting continues and school is unhelpful, can you involve police?(even just community police for word?) If it happened in the adult world, if someone hit someone, and if they wish, it can be a police matter, isn't it? Just think it's not right that aggressor always seems to get second chance/ help whatever, but victim always have to tolerate it.( And told not to retaliate.)

RaptorInaPorkPieHat Wed 27-Apr-16 17:32:43

Keep pushing them on it, mention every single incident until they are sick to the back teeth of you (yes, be THAT parent). It used to be (ignore if it's an academy) that bullying HAD to be reported to the local authority, I'm not sure if that's still the case but it's worth asking if it has been (DD's school got round this by pretending that there was no bullying hmm ).

bojorojo Wed 27-Apr-16 23:54:55

No, the child that is hit or bullied does not have to tolerate it but surely hitting another child makes them just as bad and it is not a solution. If this carries on at secondary school, there will be severe consequences. Any decent school will try to resolve these problems but sometimes children are not persuaded to be angels overnight. These children are often complex characters and it takes time to change behaviour. In the meantime any child who is unhappy about being in the proximity of one that hits out can ask to be moved or not play with them. The parent should advise DC to keep away from an aggressive child.

The anti bullying policy is monitored by the governors. There is no reason a parent cannot contact the chairman of governors if they believe the policy is not being followed or it is failing in some way. Parents can also tell a school if they believe their child is not safe in school. Sometimes aggressive children do have SEN and the school should be working with the parents to see how the needs of the child can be addressed for the good of all. It is not a reward for being bad !

Ramaani Thu 28-Apr-16 06:54:18

So logically your DD should make sure to get in the first blow then...

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Thu 28-Apr-16 07:10:54

bojorojo you suggest the OP's child stays away from the hitter and doesn't play with them, but that is easier said than done often - ironically there have been MN threads unanimously insisting that refusing to play with a child is bullying... regardless of whether the child hits or deliberately spoils other children's games, apparently not letting a child join your game (even if there are only two children playing who say no to a third joining their game despite there being and twenty seven other children in the class) is "excluding" and also bullying...

It does look as if it is quite hard for a child who is being bullied to do anything about it on their own, if hitting back is worse than being the initial aggressor, and refusing to play with somebody, even if you know they will ruin your game, is bullying which will be clamped down on because it can be seen and is clear cut, in a way sneaking hitting or insidious mean comments and undermining cannot.

rumblingDMexploitingbstds Thu 28-Apr-16 07:16:27

Other children are not colateral damage for a child's SN or needs, if you have a child known to hit out due their needs then you analyse and manage the situation so the child doesnt have the opportunity. Expecting the other children to just put up with getting hurt is not inclusion.

Emotional harm in a traumatic situaition is greater if you feel helpless. I found this was something studied as an adult processing years of bullying having been taught by adults to 'ignore' bullies and being that good girl who behaved nicely while being hurt 'not to lower myself to their level'. In a therapy session I realised what I longed to do in the worst moment of that abuse was to smash the ring leader busy jabbing compasses into me in the nose and yell at the top of my lungs how fucking dare she? As well as teaching kids not to bully we need to teach kids not to be victims.

I'm very sorry your dd's school is this clueless. I would seriously consider pulling her out.

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