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Bullies on the School Bus - Advice?

(24 Posts)
Eve4Walle Mon 22-Jun-09 12:59:40

I have posted this in chat too, because I didn't think to post under this topic. D'oh!

DD is 5 - we live in a rural area and so she gets the school bus from our village to her school, about 4 miles away. There is a mixture of kids on it - some primary age, but more junior age. No more than 12 get the bus each day.

She's been getting it for a couple of terms, but just recently, she's told me that some of the older kids have been horrible to her - last week, she got off in tears saying they had all been calling her a spoilt brat and she was very upset. I spoke to the school about this last week and the headteacher of the promary school assures me that she's not being picked on and is being overly sensitive.

Cut to this morning, DD gets on the bus with me (I have to strap her into her seatbelt) and her little friend who normally sits with her refused to let he sit next to her. She put her leg over the seat and said someone else was sitting there - DD is the last one on the bus before it gets to school, so I know this isn't true.

DD was very upset, I sat her down in an empty seat and she started to cry. I felt terrible, so I rang the school at 9am to see if she was okay and they told me she's benn very quiet which was unusual for her, but otherwise okay.

So what now? I know something is going on, I've seen it with my own eyes, and other things have happened which have been iffy too. Do I keep on at the school (who say it's all fuss and bluster on DDs part), and be a PITA or just let it drop and start driving her myself?

Advice welcomed please and thanks if you managed to stay with me on this rambly post.

HecatesTwopenceworth Mon 22-Jun-09 13:02:34

Is the headteacher on the bus with her then? How is she getting this information? Look, if your daughter feels bullied then she is bullied. Because it's how the person on the recieving end of the behaviour feels that counts and it is wrong of the head to try to fob you off. We don't have bullies here, your daughter is the problem, is basically what she is saying.

I think I'd just take her to school myself, while I worked with the teacher to get to the bottom of it.

Niftyblue Mon 22-Jun-09 13:03:06

You get straight back onto the school
Get it sorted

Nobody knows your child better than you and that is not being a PITA

Eve4Walle Mon 22-Jun-09 13:07:14

Hecate - the school administrator meets the bus at school in the morning and then puts them all onto it again in the afternoon.

I think you're right, I will start taking her and collecting her. It gets me though because she's done nothing wrong, and it shouldn't be her who has to stop getting the bus.

Cies Mon 22-Jun-09 13:08:06

Poor dd sad.

The headteacher is not doing her job right if she is fobbing you off. You owe it to your daughter to fight for her and defend her.

Go back to the head and don't stop till you're happy with the response.

HecatesTwopenceworth Mon 22-Jun-09 13:08:35

No, it shouldn't. But what matters is how she's feeling, not whether the bullies are 'winning'. Deal with that after getting her out of the situation.

meemarsgotabrandnewbump Mon 22-Jun-09 13:09:28

Do the school have a bullying policy in place? If so read it and confront them with why they are not adhering to it.

You should not have to drive your dd to school because she is too intimidated to get on the bus.

heavenstobetsy Mon 22-Jun-09 13:10:53

I feel so sad for you and your DD.

Totally agree with the other replies - you know your DD best and more to the point you KNOW that something is wrong. Do you think her little friend is avoiding sitting next to her so she doesn't get called names too?

I would be up the school making myself the biggest PITA they'd ever met until they sorted things out!

It may well be that the head thinks it is simply a bit of mild childish name calling and perhaps this is how the bigger kids see it - but bigger kids calling little kids names is bullying and she needs to stamp it out and they need to understand its not acceptable.

Eve4Walle Mon 22-Jun-09 14:12:13

I feel so useless.

Am going to collect DD today and go into the office to speak about it. I get the feeling they have just written it off as DD being too sensitive, but this morning really took the biscuit.

heavenstobetsy Mon 22-Jun-09 14:34:47

good luck Eve, just stand your ground and don't let them fob you off.

I really wouldn't accept that shes too sensitive - how does that work? Even if she is, does a sensitive disposition now mean other people are allowed to hurt you just because you don't have the hide of a rhino!

I'd be asking her to explain exactly what she understands has been going on and why she does not believe it is bullying

risingstar Mon 22-Jun-09 21:07:06

my friends child had this- they were allocated a bus buddy- an older child who was responsible for looking after them. Do you know any of the other parents? can they give any clues?

i think i would ask the school if there is a nice older girl who can buddy up with dd and look after her- 5 is so tiny! if not i would honestly take her- you don't want her to be put off school by the bus journey there.

Eve4Walle Tue 23-Jun-09 08:26:02

Update for those interested - the School are refusing to address the issue again. I was told yesterday that it's just tittle tattle and what happens on the bus is just normal kiddy banter. They say they have spoken to the driver who confirms this to be true.

DD told me again yesterday that a particular boy (the ringleader if you like - I know he's this because all the other kids seem a bit scared of him) had called her a 'dimwit' and told her to shut up several times. Her friend who wouldn't let her sit with her yesterday is his little sister. I believe that the boy told her not to let DD sit there and DD says that 'K wants to be one of the nasty ones now'.

I don't know where to go from here - the school just refuse to see an issue and I'm at a loss as to what to do now....how can I escalate it in this situation?

meemarsgotabrandnewbump Tue 23-Jun-09 10:17:28

Hi Eve so sorry to hear this. Singling out one child for regualar name calling, and encouraging other children not to sit with your dd is not 'tittle tattle' and I am amazed and angry that a modern day school is allowing this to happen and blaming your dd.

As for taking the bus drivers word for it - if he is doing his job properly, which is concentrating on driving, how can he possibly know what is going on hmm.

Do the school have a bullying policy? How far up the school have you taken this - are you just speaking to the people in the office?

I would find out what the school claims it does about bullying, and take your complaint to the head teacher.

Your child should not be too afraid to get on the school bus and the children need to be told that their behaviour is unnacceptable.

Elibean Tue 23-Jun-09 13:56:52

sadangry

Unfortunately, I've heard similar stories of Heads refusing to acknowledge bullying, more than once. At my friend's dd's school, one child ended up leaving over it (it was going on at school, and fairly extreme) and my friend and a few other mums tried hard to confront the Head/year teacher with no results other than being labelled trouble makers. It was extraordinary, but possibly a result of the Head's own issues - and the teacher was too timid to contradict the Head.

Anyway...I would agree with Hecate: do try and confront the school as much as you can, but at the end of the day the priority is your dd and how she feels - I would ask her if she'd prefer to be driven in for a while, as she has every right not to be exposed to the other kids' problems.

Sounds horrid, I'm so sorry.

heavenstobetsy Tue 23-Jun-09 15:54:17

I am so sorry Eve - how is your DD today?

Bucharest Tue 23-Jun-09 15:59:53

How awful....
Hope your daughter isn't feeling too upset, and that you are able to make the HT see that this is so wrong on so many levels...(I wouldn't be taking the word of the bus driver over a child either....)
Very cross for you. sad

Eve4Walle Tue 23-Jun-09 19:09:19

I drove DD in and picked her up today. I have a meeting with the headteacher tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be able to make myself understood then.

DD is fine about going to school but she told me she doesn't ever want to get the bus again. sad

piscesmoon Tue 23-Jun-09 19:33:34

I really feel for your DD and appalled that the Head can ignore it by denying that it is happening.
Since you seem to have a stale mate I would say in the meeting, that whether or not she is being bullied, she feels bullied and it needs to be sorted out. I would suggest that you get the Head to appoint a buddy, an older girl who would sit beside her and look after her and keep the trouble maker from having contact. I am sure that there must be a sensible older DC who could do it, perhaps a couple of them could do it. The older juniors often like looking after the younger ones and are very protective.

piscesmoon Wed 24-Jun-09 19:03:03

How did it go?

neolara Wed 24-Jun-09 20:44:26

IMO, even if the comments are just "normal banter", the boy concerned needs to know about the effect they are having on your dd. A teacher should at least be having a quick chat with him about how his comments make others feel. If it is just "normal banter" and the boy is basically a decent kid, then this may solve the problem without any need to come down hard on him. The school is being completely crap if they aren't even prepared to do this much for you dd.

Eve4Walle Thu 25-Jun-09 06:44:18

Meeting with the Headteacher yesterday.

She made all the right noises this time. We agreed that DD can be a bit sensitive, but I asked if that made it any different as I still considered it to be bullying because it is to her.

I named names. The ringleader is in the Junior school and HT of Primary school has said she will speak with the Junior school HT to address the issue. Either way, this particular boy will be singled out for attention about his behaviour on the bus towards DD and some of the other smaller children. HT had heard his name before and was not surprised that it appeared to be him engineering the abuse. hmm

HT also suggested that DD was tired with it being the end of her first school year (it is pretty intensive for thenm), which I agreed with, but she also said she could see we'd been worried about it and would do her best to sort it out.

I am reasonably happy with this outcome. A school trip and an inset day tomorrow mean she won't be back on the bus until Monday, so I guess I won't really know if it's any better until then, and I am dreading having to put her on, as I am sure she'll kick off.

Why is it though that you need to speak to a school about this kind of issue 2,3,4 times maybe before they take it seriously? It sucks!

piscesmoon Thu 25-Jun-09 07:36:32

You shouldn't have to keep speaking to her-especially as she wasn't surprised about the boy in question. If it is no better on Monday I would go straight back-keep plugging away at it.
I know they are little and you couldn't do the same, but on my DSs secondary school parents are made quite aware that if their DC causes trouble on the bus the bus company will refuse to take them and the parents will have to get them there themselves-it works!

zeke Thu 25-Jun-09 09:03:07

What a horrible situation!

My son travels by school bus (he is nearly 5), and there is ALWAYS a parent on the bus, too.

A big 7 yr old attempted to tell my son that he could not sit next to him the other day and he had the full force of two parents telling him otherwise!

I am a secondary teacher and this kind of thing would be taken very seriously in our age range so I am appalled that it hasn't been in your primary school.

I hope the school manages to sort this out for you.

neolara Thu 25-Jun-09 09:38:01

I would second what others have said about going back to the school again and again if the problem does not resolve itself. Sometimes teachers think that the problem is solved because they have taken action. Unless parents or children let them know otherwise they will assume the issue has been dealt with.

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