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What do you do as a teacher if a parent refuses point blank to believe that their child is causing a problem at school?

(9 Posts)
bluebanana Tue 20-Oct-09 08:17:04

have name changed in case anyone from school recognises me!

I am not a teacher but a parent

there is a child in ds's class (year 3 now) who has been a problem in the class right from reception

in reception, we took him to school (with another family on our street, we all walked together) as his mother had to be at work at a certain time. This child (call him X) used to run into the road deliberately to see what our reaction was. Unfortunately, with the number of children we had between us, we simply couldn't hold everyone's hand. This persisted each day till eventually, the other mother shouted at him (but was totally justified as it had become ridiculous and he was really endangering himself). After a few days of this, we were both going to arrange a coffee with the mother to explain why we felt we couldn't take her children to school (the other siblings were fine) as we were worried about X's behaviour and us not being able to control him when she came round and announced she didn't want us dealing with her children if we were shouting at them. We explained what had happened and she was all 'oh my poor baby, he didn't know what he was doing!'.

Anyway, I use this story as an example.

In year 2 I got called in to collect ds as he had had quite a nasty accident in the playground. While he was waiting to be collected, this child ran up to him and punched him in the stomach (I saw this, the teacher was turned around). I said 'excuse me X, please don't punch like that, that wasn't very nice' and the teacher turned around and as she did, X put his arms round ds and the teacher glared daggers at me! When I left, the TA took me to one side and said 'I know I shouldn't say this but I wish your ds would just punch him back because X is always trying to get away with punching children when no-one is looking then acting like an angel'.

Roll on year 3 and X has started orchestrating violence in the playground. Rather than doing his dirty work himself, he has realised the special needs children are easily influenced so he has started saying to them ' you go and kick Ethan then you can be in my gang'. Of course, these children then get into trouble (sometimes) and he doesn't get fingered with the crime.

X's parents spoke to me the other day and told me that X was getting punched by another boy in his class (who I know X has targeted quite viciously and this boy is just fighting back!) and they stormed into see the headmaster and insisted action was taken against this boy. I was quite flaberghasted. Luckily the teachers pointed out to them that X had initiated all of this but they refuse point blank to believe it.

I have now been asked to speak to the teacher about this. I think everyone has got fed up with complaining about him and getting nowhere. We are not complaining type people and I think everyone is hoping that, as we are quite evenhanded and we know the parents too, that if we say something, this problem will get sorted.

But how do the school deal with this? I know one of the TAs (who does playground duty) and when there was a problem between ds and X (ages ago) she told me part of the issue is that X completely lies about what has gone on (ds got punched in the eye and had a black eye - no action was ever taken against X as he denied it vociferously and ds said it wasn't worth the hassle to inform on him because he'd just get hit again!).

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 20-Oct-09 08:24:08

Why have you been asked to speak to the teacher? Is no-one prepared to support you/go with you?

For a start, you should get the TA(s) to go with you, especially if they are aware of the problems.

bluebanana Tue 20-Oct-09 08:33:41

well it's parents evening tonight. Other people are also going to speak to her but I think that they have (apparently - didn't know this) been speaking to the school and feel they are getting nowhere and hope we might have more luck as we aren't as intricately involved as they are.

Ds has virtually stopped playing with the children in his class because of this. He plays with the boys from the other classes (football) as he eventually just had enough of all the mindgames and kicking/punching so in a way, he's well out of it. But he does miss playing with his best friend (who is in his class) who doesn't like football and is being persistently picked on by X.

I think it's a tricky one for the school because he's incredibly clever this boy and makes sure that very few people have evidence of what he is doing. I know it sounds odd to talk about a 7/8 year old that way but having known him for years, I actually think he has a serious problem as he is impossible to handle.

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 20-Oct-09 08:44:44

I would doubt that parents' evening is the best time/place to have this kind of chat though. The teachers will want to be focusing on individual children with their parents.

Surely you should take something like up separately?

(Not trying to denigrate your problem, btw!)

wannaBe Tue 20-Oct-09 09:13:19

The parents shouldn't have to acknowledge that their child is being naughty for him to be reprimanded.

You say that other parents have been to the teacher and that nothing has happened? Well tbh I would now bypass the teacher and go to the head, perhaps even as a group of parents, to discuss the issues wrt this child.

I would put all the issues in writing, esp the issue re this child targeting children with sn to do his dirty work, and ask for written confirmation of what action is to be taken. I would then ensure that every child informs the playground superviser every time something happens wrt this child, and I would also tell the other children not to hit back (because although I can actually see why children would hit back, if they do so then it puts them in a less positive light if the one child is to be dealt with). Then, every time a child is involved in an incident with this child I would get the parent to write to the head, again detailing the incident and asking what action is going to be taken.

And if nothing is forthcoming I would go to the chair of governors.

jomummy2 Tue 20-Oct-09 09:33:44

I would ask for a seperate appointment to discuss this as parents' evening is about the settling in and academic achievements of your child and with a window of only about 5 mins you probably won't get very far with it tbh.

I would also write down all the concerns/problems you have with this child and the effect on your child.

Also you need to have a clear idea as to what you want done or what you want to the outcome to be at the end.

Finally i would make the teacher and head aware that the TA for the class is very much aware of this child and his behaviour.

bluebanana Tue 20-Oct-09 10:47:13

thanks, yes I agree re the separate appointment

I'm not sure we should mention it tonight though I am keen to hear what the teacher says about the way ds is behaving around this child. They are streamed now so I'm not sure he is grouped with this child for maths/literacy anyway (which might be helping him).

It's a difficult situation because none of us are there (to see what happens). But I agree re the TA being key in all of this (in fact, throughout school I have found the TAs really get to grips with the characters in the class!). I also think it's because the TAs go out at lunchtime and see what the children are like when they are not under the eye of the teacher whereas the teachers don't.

Last year, ds's class teacher went out into the playground for a couple of weeks after we insisted he investigate the problem himself and things did improve after that.

bluebanana Tue 20-Oct-09 10:47:54

(this was when ds was really suffering at his hands!)

pilates Tue 20-Oct-09 12:13:25

By pass the teacher and a letter sent direct to the Head stating that they are failing to safeguard the children in your son's class. I would get the other parents to do letters as well. I always think a letter is acted on more seriously than a verbal meeting.

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