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When does banter become bullying?

(18 Posts)
imnotforty Thu 15-Sep-11 20:43:14

Ds has just started at a secondary school, with some boys who made his life pretty miserable at primary.

They are in different forms and houses and I hoped that things would settle down once they were in a bigger school. Things seemed to be going ok and I was so relieved, I had been gripped by this cold fear that his entire school life was going to be horrible. Today ds has said that when he gets off the coach they all bang on the windows to get his attention and then give him the finger. There are a couple of boys from his old school who seem to have instigated this but they now seem to have other older kids from their village joining in.

He said he also is getting freaked out at school because all the kids seem to know who he is but he doesn't know them. I'm hoping this is because he broke his arm on the 3rd day of school and people know it's him. The way he is talking about it though, he feels uncomfortable about it.

I have got an older dd and haven't had any of this with her, I just wondered if boys in general are bloody horrible to each other and ds just needs to get better at dealing with it.

I don't know what to do, I really hope this doesn't escalate, I feel sick with worry about it although nothing major has happened yet. I have a really bad feeling.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 15-Sep-11 20:45:24

Contact the Head of Year (or equivalent) and talk it through.

imnotforty Thu 15-Sep-11 20:54:50

I'm tempted, but I'm scared I'm just going to make things worse for him. We have a meeting that has been booked since before he started to discuss how he is settling in, as we knew it could be difficult. It's not until 10 October though.

inkyfingers Thu 15-Sep-11 21:42:31

It really needs to be before 10 October from what you're saying about his experience - he's been there for less than 2 weeks and it sounds like bullying to me. Other children joining in is awful.

I would see banter as light-hearted teasing/joking in which everyone is equal and no one is targetted or offended. Def not the case for your son. I'm so sorry to hear it - my DS has just started year 7 too. Please go in straight away to see form teacher and head of year. They are usually so open to parents' concerns at this stage. Good luck.

imnotforty Thu 15-Sep-11 22:43:11

I've never had a problem speaking up before but I just have a horrible feeling it will make matters worse. the coach isn't supervised and I'm nervous. I could drive him there myself but it will mean a bit of reorganisation.

imnotforty Fri 16-Sep-11 07:48:11

I feel so stressed this morning. it is really upsetting me that he has to put up with this crap. he hasn't said much but I'm worried.

ClevelandAnnie Fri 16-Sep-11 10:09:12

If you are feeling that way, defo ring the school today and set up appointment with form tutor/head of year. When you speak to them, tell them about your worry that your intervention will make things worse. Ask them what steps they intend to take and what they will do to protect your ds.

Doing nothing will not make the problem go away. If you take action, your ds should feel better knowing that you are fighting his corner.

Lancelottie Fri 16-Sep-11 10:17:30

When my DS had this problem (school buses can be vile) his form teacher, who also happens to be a sports coach and rugby player, got on the bus the next week and said that the drivers had complained of bad behaviour, and did they want to have to travel home in silence with a teacher?

That worked.

imnotforty Fri 16-Sep-11 16:50:05

today the coach went past and some kid stuck his finger up at me. I spoke to my friend in the next village and she said someone does it to her every evening.

I rang and complained, although I didn't say who I was and weirdly she had rang as well.

the head teacher spoke to them on the coach tonight and ds put some names forward for who he thought was involved. he said no one heard him but I can't help feeling that he should have kept quiet.

SnapesOnAPlane Fri 16-Sep-11 16:54:42

Absolutely tell them, and YES your DS should have given names, but hopefully nobody heard him.
They CAN be banned from the school buses, for ANYTHING anti-social, banging on windows, anything damaged, litter left behind etc. They really can, and if it happens more than a few times (the bus driver will know, for DDs bus it's always the same driver), then they'll be banned from the buses for the rest of the term.
It certainly sounds like bullying to me - I mean, unless they're quite good friends then flipping someone off is hardly banter, it's just rude and twatty.

imnotforty Fri 16-Sep-11 18:15:06

it seems to me though that some kids are doing to everyone, which makes me feel slightly more positive that its not just ds on the receiving end.

mssp Fri 16-Sep-11 22:19:45

DD has just started in year 7 at secondary school. She has 3 close friends, but they are of higher ability than her, so they are not in her classes. They do, however, walk to school together, and home, and meet up at lunch. She is having problems in her classes. A small group of about 5, who seem to be trouble makers, have latched on to her. Mutterings are made, loud enough for her to hear, she says the teacher dosen't hear. She said to me that she "can't learn" while this is going on. She is a child who is very keen to learn, but is not a high achiever, therefore she will be in the lower ability classes. I have tried to is suggested on this website, a "beacon of calm and reason". She can handle herself to a point, but she is complaining everyday, so I have said to her that I will contact her tutor. I have suggested that she speaks to her tutor herself, or to the individual class teachers. She, quite sensibly, said she dosen't feel she knows them well enough yet to approach them. So I am going to contact her tutor and ask if DD and myself can have a chat together.
Bearing in mind this is only the end of her second week, I just wondered whether I am being too hasty in contacting the school? But DD, while not desperately unhappy, is definately bothered by this. Her friends said she should tell someone, which she!

sillybillies Fri 16-Sep-11 23:13:38

Problems on buses are quite common and can be dealt with by schools and it certainly sounds like bullying. The school will probably try and keep your DS's name out of it but sometimes the kids work it out anyway. However I would still contact the school to get it dealt with as it can be very nasty.

imnotforty Sat 17-Sep-11 00:23:09

I don't understand, why are there kids out there who seem to thrive on being nasty and spiteful? I just can't deal with it, it kills me to send ds off each day knowing that someone is bound to make a joke or a comment at him at some point during the day.

He isn't saying much about it. I don't know if I am making matter worse by keep asking him how things went and whether i should wait for him to come to me.

adamschic Sat 17-Sep-11 00:34:35

So sorry for you and your DS. It sound like bullying to me. School buses are notorious for his sort of thing and I was at the receiving end of it on a few occasions. Since my DD started at the same school I went to, one of the bus drivers had a breakdown because of the bad behaviour.

I know this sounds soft but is there any way you can prevent him from having to take the bus. My DD is at the school I went to (the one that I suffered bullying on the bus). She only took the bus as a last resort for this very reason, and her and her friends organised lifts (I helped) instead.

Doodlez Sat 17-Sep-11 01:00:02

Imnotforty - I gave up with the school bus in the end. Too much potential for aggro. I know you're saying it will take some re-organising but go with your instincts and give the kid a break - drive him in and pick him up if you can. It doesn't have to be forever, just a term or two whilst things calm down and you can get to the bottom of this group.

If you can do this, then at least you'll know he's safe and happy going in and coming home - not left alone to deal with it in a pretty much unsupervised environment.

I don't know why some kids are like this - pack mentality plays a part though.

imnotforty Sun 18-Sep-11 12:33:38

I'm going to take him in tomorrow morning as I'm going that way anyway. I've then got my parent support advisor coming to see me to discuss things.

inkyfingers Sun 18-Sep-11 20:34:18

fingers crossed for tomorrow - good luck! They will have policies for bullying and really should have them for bus behaviour too.

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