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Low level bullying; how can school deal with it?

(25 Posts)
ohnoherewego Fri 08-Nov-13 18:52:19

DD 14 has been suffering low level bullying since the start of Year 9. She's now in Year 10. We contacted the school when it started and thought it had got better because she didn't tell us otherwise and we received 2 school reports saying she had a good group of friends. We were very upset when we went to an end of year do therefore and saw that none of the other girls spoke to her and they all blanked her. She was completely isolated. DD then admitted that she had not been going to lunch for months as she had no one to sit with. By that time it was the end of Year 9.

We told DD that if it was that bad she should move and we would move heaven and earth to find a suitable school for September. We told her it was now or never to move as it may mess things up for her academically to move in Year 10 or 11. She was adamant she wanted to stay as she said she enjoys her lessons and is doing well. At the beginning of September I told the school about the exclusion and that their assessment of her having a good group of friends was way off the mark.

This week it has started again. Lots of little comments which are not much in themselves but cumulatively they are designed to make DD feel like shit. The girls in question have mums who are all very friendly and who blank me too. I can take it but they make me feel like shit so I have no idea how DD must feel having to spend all day with their daughters. I have told DD to keep a diary and we can then go into school and show them what has been happening. But what should I be asking the school to do? Any advice greatly appreciated.

Labro Fri 08-Nov-13 19:20:56

This happened to my ds for the whole of year 6. I still get the other mums blanking me, but I can tell you what the school did to stop the problem for ds.
* a named teacher for the child to speak to about any problems
* meetings between myself and the named teacher so that there was a plan.
* targeted observations of the situation and the 'ring leaders' spoken to.
* teachers being pro active rather than reactive, being aware of group work and not sitting known problems together.
*incident log so that they could see if a pattern was forming.

Encourage your dd to join an activity where she can get to know others outside of lesson structure.

The school also ran a whole class set of lessons on self esteem etc.

Obviously, your dd is older but do check out Kidscape as well as they have useful advice as to what you can expect from the school.

ohnoherewego Fri 08-Nov-13 20:11:21

Thank you Labro. Is your ds at the same school still or was it a school that finishes in Year 6?

SanityClause Fri 08-Nov-13 20:23:38

Speak to the HOY.

This kind of low level bullying is so hard, because it just sounds like nothing. A good HoY will have exprerienced it before.

I think, sometimes when bullies are called on this type of behaviour, they realise they have been rumbled, and are not going to get away with it any longer. DD2 had a "best friend" who would periodically try to exclude her from the friendship group. The HoY was quite helpful, as she got them to "make friends" without being best friends. They are now in the same friendship group but as they are not best friends, the other girl doesn't have the power over DD that she had previously.

I know your DD's situation is different, but do try the HOY.

Also, make sure your DD has other friends, perhaps in other classes or at outside activities.

I really feel for your DD. I hope she gets some help from the school.

Labro Fri 08-Nov-13 21:17:05

Hes still in same school. Would second what pp said about HoY, this year the HoY has been fab.

ohnoherewego Fri 08-Nov-13 21:44:44

I did involve the H of Y last year but don't think she dealt with it very well. Rather than criticising the way she dealt with I'm trying to think of strategies that I could suggest she might try. Thank you for your suggestions. The hardest thing s trying to establish what exactly is going on as I appreciate when DD gets home she doesn't want me to pick at the scabs. She does have 1 good friend at a different school so I try to concentrate on the positive.

alpinemeadow Fri 08-Nov-13 22:03:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ohnoherewego Fri 08-Nov-13 22:43:27

Thank you alpine. She has started her options which are very specific and she would struggle to replicate elsewhere. The anti- bullying policy is on the school website but it doesn't say what they will actually DO in a situation like this.
I think you're spot on with the suggestion of tasks. Last year the H of Y made a point of asking DD every time she saw her if she was alright, which although may have been well intentioned, made DD feel patronised and singled out. I also think being assigned tasks may increase her confidence which has taken a battering.
She has joined lunchtime clubs and I think it took a lot of guts to do so. The heart breaking thing though is that at the do at the end of last year NONE of the girls spoke to her and I think it has gone on for so long that at best it is viewed as not cool to speak to her or at worst that she is the year's weirdo. That is why we strongly suggested she move. She was adamant she didn't want to (and still doesn't) and I 'm not convinced pulling her out against her will would be beneficial. What if I took her from the frying pan to the fire?
We are considering different options for 6th form and are going to a sixth form open morning at another school tomorrow which may cause her to realise there is life outside the bubble. I remember all too well at that age thinking that what was, was how it had to be if that makes sense.

alpinemeadow Sat 09-Nov-13 05:56:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ohnoherewego Sat 09-Nov-13 18:28:49

Thank you alpine; it's just comforting to know that someone understands. We went to a sixth form open morning today at a school we rejected at 11 as being too far away. Both DH and I thought it would be fab for her now though. Most people will stay on at her school and the 6th form is huge. This other one is smaller and I think she'll have more of a chance to shine so we are planting the seeds. It's the school where her cousins went so we feel we can get a true picture before she goes which helps.

alpinemeadow Sun 10-Nov-13 08:20:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ohnoherewego Sun 10-Nov-13 13:53:25

Thank you Alpine.The 6th form is about 250 a year rather than 130 a year in lower years. We discussed changing forms last year but the problem seems year wide rather than form wide. She really does seem to have been cast as the girl no one wants to be seen with. Ironically (but thankfully) she says that the only girls who are nice to her are the uber cool popular girls who maybe not so worried about their social status. They don't want to go so far as to hang out with her but at least will pass the time of day.

Re the new school she said this morning that she would consider going before GSCE's but they don't do the one subject she loves, excels at and gives her confidence so for that reason she is going to stay where she is for her GCSE's.

I am meeting with the HOY this week as I finally feel I've got the real picture of what has gone on and what continues to go on and I'll ask for an action plan as to what she intends to do. I'll let you know how I get on.

alpinemeadow Sun 10-Nov-13 21:17:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ohnoherewego Sun 10-Nov-13 23:03:17

Thank you alpine; all very constructive advice.

Brighteyes27 Wed 15-Mar-17 16:39:03

No advice watching. DD in year 7 and had three friends who I thought were lovely. They were in separable for first 7 months. Anyway one member of the group turned against DD in the last couple of weeks and has managed to persuade another girl to side with her against DD the third girl seems to be trying her best to be neutral but is slightly more biased towards the other girl. I am keeping an eye on things as DD doesn't want me to contact the school. Again it's low level bullying and social exclusion. DD is trying find other friends away from this group but hasn't made much head way so far. Girls can be so cruel. I hope you get things sorted out OP.

Sallyknowsnot Wed 15-Mar-17 20:46:04

I can relate to all the above. My Dd also gets socially excluded for not being " the cool one to hang out with"
I get very upset but she insists she can cope with it. It breaks my heart to see she doesn't have any best friends and dreads certain times when they need to choose partners etc. so hard with girls. But apart from pulling her out not much can do other than monitor and keep open communication with teachers.
Just wanted to put it out there that you're not alone. I can imagine many girls will go through this at some point. And sad thing is it's always the gentle, kind ones who suffer.

EmpressoftheMundane Wed 15-Mar-17 23:33:56

Why not look for other friends? Trying to fit in with this group sounds miserable. It's impossible to force people to like you or to be your friend. If for whatever reason these girls don't want to be friends with your DD it is their loss. There must be other children at the school. She deserves to make new relationships with girls who truly like and accept her rather than hanging on for this crowd.

LittleIda Thu 16-Mar-17 09:34:55

Zombie thread

sometimesinthefall Thu 16-Mar-17 10:10:27

Still a useful thread. I'm watching too... I could have written Sally's post about my Y5 daughter. The problem with forming new friendships is that when the situation has been going on for some time, girls get pigeonholed and friendship groups are hard to enter (especially if you are regarded as uncool).

Sallyknowsnot Thu 16-Mar-17 11:01:32

Totally. This is what my Dd has been going through for some time. Cannot wait for her to start afresh when she goes to secondary.

StarUtopia Thu 16-Mar-17 11:06:22

Ok, so i can't help with advice of what a school could do etc..

But this was me at school. I went to an all girls private school and was effectively excluded by the entire class for the best part of a year.

This was back in the 80's so there was literally no support.

This is how I got through it - I took up a new hobby out of school where there were girls who went who were in other classes in the year (and in my French classes, or Science classes etc) I built up a new friendship network out of school and it gave me the strength in school to just ignore being ignored in the main.

Girls can be horrible. Seriously horrible. It's the low level ignoring, whispering etc. I can imagine now with social media it must be 100x worse

StarUtopia Thu 16-Mar-17 11:06:49

Just seen it's a zombie thread - be interesting to see how Op's daughter got through this though?

And still a useful thread really in this day and age.

Badbadbunny Thu 16-Mar-17 12:10:25

There are some very simple/easy things that the school can do. Mostly it's a matter of allowing some form of separation from those causing the problems and encouraging new associations that are hopefully less damaging.

Simple things. Like moving where they sit in each lesson if they've got to sit where they're told, i.e. alphabetical order. Or introducing being told which desk to sit at if it's a free for all. Sometimes if you're forced to sit with people bullying you feel trapped and don't get the opportunity to sit and make friends with others. Or see if the teachers can make it compulsory boy/girl to split the class up a bit more.

Or more extreme such as changing forms or lesson groups so that you're taken out of a hostile environment and into a more friendly group without the history.

I'm just talking from personal experience. In some lessons, we had to sit in alphabetically ordered groups so I always ended up with those immediately in front or behind my surname - the very ones who bullied me. Other lessons, the opposite, it was a free for all, and the bullies used to come and sit near me just to be annoying.

For me, some very simple and easy changes from sympathetic teachers made a world of difference - gave me a bit of breathing space away from the worst culprits and allowed me to make new friends, often with the most unexpected of classmates!

RedHelenB Thu 16-Mar-17 12:23:51

Are there no other girls she could be friends with? I know full well that if the H of Y asked my dd and her group they would be inclusive.

My dd had this in Y5. She sought friends in her new school that shared her interests and were "nice". Funnily enough, the "popular" set get on with them too because they are not trying to fit particularly.

sometimesinthefall Thu 16-Mar-17 12:24:16

Gosh, I agree, Sally - roll on secondary, although in the meantime I am dreading the countless end of primary school and birthday parties she will not be included in (and the photos that the mums then put on facebook, knowing fully well that I will see them).

I agree, StarUtopia, out of school activities are a great place to meet like-minded people.

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