bullying - what to expect from the school?(29 Posts)
DS (age 13) is being bullied at school. Physically and verbally. It is really nasty with a lot of people joining in and it has been going on a very long time.
I found out a couple of days ago that there was something and then last time DH and I persuaded DS to tell us everything and we were both shocked at what he has had to put up with. It is so bad that we kept him home from school today as we will not send him back until there is a plan in place for protecting him. Its so bad, and there is so much concrete evidence that I think the police would be interested.
DH emailed the HOY and the form tutor. He wrote in politely but he was crystal clear that there was a big problem and they were being asked to help resolve it. He briefly outlined the various types of bullying and how long it has gone on for. And he explained that we have decided to not send DS to school until they meet with him and a solution has been devised.
If I were a HOY, I think I'd be interested. She wrote back, not bothering with the formalities like "Dear Mr X" or appending her signature. She just wrote down two dates - both next week - and asked DH to pick one to meet with her. There was no concern expressed for DS, no reassurance for us. Her reply was extremely curt.
Is that normal?
Fuck that I'd be on the phone to the HT and the police quite frankly. Shocking response,
Just to complete the picture ... our children have very good attendance records. They behave well in class, work hard and achieve well. They are never in trouble. This HOY has absolutely no reason to think we made it up.
DH sent the email, not me, because I was in tears when I realised what my son has had to put up with. Neither of us blame the school, but we need the school to help us sort it out.
The NOY was so curt, it was almost hard. I am reeling still from what DS has told me, but I have this feeling that the school will not be helpful.
The police would be interested in some of it, i think. especially as we have evidence - online and in writing. As well as all the torn things that we've had to replace - and now I know why.
I'm so sorry for you and your son. Bullying is horrendous. When is the earliest HOY can see you?
I am sorry that your family are going through this. Unfortunately in some schools what you expect and what you actually get with regards bullying can be two very different things. Please make an appointment with the HT and ask that the HOY attends but be prepared for a lot of backside covering. I hope things get better for your ds.
I thought with keeping DS at home, that she'd make time today or tomorrow. Is that unrealistic?
I just can't imagine anything more important than sorting this out quickly.
Is it possible that HOY replied very briefly as they wanted to give an immediate response and so quickly checked diary and wrote dates in a spare 30seconds, e.g. between lessons?
And is now running round when they have time trying to find out as much info as possible so as to be properly prepared for your meeting?
You may be right in your assessment, but try to hold judgement until you have actually met.
(But possibly think about other schools as a backup in case you decide they are hopeless and you want to move son).
They can't be blamed for not knowing - it was widely known by the children but never visible to the teachers. But they know there is a problem now and they know its a big one. By Monday, they will know the detail of it.
I am writing it all down so they can't say they weren't told. Also, it will save DS the ordeal of having to repeat it over and over if we do need to escalate it.
So, they'll have nowhere to hide if they decide not to deal with it. Its just that the school is thought to have an extremely effective policy for dealing with bullying, so i expected more. I feel this is more about the HOY's personality than anything else.
She replied at lunchtime but it doesn't excuse the missing words like "Dear X" and "I am sorry to hear that". Really just the social niceties.
Does anyone have any tips for obliging the school to take action?
I would read that as a teacher responding very quickly to an email that is extremely urgent and cannot be left even though there is no time to reply fully. It does sound like an acknowledgement (of sorts) that this is so serious it cannot wait (i.e. a to-the-point email right away is better than a politely worded and nicely constructed one tomorrow night which might be the time she usually sets aside to reply to all the emails that arrive Wed - Friday).
Is there an appointment on Monday when she can see you? If not can you phone in the morning and push for a conversation at least by phone before taking a view on whether to send DS in on Monday?
Make notes of what he has told you before any meeting if you can. It is so horribly upsetting to do it but times and dates and things get muddled and lost otherwise. I am sorry you are all going through this. Give the school a chance to put it right but by all means also consider your other options (complaints procedure through school and even police involvement or a new school) if the school don't deal with it.
Tiggy - wouldn't you expect her to comment on the fact that we are keeping Ds away from school?
She's given a face to face appointment time on Monday. DH explicitly asked for that in his original email so she didn't have much choice.
DH asked Ds if he would like us to find him a new school. The problem is just one boy whose bullying went unchecked and who somehow has managed to establish DS as the boy who is worth nothing and should be bullied, so now other children are joining in in a variety of ways.
I suppose you could say that some of the stuff the boy has said verbally and in writing about DS amounts to slander and libel.
Plus there's the hitting and kicking - some of which they videoed and posted online.
I'd be straight on the phone to the head teacher
Have you already contacted the police? I wouldn't wait to meet the school first, definitely get that sorted then you can discuss the police action at the meeting. (My school would advise you to call the police anyway, schools don't really have the appropriate powers to deal with things like assault effectively).
The response from the HOY wasn't great, but it's possible that they were rushed off their feet and the response was at least prompt. Hopefully they will be helpful at the meeting on Monday, but knowing that you've already talked to the police will certainly help things along.
No, we thought that it would be better for the school to deal with it.
If they moved the main trouble maker to a new form, and made the others realise what they'd been doing, and how very wrong it is, I think it would be enough.
Is that just naive though? The main bully started some name calling and what he called DS is awful (and completely unfounded). (Think rapist and you'd be on the right lines). It caught on though. Ds said it spread through the year like wildfire and for a few months everyone was calling him it.
Remember Ds was only 12 when it started - its not one of those times when there is a tiny fire underneath a lot of smoke.
I'm having similar problems though my DS is in primary - have had several meetings and plans put in place but I did inform the school that I would be notifying ofsted. It's horrid that your DS is enduring this and when you actually hear the extent it can be truly heartbreaking.
My DS has asked to move schools .
My DH came with me to all the meetings and had printed all the schools policies and procedures with several sections highlighted so that he could ask how they are implementing said policy.
We had a log of all incidents as I would always hear from DS what had happened and sent a message to DH at work. School had no record of any of the incidents!
They have since put satisfactory measures in place.
Good luck it's hideous and your son is merely attending for an education.
They hit and kicked your boy and videoed it and posted it online. If that happened to you, you'd call the police. That's horrendous.
If you want the troublemakers to realise what they were doing was wrong, a visit from the police would be a damn sight more effective than a detention and a telling off.
My school gets frustrated when the parents of kids who have been assaulted don't involve the police.
Only the punch one time was online. But I get the point. Other things were online but they were more someone stealing his things in class and DS being videoed as he tries to get them back. It is vile, as were the comments like "who'd have though xx would ever be interesting enough to deserve being looked at"
So sorry your going through this.
Police straight away I think. You've proof so time to come down like a tonne of bricks.
Also get in touch with the council and start looking into a new school so you know your options.
We live in a litigious society, the HOY is probably following school policy. She has offered appointment times, I accept you wanted something sooner but she may simply not have any availability.
I would also echo other posters in saying don't expect too much from the school and in your place I would inform the police.
I am so sorry your family is going through this.
Here's one comparison. I once had cause to mail my DS's (independent) school when he was a similar age, about something that was much less serious than your case sounds but still serious enough that I called it "serious" in my mail and said it had to stop.
I mailed DS's form teacher late morning. About half an hour later she replied from her phone, having already talked to the Head, thanking me very much for letting them know and saying they would act immediately and take it very seriously. By the end of the same day, the Head had talked extensively with the children involved and taken appropriate action (this must have involved his clearing his schedule in order to do so, I think) and my DS had been (quietly) reassured that he'd done the right thing in telling his parents and that they'd fix it, and they'd mailed me again to tell me this. My DS arrived home from school that night confident that school had dealt with it and it wouldn't reoccur. And it hasn't.
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