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Can the school fine me if I keep my son off school?

(17 Posts)
AmIAWeed Thu 23-Nov-17 16:43:07

I'll try and keep this short but my son is being bullied and today resulted in two separate attacks, once during break where a student had their hands around his neck then at lunch a student held his arms back whilst another threw a coin at his eye.
My son is not well behaved himself, disruptive and doesn't recognise when things are/are not appropriate which makes him a target for these bullies but also means he's often in trouble and they don't take me seriously when reporting the bullying.
Due to the nature of the attacks today this has been reported to the police who are coming out to interview my son this evening, I have a meeting at the school at 0930 about my sons behaviour but in light of this incident today that will be my focus tomorrow.
I have found another school with space and am looking round on Monday so there is a high chance he is moving regardless of the meeting outcome tomorrow.
What I would like to do is take him to school tomorrow for my meeting at 930 and say he will not be attending school until we've had the meeting and I am assured he will be kept safe, if at the end of the meeting I don't believe sufficient measures are in place, ie all 3 students involved in the attacks are removed and he has a safe place to go then he will be kept home...can I do this without being fined and without knowing for certain the other school is right for him??

lljkk Thu 23-Nov-17 17:43:44

Do you want all 3 boys who attacked him to be removed from the school permanently?

I know it's an awful situation, but from school's perspective, that won't be reasonable for you to demand.

Obviously I can't promise, but They won't fine you if he's back in school within a week. There are too many other factors going on.

AmIAWeed Thu 23-Nov-17 18:06:57

I am trying to think of what is reasonable of the school to do so I don't come across unrealistic. My first issue with the school is they refuse to give any details of punishments issued. Last year, the first time he was attacked resulted in his head being glued and the hospital treating it as a head injury and potential concussion, punishments are discussed between students so we know as a result she was put in isolation for 2 days, the same girl attacked him a second time and the punishment was isolation for 1 me this isn't sufficient.- the school refused to tell me the student involved claiming data protection and the second time wouldnt confirm if it was the same person or not who attacked him, there were no measures put in place to move her out of his form and away from him, they told him it was his fault for being near her.
The people from today are from the same group but technically different people.
I want them suspended for a period of time, isolation to me is not sufficient
I also want measures put in place where my son can get away from these bullies, he was surrounded by a group of 20 at break when a girl had her hands around his neck, the lunchtime incident less people surrounding him but he had no means to get away. I find it hard to believe a student can be attacked and no teachers were watching over him, especially as the bullying and taunting had continued throughout his lesson between break and lunch, allowing him to be attacked again.
I want a proper documented plan of what happens if he feels unsafe and where he can go, I want all teachers notified and aware of the problems so if there is bullying within the classroom he can flag it and make sure he is away from the people involved at lunch/break times.
Does that seem unreasonable/unrealistic?

grasspigeons Thu 23-Nov-17 18:16:02

I don't think it is realistic to ask the school to discuss another child with you and how they handle that child exactly.

I think I would ask for the school behaviour policy and ask where this behaviour (the violence and bullying) was sitting on the behaviour scale and whether the sanctions outlined in the policy have been applied. There is normally some sort

I also think its reasonable to try and get a plan of what to do, who to go to and even some safe places for your child.

lljkk Thu 23-Nov-17 18:22:10

My first issue with the school is they refuse to give any details of punishments issued.
it's not your business.

I want them suspended for a period of time
It's not your decision.

isolation to me is not sufficient
Sufficient to keep your son safe or sufficient for you to feel justice?

I also want measures put in place where my son can get away from these bullies
This is extremely your business. You can go to town hard on this one.

"I want a proper documented plan of what happens if he feels unsafe and where he can go, I want all teachers notified and aware of the problems so if there is bullying within the classroom he can flag it and make sure he is away from the people involved at lunch/break times.
Does that seem unreasonable/unrealistic?"

That last part is excellent.. but you can't dictate to them. Make them come up with measures (in writing) that achieve the same benefits as those things.

AmIAWeed Thu 23-Nov-17 18:44:49

Well I'm not going to lie, I disagree that the punishment has nothing to do with me. In courts sentences are public and for my own sons piece of mind it's important he feels the other students have been punished and it's a sufficient deterrent to them and others.
I did say in my first post my son isn't perfect, he was actually suspended for 2 days because he made an inappropriate gesture. My son says it was to a boy in the class, a girl (one of the girls involved today) claimed he did it to a teacher. Teacher didn't see, son admitted the gesture but maintains it was to a student... To me suspended for 2 days is pretty severe in comparison to a student attacking another and I feel there are double standards and there is no consistently in the handling of behaviour.
I will reread the policy, I am sure last time I looked the focus was on behaviour they encourage not sanctions

grasspigeons Thu 23-Nov-17 19:15:06

I do see where you are coming from. When my son was bullied one of the things he found hard was that as far as he was concerned nothing really happened to the bully.

I explained to the teacher that whilst there might be a lot going on behind the scenes (and there was) t it was really hard for a child to understand that. My son complained about being assaulted then it was silence and that an important part of him feeling safe and listened to was knowing what was happening. The teacher did get what I meant so they made a point of explaining to him that they had taken him very seriously and that here were the things they could tell him had happened as a result and here were some things that they couldn't tell him that were happening.

AmIAWeed Thu 23-Nov-17 20:31:21

grasspigeons that is exactly it, he was told it was his fault he was attacked. You CANNOT tell someone its their fault and give them confidence that you are dealing with the attacks appropriately

I honestly believe at this point in needs a clean slate, yes he will be that awkward kid somewhere else, but at his current school with a group of kids hell bent on making him miserable and a school blaming him instead of addressing the bullys or even helping him with his behaviour he doesn't stand a chance there.

The police have been round tonight, they were lovely but said their hands were tied as it happened in school. Out of school, anyone threw a coin at someones eye its ABH and a crime, in school totally different matter :/ they are getting the school liason and PCSO involved and sending out a rubber stamp alert so if his name flags on anything its clear there is history.
He feels calmer since talking to the police, whereas I feel more frustrated BUT he is more important and if he feels ok to go in then thats all that matters. I can view the other school Monday and be sure its the right fit instead of backing myself into a corner tomorrow

Foxyloxy1plus1 Thu 23-Nov-17 22:33:06

Are you confident that the new school will offer a place to your son? Until and unless you're sure he can transfer, I would try to find some solutions with the current school. If he stays, it will help to maintain positive relationships and if you decide to move him, it will again be on a more positive note.

AmIAWeed Fri 24-Nov-17 15:05:01

Sorry for not replying earlier, its been a very strange 24 hours.
The school meeting wasn't great so I am writing a formal complaint as I felt I was spoken over and that they had a point they were saying and weren't actually listening, They have acknowledged my son is not malicious and does not mean to offend people, but he also doesn't understand what is or isn't appropriate. As a result he upsets students and they bully him as a result BUT despite saying they know he doesnt understand and does not have bad intent its still his fault he's bullied, also he is name called, tripped up and doesnt recognise the signs of a situation escalating so he couldnt tell the difference between the incident in class that trigger the events yesterday to any other day when hes picked on so he didn't realise he needed help until it was too late, even after he was strangled he assumed that was it and wasn't expecting the second attack.

They have agreed to an educational physiologist assessing him, for an external restorative solutions referral and he'll have weekly sessions with a lady in SENCO to help him understand issues that have happened to try and help him deal with them better in future...all of which will take time to work, short term their safety plan consists of, hang around where there is CCTV, if you feel threatened come to the office - none of which helps in my opinion because he can't recognise the signs of situations escalating. He has agreed to go to class, he has a mobile and I told him to call me if hes feeling sad or worried which he responds to better than if hes picked on.

Throughout the meeting we were told its his fault for upsetting students, and I explained for as long as they tell him its his fault he wont report issues of bullying as he gets in trouble and he genuinely thinks it IS his fault he's been hit. This element upsets me the most.
The school also say because it's a small school and hes in the same classes with the kids day in day out, the tension builds and that's why the kids lash out, apparently if the school was bigger he'd change class mates more often so his behaviour would annoy them less as they wouldn't always be together.
I have told the school that if these so called temporary measures don't work and hes hurt again I'd be looking to keep him home where he can work until he's accessed and proper long term plans are in place. They have told me even if hes attacked again they wont support this plan, they wont provide work for him and will class it as an unauthorised absence.

I am viewing the new school on Monday, will be totally honest about his issues and see how they can potentially support him before I make any rash decisions. I know deep down if I move him he is likely to have similar issues, ie upsetting kids around him, but these few with a nasty vendetta wont be there and potentially intervention methods can be put in place before it becomes violent and personal.

physicskate Fri 24-Nov-17 18:01:33

You need your son to see an ed psych. Now.

If he is diagnosed, he will have greater protection.

AmIAWeed Fri 24-Nov-17 20:39:56

Do you know what protection?
to me a diagnosis isn't a green card for his behaviour, but instead will help explain how his brain works and push for things to be put in place to help him deal with situations. For me giving him the skills to handle situations is the most important thing, is there something im not seeing that can help him?

ASauvignonADay Fri 24-Nov-17 20:46:51

Without being too specific to your case, yes they can fine you if you keep him off school without good reason. If you chose not to pay and it went to court, it would depend on whether the school had out enough in place re the assaults.

The school cannot give you details re other children.

I wouldn't guarantee a place at another school, especially not a permanent one f your child has a poor behaviour and attendance record. They may offer a negotiated transfer/trial.

What diagnosis do you think he might get? It does sound like he needs further assessment - has he had an SCLN assessment? How old is he? (Sorry if I've missed these details, am reading whilst exhausted)

ASauvignonADay Fri 24-Nov-17 20:50:31

* that is exactly it, he was told it was his fault he was attacked. You CANNOT tell someone its their fault and give them confidence that you are dealing with the attacks appropriately*

But did they actually say 'you fault' or did he do something to antagonise or provoke? I'd imagine the school has held an investigation (we would take statements, watch cctv etc) before making a decision. If someone was antagonising first, it does give a different course of action.

physicskate Fri 24-Nov-17 20:58:58

It protects him because if he is diagnosed with something, he has a disability. The school would be obliged to protect him for fear of breaking disability discrimination. I would normally agree with you as sometimes diagnoses are handed out like candy and don't actually SOLVE the problem, but it might entitle him to additional support to help with the problems.

Also, the people you are dealing with may be more sympathetic and stop blaming the victim.

I don't care if your child is the most vile, awful human being. He doesn't deserve the way he's being treated.

pieceofpurplesky Fri 24-Nov-17 21:14:26

Does your DS have any friends?

AmIAWeed Fri 24-Nov-17 21:33:21

My son does have 2 friends.
In terms of what he did to offend them, this is very outing but I may as well say.
For English homework he needed to get a son and highlight verbs adverbs smilies etc. He chose 'tim Minchin you grew on me' it was my husband and Is first dance at our wedding. The English teacher asked the kids to get their homework out, my son put his on his desk ready to be collected. A girl, not sat on his desk,leant over and read his. She started shouting he was laughing at a cancer song, he hated people with cancer and was sick. This resulted in 3 girls sobbing because they were so insulted and 1 stormed out....
Personally I think this is an unbelievable over reaction, it wasn't read out, he hadn't discussed it, simply one person reading over his shoulder. He was told it was his fault the girls were upset because of his homework.
When he was strangled he was told he shouldn't have bought the song in and it's understandable for people to react that way, violence is never an acceptable reaction nor is calling him a 'cancer racist ' which the gang of girls and boys were calling him. The girls told a group of boys hoe distressed they were and how my son had caused it, so they decided to corner him and attack him.
For me the song is important in our family, the school may decide it's not suitable and whilst I may disagree, that's a conversation between him and his English teacher, not a vigilante mob of students
Just to add all students are year 9, so 13-14 year olds

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