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My eldest has just told me that a child in his school is calling him a "retard"

(17 Posts)

I can go down there tomorrow and slap her until her face falls off, right?

I will have to talk to the school tomorrow. My son doesn't appear to give a shit but it's not on, is it?

I am actually starting to feel that maybe mainstream isn't the best place. He doesn't normally tell me what the other kids are saying and I suspect this is the tip of the iceberg.

I don't understand. They KNOW he has autism. They KNOW that he behaves the way he does because of a disability - so WHY are some kids so vile?

I don't understand it. I don't understand how a teenager can taunt a child who they know very well is different because of a disability. I mean, what is going through their minds? Don't they care at all?

madwomanintheattic Tue 18-Oct-11 21:48:24

put it in writing hec.

asking the school how they intend to cope with this bullying.

and copy it to the chair of governors and lea.

with a copy of the school's anti-bullying policy attached.

grr.

Yes, I think it is probably best in writing.

Might be a good idea for me to calm down first though. I am a bit cross.

he really doesn't appear to care. which is good - for him, for his feelings. But I am cross for him, iyswim. He shouldn't have to take this shit.

What makes me more cross is he is supposed to have full time 1:1 - so where the hell are they when kids are telling him to go away and calling him a retard and crap like that.

coff33pot Tue 18-Oct-11 22:36:26

Yes putting it in writing is much better than being an irate mum which is probably what I would be! What a vile teenager.

Put it this way if your son was abusive to another it would definately get logged so this should also be addressed.

If he doesnt normally tell you what others are saying but he has with this he may still be trying to digest the incident bless him.

Ohhhh I feel mad for you angry

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 18-Oct-11 22:45:20

I would go straight to the headmistress and say, calmly, that this is as serious as racist language and should be dealt with as seriously. I would mention that a hostile environment is being created and that this goes beyond bullying and may even stray into DDA territory. Kids are getting excluded for racist and homophobic taunts (rightly); disabilist abuse is as bad.

unpa1dcar3r Tue 18-Oct-11 22:55:37

Oooooh I'm liking what Sick above has said...
That word makes me vom, almost literally. It's banded about everywhere...if someone were to say 'nigger' there would be outcry (rightly so cos that's vile too) but with disability it never seems to matter.

Something ironic recently happened here; I needed to park outside a shop on a blue bay. However i couldn't cos there was a ruddy great delivery lorry parked across all 3 bays so i had to park further up the road. Therefore couldn't leave my eldest in car as he'd asked (well, demanded as in "Stay in carrrrrr") cos it meant i couldn't see him from the shop.
he then ran up the road screaming and causing untold stress cos he didn't wanna go in the shop. Took me ages to drag him (he's 5'10") back up the road where my other son was thankfully stood in shop doorway being good.
I explained to the drivers that while i realised they needed to unload it had cause me some grief (which they'd stood and watched BTW) because of my two SLD boys etc.
The guy turned to me and said "I know love but if we park further back the RETARD drivers will moan they can't get past"!!!!!

I will say I did firmly tell him that his language was completely unacceptable and could he not think of a better word. He did apologise but even so...madness. Stupid stupid person.

This child sounds completely vile to me and needs its mouth washed out with carbolic soap. Disgusting creature. I do hope you complain and also that his parents are told. I hope they will feel shame.

AgnesDiPesto Tue 18-Oct-11 23:21:03

I have three children and I have to confess I often feel sad at some of the playground talk the two NT ones come home with. We have to do alot of unpicking cruel and ignorant things they pick up from children with bigoted parents - there is a huge issue at the moment with homophobic insults banded around which amazes me that there are even parents still having an issue with being gay.
So while I agree its a horrible word and I would hate it used about DS3, my other children have come home and said 'Mum whats a retard'. They are 7 and 9 shock.
Sadly there are ignorant offensive people out there but its usually the fault of the parents not the kids, who often don't know what they are saying really (although agree teenagers should).
Our school has a policy of getting parents in every single time a racist comment is used so I am hopeful they will have a similar zero tolerance approach to disability hate comments.
At least I can say to DS1 and DS2 'how would you feel if someone called DS3 a retard' and they look genuinely shocked in that they do not relate the way it is used at school with being disabled. It does not even occur to them someone would think DS was retarded.
Sometimes we over-estimate how well other children are educated, if their parents have never explained why its offensive they may not actually know.
So I agree its an issue the school should deal with and ideally get the parents in and explain to them why its offensive and unacceptable.

That's folks. I'm going to have a word today. I'll let you know what they say.

The school is great and supportive and they adore my son and are always full of praise for him [proud] so I have no doubt that they will take this seriously and deal with it.

But - they are supposed to be with him full time 1:1. If they were, then no child would have the opportunity to say these things to him, would they?

bigbluebus Wed 19-Oct-11 12:05:43

I am sorry that your DS has been insulted in this way hecate but I'm afraid to say that the word "retard" just seems to be one of those playground words that teenagers call each other at the moment - disabled or not. I have had to tell my DS off many times for using it (he's 14 & HF ASD and has a LD sister) but just get told "everyone says it mum!". I did bring it to the attention of the head of behavioural management at DS's school once and he assured me that anyone caught using that language was given a detention.

What I think I'm trying to say is that other NT kids at school will be called this too - but I guess they just ignore it. Obviously because your DS has a disability it is a personal insult and I agree with others that you should approach the school and get this behaviour stamped out. It is bullying. But maybe your DS isn't that bothered because he has heard others being called it. That doesn't make it right though.

As an aside, my DS was in an ASDAN group at school to improve his social skills. He didn't want to go to it as the group was known in school as "SPAZDAN" by the other pupils. Something else I brought to schools attention - which they were already aware of and again assured me it was always challenged and dealt with. Kids can be so cruel - but this sort of behaviour isn't going to be helped when comedians use this sort of language (per other thread).

Yes. You are right, I know. It is one of those words that kids use without understanding what it is they are saying. sad

I phoned the school this morning. Apparently, the girl who calls him it also has significant sn.

This, to me, puts a different spin on things and obviously, it will need to be handled differently. Perhaps she is being called it by other children and is simply repeating it? Or maybe she is being cruel, who knows. It may indicate that she needs more support herself.

I am less cross now I know this. I wonder if this means I am - prejudiced? - though. When I thought it was an nt child I was furious and wanted them punished. Now I know it is a child with significant sn, I am concerned that she is being called things herself and I want her supported. Yet, what my son has been called is the same.

bigbluebus Wed 19-Oct-11 12:20:36

I don't think 'prejudiced' is the word you are looking for - I would say you are being 'sympathetic' or 'understanding'.
School should still speak to the girl about it though and explain her behaviour was unacceptable otherwise she is likely to do it again. If she is copying then she may not understand it is wrong.

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 19-Oct-11 12:26:54

Yes, that is different. It's probably for her parents to deal with , rather than school?

AgnesDiPesto Wed 19-Oct-11 12:27:35

You are not prejudiced. Its an unacceptable word and you were right to raise it. But kids do pick up horrible words. Its just as you say they are even more hurtful when directed at a vulnerable child who cannot defend themselves.
My DS2 mimics DS3 sometimes eg the way he speaks and I get really cross with him, but also I suppose to DS2 it is funny and different and children do tease each other about how they are different. So its also a part of growing up and learning about boundaries.
Afterall DS1 and DS2 physically fight and shout at each other and I just put that down to normal sibling behaviour wink whereas if they did it to DS3 I would be horrified. Yet in a way I want them to just see DS3 as any other child so in a way I am enforcing them treating him differently confused and probably pointing out differences they have not even noticed.
Its a tough lark this parenting.

chrchrch Wed 19-Oct-11 12:56:16

I always remind my children what was said by an old lady whose job was to transform any impossible pre-schoolers into happy children:
Only stupid people call people stupid.

And replace stupid with retard/ dumb/ ugly/ unwanted...

justaboutstillhere Wed 19-Oct-11 13:00:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

unpa1dcar3r Wed 19-Oct-11 22:23:14

Oh dear I feel horrible now calling her a vile child in need of carbolic!
oops. But also like you say Hecate, why is this child using this word? needs investigation.

steelev48 Fri 21-Oct-11 20:55:53

At my children's school, apparently 'retard' is the current favourite put-down! My friend's autistic son got in trouble last week for mumbling it under his breath after being told off by his teacher. He got into big trouble because it was aimed at the teacher, but when the children use it to insult other children, it seems that not much is done about it.

I agree that insults against the disabled are as bad as racist and homophobic insults and need to be taken more seriously than they currently are.

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