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AIBU?

Homophobic Bullying

30 replies

ifherbumwereabungalow · 28/09/2018 08:20

Reposting here for traffic...
My Yr 8 son has been the victim of two boys who are constantly calling him gay and have been harassing him daily. DS is an awesome boy who has no idea what his sexuality is as he is 12 years old and more interested in playing Fortnite than anything else. He is also a star student and much loved by his teachers. The two boys in question have been picking on him since the start of senior school and he's been handling it beautifully, ready with a witty put down and not afraid to stand his ground but the relentless harassment is really getting him down.
He reported the homophobic bullying to his form tutor who said he would look into it and get in touch with me. He didn't so I ended up going into school and speaking to the deputy head of house.
She rang me later in the day to say that she had spoken to DS and one of the boys involved who told her that he "didn't realise it was upsetting DS". To my mind this is complete bullshit. The other boy was being spoken to by the head of house.
My issue is that this is simply not enough for what is a hate crime. The two boys were calling my son gay with the intention of hurting and insulting him and my son was well aware of this.
I want both boys to be suitably punished for this and am seriously considering reporting the abuse to the police, if only so that they get a stern warning and hopefully a bloody good fright! I feel that they, and others, need to know that there are serious consequences for the use of homophobic language and that it is not considered acceptable in this day and age.
For the record my son knows that there is nothing insulting about being called gay, he'd be more offended if they told he he was boring or stupid.

OP posts:
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AuntBeastie · 28/09/2018 08:26

YANBU, your poor son. It’s no wonder even kids from supportive families feel so afraid of coming out sometimes when that is the wider environment. Not saying your son is gay, just that if he was or if another child in his class is, it would make it so much harder.

If it doesn’t completely stop now following this intervention then I would encourage you to speak to the police, and to speak to the school about getting an organisation like stonewall or similar in to do some workshops as they obviously have a homophobic bullying issue.

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ifherbumwereabungalow · 28/09/2018 09:12

Thanks auntiebeastie. I am looking into organisations that do the sort of school visits that you have mentioned in order to present a list of them to the school. My fear is that they might lay off my kid but move on to someone less able to defend themselves and cause them real misery.

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AuntBeastie · 28/09/2018 09:31

Absolutely - you want a wider cultural change. Always gives me hope when I see parents like you really standing up against stuff like this!

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SmallState · 28/09/2018 09:39

Unfortunately "witty putdowns" aren't enough. Sometimes at school, one has to use their fiats to get some civility.

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AuntBeastie · 28/09/2018 09:45

What if they drive polos instead?

Seriously though, advising that he use his fists is terrible advice. Even if he could fight with his two bullies and somehow not come off worse, he would get in serious trouble. And he can’t grow up thinking violence is a solution to his problems.

Bullied children shouldn’t be told they need to physically fight to defend themselves. It isn’t fair or safe. It’s the responsibility of adults to create a safe environment where bullying isn’t tolerated.

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SmallState · 28/09/2018 09:52

Bullied children shouldn’t be told they need to physically fight to defend themselves. It isn’t fair or safe. It’s the responsibility of adults to create a safe environment where bullying isn’t tolerated

Schools don't, and are happy to turn a blind eye. You've got to survive in the world in which we live, not the one we want.

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AuntBeastie · 28/09/2018 10:08

So if you’re small or weak and can’t physically defend yourself that’s just tough?

We can create the world we want, we don’t just have to put up with it. OP is talking about stopping the school from turning a blind eye by getting the police involved and having LGBT organisations provide workshops. Toxic cultures can and do change, and that’s what OP wants. That has to be a better solution than telling a twelve year old boy that he has to fight.

Not all kids can defend themselves this way. What if they are frightened, physically weak, disabled, or much younger than their aggressors? What if they are one kid being bullied by multiple others? How do you expect those kids to physically defend themselves?

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SmallState · 28/09/2018 10:14

@AuntBeastie - you have to be realistic you can't change the world or change cultures, life is a battle.

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CripsSandwiches · 28/09/2018 10:15

My first reaction was "well that's just what kids in school do" but while that's true if we want to stop it we need to make it 100% clear that it's unacceptable by taking it very seriously so no YANBU it deserves a very strong response. Even if it wasn't upsetting your DS other children who might be gay or who might have gay family or friends are hearing it and it's feeding into a homophobic culture.

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AuntBeastie · 28/09/2018 10:17

What’s realistic about expecting all kids to be able to defend themselves by fighting? You must know that’s absurd.

Cultures do change. Why do you think it is that 50 years ago homosexuality was illegal, and now it is widely accepted and understood? It’s because of relentless campaigning and protesting and educating and teaching by activists and allies. That’s an ongoing process which OP wants to be a part of.

Not only is it lazy and fatalistic to say that the world can’t change, it’s clearly not true based on history.

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CripsSandwiches · 28/09/2018 10:19

I also think it's terrible advise that he should fight his way out of the situation. Ironically the school would probably take that very seriously and in any case it's not a long term way of solving anything.

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SmallState · 28/09/2018 10:19

What’s realistic about expecting all kids to be able to defend themselves by fighting? You must know that’s absurd.

When I went to school, (in the UK, I finished in the mid 2000's), disputes were often settled that way. It made men of us.

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AuntBeastie · 28/09/2018 10:25

It made men of us.

And what about the kids too small, weak or otherwise unable to fight? Why do you keep refusing to answer questions about them? Is it because you don’t want to admit that in your scenario, they just get shafted?

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NewLevelsOfTiredness · 28/09/2018 10:32

I managed to survive bullying without resorting to fists to keep my 'masculinity' intact.

I've landed on my feet in life with an amazing girlfriend, and her two little girls. One of the problems she had with her ex was his tendancy to fight his way out of a situation (not with her or the kids! - when he was out with a drink.) He'd learned this method at school, where it presumably 'made a man' out of him. Hmm

Although I suppose I punched my older brother once. Seriously though, if you'd grown up with him...

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UpstartCrow · 28/09/2018 10:33

The school really seem to be minimising the bullying and letting them off, that would concern me.

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BarbarianMum · 28/09/2018 10:35

It might have "made a man of you" smallstate but its obviously impaired your cognitive functions as well. Tell me, do you now use you fists to settle workplace disputes?

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NewLevelsOfTiredness · 28/09/2018 10:37

Oh, but to reply to the OP, I think your son has done a great job of handling it so far. I agree that it's hate language but it seems utterly ingrained at school level, it's terrible.

However, I feel it might be better for your son if the situation isn't elevated at this point. Simply on the basis that if they're bullies at heart they might take more severe punishment out on your boy as retaliation. I know there's a certain sacrifice of principles there though.

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BarbarianMum · 28/09/2018 10:37

OP I would not be happy with the school's reslonse at all. If those boys weren't trying to upset him then why were they calling him gay?

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SmallState · 28/09/2018 10:43

It might have "made a man of you" smallstate but its obviously impaired your cognitive functions as well. Tell me, do you now use you fists to settle workplace disputes? @Barbarian - as people on this site are fond of saying when schools do something that wouldn't go down in the world of work, "schools aren't the workplace".

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BarbarianMum · 28/09/2018 10:44

Schools aren't the workplace but one of their functions (their main one in fact) is to prepare you for it.

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AuntBeastie · 28/09/2018 10:48

@SmallState

The fact that you still won’t talk about the kids that can’t defend themselves shows that you know the real issues with your argument. You have no response for them. In your scenario, if a kid can’t fight back it’s just tough.

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SmallState · 28/09/2018 10:48

@BarbarianMum - And while schools persists in doing a piss poor job (by not doing anything about the bullying and delinquent behaviour that would find you out on your ear in the world or work) people like OPs son need to deffend themselves.

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SmallState · 28/09/2018 10:51

@AuntBeastie - I'm not sure what you expect me to say? Life's tough, human nature isn't ideal it just is what it is.

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AuntBeastie · 28/09/2018 10:57

That’s exactly what I expected you to say, to be honest. But that view is lazy, ignorant, uninformed and unhelpful. Luckily there are plenty of people around, like OP, making the world better and creating a culture change that also benefits the kids who aren’t able to respond by behaving like thugs.

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SmallState · 28/09/2018 11:01

@AuntBeastie - if schools took proper action against bullies then what I'm saying would be redundant, but they don't, so it's not. The liberal elite who tie schools hands and don't allow them to exclude have created this situation, no matter how distasteful they find it.

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