Thursday, 24 March 2011

Standing by or interfering?

I need to let off steam, and ask for some advice from other parents out there. How do we handle it when our kids are being bullied?
Some background: my eight-year old has hemiplegia, a fact I may have alluded to here but not gone on about, because I do not want to define him by it. However,it's crucial to this post. It was caused by a severe head injury after I fell carrying him when he was 7-weeks old.
R goes to a mainstream primary school and up until now, although he struggled to keep up, he has been happy there and was part of a supportive friendship group. But recently something seems to have changed and he is being teased and bullied on the way to school and in class. It is not physical but emotional and is really distressing him. He is being teased about his disability and about his friendship with a girl!
I expected this to come one day. I was badly bullied at school and I know how cruel children can be to someone who is different but it is heartbreaking not to be able to help. He is only 8, surely that is too young for 'you've got a girlfriend' type teasing!?
I spoke to the school only a couple of weeks ago about one specific incident, but I didn't feel that they took it very seriously and I feel reluctant to keep going in there like a pushy parent saying 'my child needs more than all the others in your class'. However, the fact is, he does. And if I don't say it who will?
Also, there is the nagging fear that if I go in and name the bullies that R will receive some sort of backlash for snitching/dobbing/grassing (whatever the current slang is).
What can I do? Any advice would be welcome. We want to do the best by our kids, but it is so hard to know what that is sometimes


Judie aka Craftymess said...

my eldest daughter was constantly bullied through secondry school, i tried to talk to the teachers, i was always in there saying something, so in the end i had words with the kids involved and the parents, the parents never talked to me again, but the kids left my child alone so it was worth it for me. I hope you truely get this sorted hun

Judie xx

Sian said...

I'm very sorry to hear this Kirsty and I wish I had some advice to offer. I would continue to pester the school until they do take it seriously though.

Amy said...

I am also very sorry to hear this, and, like Sian, I would continue to pester as well. Don't give up, our kids need us to be the ones to advocate for them, when you have a gut feeling it is usually right - keep at them!

humel said...

Oh, Kirsty, I am so sorry. Speaking as a teacher here, I say you should definitely go and talk to the school again. Make a note of the incidents as you become aware of them so you have a record of how often and the kind of thing that's happening. The school really ought to handle it sensitively enough that there wouldn't be a backlash, but by all means mention your concerns about that at your meeting. The school should have a policy on how they deal with bullying, which you can ask to see, too. Good luck, hun xx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I am sorry to read about this problem with your son. I know it is sad and trying for him, as well as you.

Here in America, parents have started getting "the picture." Children who bully others are dealt with along with the parents. When that fails, the parents receive the brunt of the problem because the child is removed from the school. The parents must either do something about homeschooling the child, or find a suitable replacement school.

It isn't universal here in the states, but it is getting more common. I only hope you stay on this problem, documenting times, dates, and events. Then if the school does nothing, take it to the Board of Education, or whatever the equivalent is in the UK. It may seem like you are interfering, but trust me, you are not. It is better to stand up for a child than all that child to commit suicide or be bullied into doing something horrible.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

That last sentence should have read than allow that child.