Sadly, this tale of a school's incompetence in dealing with bullying is not unique. Only yesterday at a home education meeting, we spoke to parents of a boy who has recently been withdrawn from school after they had been treated extremely shabbily, both by the school and the local authority.
This story should be here, but the site is currently undergoing maintainence. However, it deserves to be heard, if only because of the parents' willingness to look directly at the problems, which is unusual, most parents preferring to turn a blind eye to bullying. In confronting their son's difficulties, these people have helped to expose the dark but far from unusual side (see here) of what is going on in our schools and what's more, have set a great example in finding the best possible solution to the problems.
This particular tale of woe began when the family moved to an new area and tried to enrol their son in the nearest available schools. Since the schools have foundation status, ie: they function more independently of the Local Authority, they are under no compulsion to offer anyone a place and since they were full, the boy simply couldn't go to school. At this point, the parents received a phone call from the LA, during which they were repeatedly threatened with a £1000.00 fine if they didn't send their son to school immediately. Ho hum...where is the LA's bullying policy, one would like to ask!
Anyhoo, the parents did then find their son a place at a school some distance away. They were not happy either with the logistics of getting their son to the place, or with the school's reputation which is frankly appalling. However, their son, an attractive, sensitive, indeed popular child did attend, only to find the parent's worst fears confirmed. Despite being reportedly popular, (the head confirmed this much), the boy was appallingly bullied - in one spell, there were serious incidents on four successive days. The parents asked for help which the school did indeed provide: the boy was given an older mentor who accompanied him to the canteen for three days, but this help was then withdrawn with no subsequent improvement in the situation at all.
In desperation, the parents returned to the see the headmaster. The mother has worked in schools as a special needs teacher, is familiar with school structure and codes of behaviour. Both parents are extremely well-informed, articulate and reasonable, but they felt they were making no headway at all in speaking to the school. A letter that the father had written explaining the problems was rolled into a ball and thrown away by the headmaster whilst the parents were looking on. When the father did eventually become animated and cross, the school called the police under the pretext that feeling verbally threatened constitutes a sufficient reason for involving the police - to which the father quite reasonably responded, "Well, since my son feels both physically and verbally threatened almost all the time in this place, I hope he will be allowed to call the police whenever he feels it is necessary!"
A short while after this, the parents decided to give up on the whole hopeless charade and handed in their letter of deregistration. The home education community is all the richer for it!