Friday, May 02, 2008

More Bullied School Children Driven To Home Education

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 Only yesterday at a home education meeting, we spoke to parents of a boy who has recently been withdrawn from school after they had been treated extremely shabbily, both by the school and the local authority.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provide: the boy was given an older mentor who accompanied him to the canteen for three days, but this help was then withdrawn with no subsequent improvement in the situation at all.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!


Anonymous said...

I found out about HE on the Friday and had the de-registration letter in by the Monday. My son is/was Special needs because of Dyspraxia. You know that something is seriously wrong when your child comes home and asks you 'Am I a peadophile Mum?'. When I got to the bottom of this ridiculous question it transpires that the other childrn in school (Primary age) were telling him that as he was 'thick' (he has a high IQ) he would never get married and he would have become a peadophile and have sex with babies.' Now is that the conversation that a 10 year old should be having in school? Where did the other children get the concepts from? WHAT were the teachers doing when he was being forced to wet his pants because the bullies (little savages) wouldn't let him into the bathroom, did anybody tell the bullies parents that they should actually teach their child manners and aceptable social skills.
I am now an ardent advocate of Home Education. I find the children are much better mannered, much more interesting to talk to, and they are much more accepting of differences. Definatly a lot better than the factory fitted automatons schools push out.

Carlotta said...

Great to know that this sortof behaviour simply won't be tolerated and that trailblazers are using the best possible leverage and simply walking away.

It occurs to me that your story would be of great interest to Bev at "Cruel at School" about this? Bev, who now HEs her daughter as a result of bullying at school, is looking for stories of this sort and is working as hard as she can to expose this sort of awfulness in the MSM? I hear she was in the papers again this week.

Carlotta said...

Ruth said...

All these schools when asked say they have an anti-bullying policy and a very good record, that bullying hardly ever happens and is always deal with. Some are just being wilfully ignorant, other are flat out liars.

"Each year, an average of 40 children under 15 years of age commit suicide in the UK and Ireland." How can that ever be acceptable? We hear this rubbish about rates of leukemia but child suicide, where's the public outrage?

Lisa G said...

That is an absolutely appalling story, I'm so glad that child is now out of such a poisonous environment. I knew my daughter's time in school was up when she began self harming, although not entirely down to bullying, this was a horrible wakeup call and I acted immediately to get her away. My own nephew was the victim of bullying so severe the police were involved and as home ed was not an option for him he finished his last two years of education with a charity called 'Fairbridge', a much happier and more confident boy. So many other kids must suffer in silence, no wonder so many children today are unhappy and depressed.

Anonymous said...

LOL! My reply to that peadophile comment would have been:

"That's right. Your babies will be first."

I would know what to do in the bathroom situation as well, but it's better unsaid.

School is not a place children can innocent and fragile.