Bullying.


My son is being bullied again. This has gone on through 3 different schools and with various school- boys over a period of 4 years.

It doesn’t look to me like he has the word ‘victim’ tatooed on his forehead, so why do they do this?

The matter is finally in hand (I hope) after 7 months of victimisation (and not all by pupils of the school, but sadly, by one staff member too) since he started high school last September, aged 11 (he’s still 11). My son is now somewhere on a wait-list for mentoring with a professional mentor…to get heard, since up till now no-one in the school system has actually wanted to listen to him.

The bullies have been ‘spoken to severely’, apparantly.

Wonderboy has also been given the oportunity to change classes -so that he has no lessons with the bullies – of course, they won’t remove the bullies from their classes- WonderboyΒ  is the one who has to be moved-less work for them. He doesn’t particularly want to do this, he just wants the other boys to be dealt with so he can get on with his work and stay in a class/form that is familiar to him.

I think I’d prefer him to move and have a fresh start- all his lessons will be with pupils he’s never had lessons with before- but we don’t have to rush a decision- even though yesterday we were told we had only last evening to think about it and the school wanted an answer by today! If he stays where he is there is a danger of this happening again with the same bullies and of the teacher who has been doing her own kind of bullying, continuing to do so. I understand my son’s reluctance, and I know that though I can guide his decision, he has to choose because he has another four and a half years in that school.

I hate to see my child hurting and yet I ask him to not retaliate when he is being hit, when a part of me wants to educate him on which parts of the body can incurr the most pain with the minimum physical manipulation. Having said that, I do give him permission to defend himself. I just don’t want him to be the aggressor.

Wonderboy is a caring and sensitive kid, I believe it’s because he doesn’t smoke, drink, brag about having 11 year old sex, swear at the teachers and kick the crud out of his classmates that makes him a target. Perhaps if he was just like the bully boys, he wouldn’t be seen to be ‘fair game’. I know which I’d prefer for a son.

Interestingly, and not perhaps, unusually, the current bully is the best friend of the last bully who I wrote about here

There’s been a significant change in Wonderboy’s behaviour over recent months too, he’s much more withdrawn and uncomunicative and these aren’t changes for the better, they’re changes that make me worry even more about him. He’s also become much more ‘snappy’ and short tempered, it’s like my son went away on vacation and left behind someone who looks like my son but has an almost totally different personality.

When my son is on holiday from school he is back to his old self, happy and relaxed, but there aren’t enough holidays, I’m sure both my children would agree πŸ™‚

Like one staff member said today…bullying, especially to the extent that my son has experienced it, can stay with a child throughout their life. Yes it can, it can affect the child’s social situations, their sense of self worth, their employment opportunities, their relationships, everything in fact.

I just hope that this is finally getting sorted, but then I seem to recall saying that last time…and the time before….and the time before that 😦

Please, if you can spare a prayer, send one up for Wonderboy. Thank you.

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17 Responses to Bullying.

  1. Lorna says:

    (sorry this is so long) … I hurt for you and Joe … this isn’t right or easy!

    the teenage years aren’t easy – and there will be – even in the best of circumstances – mood swings and long periods of poor communicating, and snappiness I’m afraid; at least if my own TS is anything to go by!

    We’re no experts and struggle, but setting clear boundaries (so you both know where you stand) does help – though it’s emotionally draining at times.

    As for the bullies 😦 It’s awful. What they are doing is wrong! And I don’t understand the school system in England which seems to be unable or unwilling to tackle this kind of problem.When visiting the UK I met with a friend who’s teaching in Derbyshire and she was telling such horrendous stories

    … we worked out that there’s a huge difference in attitude and in Finland the no.1 right is that kids have the right to learn – that means that others do not have the right to stop others learning by making the classroom unroudy or unsafe.

    Moving the troublemakers to another class IMHO would just move the problem; (and they could still bully at lunchtime etc), moving Joe (while allowing him to get back to his studies) just allows them to chose a new victim (awful isn’t it?) … the school together with the parents (and therapists if needed) have to get to the root of the problem. Just why are these lads picking on another classmate and how can they be helped to learn to behave more honourably?

    I laughed when I read in the UK they were introducing manners back into school. It is needed I know, but if it’s not taught by modelling at home, well it won’t help much will it?

    As for the staff member. It’s wrong and should not go on. Hopefully the tutor will be able to guide you in what to do and help that teacher learn to encourage the students more, including your son.

    Joe and others can be scarred for life by bullying and teasing at school(I still remember a nun at school who horribly picked on me and others!)but the good news is that he has you ; and by the grace of God you can help him know who he is in Christ – it’s from there we all get our self worth, and the ability to form healthy relationships – and so on.

    And yes I’m praying.

  2. Sally says:

    Popped over from Lornas site-so sorry to hear this- my daughter another Jo(e) was bullied at school from the age of 11 until she was around 14- we still don’t know why. She had countless days off school- all I can do is to encourage you to keep the dialogue open between yourself and your son, yourself and the school- and keep on going until you reach a satisfactory conclusion. It was a hard time for us so I understand a little of what you are going through…. wish I had a magic solution- I don’t so I’ll pray!

  3. UltraCrepidarian says:

    [not for publishing]

    thanks for the long note on my blog. i didn’t publish it because it seems like private stuff. Just FYI, yes I know all about the catholic process of annulment. And, I’m not into the dating thing. I don’t know why everybody assumes that I’m internet-dating just because I’m making fun of it. πŸ™‚

    +W+

  4. UltraCrepidarian says:

    Will say a prayer for Joseph. My sons get bullied too at school. I understand.

    Incidentally I took your advice, and added a comment at the bottom of my post making fun of the dating website. I think you had a valid point about other people not comprehending my situation; because a few people have been sending me links to websites and sending me dating tips, which is kindly meant, but of course, problematic.

    —-
    Update May 3: A few people have said things lately that lead me to make this clarification: (1) I am not using dating web sites, and I am not looking for someone right now. (2) I am aware of the Catholic teachings on marriage, and in 100% agreement and obedience to them, with regards to civil divorce, and decrees of nullity. In case anyone reading this blog is unaware, I remain married, in the eyes of the church, unless I can receive a decree of nullity, I may not, and certainly shall not remarry. Perhaps in a future blog post I will write about the difficult situation that some people get into who marry a second time in a civil ceremony, and then find themselves effectively excommunicated from the Catholic church. But that’s for another day.

  5. ukok says:

    Lorna,

    you know me well enough to know that you never have to apologise for the length of a comment πŸ™‚

    Firstly, thanks for hurting with us πŸ™‚

    You’re right, teenagers aren’t easy -they should pop out of the womb with a health warning attached!

    “I may look cute now, but before too long you’ll know the true meaning of the saying ‘looks can be deceptive’ …evil chuckle disguised as a soft baby murmour follows….

    Seiously though, I don’t understand the school system in England either, though I understand enough to know that for the most part it sucks.

    I’m sorry for your teacher friend who has to work in a system that is lacking in so many ways.

    You hit the nail slam on the head with what you wrote next. It is a child’s right in this country to receive an education too, sadly it can, in England be a slapdash education in all too many instances.

    Joe goes to a good school. in the four years my duaghter has been there we they have dealt with any problems swiftly and efficiently…but then Amy was never subjected to bulling whilst there (though she had been in primary school for one year). I am hoping that one way or another, the outcome of this can be differnt to all the previous times when Joe has been bullied. The teachers are starting to talk the right talk, but will they walk the right walk?

    I agree with what you said about the trouble makers being moved. What teahcer in their right mind would want them in their class? It’s far easier to move a well behaved pupil, who though he has some small learning deficiencies and is prone to ‘drifting’ is never an instigator of violence or antagonism.

    I know it sounds crazy, but I hadn’t heard the latest spiel about introducing ‘manners’ to the school children. It makes me so mad to hear this because they are probably going to have another government drive about this jkust like they did about Jamie Oliver overhauling school dinners -which incidentally didn’t find it’s way to our local schools!

    What a waste of time and resources. They could be implimenting anti-bullying programmes in the schools but instead our kid’s will have lessons on holding their cutlery with both hands.

    Bah-humbug!

    Thanks for the prayers, my dear (((hug)))

    Sally,

    I’m glad you came over to visit for a while πŸ™‚ I’m very sorry however, to learn that your daughter has been the target of bullies through much of her high school education. How very sad.

    If you don’t mind my asking, how is she now after being subjected to mindless, senseless bullying for so long?

    Like your daughter, Joe has had a lot of time off school too, this is one of the things that the (not so nice) teahcer kept rubbing in, that he had the poorest attendance in the school (of 1000 pupils). The fact of the matter is that she was lying but she just made the problem worse by having a go at him every time he had a day off. He had a month off with his asthma and repeated chest infections over the Christmas period (he missed about two weeks schooling but it was a month he’d been away with the school holidays. The teacher just kept picking at him all the time, drawing attention to him in class etc. the week that she really humiliated him in front of his classmates, the class had the highest attendance rate in the entire school and Joe’s attendance never was the lowest in the school.

    I will never know to what extent his period of asthmatic instability, were caused or worsened by the bullying he endured at the time, but I dare say they were related.

    I agree with what you say about keeping open the courses of communication. You’re absolutely spot on about that too!

    Thank you for being so understanding and for your prayers, they are greatly appreciated

    God Bless you and your family!

    W,

    You said:

    “[not for publishing]

    thanks for the long note on my blog. i didn’t publish it because it seems like private stuff. Just FYI, yes I know all about the catholic process of annulment. And, I’m not into the dating thing. I don’t know why everybody assumes that I’m internet-dating just because I’m making fun of it. πŸ™‚

    +W+”

    My response is this;

    I’m not sure I understand the bracketed words….do you want me to read this comment and then delete it?

    With reference to the comment I left on your blog. Yes it was long, that’s sometimes the way with me πŸ™‚

    You are free to make my comment public, I would have emailed you if I had intended it not to be a public comment. Whatever you choose to do is your perogitive, it’s your blog.

    If you remember, at the end of the comment, I did actually say that I was aware that you knew about the annullment process, but that your previous commenter and others who visited, might perhaps not be. It was not intended to be an admonishment.

    As for the dating thing, I was simply making a reference to the previous comment in which the lady commented that online dating might be something to think about.

    I did not make an assumption that you were in fact pursuing such a course, I simply commented that I had been a member of a singles site myself and that for reasons I preferred not to go into (as the post was already, as you pointed out, lengthy) it was also something with which to excercise a certain amoutn of caution over, shoudl you consider it if you receive an annullment.

    I’m sorry if I have offended you in anyway, I know I wrote something like that in the comment too, but it’s true. I didn’t realise my comment would be so objectionable to you or that you felt you needed to clarify things that didn’t (to my mind) need any further clarification.

    God Bless you.

  6. Suzanne says:

    This is hard for me to even read about…as usual. I don’t know..I wish you could homeschool him.
    Some people think that is running away…it is not…it is giving a child a chance to grow up, learn, and then be much more ready to face the world to be able to stand up for the things that they have learned and believe in when they are ready to debate and stand up for their Faith.
    Once again, I am not judging anyone.
    I am only defending homeschooling because things are not going to get any better anywhere in this world anytime soon. Just turn on the news here and listen to the bullying stuff, the guns being brought to school, and now of all things the constant raping of boys by young AND middle aged female so called teachers AND watching these so called teachers get off practically scott free! Whatever!
    I will pray and you know I will…I pray for mine walking out the door even to the mall. What else can we do? Jesus, Mary, and Joseph…pray for us!

  7. ukok says:

    W,

    Okay, I see now that while I was posting, you responded further πŸ™‚

    I’m very sorry to learn that your sons get bullied too. I appreciate your mentioning it and I appreciate your prayers for my son, yours will be in mine too.

    RE: the dating sites. Should the time come when you are free to pursue that course, I can give you some tips too!

    Here’s a taster;

    Stay away from the big guy/girl on ********-***** website…who goes by the name of (hairy) harry/harriet…and doesn’t mind which side he/she bat’s for…if you know what I mean πŸ˜‰

    Fooling aside.

    Thanks for coming back and for writing more, I was a little confused.

    God Bless you!

  8. ukok says:

    Suzanne,

    Over here hoomeschooling is something of a ‘novelty’, it just isn’t done. It isn’t heard of really. I never even knew a child could be homeschooled until I became Catholic!

    I’m not saying it doesn’t exist in England, but that homeschoolers are few and far between.

    I know that I do not have the academic ability to be a homeschooler. I have certain skills, but they are not academic. I feel a complete idiot for not understanding Joseph’s algebra homework! I can’t get my head around so much of what they are learning that it owuld be an impossibility for our family.

    I wish this wasn’t so, because I was friendless and bullied for a lot of my school life and I begged my mum to teach me at home, she worked, she had too, she just laughed and said people like us didn’t do that and that we couldn’ty afford for her to lose her wages/salary anyway.

    I hear the same request from my own kid’s. But I look at them and I know that there are some benefits for them in being in the school system. Though few they may be, by comparison πŸ™‚

    I have unwavering respect for all homeschooling Mum’s. I wish that so much had been differnt for my kid’s, but they will hopefully be shaped by their circumstances in such a way that it deepens their compassion for the needs of others, that they be tolerant, where others have treated them with none, that they will draw the line between righteous anger, and the desire to inflict pain on another person created by God.

    The gun issue is terifying. But in local schools, I’ve never heard of there ever being a reported incident of anyone taking or using a gun at school.

    Mostly it’s aggression and antisocial behaviour, drugs too, and sex, sex, sex.

    😦

    You know that your prayers for this situation mean a lot to me, please know that your sweet children will be in my prayers too πŸ™‚

    God Bless you!

  9. Gordon says:

    One sure fire way of dealing with this is reporting it to the police as an assault. It would be an assault if it happened anywhere else and the last thing the head teacher wants is the police carrying out an investigation on the premises (looks bad to prospective parents).

  10. RobK says:

    Happy to remember Joseph in my prayers.

    Many boys go through this. I had it at the same age – 10/11. Mine was because I was Caucasian in a predominately Hispanic school. Whatever makes someone different will do the trick.

    How did I get out of it – I had a big growth spurt over the summer. By the time I came back to 7th grade I was one of the biggest instead of one of the smallest – too big to get picked on.

    It helped that my folks got me into karate lessons.

    It also helped that I got involved in football (American) at the school. This made me part of a group and built relationships with teammates.

  11. Mimi says:

    Oh hon, I have no words of wisdom, but you definitely have my hugs and prayers. Seeing your child hurt is the most difficult part of parenting.

  12. Suzanne says:

    Once again, I am not trying to sound judgemental and I felt this must be a realively new thing there, but you will hear more of it…as more and more violence grows, etc. Then, the government here will see a larger exodus as has been in the past from the schools and then either one of two things will happen. Either our homeschooling years will be threatened like none before because the government schools will lose more and more money (even though we pay taxes for the schools we do not even use a pot to pee in) or the government will have to back down and bring some prayer and a few other disciplines back into the school system. As far as judging you, I am not, but if Algebra were your only problem, join the crowd…can’t do a lick of it, hardly. I’ve had to get some tutoring that way, here and there.
    Thank goodness, so far, Algebra is not one of Shane’s main drawbacks, but report writing is. I know you pray for my kids and I thank you for that too! πŸ™‚

  13. AutumnRose says:

    Praying for poor Joe, and for you too…this must be so hard for you as a Mother. Give yourself some tlc aswell xx

  14. onionboy says:

    My wife is a seasoned teacher. She has developed the local anti-bullying program at here school and it’s been running for several years now. She is pioneering a new program that won provincial funding (one of only five schools) and that is the test project for possible provincial application.

    Point is, if you would like to chat with her via e-mails and gain some perspective from her professional experience I am sure she’d be willing to make the time. You have my e-mail ukok so let me know.

  15. Esther says:

    Oh Deb, it pained me to read your post on bullying! I feel for all children who have to live the nightmare of being bullied by some very mean kids. Any chance you could homeschool him? I know you work though…

  16. Gabrielle says:

    My heart really goes out to you on this one, ukok. I’m glad Owen left that comment, because I was going to say that many schools here have anti-bullying programs, which start in the elementary grades, and some have also trained the older students in peer anti-bullying methods. It isn’t 100 percent effective, of course, but it’s a great place to start, and maybe something could be set up in your son’s school if there isn’t already something of the kind. My prayers for Joe.

  17. ukok says:

    Gordon, you’re absolutely right. We could take that route, but I’m giving the school the opportunity that they can deal with this. If the problem continues, it may well be an avenue we go down.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Rob,

    you’re a good ‘un! Thanks for your prayerful support and helpful advice. I did ask Joe’s Dad if he would take him to self defence or karate but the idea never took off, partly because Joe spends his Saturdays with his Dad and doesn’t want to do somthing without him and partly due to Joe’s asthma and partly perhaps because neither of them were that interested in persuiing it. I thought it would be good for Joe, but he seems not to want to do that.

    And while you’re praying, Rob, will you pray for Joe to have a similar growth spurt to the one you had as a kid?! LOL!!!

    Mimi, you’re support helps, as do your prayers. Thank you for offering them both πŸ™‚

    Suzanne,

    you make some really good points and I shall certainly go away from this post with a lot to think about πŸ™‚

    AR,

    Thank you for stopping by, it’s much appreciated, especially your kind words πŸ™‚

    Owen,

    If I thought the teachers would listen to any proposal for tackling bullying in the school I would take you up on that offer, but I think they think that they are a well oiled machine….obviously they aren’t or things like this wouldn’t continue to happen in the school!

    Well done to your wife for all her hard work in pioneering the anti-bullying programme. What a woman she surely is, and what a big heart she must have to feel so passionately about a child’s right to an education without being bullied so hard that the child no longer wants to make use of that right.

    Thanks so much for your comment,Owen.

    Esther,

    I wish I could home school but it just isn’t something that’s done over here. I’m also not educated myself and therefore have no basis on which to teach 😦 I only work part time, partly because of my asthma and partly because that freedom allows me to be a full time mum because I only work during school hours.(amongst other reasons)

    Thanks for thinking about that though πŸ™‚

    Gabrielle,

    Thanks so much for your prayers, they mean SO much to us.

    God Bless you all and many thanks for your caring.

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