a resource for parents
Victoria - I have posted your 'post' here on the School Refusal part as I only just noticed your posting under Forum Information. It might go unnoticed there - hopefully others will now read what you have to say and reply.
Feb 22, 2014 - 12:01AM
Quote Reply bullying causing possible self harm
I am desperate for help. My son started secondary school in September and after 2 day's he was threatened. Since thenhe has been attacked and thrown to the ground , numerous name calling etc ,one attack that caused concussion for a week and his head needing glueing, items being stollen and most of this has happened in class. The school say they are helping but nothing yet has been done. I've had numerous threats of being fined for non attendance even though it's do to the bullying. The head will not communicate with me even though my local mp asked her too. Now my son tried to stab himself in the eye. The school has not informed me of this a parent did because ththere son got distressed over it. I just do not know what to do. The Dr is going to refer him but I'm really stressed about him returning. Someone told me not to send him and call social services about child negligence from the school. Any help please
I am so sorry to hear how things are. The school really has to address this issue as it sounds very serious.
Are you in the UK or elsewhere?
If you can't get help from the school - can you get some help outside the school for your son? A private counsellor, psychologist etc? Or can your doctor recommend someone?
I am so sorry to hear what your son is going through at school. I understand the stress you are under because I was in a very similar position with my daughter who became withdrawn, depressed and suicidal. Like you, I tried communicating with the school and hoped they would address the bullying, they never did. My biggest regret is not pulling my daughter out of the toxic school environment sooner, it was 18 months of escalating bullying.
I can't say what is best for you to do in your situation but what I did was take my d to our doctor who supported me with a letter to the education dept stating the stress my d and I were under due to bullying. D was referred to CAMHS but the psyche nurse assigned to her was not helpful. D was out of school for several months as I battled with Education to find her a place in a school where she had supportive friends. They put her in a different school and for several months she refused to attend, they came down hard on me for that but I continued to do what was best for my daughter and support her recovery at her pace.
In my experience education authorities were neither understanding or helpful and it was necessary to find support elsewhere. Wherever possible I got professionals to write letters about the effect the bullying had on my daughter. If you are in the UK, Red Balloon Learner Centres may be able to help you http://www.redballoonlearner.co.uk/ they offer places to severely bullied children at 6 of their centres around uk. I also found our local parenting support centre very helpful and I found an anti-bullying counsellor for support for myself.
If you haven't already you could keep a log of each and every incident, take photos of any cuts or bruises and keep any cyber, texts or written taunts. The concussion sounded serious and there must be medical records about that which you could still use to press charges against the abusers. You can involve the police by making a direct complaint against the bullies - the school may be pushed to do something about the bullying if the police are involved. Collecting any evidence possible is v important.
Most importantly your son knows you are there for him, keep reinforcing to him that this situation will be stopped and you are doing everything you can to make that happen. Try not to be intimidated by threats from authorities and keep talking to and taking support from your GP and your local MP.
The situation sounds horrendous. If the bullying started in September, the school has had enough time to improve life for your son.
I would not want to continue to send my child back into that school. If he is starting to self harm then clearly he cannot see a way to cope with what is happening around him.
The only thing the school might be able to say in its defence is that it has put measures in place to resolve the situation (assuming they have tried to do something) and that your son has been absent so much that there hasn't been an opportunity for the measures to work. However, the obvious response to this is that because there is the issue of self harm you don't want to risk further problems by putting him in an intolerable environment. And it is indisputably an intolerable environment for your son even if the school or any other agencies don't see it as such.
Are their any criminal proceedings regarding to the head injury? He has been assaulted and required hospital treatment and any children at secondary school are of an age to be criminally responsible for their actions. Also if there are any attempts to prosecute you for his non-attendance then police records of the crime(s) would be useful. If it happened too long ago for police to want to be involved, have you any records from the hospital, or can you get any details from them now?
Do you know what has happened to other children in his year group? A good school should have transition arrangements so that the new children in the school can have support. If there is no help available then I think problems will just continue. Does your local education authority have an anti-bullying officer or unit that you can contact? They may have advice and if they cannot help you they should definitely be going into the school and trying to improve the way they respond.
Have you looked at other schools or would that create other problems? You, with your son's involvement, need to decide whether there is any prospect of him being able to stay at the school. Sometimes the only thing we can do is dig our heels in and fight for our children. If he needs to be absent at the moment, continue to get support from your GP, and look at any free legal support from charitable organisations. If you put "free legal advice education" into google a few will come up.
Good luck with it all.
Your post sounds so serious. Your poor son has been through too much for any child to have to handle.
I would presume the school has a responsibility to ensure he is in a safe environment while on the premises, and would be advising you to meet the principal as a matter of urgency.
A principal cannot just hide from a parent or a serious issue in their school, it is totally unprofessional to say the least.
Certainly bullying brings about self harm. I know several children that suffer from this affliction. If your child is being assaulted and the school won't protect him then consider filing a complaint with the police. Battery is a crime. I know someone that had to do this and at the same time he filed lawsuits against the school district and the administrators personally for their failure to protect his kid. WHen the administrators and teachers were served with legal papers it got their attention.
I know a couple people that hired lawyers and filed lawsuits against teen bullies and then won legal judgments against them and the bully's parents.
Victoria - we haven't heard back from you - how are things going?
One of the parents on here, Clarity - started a blog about bullying as her daughter was bullied - you can find it here:
Hope things are ok