Should we go quietly or…

My daughter has not been to school for a total of 3 weeks now, due to a fall-out with her friends which somehow escalated to the point that she is now a social outcast in school, and is too afraid to walk around outside our home in case she is Seen by one of Them.

I am utterly consumed by this situation, although I am maintaining a semblance of an ordinary life, for example I’m still going to work (and even doing work whilst there).

I have spoken to the Deputy Head of the school about the situation, I have sent her copies of threatening, abusive messages that were sent to my daughter, and I have taken these messages to show the parents. I have found myself observing their reactions in fascination. I have to remind myself that this is real and it is happening to us.

The message was indisputably horrible.

‘I spent all of Monday investigating it,’ said the Deputy Head when we went into school to discuss it, so that I almost apologised for the enormous inconvenience this must have caused.

‘Her friends were all absolutely shocked at the message,’ she continued ‘and they are very sorry.’

We were unconvinced that the children in question were shocked at a message that they themselves wrote. Also by the news that they were sorry.

‘They’re all calling me a snitch,’ said my daughter (who has access to social media and therefore knows what is actually being said out of earshot of the Deputy Head). This unwelcome piece of news bounced off her ears and was seemingly absorbed into the walls without going anywhere.

‘It’s yesterday’s news now,’she told us.

My daughter refused point blank to go to school from that day.

I have written emails to the Deputy Head to tell her what I think of her effectiveness and methods. I have also rung her to tell her. She simply corrects me.

‘No,’ she says ‘It isn’t like that. I didn’t say that. That is not the case. You have got the wrong impression.’

She also tells me that my daughter is being irrational and getting things out of proportion. There is no point in arguing with the Deputy Head, clearly. And little point in trying to make my daughter go to school. She wants to move school and to move area. I feel sulky and angry, wish I hadn’t suggested this to my daughter because we already moved twice last year and I’m tired of moving and I want to carry on living with my parents, where I feel looked after.

I don’t want to be a grown-up. A single parent again, unsheltered, in some windswept, Godforsaken Northern town…

I don’t want to make it too easy for the Deputy Head, who has not helped. I worried about getting a reputation with the new school – as difficult, liable to complain – would this affect my daughter? Yet I have tried playing by the rules. I have been polite, I have been compliant, I have tempered my complaints with praise for staff who ‘obviously mean well’, and this has not helped. I am being forced to move 10 miles down the road, away from the support of my family, because my daughter does not feel safe at school. Therefore I must complain, and this time I must complain to the right person. Somebody, somewhere has to at least apologise for this, surely?

*sense of humour may be absent for this post. It will return.


6 thoughts on “Should we go quietly or…

  1. With how often bullying is in the news and how tragic it often ends I’m very surprised they don’t seem to be taking it seriously. Good luck and I hope you find a solution that works for you and your daughter.

    • Thank you for the kind thoughts. 🙂

      I found out from someone who works with the school counsellor that bullying is a problem for a lot of the kids at that school. Not surprising as the teachers are clueless!

      I hope that we can leave it behind us…

  2. My daughter also went through a period of hating school, because of a chance remark someone made about her being flat chested (she’s not now!). I home schooled her for a bit, then she went back to it. But not everyone has the time (I barely did). My guess is that the deputy head doesn’t really know what to do either, and what can she she do – she can make an announcement, call in the ‘friends’ for a talk, that kind of thing, but the perpetrators will just go away with even more of a grudge. I sometimes think what would I have done when I was persecuted at school, if I knew then what I know now – and I think if I could have, I would’ve borrowed my later self-confidence and laughed. After all, bullies are pathetic losers, at bottom, and your daughter is the one with the true wit and intelligence.

    • Thank you for your comment, and sorry I am only now replying – I’ve been really caught up with it all. We did take in the evidence of the bullying (a message on my daughter’s phone) but the deputy head didn’t really do anything to the perpetrators except tell them that she had seen the message. Which of course meant they all called her a snitch. I just removed her, which I suppose is just teaching her my own way of coping – walk away from trouble! She’s much happier now, anyway. I hope things are going well for your daughter nowadays. Well done to her for going back and facing things.

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