Was I wrong to go to the head about my ds being bullied by my friend's ds.

(63 Posts)
Blowin Thu 14-Feb-13 22:11:47

I moved from London to a smallish town in the north of England last summer. Since then, my two boys (aged 7 and 10) have joined the local school and I have been meeting mums and making new friends.

I became very friendly with one lady, as one of her sons was in my older ds class. We get on very well, and up to now, i thought our sons did too.

I found out at the weekend that my ds is being bullied horribly by my friends son. Really nasty stuff, and this lad is getting other boys to join him in the bullying. This boy is pretty popular, good at sport, extremely competitive and confident. He has been physically shoving my ds about, calling him names, like telling him he is "gay, a puff" etc and also saying nasty things to my ds about me and my dh.

I am really shocked and upset about this. I went in to the school this morning to make this issue known to the head, and he has promised me to look in to it.

I have told only one other friend about this, a mutual friend of mine and this boys mum. She couldnt believe that I had gone straight to the headmaster instead of first approaching this boys mum to try and sort it out, seeing as how we are all friends.

However, I feel that because this has happened on school property and in school hours it is a school matter to be dealt with as such. Our mutual friend has made me feel really bad, by saying that i was unreasonable to deal with it in this way, and that it was really unfair of me.

Did i handle this wrong?

I was in a similar situation, but not very close to the other parent, though she had always been friendly, we had socialised together.

My child had quite a long spell of low level nastiness from this child (over the years we had spoken to teachers about it), the bully was always so nice to me, when I decided enough was enough I wrote an e-mail to the HT and the class teacher (who was lovely but an NQT and I was really worried) - we had a meeting before school, we'd sent the e-mail the previous evening. They took immediate action, the child pretended to be sorry for a while then started it all again. We went to the HT again, this time the child was seriously reprimanded, the bullying stopped - which is always what I wanted, but it had a lasting impact on my child's time at that school.

The parents wished I had informed them first - but I knew this child would have probably been physically reprimanded at home (had heard that they used physical punishment). I told them the bullying happened at school and needed to be dealt with at school. I didn't debate with them about it, my child took a long time to get over the bullying, I do not regret informing the school the way I did. I actually think I did the bully a favour on some level.

You did the right thing in my opinion. If my dc bully someone I would be so embarrassed and upset, but I think I would prefer the school to deal with it at school.

Mutt Thu 14-Feb-13 22:58:16

It is by no means a given that you have lost this friend as a result of you speaking to school.

If she is a rational person who can accept her DS has acted appallingly and in turn accepts the school's intervention for what it is, there is no reason you can't continue to be friends.

If, on the other hand, she becomes defensive and unwilling to support the school and how they decide to deal with her DS's behaviour, you can assume she would have acted no better if you had spoken to her first. In that event, I really wouldn't waste time worrying about losing her as a "friend".

KatieMiddleton Thu 14-Feb-13 23:01:26

You were right to go to the school but wrong to gossip about it to a third party. That is where you are most likely to get conflict because you discussed it with the mutual friend without speaking to the mother of the child.

Blowin Thu 14-Feb-13 23:07:02

Thank you everyone for the advice. I wish i hadnt told the other friend now, although i do trust that she wont get involved, she did assure me of that, but it was wrong of me, i see that now.

I will not contact my other friend re her ds and just hope that the school will take it from here. Hopefully it will never have to come up between us, thanks for the reassurance. smile

AgentZigzag Thu 14-Feb-13 23:07:14

I would be hurt if a friend went straight to the head saying my DC was bullying their DC, it'd be presuming I'd react in the same way as what happened to mares or the other posters and do fuck all about it.

The other mum might totally agree the school should deal with it, but prefer the heads up so she can calm down get things straight in her head or ask her DS what's going on.

I would prefer to hear it from a friend than get a call from the school out of the blue, even if they'd gone to the head first, especially if they explained it was a knee jerk reaction.

If you like your friend OP, and you sound to, then it would be damage limitation. There's nothing to say the two lads can't work round this and come out of it mates on the other side. Your friends lad could see what an idiot he's been, how his behaviour was totally unacceptable, and apologise.

It's not fair to just write the whole situation off thinking you're going to lose a friend and your DS will have to be kept away from this lad forever more.

If it were me, I would ring and be straight with her, if she's going to go off on one then ringing isn't going to make it worse.

AgentZigzag Thu 14-Feb-13 23:09:20

X-post, will you not mention it if she doesn't then OP?

Won't there be a bit of an elephant in the room if you meet up?

Mutt Thu 14-Feb-13 23:10:08

Zigzag - with the best will in the world, this is bullying that takes place at school.

You cannot control what happens for the 6 hours+ your DC are at school.

The school need to know. And the school need to deal with it, with parents' support of course.

Blowin Thu 14-Feb-13 23:10:16

Agent I am hoping that the school will sort this out without having to involve the mum, by the teacher , or head, speaking to the boy, reprimanding him, and generally keeping an eye on the two of them for a while to make sure it has stopped. It that solves it, i would hope that this childs mum is not even told about it, then there would be no awkwardness for us, and the issue would be solved anyway.

AgentZigzag Thu 14-Feb-13 23:19:28

I didn't say it shouldn't be taken to school Mutt, just that as a friend, I would expect something to be mentioned to me.

I would also find it unlikely for the school not to say anything to her OP, like Mutt says, the parents should be there to support anything to do with bullying where the school's involved.

I would want to know, wouldn't you?

If your friend did the same to you without saying anything, what would be going through your mind after hearing it from the school?

Blowin Thu 14-Feb-13 23:23:22

I just dont know really Agent, i did what i thought was best. It isnt an easy situation. I'm new in this area and still feel unsure of myself, and not totally established in my friendships. I suppose i was also afraid to broach it directly with my friend, not knowing her well enough or long enough, i guess, to know how she would react. I just thought that maybe the school could nip it in the bud, without having to involve parents.

I think you did the right thing, seeing he is also dragging other boys in on the bullying behavior there is more than just the one boy to be sorted out.

AgentZigzag Thu 14-Feb-13 23:33:29

It is possible I suppose, if they went in at the lower end of the scale to try a few low level things to stop it.

But that wouldn't really be OK, because what you describe should be stamped on with really big heavy boots, not flit around the edges of the problem of your DS being picked on, humiliated and excluded.

They shouldn't be trying stuff out to see whether it works, his mum needs telling about what he's been saying and what kind of behaviour he thinks is acceptable, and she and the school should be working through stopping it for the next time your DS encounters him.

It is a tricky situation though if you've just moved in, and it'd be wrong to say the wider ripples of what's happened don't matte, maybe you're right and it'll be dealt with quickly and without much else happening.

How's your DS getting on?

SirBoobAlot Thu 14-Feb-13 23:38:53

I think you did the right thing. Especially seeing as you are new to the area, as much as you might be friends with this mum, it's not someone you have known for years.

Hope the school are quick to sort it.

BookieMonster Thu 14-Feb-13 23:39:16

If the bullying happens at school, it needs to be dealt with at school. You did the right thing, OP.

Blowin Thu 14-Feb-13 23:51:25

My ds is a bit shaken by it, but feels happier that i have gotten the school involved. I really really hope they can sort it out effectively and decisively, and if that means involving the lad's mum, then so be it. Ds's happiness is more important than my friendship with this lady, much as i like her.

TraceyTrickster Fri 15-Feb-13 01:48:59

A friend of mine went through this but with her daughter being the bully.
She said she was horrified to find out how her daughter was behaving and understood why the mum had felt awkward approaching her directly.

Things sorted out well and the mums continued their friendship. (the kids never became friends though)

Tasmania Fri 15-Feb-13 02:10:46

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot:

^I wouldn't have done that, I would have gone to my friend first to see if we could resolve it ourselves, if not, then involve the school.

Exactly Fanny.

Why didn't you go to your friend?
However, what's done is done - all you can do now is damage limitation to your friendship and explain why you did that.^

Ehm... seriously??? Are you out of your mind?

Are you one of those ridiculous (and I'm keeping myself from uttering any other word that would get me banned) parents that values a "friend" more than their child??? Is that why you want to be so considerate?

I would ONLY think about my child in this case. Wouldn't even give a toss about the bully or his mother.

Tasmania Fri 15-Feb-13 02:11:43

*MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot: I wouldn't have done that, I would have gone to my friend first to see if we could resolve it ourselves, if not, then involve the school.

Exactly Fanny.

Why didn't you go to your friend?
However, what's done is done - all you can do now is damage limitation to your friendship and explain why you did that.*

Ehm... seriously??? Are you out of your mind?

Are you one of those ridiculous (and I'm keeping myself from uttering any other word that would get me banned) parents that values a "friend" more than their child??? Is that why you want to be so considerate?

I would ONLY think about my child in this case. Wouldn't even give a toss about the bully or his mother.

Mrspartacus Fri 15-Feb-13 07:31:12

Can you trust the other mum to not tell the bully's mum? That's my only worry.

For info I would of gone to the school too, though to the class teacher, but I wouldn't of told anyone about it, infact having been in your position, I didn't tell anyone. It was all resolved and nobody knows.

joanofarchitrave Fri 15-Feb-13 07:35:06

Always straight to the school.

valiumredhead Fri 15-Feb-13 08:37:22

ALWAYS go to the school if the problem is happening in school.

StuntGirl Fri 15-Feb-13 08:41:20

I would have gone to school too. With all due respect to other posters, you don't know how the parent will react, and you never know which ones are the rational ones and which ones are the batshit crazy ones 'til you accuse their kid of bullying. The OP wasn't in a situation where she was dealing with a long term friend who she knew and understood well, it's a new friendship in a new town.

You did the right thing for your son OP, that's all that matters. I'm glad he's doing better now.

MaryBS Fri 15-Feb-13 08:46:33

I think you've done the right thing. I've had to do this more than once, and it means that the friendship is more likely to stay intact, IMHO, especially if you explain the situation to the school re: friendship.

tiggytape Fri 15-Feb-13 08:47:08

YANBU - you did totally the right thing.
Approaching another parent never works - even especially if you are friends. It would be a very rare mum indeed who listened to your complaint against their son, sympathised with your DS and sought to put things right. In reality she would just defend her son or not believe you at all.

And as this is all happening at school, even if she did believe you, it needs to be dealt with at school which obviously she cannot do as she's not there.

swisscottage Fri 15-Feb-13 09:03:05

You did the right thing OP going straight to the school, head or teacher it doesn't matter but at least they can watch what is going on.
No point going to the mum/friend to try and discuss it, she might be one of those parents who thinks their DC can do no wrong and is certainly not a bully and turn the whole thing around on your DS. There are so many of those type of mothers so best to avoid confrontation, especially if you are newish there.

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