Last week we had the rather unpleasant situation of Matthew being bullied at school – again – to deal with. Jane saw a group of boys “playing” with Matthew that involved them surrounding him and kicking him. Incredibly they were doing it in plain sight – there were parents with P1 children around but crucially Jane saw it all. She told them (in clear terms) that kicking another person was no game, and took Matthew round to the main exit, and into the school. Jane sent me a message about it, and I emailed the Head Teacher, preferring to put it in writing. We’d not had much satisfaction with reporting previous bullying – the previous Head Teacher decided to move Matthew to another class (exclusion was mentioned in a meeting) after he’d snapped and thumped a bully who’d been at him for months. None of it was taken seriously, and the bully was treated like the victim. It was suggested we meet with this boy’s parents about it – I said no chance, as I didn’t want a lecture about how evil Matthew was.
Anyway, the current (sadly only acting) Head Teacher sees things very differently. She replied to say that this behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated, and would speak to each of the boys involved. Jane identified two of them, and when Matthew’s teacher spoke to him (after the HT had discussed it with her) Matthew named some of the others. The Head then took them out of class and spoke to them very sharply. For the first time, a report of Matthew being bullied had been addressed to our satisfaction. I’ve no doubt the HT was – and is – very serious about it.
I bumped into her today while taking Daniel into school, and she told me – a week on – that she’s keeping an eye on the situation, and that she had been VERY short with the boys, telling me that “staff don’t usually hear me raise my voice like that” I was quite happy hearing that. She said there’s a time and place for being more than firm, and that was a time for it. I suspect that the lads involved have been chastened by the experience of getting a roasting from the Head Teacher, and any of their “friends” that didn’t get caught will be in no doubt what will happen to them if they’re caught doing something similar.
It does seem to have settled down. Matthew has been reassured by the Head Teacher that if anything similar happens again, he can come indoors and report it to an adult who will bring it to her. I think he knows he’s been taken seriously, and that the matter has been dealt with to the point if anything happens again, he will know that if he reports it, it will be dealt with severely.
Its unfortunate that Matthew has suffered at the hands of bullies, but this time round the school has dealt with it superbly and left the perpetrators in no doubt that there will be consequences to their actions.