Friday, 21 November 2008

Breaking Point

Regular reader(s) of my Blog will be aware of the violence and Bullying my son has been subjected to. The last episode I Blogged about which is here http://voiceforchildren.blogspot.com/2008/09/you-coldnt-make-it-up.html My son and I recieved some very welcome support from Bloggers and the general public for which we were/are most grateful for.

You might remember I was told by the school an "incident" had occured that "incident" was five kids kicking my son repeatedly whilst he was on the ground. One witness, I have since found out, said one of the kids were kicking my son "like a football". Two of my son's attackers were suspended (given a couple of days off school) because others were kicking my son from behind, although they were the only people behind my son it was said my son could not see them so couldn't prove it was them kicking him so they recieved no sanction.

Please read the link above in order to get an understanding of the situation which will help to bring this entry into context.

Yesterday I recieved a call from the school telling me my son had been involved in "an incident" the "incident" was described to me as "a bit of fun" a "bit of mucking about" "A friend" of my son's had scraped him a bit with a pen so I said something along the lines of "well these things happen, thanks for letting me know"

My son returned home after the school day and showed me his neck. There was, what one might describe as, a 6 inch abrasion, slash mark, across his neck! which looked pretty red raw baring in mind this was approxiametly 4 hours after "the incident".

Naturally (as any parent would be) I was somewhat alarmed and proceeded to ask my son what had happened? He told me he was chatting with his cousin in the playground and this kid, came out of nowhere, from behind and slashed me across the neck with his pen. I said "What...... as a bit of fun"? he said "well it was fun for him but not for me" I said was it "a friend" of yours? he said "well not a friend but he doesn't bully me as much as the others do" I said "the teacher told me he was a friend of yours" my son said "well i've not get many friends and he doesn't bully me as much as some others so didn't want to lose the chance of making a friend and if I told the teacher he wasn't my friend that might have got him in trouble and there would be no chance of him becoming my friend and I didn't want to get him into trouble"

I phoned the teacher this morning and, to cut a long story short, got the same old "party line" "We take these "incidents" seriously". We have explained to the child he COULD be up for a charge of serious assault. He COULD be reported to the police, He COULD have to go to a parish hall enquiry, he COULD go to court. So with all that COULD be done, I asked "what have you done"? to which he replied "suspended him" (gave him an afternoon off school).. Yes an afternoon off school, you really couldn't make this lot up!

I asked what kind of a pen was it because to inflict that kind of injury it must have taken a fair bit of force? He said "I agree but it was the top part of the pen and it was a little bit rough around the edge"

During the phonecall I said "since all this COULD happen, and you take these incidents seriously, naturally you took photo's of my son's injury"? Suprise, suprise nobody had!

Another alaming factor in all of this, it appears the child only recieved threats of what COULD happen to him, not what effect his actions could have on his victim. It doesn't appear the time has been taken out to explain to this child the detremental effects, the emotional damge and harm it might cause. In order to give the child some kind of understanding as to why this sort of behaviour is unacceptable. He's just been told he COULD get into trouble and was given the afternoon off.

Then we must look at the school's statistics. This "incident" was sold to me as "a bit of mucking around" "a bit of fun" Where in my opinion it is bullying, or a serious assault. How will it be logged? under what heading? Statistically speaking it would be more beneficial to call it "a bit of fun" and keep it out of the bullying statistics.

What also confused me somewhat is the "policy" I was told about the last time my son was involved in an "incident". I asked for the names of my son's attackers and I was told it was not "policy" to give other pupils names to parents. When I asked who's "policy" is this? Is it the school's policy or the education departments? to which they couldn't (or wouldn't) give me an answer. After a couple of days of me persuing this answer, it came about, it was "data protection". Then why with this most recent "incident" did the teacher voluntarily give me the name of my son's attacker, surely that puts him in breach of the data protection doesn't it?

Bullying, in my opinion, is rife in our school's. Our children (Bully's and victims) are being failed by hopelessly inadequate, non existent poilcies and self regulated statistics, a non independent complaints proceedure and civil servants and ministers not held to account.

My son feels because somebody doesn't bully him as much as the others that this person could be a friend and feels the need to protect the child. He believes if he tells the truth it will only make matters worse for himself.

I as a parent feel I am sending my son into harms way every day he goes to school, but if I take him out of school for his own safety I'll be prosecuted!! When I try contacting Mario Lundy he doesn't reply to my e-mails or return any of my phone-calls. All the while I am dreading my phone ringing to be told my son has been involved in "an incident" only one day it is going to be from the hospital. Maybe it might be from the police to say my son is being held on an attempted murder charge after finally reached breaking point, after all there is only so much a child can take and I am not only amazed but very proud my son has been able to endure so much violence against him without resorting to violence himself but like I said we all have a breaking point, and the other breaking point doesn't bare thinking about!

34 comments:

  1. I've been following your blog on and off for a few months now and feel for you and your son in these circumstances. I know only too well how the bullying of our youngsters is never good to deal with. My own son went through it at primary level and even went through a strangling 'incident' at one point which was put down to 'high jinks'. The head denied bullying went on in his school despite the fact he was getting complaints from not only me but other parents too.

    Not only because of the bullying but for other reasons as well, I eventually chose to home educate my son and great progress was made. Could this be an option for you and yours?

    My boy, now at senior level has been back at school for almost a year. It's not been easy and certainly not without problems though. He's a quiet lad who is described as being 'different' (whatever that means) by his teachers and it's for this reason why they think he gets picked on. I wish they could define 'different' so I can understand what's going on, but so far, no-one seems to be able to tell me what's so different about him. To me and to anyone else who knows him, he's just an ordinary lad.

    I'm watching and biding my time though. If it wasn't for the fact that my son is happy at school and is progressing with his education despite the bullying, I'd pull him out again in an instant.

    If your son is unhappy at school, then perhaps home education is something you might want to consider??

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  2. Von Strodle Here.
    I'm so sorry to here about your son, i think they would of acted differently if your son had of done that to a boy.
    They must have it in for you. It sounds like it was a terrible act to do to anyone, it does not sound as if it was a joke to me.
    I would of taken my son straight down A & E. they would of hate to log it as an assault and the police would of been involved. Then the school would of been visited.
    The Head teacher would of had to explained his actions, you could still go to the police with a complaint.
    These attacks on your son have to stop, your son will get to that Breaking Point one day and do something bad to them. Then he'll get in trouble.
    I would go to the cops now, hope you let us Know the outcome.

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  3. Hi, Doesn't this school have some sort of bullying policy in place, if not why not. Also does this school not have a board of govenors who should be made more than aware of the bullying that is going on and the schools policy towards the bullies.

    Sadly unless something is done about it your son will end up of one of life's victims, an easy target whilst the offenders carry on in their task, an easy way to have time off school with full permission.

    In the UK where bullying is rife almost every school has a policy and a way of supporting the victim, in fact only recently on one of the news programmes it showed how the policy was working in schools and how the victims were taught mechanisms to deal with the bullies.

    Physical assault is yet another thing. If a child is physically assaulted this is a serious matter. Should the offender be allowed to "get away with it" he will do it again and again.

    Bullying as we all know is unacceptable practice carried out by many many people in various forms. You should really in the long term campaign for a bullying policy not only for children but also for the numerous number of adults, especially managers who adopt bullying in the work place to cover their own failures.

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  4. On the flip side you can land up blue in the face if you try telling a school your own child's behaviour is unacceptable, they ignore you and try brushing it under the carpet, lie about incidents, saying they didn t occur to the point you have to leave the room. All i can assume is they do not care what goes on as long as they get their pay-cheques. Not only do they treat the victims as a problem they fail to deal with the children doing the bullying. Its disgraceful. My friends son was a victim for years, she was made to feel like it was his fault, after a couple of years she pulled her son out of the school and refused to send him back. Anti-bulling policies - what a load of pants.

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  5. Sorry to hear about your predictament. Are these mini thugs targeting your son for a particular reason? Can you approach their parents?

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  6. Dear VFC

    Off course the school wont deal with bullying, they are part of a public service where a bullying culture is the norm.

    Rather than trying to encourage and foster good relationships, ethical practice and fair judgement the States of Jersey services promote and uphold an oppressive fear ridden environment.

    Schools are the obvious place to train the next generation of Jersey public service staff, in their own words to 'future proof' the prevailing culture so that they maintain their grip on this society.

    They don't want to prevent bullying they actively want to encourage it. Oh and don't worry they will have anti bullying policies in place, they will be as effective as the raising serious concerns policy that Simon Bellwood used. In otherwords tokenism, lipservice and not worth the paper they are written on.

    Always remember the subtext, oppression is power and the Jersey politicians and their senior civil servants will do absolutely anything to hold onto this.

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  7. Thanks for your comments and i'll try answering some of your questions.

    Home schooling my son is not really an option. I can not afford home tutoring and am nowhere near academically educated to a standard where I could tutor him myself.

    School bullying policy: Yes there is a school anti bullying policy in place and is very comprehensive, as there is in most school's. Unfortunately it is not worth the paper it is written on.It is there merely as a cosmetic excrecise so the Education Minister can say "look how seriously we take bullying" but in reality it's as much use as t1ts on a bull.

    Lara. your observation "they fail to deal with the children doing the bullying" hits the nail on the head.

    It appears they spend little or no time educating the bully's on the consequences of their actions, the emotional turmoil it causes their victims.I believe the bully's deserve as much time and effort spent on them as their victims.

    Some statistics show something like 80% of bully's are being abused at home, whether that be sexually, physically or emotionally. These children, or bully's, need to be understood and helped not punished.

    Are the mini thugs targetting my son for a particular reason? My son is a prime target for bullies. He is Phisically mature for his age, he is 15 years old, 6 foot tall, built like a brick sh1thouse and very, very soft and forgiving in his nature. The children bullying him are half his size and weight and gain themselves some feeling of power and and status by being "brave" enough to pick on somebody so big and (physically) powerful. The question should be asked, what are these kids missing? why do they feel the need to gain recognition and status from others?

    This last "incident" is particularly disturbing in it's nature. The child didn't walk up to my son and give him a dead leg, a belt across the ear or a dig in the ribs. He came up behind him, all be it with a pen and slashed him across the throat with enough force the injury is still visible today, two days later. That, in no way, can be described as normal behaviour nor can it be described (as it was by the teacher) as "a bit of fun" "a bit of mucking around".

    I have told the teacher their policies are not working. Giving a child time off school for commiting an assault is not a detterent infact it is more like an invitation.

    It is only a matter of time before there is a child suicide because of these serious failings but hey! our "powers that be" and media will have no trouble spinning that into an unfortunate accident.

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  8. "Anonymous Dear VFC"

    I was writing my response when your comment arrived. Had I seen your comment first there would have been little need for me to comment. You said, in a few words, what would have taken me dozens of words and still wouldn't have come across as good.

    In a few words, you nailed it thanks.

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  9. VFC said: "Home schooling my son is not really an option. I can not afford home tutoring and am nowhere near academically educated to a standard where I could tutor him myself."

    Home education doesn't have to be expensive and doesn't need anyone who is academically educated to a high enough standard there to supervise. All that's needed is a computer with internet access and a child who is self motivated enough to research and learn about whatever it is that interests him. Project based learning can easily cover everything required from the Jersey curriculum but you don't even have to follow the Jersey school curriculum if you don't want to! The child just has to show that progress is being made and that he is attaining an educational level equivalent to or better than his school age peers. Home education is a lot easier than many suspect it to be simply because there are no distractions. One hour of solid learning at home is equal to approximately 10-15 minutes in a school environment.

    The only time home education becomes expensive in Jersey is if the child chooses to do GCSEs. Individual GCSE courses have to be purchased through a home learning centre who can also help with arrangements for any exams that might need to be taken. Each GCSE costs in the region of £100 - £300.

    If I've managed to peak an interest in you, then be sure to check out this very informative website Education Otherwise and The UK Education Otherwise Support Group.

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  10. Debbie.

    Thanks for your advice and the links. It is somtething I have looked into at great length over a great period of time and research.

    It is a very long story, one of which, for legal reasons, I am unable to go into.

    Thanks very much for taking out the time and effort to help but unfortunately home tutoring is not an option.

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  11. Hi, Do look at the Anrea Adams Trust site, this deals with bullying on all levels. This may be of some help, also they will give advise.

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  12. The treatment of your son disgusts me. These thugs should be locked up.

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  13. "The treatment of your son disgusts me. These thugs should be locked up."

    ....Just as long as they are not placed in solitary confinement right!

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  14. Not all bullying involves violence.
    Some use intimidatory tactics.
    All bullies are repaid eventually, it just take a bit of time.

    Fight on mate.

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  15. I do believe one of the most common forms of bullying today is cyber bullying. This could include character assasanation on blogs, look at Syvret's blog for a fine example of this, or harassment by email!

    As for all bullies being repaid eventually, I agree. What goes around comes around. Unfortunately very often it may be friends or family of the bully that may pay the penalty in some cases.

    Whether we like it or not bullying is very much part of everyday life. It's always been there, and it always will be. We can spend all our time and energy complaining and moaning about it, and remaining the victim, or we can arm ourselves with the tools to be resilient and learn strategies to rise above it.

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  16. I haven't bothered reading your post as no doubt it is as ridiculous as every other posting I've ever read of yours. Are you really that thick that you think the pitiful authorities in Jersey have influence over a newspaper, let alone one in Belfast? You must be completely mad. Every comment I ever read from you seems to be about some sort of cover up or government plan to conceal the truth. Yes, no doubt there is a lot going on in this world - incl Jersey - that members of the public don't realise, but we don't all live in some Hollywood movie you know.
    Either get a grip or seek some sort of medication before you go completely mad thinking the whole world, other than you and your blogging chums, are out to get you!

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  17. Linda.

    Thank you for your comments. The experiences of you and your daughter are truly heart breaking and one I would love to publish.

    Unfortunately by naming the teacher I do not feel comfortable publishing it. So if you want to submit it again without names I would be more than happy to publish it.

    As for the Terry (GST28) Le Main sketch, again it might land me in hot water but in answer to your question, although (by his own admission) he has threatened me, the answer to your question is no but I know where you're coming from.

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  18. Your Money And Your Life! - a new blog about our General Hospital

    http://jerseyhospital.blogspot.com/

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  19. VFC.
    Thank you for your welcome, I will definitely need some help & support writing a Blog.
    I've been reading your Blog for 3 Months now & I have left a few comments on your site, under a Name.
    I'm behind you 100% on how bad the eduction system works for our children. I have a little girl so i hope it improves 100% by the time she goes into the system. You have to keep going, its a long road.

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  20. Just a thought - you can write to the school requesting copies of all incident reports concerning your son, you have to do so in writing because of data protection laws. They have to keep these by law so might be interesting to see what they actually put down as it has to be factual and includes who's involved (to the best of my knowledge)

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  21. Reply from Stuart Syvrets blog - I m still here, changed https address;)

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  22. Hi the new address is: http://onedaysooninjersey.blogspot.com/

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  23. Hi VFC,

    Sorry to use you as an intermediary but last night I tried to post a comment on One Day's blog. I was suprised she didnt show my post but may be she thought I was a social worker in disguise.
    I have just tried posting again but I couldn't get it to go through. Below is what I have written tonight. I hope you dont mind if I place it here.

    Thank you VFC.

    Hi One Day.
    I noticed you didn't post my comment to you yesterday. Perhaps it was because your site was down for a bit. I actually had 2 One Day blog windows open for a while last night. One was reading fine but the other said 'blog removed'. I didn't want to close the good window in case I never saw your blog again. I had only just discovered it. It was a massive relief and sadness for me to read your blog- like "its not just me!" Thank you for being so brave airing whats happening to your family in the public domain. I sincerely hope you get what you want.

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  24. To anonymous - I can guarantee I did not get that comment I have no problem with posting any I get as long as they are not rude!

    Thank you and please post it again ;) obviously some computer problem.

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  25. You couldn t be prosecuted if he was ill, here's the piece of the education law:

    12 Duty of parent of child of compulsory school age
    (1) A parent of a child of compulsory school age shall ensure that the child receives full-time education appropriate to the child’s age, ability and aptitude, and any special educational needs the child may have, either by regular attendance at a school at which the child is a pupil or otherwise, in accordance with Article 13.
    (2) For the purposes of this Article, a child shall not be deemed to have failed to attend regularly at the school at which the child is a pupil by reason of the child’s absence –
    (a) with leave granted by the headteacher of the school;
    (b) at any time when the child is prevented from attending by reason of sickness or any unavoidable cause; or
    (c) on any day set aside for religious observance by the religious body to which the child’s parent belongs.

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  26. One day.

    Thanks for sending me that piece of law. I am aware of it and just about every other piece of law to do with the education department.

    Unfortunately the problem is finding a Jersey law firm or Jersey lawyer on legal aid that will go against the Jersey way.

    The law, just like the anti bullying policies etc, in theory looks the part but in practice isn't worth the paper it's written on.

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  27. Hi VFC,


    If you find a lawyer willing to go against the Jersey Way let me know as I think it will be like looking for a needle in a haystack. However have you thought of representing yourself, the Greffe are helpful in this respect - just a thought - good luck :)

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  28. Hi like other just read about bullying experiences. Difficult in jersey as i only know uk system. However i would be interested to see blog post of a copy of the schools anti-bullying policy for us all to review /comment on. Also in UK there are soem quite successful peer mediation schemes or even just mediation schemes which have been adopted by schools. These have proved a useful alternative to exclusion and do, more importantly, often end the bullying which is a good outcome for all concerned. I think there are some MultiAgency Support Teams in some jeresy Secondary schools and this is something they could lead on, or the local Youth Offending team or jersey equivalent.
    If they wont help your son as an individual see if they can a get more effective anti-bullying sysytems in place for all children.
    Also in Kent we have a project specifically set up to help vicitms of bullying which include confidence building techniques, counselling and even martial arts.These have also been quite successful for the victim and by empowering the victim oftem the bullies look elsewhere. The project was called the Brighter Outlook Project and arranged by Gravesend Youth offending team. Hope this is helpful but cant remember gravesend YOTs phone no off hand.

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  29. Poster from Kent.

    Thank you for your post and for the information. As I have said previously the anti Bullying policy in place is a comprehensive policy.

    There are some good intiatives and with a bit more joined up thinking from the staff/teachers it might just do some good.

    Unfortunately there is no joined up thinking, I doubt very much if any of the teachers have ever looked at the anti bullying policy.

    You must remember this is Jersey we are talking about here. Our Oligarchy have not signed up for the european convention of rights for a child. Our goverment (Oligarchy) would sooner see children locked up (including in solitary confinement) than cater for their needs and invest any time, or money, on them.

    I'm truly sorry to say I believe our goverment have, for decades, and continue to fail our children.

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  30. My son goes to special school - he has Aspergers Syndrome - and one day he came home in floods of tears. It turned out that there had been an incident in the taxi and the escort had not been able to deal with it, so the taxi driver had threatened to use a lazer pen on him if he didn't stop crying.

    I complained to the taxi driver, and he was very rude and contemptious to me and called my son a liar. I complained to the school and they tried to blame my son and sweep the matter under the carpet. I showed them the pictures that my son had drawn of the thing the taxi driver had threatened him with, which I identified as a lazer pen, after looking on the Internet - I had never seen one before, but had heard of them on You and Yours, a radio 4 program. My son, like many autistic children, is gifted in drawing detailed objects. Eventually, after much complaining, a meeting was called, and it turned out that the taxi escourts are given no training in dealing with special needs children. So these people are expected to look after up to 10 special needs children for up to two hours every day, and are totally untrained! The taxi driver - who I do actually feel some sympathy for, even though what he did was wrong - should never have been put in that position by the LEA!

    My son was off school for almost 3 months because of this - he refused to travel with the taxi driver and escort, because he was too traumatised, because he had not only been threatened, but also called a liar. The school transport people insisted that he had to have the same taxi driver and escort. It was an absolute nightmare, and all the while this was going on, I was being bullied in the secret family courts to force my son to visit a rapist, or risk having him taken away from me, or risk me being sent to prison. What a nightmare! It made me angry to think that the secret courts had spent over £100,000 on persecuting our family, yet could not scrape the money together to pay for proper training of the special needs taxi escorts!

    So I am SO GLAD to see you writing about how your son and yourself were treated, Voice for Children. I am SICK TO DEATH of this sort of bullying, absolutly sick of it. The more we complain about this sort of thing, the better the chance that someone will do something about it. You truly are a voice for children!

    Zoompad xx

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  31. "Every comment I ever read from you seems to be about some sort of cover up or government plan to conceal the truth"

    Typical reaction from a masonic bully - they don't get it, do they?

    Their hierarchy of secrecy and petty oppression is tumbling down like a pack of cards - it was totally dependant on smoke and mirrors - the gagging of the media (the so called free press) but now people are TALKING and they come to sites like this, stamp their cloven hooved feet, bawl and scream "it's not fair!" and foam at the mouth in rage that people are actually talking and comparing stories of the way they have been treated!

    It's very typical and very funny.

    Zoompad

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  32. Hope you don't mind me posting this- just seen link to Jersey hospital blog here, but when I go to it says it no longer exists. Does anybody have any info on it please- am interested as have had awful experience there recently and would be interested to find out about others experiences. Thanks.

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  33. The Jersey Hospital Blog no longer exists. I think I read somewhere that the Blog owner was tracked down and threatened so had to close it down.

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