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BS: bullying advice

Ireland 29 Nov 02 - 01:39 PM
Clinton Hammond 29 Nov 02 - 01:46 PM
Joe Offer 29 Nov 02 - 02:01 PM
Ireland 29 Nov 02 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,Nelson 29 Nov 02 - 02:02 PM
Eric the Viking 29 Nov 02 - 02:02 PM
Clinton Hammond 29 Nov 02 - 02:03 PM
GUEST 29 Nov 02 - 02:09 PM
Ireland 29 Nov 02 - 02:10 PM
Eric the Viking 29 Nov 02 - 02:14 PM
mytoycar 29 Nov 02 - 02:16 PM
Jeanie 29 Nov 02 - 02:16 PM
GUEST 29 Nov 02 - 02:17 PM
Ireland 29 Nov 02 - 02:27 PM
Catherine Jayne 29 Nov 02 - 02:37 PM
Clinton Hammond 29 Nov 02 - 02:39 PM
Ireland 29 Nov 02 - 02:41 PM
katlaughing 29 Nov 02 - 02:42 PM
Clinton Hammond 29 Nov 02 - 02:53 PM
GUEST 29 Nov 02 - 02:53 PM
katlaughing 29 Nov 02 - 02:57 PM
NicoleC 29 Nov 02 - 02:59 PM
Ireland 29 Nov 02 - 03:12 PM
selby 29 Nov 02 - 03:12 PM
Ireland 29 Nov 02 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,visitor 29 Nov 02 - 03:46 PM
Ireland 29 Nov 02 - 03:56 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 Nov 02 - 04:40 PM
wilco 29 Nov 02 - 04:42 PM
Catherine Jayne 29 Nov 02 - 04:47 PM
CraigS 29 Nov 02 - 07:10 PM
Mary in Kentucky 29 Nov 02 - 07:32 PM
Liz the Squeak 29 Nov 02 - 07:37 PM
Alice 29 Nov 02 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,misophist 29 Nov 02 - 08:36 PM
Ireland 29 Nov 02 - 10:07 PM
Joe Offer 29 Nov 02 - 10:41 PM
Gypsy 29 Nov 02 - 11:07 PM
Barry Finn 29 Nov 02 - 11:12 PM
Helen 29 Nov 02 - 11:17 PM
Barry Finn 29 Nov 02 - 11:27 PM
Ireland 30 Nov 02 - 12:59 AM
denise:^) 30 Nov 02 - 02:17 AM
Firecat 30 Nov 02 - 10:58 AM
Barry Finn 30 Nov 02 - 11:01 AM
wysiwyg 30 Nov 02 - 11:35 AM
Bert 30 Nov 02 - 11:38 AM
katlaughing 30 Nov 02 - 03:16 PM
Ireland 30 Nov 02 - 05:13 PM
Barry Finn 30 Nov 02 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,Fred Miller 30 Nov 02 - 07:13 PM
Helen 30 Nov 02 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,Fred Miller 30 Nov 02 - 09:42 PM
momnopp 01 Dec 02 - 12:05 AM
fox4zero 01 Dec 02 - 03:18 AM
Penny S. 01 Dec 02 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Fight fire with fire. 02 Dec 02 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Fred Miller 02 Dec 02 - 09:01 AM
alison 02 Dec 02 - 09:14 AM
Grab 02 Dec 02 - 11:24 AM

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Subject: bullying advice
From: Ireland
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 01:39 PM

I know that this is a music site but I hope there are mucatters who may have some help and advice. I hope there are some with knowledge of the education British system.

My youngest son (12)is in his 2nd year at High School, he was bullied by people in his class.

Anyhow I have asked numerous times for the bullying to be stopped and have been let down. This has changed my son so much he is displaying behavior totally alien to him.

Here is were I need the help, an incident happened yesterday were a young lady threw a rubber at him while in technology class, they were left unattended, stupidly my son threw it back. As soon as the teacher returned the girl complained and my son got punished. The teacher acknowledged that the girl only wanted to get him into trouble,which she giggled and laughed off. The teacher left the room and the girl said got you into trouble basically gloating.

My son was given line the girl was let off,I took acception to this and contacted the school. This morning the teacher had a go at him saying you go home crying to your dad because you misbehaved, he called my son disgraceful while those who bullied him could hear, after admitting that he knew the girl wanted to get him in trouble, he said that he did not see the girl throw a thing.

This guy is now bullying my son pointing him out making comments and snide remarks all in-front of bullies, who have said they will do anything to get my son in trouble.

I do not know how to handle this besides bapping the teacher one and showing him how it feels like to be bullied.

Any help legal points are more than welcome I don't want blood just to address the problem.

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Subject: RE: bullying advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 01:46 PM

"This has changed my son so much he is displaying behavior totally alien to him"

Well, that's a 12 year old boy for ya... alien! LOL

"a young lady threw a rubber"

I assume you mean an erasor right? Cause over here, if a young lady is throwing 'rubbers' around, she'd better be prepared to put them to good use!!!!


Serioulsy... kids are kids... Your kid sounds very familliar... These are the yeras that shape the young adult... he's gonna have to suck it up and find a way to deal with it...

Sounds to me though, like this teacher needs to get fired...

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:01 PM

Hi, Ireland - I take it you're in the UK, and I can't say I know much about schools here. Still, I've worked with kids all my life, and they're the same world 'round.
I think it helps to encourage kids to solve conflicts in a positive manner. The first step is to have your child imagine he is the other person, and think about what that other person may be thinking. If he learns to understand and respect the other person's point of view, that's a good starting point for resolving conflicts peacefully.
In most bullying situations, the victim is partly responsible for making himself a victim, so it's a good idea to investigate what your child is doing to invite bullying.
Maybe the school has a counselor who can help you and your child work this through. Confrontation rarely helps - try to find peaceul means of resolution.
-Joe Offer-

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Ireland
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:02 PM

He can suck it up,I asked for help not smart quips.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: GUEST,Nelson
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:02 PM

One thing for sure, if Ireland Junior's daddy gets involved, little IJ will be in for a much bumpier ride from the bullies.

Maybe little IJ should take a hint from the girl and make sure he knows how to use the rubber.

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Subject: RE: bullying advice
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:02 PM

There is the children and young persons act, that is supposed to ensure that belittling by teachers doesn't happen. What the teacher is doing is strictly illegal and more to the point bloody disgraceful. You can contact the head of the school and put in a formal complaint, you can contact the chairperson of the governing body and complain. you can ask for a meeting with yourself, the teacher and a senior member of staff management team. You can go directly to the local authority, Head of education or more likely director of lifelong learning (fancier name)

The school and also the LEA must by law have a policy on bullying with must include methods of dealing with incidents, and the framework for complaints.It should have an incident log in which things like this should be logged and recorded over time. The school must by law have a behaviour policy and references to behaviour management strategies.

What ever you do, don't take the law into your own hands, because unfortunately you will be the looser hands down!!

You should be able to obtain factual information from other pupils in the room to substantiate your sons claims.

I don't think it is right for a teacher to leave a class (though it does happen) in a technology/science room as there should be risk assessments carried out that the teacher should be aware of. If he left whilst there was the possiblity of an accident that is case for internal discipline as well.

The sad truth is that most schools have little real knowledge of how to deal with bullying, how to councel victims and how to manage poor behaviour. I feel that many schools cannot cope, and turn a blind eye to much of what goes on.

Try these avenues first. I'll get back to you with some working strategies if that's any help.

Lastly there is the general teaching council of England and wales that can take disciplinary action against teachers-but this would be difficult.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:03 PM

It's not a quip... it's just blunt...

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:09 PM

According to Joe Offer, "in most bullying situations, the victim is partly responsible for making himself a victim, so it's a good idea to investigate what your child is doing to invite bullying."


That's so true. Your logic also reminds me of those women who deserve to get raped because they wear lowcut blouses and of the Americans who deserved to die on 9/11 because they were enemies of Osama's interpretation of Islam.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Ireland
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:10 PM

The real issue is this, there were three boys in the first year they picked on other kids made their lives hell. They turned to my son who sorted them out on the rugby pitch, came home disappointed in himself for resorting to such means.

Now the boys put others up to get at him to the extent of telling lies, what I am asking for is help in stopping this. The teacher ridiculed him infront of the bullies encouraging them. The issue I have is with the teacher and the schools policy on bullying.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:14 PM

Sorry Joe, I disagree with you when you say that the victim is partly responsible for making himself a victim. It isn't genrally true. Bullies look for victims of all shapes and sizes that they can reflect their own anger upon. The victim (though not always) often is the victim just because-he looks different, is good/bad/lazy/eager in class, wears different clothes, has a different hairstlye,lifestyle, anyone of a thousand reasons. A bully is someone who uses his physical or mental capacities to push his will, anger, sense of poor self image etc onto someone else for his own enjoyment, escapism, displacement activty. The causes of bullying are fairly well documented, but not many root causes are identified within a bully because little enough (most times) is known about past experiences of the bully. Even when they are known about, it is often too late to cange the outlook of a bully unless councelling/anger management startegies are employed. This is reasonably specialist, takes time, money and effort.

Nobody asks to be a victim.

I do agree that peaceful resolution can work, and that this is really the only true option. But this again takes time and willingness on both parties, and very good mediation.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: mytoycar
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:16 PM

I was bullied all through my school life and unlike some Im not about to stand by and have Parents and teachers telling weak and feable children to stand up for what they believe, they only get a smack in the mouth for it either way, Its pointless putting a childs hopes up by making them believe the bullies wwill pack up. they never do...

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Jeanie
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:16 PM

One very positive thing: your son is *talking* to you about his troubles. You must be doing a good job as his dad !
You don't say who you have contacted at the school - but if you haven't done so already, I reckon the Head of Year 2 would be the one to arrange to speak to. Hopefully he or she will have enough experience to know what action to take and not take. Personally, I would be rather worried at the idea of a technology class being left unattended and I would want the school to know that this had happened.
In most schools (certainly the one I taught at), most bullying happens before and after school, at break and lunchtime. If your son fills up his lunchtimes with school clubs and travels home with a friend, he can avoid a lot of contact with these pests.
As well as your talking to the Head of Year - is there a teacher (of whatever subject) that your son gets on with particularly well and can talk to ? If he's lucky, there'll be at least one.

- jeanie

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:17 PM

This last post doesn't sound like your son is being bullied, it sounds like he is giving as good as he is getting.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Ireland
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:27 PM

Thanks Eric for your help,it was what I am looking for, ClintonHammond I did not mean to cause offence but I have just been informed by my son what happened and mr angry is home.

As I said before these people do not worry my son physically,they learnt that lesson he is at the top of his class. We tried all the options, to the extent of nearly blaming him for being a victim, to letting the Principle palm us off with the it happens excuse, so this post has been a last resort rather than the beginning.

Eric has described the bullying scene perfectly and has made me glad I posted.

But I do appreciate the rubber one lol.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:37 PM

When I was in year 11 at High School my form tutor who was also my french teacher, regualarily ridiculed me infront of the whole class. I was bullied quite badly throughout school and stuck it out and made my parents not go into the school. However my brother was at the same school and got bullied in his first year and when someone threw a chair at him then my parents went into the school. My form tutor then said I had no sense of humor (I had been beaten up, had belongings stolen and pushed out of a window). The tutuor also said that I wouldnt amount to anything and that I would never get into music college. One teacher stuck up for me and was there when I needed to talk which got me through school and my exams...which I passed with flying colours. I got into music college and went on to play with professional orchestra's. I went on after that to get my degree and I am happy. The school asked me to go back and perform for them at a presentation evening, I politely declinded.

My brother moved schools, I wish I had. Sometimes it is best to leave the kids to sort it out themselves. When bullying starts to affect the childs behaviour something has to be done. You should log a complaint with the school against the teacher. No pupil should be publically ridiculed infront of anyone. Tell the head teacher you are prepared to go to the local paper.....schools don't like bad publicity....this won't be necessary but will scare them into doing something. I went to a school which said it didn't have a bullying problem....the teachers walked around with their eyes closed. If all esle fails move your son out of the school. Don't do what my dad did and headbutt the head teacher who incidently left the school later that year!!!

Good luck


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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:39 PM

"ClintonHammond I did not mean to cause offence"

None taken Ire... nor intended on my part...

I know my own experience... when I quite 'giving them power over me' they got bored and then left me alone... I never had to resort to fisty-cuffs... I just walked away... To the point where, once, when a teacher caught the thing in action, and asked if -I- wanted him to do anything, I told him, with my bullies standing there, not to worry abut it... cause I certainly wasn't worried about it...

Like Jeanne above said, be glad you got a kid who feels comfortable enough to talk to ya at all! That right there tell me, that he's way more mature, and a 'bigger man' than his bullies... He'll rise above it, I expect...

Best of luck to ya both eh!

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Ireland
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:41 PM

Guest their are subtleties in bullying, for example on the rugby pitch others are told not to pass etc, those who do get into trouble. These people are trying to turn others against him, thankfully only a few have done it. But that few will do anything to get him in-trouble.

Theses people are bigger than him and the rest of their class so they scare the shapanga out of the rest of them, I followed the principles and vice principles advise and made him stop retaliating, he has played the school rules and they have let him down.

One of the jibes is about his religion,it's not too common in N.Ireland and it is used to turn others against him aswell.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:42 PM

I think what Joe might have meant is, a person can get into what a friend of mine calls "victim head" a way of thinking about the situation which goes along the lines of hopelessness/helplessness feeling one cannot change a bad situation. Every person puts out "vibes" for lack of a better word which signals how confident they may feel or not. The bully might swagger. The victim may show, with body language, that they are not confident and thus easy prey. This is not to find fault, but just to explain what may attract the attention of arseholes like the teacher and the other students. The more your son can show through body language that he is sure of himself, the better.

Some bullies never give up, even if one ignores them. I spent 5 years in junior and high school, carrying my violin back and forth, everyday, being called a "scab" by a bully. I never told anyone and I finally just ignored him, though it hurt.

The teacher is in the wrong and should be dealt with immediately.

Helen went through some tough bullying at work at one point. Here are the threads about it: Help: Lost my sense of humour; Lost sense of humour - links to bullying advice.

You might also want to PM Alice in Montana as her son had problems with bullying at school a few years ago, actually had a broken bone from it!

Good luck,


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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:53 PM

"victim head"

Ya... that's a cool way to put it... that's kinda what I was getting at when I mentioned taking away 'the power they had over me'

Having the confidence to blow 'em off... to look 'em in the face and say 'ya... whatever' and walk away...

It helped me a lot...

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:53 PM

katlaughing thinks she knows "what Joe might have meant" and tries to spin doctor Joe's comments.

I prefer to take Joe's comments for what they said, that victims invite victimization because of who/what they are. Joe Offer seems pretty intolerant for a seminarian who claims to be a Christian.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:57 PM

'ya... whatever'

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: NicoleC
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:59 PM

Ireland, I'm glad your son is talking to you about this! The only "bully" in this situation seems to be the teacher -- s/he lets one student off but not the other. You son seems to be handling himself pretty well, although retaliation doesn't help.

I don't know what does help. I was bullied as a kid and I dealt with it by fading into the background and becoming invisible. Withdrawing from society is not the solution either; I've spent a lot of years trying to break those habits. I don't know if it was true or not when adults told me it was my fault I was being bullied, but I do know it wasn't a very productive way to handle the situation to make me feel personally responsible for the bad behavior of others.

It sounds like the teacher either needs to get some training on handling discipline, or s/he needs to find another career. Like Eric says, lodging formal complaints with his/her supervisors may be the best course of action.

I think it might help to discuss conflict resolution strategies with your son. History has plenty of conflicts to learn from.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Ireland
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 03:12 PM

He is not a victim he has arseholes for teachers who do not look beyond the situation. The teachers know who the bullies are this particular teacher allows the big sister of the girl in this issue, sit in his room and go through his mobile phone etc when she is meant to be in the corridor for misbehaving in her own class.

He had a conversation about leaving his room unattended with the school principle, and has decided to take it out on my son rather that accept he was wrong. What example has he set the bullies by doing a bit of bullying himself.

I think it is disgraceful that 4 or 5 pupils can be allowed to have such influence over the rest of their class. The problem does not lie with victim heads who are constantly asked to question themselves and the actual bully is never asked what they are doing. The biggest fault is with teachers who turn a blind eye or allow themselves to join in.

I fell into the trap of asking what my son is doing wrong to get bullied, of that I am ashamed I let my son down, I should be asking why the bully is a bully they are the real victims.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: selby
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 03:12 PM

My youngest son had become quiter than normal and didn't want to go to school somedays he normally enjoys school, after a lot of quite talking at home we finally found out that 3 members of his class were systematically picking on 4 other class members one of which was my son.The modus operandum of the 3 was to grab the persons who was there victim for the day around the back of the neck as every oppertunity. the follow on if it was your turn to be the object of their desires it wouldn't be your turn till 4 days later but on the fifth day it could well be and the cycle went round.Physical and Mental torture in my opinion.I contacted the class teacher and told her of my suspicions to my suprise she knew who was doing it and it was expected of them,she was also shocked that she hadn't seen what was going on. The head of year interviewed all the boys in the class and then rang us back and tried to tell us it was all boys being boys but he would keep an eye open for what was going on. My son has had one attack since but has had the guts to report direct to the head of year I think he has been very brave in what he has done.We have with our son tried to anylise what is going on we think it is our son is quite he is a hard worker and resonable intelligent well liked and above all plays melodian in a school band.We think that he is a victim because the bullies are jealous, one of the other victims has behavoural problems and gets a bit of one to one tution. The bullies we think need to be noticed and this is their way of getting noticed

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Ireland
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 03:20 PM

NicoleC you have just described how my son is, so you can understand the confusion he goes through he was the life and soul of our house always joking and out going, he is beginning to withdraw, I'm determined not to let it happen.

I am totally going against my grain in advising him not to punch some lights out,I'm trying to play by the schools rules it is a pity they do not.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: GUEST,visitor
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 03:46 PM

There are several good conflict mediation programs available to schools. If Ireland wants to be proactive (which will probably get him farher with school authorities), he can investigate various programs and present some of them to the school as a positive approach to their problem (and yes, bullying is a problem at a school whenever it occurs).
That said, these programs are not silver bullets, and bullies DO NEED TO BE DEALT with in schools. Intervention not only helps the victims, but it may also save the bullies themselves from becoming lifelong agitators.   We can make changes occurr.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Ireland
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 03:56 PM

Thanks for all the advice,it is appreciated and hope it was not too out of place on the forum.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 04:40 PM

My 2 daughters (twins - now 18) were bullied. Firstly because they were twins. Next because they like goth and rock music. Amy - the eldest by 5 minutes, is now in college and is doing great but still has real serious bad days. Catherine has not attended college and cannot work due to depression.

The teachers were real arseholes. "Tell them not to say they don't like Goth music and get them to wear 'ordinary' clothes" was a classic. I asked what would have happened if they were black or disabled. Would the teacher have asked them to become white or able bodied? The head was next. He was just as bad. the board of governors did respond, but too late.

We took them out of school and put them in a wonderful little, almost private, school at the local childrens hospital. They were fantastic and the girls thrived under their tutelage.

Main thing is, Ireland, don't let it get too far. Don't stand for bullshit from crap teachers. Make it known that you know what is going on. Make sure your young 'un is respected and that the school takes him seriously.

Bullying is wrong, in whatever form, and should not be allowed to thrive in any circumstances.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Dave the Gnome

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: wilco
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 04:42 PM

    I'm in SE USA (Tennessee), but the situation sounds very familiar. I have eight children (31 to 16), and I have coached hundreds of various athletic teams for 25 years. Here's my take:
1. You're doing the right thing by getting involved.
2. The teacher is incompetent, but he/she is accountable to someone.
3. Talk to your son, with your spouse present. If he has a close firend or two, they might want to listen to. Chances are they are getting bullied too. Let him know that you're going to help in a constructive way, that the bullies are wrong, and the teachers' behavior is completely inappropriate.
4. tell him that bullying is a probelm worldwide, through-out history, and that good schools sytems won't allow it. Tell him that the schools have some kind of process in place to mediate the situation. Tell him that you will find out what that process is.
5.Identify and teacher's supervisor, and ask for a meeting with your son, the teacher, and the supervisor to look at the schools bullying
mediation program or bullying policies.
6. Always let your son know that you want him to talk to you, and that the schools are worng to allow this.
7. This is about all that you can do, within reason. If you have a strong teacher's union there, like the NEA here, the union will protect lousy teachers and administrators, and you might not be able to do a thing.
8. Also, I have instructed all of my kids to avoid fights; however, they have all had instruction in self-defense. This will pay life-long dividends.

Biggsest thing to do: let your son know that he's been wronged, and that you support him.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 04:47 PM

Selby....I went to the same school as your boys do, and I am glad to hear that they are sticking up for themselves and reporting it to the head of year. I am also glad that the teachers there are keeping an eye on the situation.


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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: CraigS
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 07:10 PM

I was bullied at school, and found, like Ireland's son, that giving the bullies a sorting-out on an individual basis was not the answer. The real problem is peer pressure on the bullies. They feel a need to maintain their status in their society.
I had a girlfriend who, as an adolescent, bullied other children, stole, and played truant. An educational psychologist decided she was too clever for the school she was in, and had her transferred to the local grammar school. Her behavior improved, she got good grades, went to college, qualified as a therapist, and is now working as an area head in the NHS.
A boy at my school had a reputation as a "hard man", which eventually led to him being expelled (although now that I am older I realise that it had something to do with the establishment, ie. don't hit someone because he is annoying you if his mother is a magistrate). He found that at his new school the pressure was off - he had no reputation to live up to - and he did well, becoming Head Boy.
Cat's answer is the right one in the short term - if I had moved schools, I know I would have been better off. It will take too long for the school and teachers to acknowledge their own shortcomings and lack of understanding - even a few weeks are a long time to the young. But the point to convey is that if the school does nothing to split up the group of bullies, after Ireland's son has gone they will be driven by their internal pressures to find another victim and start over. The bullies are the ones who need relocation, and, from the examples I know of, should also benefit.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 07:32 PM

Ireland, you've received some good advice throughout this thread. I think all of us have some kind of experience with bullying...receiving it, witnessessing it, trying to prevent it, etc. As a parent, the hardest thing I ever did was to "not get involved" when my children begged me to butt out because my involvement would make things worse for them. But then when things got bad, I jumped in like a Mama Tiger and did what I had to do...

As a former high school teacher in a rough school I totally understand Joe's statement. Usually every class has a kid that is always picked on. Seems he/she plays the role, actually instigates events, seems to miss not getting attention.

I spent a lot of time in classrooms and hallways, and I overheard verbal threats that really scared me. As a teacher, all I could do was try to arrange the seating in my classrooms so that contact was minimized, and to control my classroom and the space around me. (sounds authoritarian I know, but this population had some really rough characters... naive, wimpy teachers were eaten alive) I would make a very forceful statement anytime I heard or witnessed anything that could be construed as bullying, impoliteness, bad language, or just meaness. If I showed any favoritism to a student being picked on, their life would just be harder later when I wasn't around.

The issue of the teacher is one you can do something about. I definitely know what I'm talking about as a parent and as a teacher. There is usually a written grievance policy that can be very effective...just requires someone who can read and write and is committed to follow through.

You can also request a meeting with the teacher involved -- in the presence of a supervisor -- but this is more for your peace of mind than for solving any problems.

Your son knows that you are on his side. There are also many teachers and supervisors on his side who really want to help. The key is to communicate with your son and know when and what to do in order to help him. But he is, afterall, not the adult here, and is still learning. He's watching your responses, and even if he doesn't do what you would have him do, he may very well change his mind later.

Good luck!

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 07:37 PM

If someone doesn't stop the bullies at school, they go on to believe that this behaviour is the norm and continue it the rest of their lives. One extreme example is that of my father in law's East London school bullies. Twins, they ruled the school at age 12. No-one, not even the head could control them. Their mum was the only person they would listen to. Their names were Ronnie and Reggie.

Someone has to stop this behaviour now,and sometimes it's the little person who has to do it.

Do you think maybe that the teachers are being victimised too? Quite often the bullied goes on to be a bully, revenge for all the punishement they put up with. They are controlled by certain pupils, and in turn, take it out on someone they already see as a weaker, less able victim, a scapegoat. By showing up this weaker victim in front of the bullies, they are seeking approval and obtaining a little more protection for themselves.

There are many sites about bullying, and if things are very bad,there is always Childline - they have trained people to give you the best advice.

Never resort to violence, it makes you as bad as them....


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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Alice
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 07:55 PM

If you go through the process with the school to review the behavior of the teacher and the school does nothing to resolve it, find a different school. There are bullies everywhere, both boys and girls, and they seem to be the worst during those ages of 11-14. A better school with teachers who know how to handle the bullying situations is one solution to your problem.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: GUEST,misophist
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 08:36 PM

It seems to me that your problem is not bullies but sadistic adult staff. A child cannot protect himself against such. I don't know English law, but I would be very surprised if this kind of behaviour were allowed. In the US, the hint of a lawsuit is usually enough to get management to do it's job. Several of the people above have given advice that's appropriate if the bullies are other children.....usually. Advice that might work in such situations is useless when the bully is an adult. When members of the school staff are at fault, they must be compelled or removed. I personally prefer removal.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Ireland
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 10:07 PM

My son goes to one of the best Grammar schools where we live, those who bully him do it in a way to get him into trouble and this teachers realised that and obliged. What amazes me is how teachers can be manipulated considering how intelligent they think they are.

I understand what Joe is saying but it does allow the bully to just carry on to the next person, my son stood up to them and stopped it,he has made many friends because of it. These little sh-ts did not like that and are trying to get him in other ways. His cousin is in the same class and over heard them plotting how to get him, one girl said make up anything.

I cannot believe how teachers ask parents to apply a certain logic and not do that themselves. We have a tendency to blame the victim, to make them change because others cannot stop bullying, to do that seems to me letting the bully win. No one curtails or changes the bully but they want the victim to change, at what point does this stop. Dave points out his daughters got bullied one reason given because they were Goths, what right does a bully have to act in such a manner that they restrict the true personality of those who are bullied? To change only enforces the mind set of the bully he/she has won because they succeeded in bringing about change.

Sorry I do not buy into the victim head at all, to do so would give some wee sh-t the power of affecting change no matter what way any child carries themselves. So rather using the word victim I think the innocent party is more appropriate and has less connotations.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 10:41 PM

It's true that justice demands that the bully be punished, and that there is no excuse for bullying. Trouble is, that often just creates more animosity and allows the bully to rally support for himself. No, the victim isn't guilty - but a bully's victim can do many things that will help himself avoid future incidents.

A far more workable (and peaceable) solution is to help your child fend for himself in a positive way. If he understands why the bully acts the way he does, that's a good start.

Another thing you can do is encourage your son to make friends, real friends. Many times, kids bend over backwards and make fools of themselves, trying to make friends with the bullies, who are often thought of as the "cool" kids. They're better off trying to make friends with kids who will really like them - if they have real friends to support them, they're much less likely to be bullied.

Your child isn't to blame for being bullied - it's not his fault, and it's just about the most miserable thing that can happen to a child in school. However, there are many peaceable things he can do that will help him take the upper hand. Teach him to make friends and to make peace.

-Joe Offer-

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Gypsy
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 11:07 PM

Teacher should be dare that person treat your child in such a fashion! As a kid whose family moved.......and moved.........and moved........i was often the butt of bullies. It wasn't until much later in life that i found direct confrontation to work for me. I knew that they were jackasses, objectively.......but cruel treatment, regardless of understanding the source, is painful. I hate it! Howzabout your son asking: Why did you do that? and wait for the answer?

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Subject: ADD: I'm The Bully (Barry Finn)
From: Barry Finn
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 11:12 PM

In most cases in the US where there has been random, senseless shootings it seems to me that the kids who flip, flip on bullies or that they were victims of bullies. What could ever drive a normal well adjusted kid to do that. Guess what, they've been abused beyond reason & have been shut & shot down by a complete system that still think that "BOYS WILL BE BOYS". This abuse is illegal in the US. The bully has had the support of the system all along, instead of they're behavior being frowned upon it's backed by positive reinforcement. The bully has been at their trade of inflicting pain & deriving pleasure from the agony they've caused for a long time . They've also been getting away with this behavior for years & have mastered their abuse of others so that for the most part it seems to be the victim's fault. When the victim finally lashes back it's the victim who doesn't understand the ground rules & again ends up in a set up & is now in the bully's territory as, once more, the victim. The more the victim shows what the bully would call a positive response the more the bully goes at them. Another tactic is to get some other kid or kids (or the threat or another kid or kids)to have a go at the victim, it takes the heat off the bully, reinforces their power & adds more credence to "IT'S THE VICTIM FAULT" & it's the victim who's imagining all this & for some unknown reason is making this all up because no one ever sees anything happen but the victim looking like they're guilty & this bully who's sometimes cute, smart, athletic or is the school's charmer, teacher's pet or is a real sweetheart couldn't really behave like this. Some bully's go on to further their studies in colleges & find the field wide open & graduate to rape & on from there into the business world to continue their abuse, which some places still think that the victim's at fault & again the bully has worked the system for their own gain.

I have in the past talked with my son's teacher's & warned them that this or that bully was provoking my son & physically threaten him & that under no circumstances would I allow this to continue & that if my kid whacked the bully with a stick to protect himself the school had legally failed him & that the school, by me bringing this (always document) to their attention had not only failed but had also been forewarned & still allowed this bulling behavior to go on & therefore have opened themselves to civil and or criminal charges.

It seems that many are unaware of the trauma caused by the bully in the victim. Loss of self esteem, loss of friends & company (the bull will see to that), grades start drop when the kid is to worried about survival that they can't keep up their grades or god forbid suicide. In some cases the victim suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome. I don't know how it is in the UK but I've had the police involved & lodged assault charges. Here that can (over time) affect their accreditation if a pattern be shown & that the system likes less than trying to not be involved. In some states including, New Hampshire, the law mandates that schools to have in place a bullying policy. This differs from state to state. Specical ed & special needs kids are quite the target they see the world from a different perspective & therefore they're seen as different to the bully which is what they seem to hone in on. It can be to fat, to skinny, to tall, to short, to smart to stupid, talks funny so basically anything that makes him a bit different from others. At a recent bulling conference, a personal & professional arena for my wife, found that in one month 80% of the kids interviewed said that they had been bullied & that 29% admitted to bullying. The trend seems to be on the rise & so far nobodys been able to nail down any cause for this (quess what, it's allowed to fester). It also seems that girls can tend to be meaner & nastier. It allows seems that so far completely ignoring the bully is the most affective action to take. The bully doesn't get what they want & moves on. My heart really goes out for any parent that has to fight any system because their kid is a victim. This also takes it's toll on the parents & siblings, so these kids are running around causing concern & pain to the victim's families, who at this point have also become a victim. God pity the little terrorist when hell breaks loose & they're are on the recieving end of some flipped out kid aiming a pistol at them. It's now become a music thread. Good luck, Barry   

I'm The Bully
(words & music by Barry Finn)

I'm the bully & you're my victim
I need the practice, you need the pain
I'm the bully & you're my victim
I'll keep on you & drive you insane

Oh how I love to stalk the weakling
And the outcast or the lame
Give me a nerd, a geek or a loner
These unfit prey I'll treat the same


A shove on the stairs when none are watching
A whisper of terror that none will hear
At a hundred paces I still can strike you
And keep it up year after year


I'll chase you out of a crowed schoolyard
I'll ban you from the public park
You'll have no friends & no companions
You'll only have a broken heart


I'll get others to gang up on you
The more I get the worst you'll look
When you finally fight back I've turned the tables
You're on my turf now & I wrote the book


You can cry for help & beg for mercy
And tell the world just what I've done
You'll soon learn we're all against you
You lose again, in the end I've won.


copyright Barry Finn 2000

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Helen
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 11:17 PM

Hi all,

As katlaughing pointed out, I started a couple of threads when I was being ruthlessly bullied by a senior manager in a large organisation where I worked. I can identify with just about everything said here. (He got away with it, by the way.)

I strongly recommend that you look at Tim Field's site about bullying

      Bully OnLine:

Tim Field shares his unique insight into workplace bullying, a cause of stress and ill health and the basis of harassment, discrimination, abuse and violence

It is a UK site, and very comprehensive, and more to the point, *practical* with lots of advice and suggestions on how to deal with the problem. I especially recommend looking at the page about why victims are chosen - i.e.usually because they are clever or good at something or are nice to other people, etc. What that means is that the victims are chosen by bullies *because* of their positive traits so it is an affirmation for victims/targets to read that page and remind themselves of what nice people they are.

Someone on this thread - sorry, I can't find the relevant bit again - said to try to work out what the bullies are feeling and why they are doing it. Unfortunately for me in my work situation it was my firm belief that I could find a way to work constructively with the bully which kept me down and out for so long (12 months) before I found Tim Field's site and could put a name to what was happening to me.

And that is where I do tend to believe that I had been giving out a subconscious message which attracted the bully, and my message was that I was too nice, too concerned with being professional in my work, too concerned with trying to find a way to work well with others, even in the face of conflict (which I later found out to be deliberately manipulated conflict).

I still believe in those things but not to the extent of suppressing my own needs and beliefs. I was erring on the side of extreme unselfish niceness, and now I try to balance my own needs with those of others.

The final silver bullet answer that I have found is that I demand respect. Sounds too simple, but I was always making allowances for other people's needs and wants, and their idiosyncracies while not allocating similar levels of allowance/leeway for myself.

Also, about 8 years before my bullying boss situation my nephew was bullied by a teacher in his first and second year of school - same teacher both years. My sister, her husband and I fronted the school and the education department about it, and had a win of sorts, but he still has some residual problems and was bullied by other students when he first started high school.

When I was at high school we had a maths teacher who I now realise fits the profile of a serial bully, and she managed single-handedly to devastate the well-being of almost every student in her classes. She was rewarded a few years later with a promotion to high school principal. Explain that to me!

I think that the "Ya - whatever!" response is not a bad idea. It shows the bullies that their tactics are having no effect, and they lose interest in that victim, but they do tend to find another one, so it's not the complete solution.

Tim Field's site will give you some information and links with reference to the UK school system, and how to tackle the problem. Threatening to take it up with higher and higher levels of management - and doing just that if necessary - is a good tactic. Threatening to go to the media with the story is another one.

But - above all else - which ever tactics you choose, the important thing is for your son to keep a diary or log of the incidents including date, time, place, witnesses (very important), nature of incident, who he reported it to, what the response was, whether any constructive action was taken, etc etc.

Even just making it obvious that he is taking notes of each incident may be useful. "Could you just confirm what you just said so that I can write it down correctly? You said: blah, blah, blah ... is that correct?"

PM me if you want to talk about this. Especially about the personal, emotional, psychological and physical effects. I know a lot about that from personal experience.

I agree, also, when people here have said that the fact that your son is telling you this is a very good sign, and that just showing him that you are supporting him is worth more than you will ever know. Most people I tried to talk to about the bullying just walked away or tried to brush it off with glib remarks, or changed the subject.

(enough of my rambling)

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Barry Finn
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 11:27 PM

Joe, this is not the victim's problem, it's the bully & anyone that allows this to continue, aware of it or not, once pointed out it's everyone's problem but the victim's. There's not one reason in the world that should force the victim to become part of some bully's recovery. This should be handled by the schools or like it was handled in my neighorhood when i was a kid, the bully was shunned until they stood corrected but I don't think there are many of those types of neighborhoods anymore. It still takes a village to raise protect a child. Would you ask the child victim of sexual abuse to try & work it out with their attacker or try to understand why they've been raped & why the attacker did this to them (IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT) or explaine why it was partly their fault & what they could do to prevent this from happening to them again & again & again. Joe I don't mean to yell but this behavior is CRIMINAL it's child abuse by another child. Barry

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Ireland
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 12:59 AM

Thanks for your advice, I have documented every thing that's what gets to me, the school knows it and still does not take positive action to prevent it. I was offered the "peers" system were children are assigned to an older pupil, I turned it down and ask for the bullies to be paired of with an older pupil, maybe they would show them the error of their ways.

As for victim head I see no better way of enforcing that than the method above and some schools recommend that???

I hope Joe you realise I'm not attacking you as such so I hope I did not offend you or anyone else.

Barry can I take your song to the School maybe with that they will get the message. Helen I appreciate your help and am off to the bully online site. Eric's children and young persons act advice has given me some ammo as it helps to know some of the responsibilities teachers have towards their pupils and this was one I did not know about.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: denise:^)
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 02:17 AM

When I was in high school, I several classes with bullies in them.

I had an unusually large vocabulary, and was fairly sharp-tongued; it was easy for me to verbally "run over" any of them--so I wasn't teased in class...
I would never pick a fight, but was not above knocking someone over with my two-ton American History book, if they came after me physically, so, after one shove, they learned their lesson...

BUT, I had one class with a group of about 4 really nasty bullies (girls!) in it. They really didn't bother me much, but they were quite unkind to many in the class--and to the teacher!

When report card time came 'round, I found a "5" for my citizenship spot in this class! I couldn't understand it at all--I had never done anything to deserve a lowered grade. (A "5" in citizenship was a failing grade; it was as low as you could go.) I went to see the teacher, and see if a mistake had been made.

She argued with me for a few minutes, but was completely unable to give even one example of any behavior of mine that merited ANY lowering of my citizenship grade. I told her she'd have to change it, or defend herself to the principal, which would be my next stop. She broke down in tears and admitted that the "bullies" were threatening to cut her tires, put sugar in her gas tank, etc., if they didn't pass this class, so she'd struck out at me! She chose the person she figured wouldn't fight back (what was she thinking?!), and she actually said to me, "They have been so horrible, I hate to come in here third period...They can't treat me this way...SOMEONE'S gotta pay for this!" I heartily assured her that it would NOT be me, and she filled out a grade correction form...

Ireland, could your son's teacher be AFRAID of the bullies? Trying to 'kiss up' to them by joining in the victimization of your son? Every adult in an authority position does not necessarily DESERVE to be an adult in an authority position! There *are* teachers, just like parents, who are afraid to discipline children, because then they won't "like" them. There *are* adults who do things just to earn the approval of children!

I'm not just one of those people, either, who jumps on teachers, and blames them for everything. I happen to be a teacher, myself, now--for nearly 20 years.

It might be worth checking out.


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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Firecat
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 10:58 AM

I was bullied throughout my school career, and I didn't dare say anything, so it is good that your son is discussing his problems.

Have you suggested keeping a diary of the events that happen? This could help quite dramatically. What the person does is write down exactly what happens, when it happens or at the end of the day, making sure they do not exaggerate or omit anything. Unless you have evidence to back up the complaints, I have learnt from experience that it is the word of the bully against the word of the victim, and judging by what you have written about your son's teachers, they are more likely to accept the word of the bully. The diary, therefore, gives evidence of what exactly has happened, and makes it a lot easier to complain.

You could also enter a formal written complaint into the school.

Good luck.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 11:01 AM

Hi Ireland, be my guest (about using that song). I'd be more than pleased if it helps in any way. Best of Luck, Barry

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 11:35 AM

I have not read the thread, so if the following has not already been posted--

Ask your son what HE thinks needs to happen, and keep listening as he vents and gets at his own excellent assessment of the situation. Then back him up in pursuit of THAT, continually asking (as he refines it over time), what he needs from you in order to bring about a change. You have to furninsh the confidence that change can come about, because he doesn't have much yet, so you may need a support person yourself who is not involved, to have a place to vent your own discouragement and fear for him.

He needs to know that you believe in him and that you have values that can be brought to bear in this.


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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Bert
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 11:38 AM

Phone calls don't help much as they can be ignored.

A written compaint to The Principal, The School Board AND The Board of Education should help as it will go on the teacher's record permanently.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 03:16 PM

Just to clarify: by "victim-head" I did not mean the person has done anything on a conscious level, or that they have deliberately gone looking for abuse. I do not believe in blaming a targetperson, BUT I do believe we must watch our body language and what attitude/personality we project, esp. when around bullies. If we think of ourselves as at the mercy of the bullies, with no recourse or helpful action, THEN we have placed ourselves in a vicitm-head status, allowing the bully all of the power. That doesn't mean we should be abused, just to learn more self-confidence in ourselves and our body language, etc.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Ireland
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 05:13 PM

I know what you meant Kat,but if someone is easy going or is dressed different or carries themselves in a certain way it really bugs me that we advocate the innocent to change.

Sometimes my son appears as if he has no brain taking things easy etc, big mistake, he is the first with the answers in maths no calculator or paper in his head, he looks as if he zones out but the old brain is working. If that is one reason for the bullies to home in on him I will not advocate that he changes,but I did in the past and he slipped back a bit in maths. Because I the teacher and the bullies made him change he suffered.

The link about the bully on line you and Helen mentioned has helped me understand some things,so I very grateful for that help please don't think I was being confrontational or disrespectful if I was I did not intend to be.

I have taken the advice given and fortunately my sons do talk it was the absence of that,I mean I thought he was telling me everything, he could handle the boys but not the girl bullies and was worried I would scold him for letting girls do that, that raised my anger.

This paragraph from the Bully on line site really sums most of the problem up:
Bullying is the general term applied to a pattern of behaviour whereby one person with a lot of internal anger and consequent aggression and lacking interpersonal skills chooses to displace their aggression onto another person, chosen for their vulnerability with respect to the bully, using tactics of constant criticism, nit-picking, exclusion, isolation, teasing etc with verbal, psychological and (especially with children) physical violence. When called to account, the bullying child will typically exhibit the denial - counterattack - feigning victimhood response to evade accountability, often with success.

I am amazed that given such literature on bullying and its common arena School, that teachers do not take the above into consideration.The above will be part of my argument with the school.

Thanks for all the help it is appreciated.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 05:23 PM

Be carefull on how to approch teachers & what effect it will have on their treatment towards your child. We have had personal experiences where not only did the teacher retaliate but their demeaning behavior, gossip & treatment sent a messague that other teachers pick up on & as a group they've just unjustly labeled the child. A good portion of the time the professionalism has been shockingly horrid. Again good luck. As with any site be carefull when reading some of the bullying sites some are just great & loaded with helpful info & then there are some that are useless or have info that might you might want to stear clear of. (note: no reflection on any sites linked here just a general caution). I was never bullied as a kid. When we moved into a more upscale neighborhood (the start of High School) I did become a target because & had the thick Boston getto accent & my style (poor) of fashion wasn't like there's. The first time I saw it coming I let into the biggest bully & kept at them using anything my little body could use. After a short time they may have had the pleasure of getting me a good many bumps but it wasn't worth it for them to keep it up or to keep looking over their shoulders when I was sneaking up to clock them when a trash can or a bag loaded full of books. Of course this is around 40 yrs ago. Today if I tried that I'd be the one to catch hell & pay dearly for my self protection & the blame would all be laid at my doorstep. Barry

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 07:13 PM

In 7th grade had a P.E. teacher who pathetically sank into the culture of the kids, and called attendance using a demeaning nickname for one sad, quiet girl, Rhonda. The kids loved him, and I to this day hate the guy. It would've been nice if I'd had the nerve to ask him why he didn't just call her by her name, but I didn't.

   I got the impression this teacher mis-understood your intent. Could you meet with him again and explain that you aren't interested in his opinions, advice, or world-wisdom, which one questions already, but in what he can do as a professional to address the problem? He said he knew about the girl baiting your son. Well. If it were my class I'd meet out a mild punishment to all, and let them thank whomever started it. His punishing your son simply encourages more disruptions, since that was the motive-- but what's his motive in responding as he did? Seems odd.

And I'd tell him any response other than a sensible, professional course of action, put it in writing, or keep it to himself--he can make his excuses to himself on his own time.

It's good your son knows you're on his side, and it's not all bad that he has to go through some degree of this, even if it changes him some. This stuff doesn't go away, and he's developing his strengh in the face of collective ugliness and insanity, which is a valuable life-skill for a man to have.

   If changing schools is an option, I'd allow myself one of those moments of perfect rudeness, when they are called for, before I moved on. There's an art to saying things you never will regret. Hope things get more tolerable for your son, before too long. Sounds like a good guy.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Helen
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 08:09 PM

The three areas of work where workplace bullying is most prevalent, according to Tim Field, are volunteer work, the health services - and, wait for it!! - teaching. So teachers can be bullied by other teachers and by their bosses as well. Not excusing their behaviour, but this is well documented.

And to stress again the importance of documenting the situation - as Firecat says, documentation "gives evidence of what exactly has happened, and makes it a lot easier to complain." Undocumented events are almost impossible to get results from.

Ireland, as to your son worrying about admitting that girls have been getting the "better" of him ("better" seems the wrong word here altogether) think about this: I have more degrees and qualifications than most people could poke a stick at, I have interesting and varied work experience, including working as a management consultant travelling around the state for a local government association, and I have been teaching management, business, human resource management, industrial relations, and workplace communication for years. I was also a Union rep for nearly 20 years and have close friends in our Union office. I still got cornered and caught by the bullying b*****d, and he won in the end because he got away with it. But not without a few of his own psychological wounds to lick, inflicted by me.

He is a serial bully of the worst kind: a sociopath. The clever type who uses words to hurt, rather than physical violence. The clever type who manipulates and back-stabs behind the scenes, and plays it straight for the audience, especially his own (female) manager.

I felt really stupid getting caught out and squashed like a bug by this person, but now I know that I was ambushed before I even walked in there on my first day. And, more importantly, I know that it was my niceness and my professionalism which made me a target, as well as my qualifications and experience, especially because I am a woman, and all that made him feel totally threatened.

Fred Miller said: "he's developing his strengh in the face of collective ugliness and insanity, which is a valuable life-skill for a man to have" and I agree with this, but I would change it to .."a valuable life-skill for *anyone* to have".

The hardest thing I had to do was to modify one of my most fundamental, most deeply held convictions which was that very few people are truly evil, and consequently people deserve the benefit of the doubt and only in extreme cases should I need to *fight* back, rather than deal with the situation with professional conflict resolution processes.

After encountering the bullying b*****d I now know that cold-hearted people who are *disconnected* from human empathy and who exhibit sociopathic tendencies can walk among us and get away with criminal behaviour. I won't put up with that behaviour, and now I will be able to recognise it much sooner, and stand my ground and demand my own right to be respected.

We are doing the bullies a favour by pointing out their dysfunctional behaviour and trying to help them to recognise and change before their behaviour becomes an established core of their interactions with others. To let them get away with their behaviour is to see them launch themselves on possibly a lifetime of dysfunction. Project these bullies forward in time, to when they have a position of power - what mayhem could they unleash then?


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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 09:42 PM

Helen, yes, thanks, that's what I meant. And I didn't mean to say that it's a good thing, good for someone to have to go through stuff like that, but instead of suggestions of how your son could alter his behaviour to "get by" I think a person deserves credit and respect for hanging in there, in an ugly and unfair situation. There's something to it, and even if my kid wasn't a saint about it, and even though I'd want to avoid the whole thing, I'd also want to honour and respect their dealing with it as best they could, when they had to.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: momnopp
Date: 01 Dec 02 - 12:05 AM

This site might not have specifics for the UK, but it looks like folks have provided other links that do. Click
Thanks for bringing up an issue that clearly has an impact on a lot of us and is a thorny one to tackle in a peacable manner.

Keep on talking with your son, and keep on modeling excellent problem-solving skills and keeping the lines of communication open.



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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: fox4zero
Date: 01 Dec 02 - 03:18 AM

I hate to be a pessimist, but meeting with this teacher (who is THE culprit) would be worthless. Ditto with his superiors.
If I were you, I would do everything humanly possible to change schools.
Failing this,legislation does exist in the UK concerning this behavior, I would hire an attorney who is knowlegeable in education law and let the attorney meet with the main administraion officials for a chat, with the probability of legal action if the chat is not sufficient.
My wife and I spent 10 agonizing years dealing with ignorant and incompetent teachers and school officials, fighting for our learning- disabled son. When we finally found a really "tough broad", sympatico and knowledgeable lawyer, everything suddenly changed for the better.
We had an impartial hearing and the school board finally made themselves agreeable.
Some of the damage done to my David still persists and he expresses the desire to "get even" with one particularly bullying teacher. It's funny how one f'ing S.O.B of a teacher can eclipse the memory of dozens of caring and dedicated teachers.
Larry Parish

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Penny S.
Date: 01 Dec 02 - 09:15 AM

Firstly, the school is required to have a bullying policy. Ask for a copy, and look for anything it that has been omitted in this case. Write to the Head of Year, Head of Department, Head Teacher and then the Education Authority - but not all at once. In sequence, letting each one know that you will be doing so, and referring to the answers when you do. Refer to your journal of events in the letters.

You might try writing to arrange an interview with the offending teacher first - with both parents, so you are both witnesses, and no line manager, unless he requests it. If you do it with his manager, it will look more threatening to him. Offering the option of not having his superior there means that you could sort it out as equals. If he wants someone there, because the two of you represent a threat, such as another member of staff, or his union rep, agree to it. Make it clear to him, in the interview, that the prime purpose of the meeting is not discuss your son's behaviour or position, but any difficulties he has with you. Tell him that you do not believe it is appropriate for him to pressure your son if he has resentments about your concerns about the bullying, and that it is inappropriate for him to do so in front of the children. Say that you will always be available to discuss any problems (speak the way a teacher would, fobbing off a parent, calmly, smilingly, as if there are no problems). Refer to the bullying policy, which will definitely have references to Home/School partnership, and cooperation of parents and teachers, and point out that you were only expecting that he and you would be taking part in this process in dealing with the events. Show him that you understand that teachers, particularly in a subject such as his, where there are crucial health and safety issues, must find it hard to deal with children with disruptive behaviour, whether it is physical or the result of social manipulation through language and exclusion. Don't accuse him of being unprofessional at this stage. Body language that would be effective would be of someone who is choosing not to be angry in order to work together for the common good, offering the hand of - not friendship, exactly. Say that you haven't gone higher up this time because you feel that it's better to sort things out face to face like this.

Have prepared a document setting out what you hope to come from the meeting. Make notes of anything you agree about. This should include a statement on his part that he will not draw attention to your son in a negative way in front of other pupils. Let him have a copy of this, typed out, next day. (Keep a copy of everything).

If this fails, then go for the letters, above. The teacher is in the wrong.

I was at a school where the junior head enabled the bullying because the unstated ethos (the stated one was the developing of all the girls' talents to their full potential) was that sneaking was the most appalling social evil. I now understand two things about that - that most education systems drew inspiration from the Spartans rather than any society more acceptable to more liberal minds - and that she had to live in a rented room in the house of some parents of a school pupil, where other pupils, for whom she had some responsibility, were boarded. She had a horrible life.

I was exposed to verbal bullying from lads at a church youth club. There was no adult present one week, and I was the only girl, and when I complained of the behaviour the following week, in front of my mother and some people from the area youth department, I was told that the lads would not do that, and that to the pure, all things were pure. At least once after that, the minister described me to others, unknown to my family, unsolicited, and without my parents being consulted, as being someone who required care. It has taken me a very long time to realise that it was his absence from the club that he was attempting to smokescreen, and his relief that it was nothing worse that had happened. This is an analogy with your case. If your son's teacher allows the offending bully group to see that he is supporting them, then he may prevent them for spotting their weapon over him, which, even if he has already been spoken to about it, they could still use against him.

Another path to go down is to ask if there is a Technician/Learning Support Assistant available for that class, as there is for Science, so that the number of adults in the room is greater. That would support the teacher with a difficult class, and also make him inhibit his language.

Is there likely to be any problem with the parents of the other children? By saying what he has to your son, the teacher has also delivered the message that any complaints from theirs may lead to him humiliating them. Not a good tactic, but it might be understandable in some circumstances. Are there any other targets for this group? Can you get together with their parents? Can your son get together with others? The peer system can work - your son's buddy would be bigger than the bullies, and he would have friends. If he is someone that the school admires, the bullies would want him to see them as admirable too.

When is the next Ofsted? You are allowed to talk to inspectors about any concerns. You don't want to wheel this out yet, but it's the biggy.


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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: GUEST,Fight fire with fire.
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 08:26 AM

Teach the child to fight.

If at first you dont succeed, in with the boot then in with the "heed".

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 09:01 AM

I don't think the above responds to this at all. For one thing, once you get in a fight at school, you have to get in more fights--everybody wants to rank against the guy who beat the other guy. It's very similar to having a problem with one teacher--suddenly they are all finding faults with you. I did both of these things, one year. Plus, you can't go around fighting girls, but shouldn't have to put up with the needling malevolence that they sometimes get together in, perhaps as an expression of... well who knows--but anyone would prefer a fight. At least, the school should not condone and culture that stuff, which is what this teacher has done.

   Many adults seem to have remarkably childish ideas about these things. It's depressing.

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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: alison
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 09:14 AM

Put it all in writing.....

my 5 year old and several other girls in her KINDERGARDEN!!!! class were being bullied by a boy who had alread been removed from one school for bad behaviour (remember these are 5 year olds.... what the %^&$ will he be like in secondary school!!)..... the girls were coming home black & blue..... several parents phoned up and complained.... but nothing happened.....

as soon as we documented events and sent it to the principal, suddenly it all got taken very seriously....... he is still a problem.... but they deal with it quickly now....

good luck



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Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
From: Grab
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 11:24 AM

Ireland, as someone who was bullied all through school, I'm honestly not sure that "turning the other cheek" is the best solution. Understanding why a rockfall happens does NOT help you when you're underneath it. But you can still work the systme your way. A few ideas for your lad from my experience.

The first rule is, words *do* hurt, but you'll live. And you can usually work out something to call them.

Second rule, following on from that - it's only good for them if they get to you. They say "we're going to get you into *troouuuuble*", say "Like I care". And act like you don't care, too - don't give them the satisfaction of seeing you worried about the teacher giving you lines.

Third rule is, don't give them an opening to use the school rules against you. Someone throws a pen at you, you put it in your pocket and keep the damn thing. Make them ask for it back. :-) They want to take it further, that's their problem - if they want to complain to a teacher, they then have to say that they threw it at you. To "sir, he's got my pen", "she threw it at me, fair's fair" is good enough. The teacher will likely get annoyed anyway, but you'll not be the one starting it - you're then using the system against them.

The fourth rule along the same lines is, don't start the fight. Never throw the first punch. That gives you an automatic get-out clause when the teachers break it up, especially if some of your friends can verify that the guy hit you first. You might still get detention, but only if you've done him some serious damage, in which case it's probably worth it.

The fifth rule is, don't be someone that ppl want to fight. Don't throw the first punch, but be in there with the second one, and be the one throwing the last one. It sounds like your son is OK on that score, but making an example of one or two is a good idea. If you're known to go utterly psycho and try to jump on ppl's heads in a fight, not many ppl will want to get involved. That at least solves the physical bullying problem. Sounds like your son is OK on this score, it's the other bits that are the problem.

The sixth rule is, don't play their game. Be smart. Suppose a gang of them a playing "keep-away" with your bag. Don't chase the bag around, pick *one*, apply both hands to his throat (or an arm-lock, or whatever), and say "drop the f***ing bag". That stops things being fun for them pretty damn quick. OK, this goes against the advice of not starting a fight, but the shock value of this will often do the job. If not, the fifth rule might help.

Some ppl say that violence solves nothing. Sometimes that's true - random violence is no help at all, bcos you're just playing into their hands. But *choosing* your fights - that's the strength.

The single best defence against bullying is to teach your kid martial arts. Firstly they'll be able to defend themselves against other kids, so they're safe. And secondly they'll see fights in terms of sparring, which they do all the time, so fights will no longer be a novelty and they won't get into fights as much. Thirdly, simply knowing that you can do this gives you so much more confidence, and self-confidence is the real key to stopping bullying. The worst thing a bully can do is strip your self-confidence, and martial arts teaches you to hold onto this. In my case it was Tae Kwon Do, but anything will do just as well.

A little while back, there was a thing on Slashdot about bullying in schools, called "Voices from the Hellmouth". I suggest reading through that and seeing some of the things that ppl said in there. Over and over, the ppl who survived bullying with their self-respect intact were the ones who took martial arts training.

Oh and Ireland, I suggest a formal complaint about this teacher. In writing, on the guy's record. The teacher taking it out on your kid in public bcos you complained (informally) is no way to behave. If he behaves like this with an informal complaint, the only way forward is to make it formal and get the disciplinary process involved. Your son may not be the first person he's done this to.


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Mudcat time: 23 September 2:45 PM EDT

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