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Ongoing bullying incidents among children

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by grussell1, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. grussell1

    grussell1 New commenter

    I want to pick your brains about an incident (that I felt quite strongly about) that happened in one of my previous schools. I feel the dust has settled now and I want to know how to deal with something like this should it happen again (I am a new teacher so would appreciate the support).

    During my time as class teacher I noticed Child A harassing Child B on a regular basis, for example calling Child B derogatory adjectives, pushing/shoving Child B and moving to another carpet space to sit away from Child B - this behaviour also prompted other children to begin similar behaviour too, but from what I observed Child A was consistently the main ringleader and perpetrator (this was also confirmed by old CTs). Child A has known behaviour issues and has been 'excluded' from school many times, even using profanity with myself. Child A is on a report card due to their overall disruptive behaviour and that is the only form of behaviour support they receive, which I disagree with - Child A needed an additional behaviour support intervention. Each incident that I observed as bullying was dealt with in accordance with the anti-bullying policy and behaviour policy by myself and TA.

    After about two weeks, I brought this up with the HT and concluded that it was bullying, HT quickly refuted and said 'Ooooh! *wags finger* Please check the anti-bullying policy, bullying is sustained and on-going' - I agree 100%, bullying is on-going and childish taunting/teasing is usually less frequent or one-off. I didn't want to argue with HT because HT is very hard to convince but in my mind I felt I didn't really need an anti-bullying policy to define to me what bullying is. I knew this was bullying, from my personal experiences at school when I was a child and generally what I can see as a teacher, it just comes down to a teacher's instinct.

    As Child B gets quieter/sadder as each day passes (it affected me also), I reported yet another series of incidents that I observed (involving Child A harassing Child B) to my HT and HT again refuted, asking me to refer to the anti-bullying policy - HT said I couldn't use the word 'bullying' because I do not have the right to do so and I am not in the position to say if it is or isn't, she also asked me to offer 'solutions' for Child B. I had evidence that the incidents were on-going and sustained by the behaviour logging system the School used. Another one of my HT's solutions was having a 'quick word' with Child A and telling them 'Child A, we respect everyone in the class' - NB we are not allowed to say 'do not do X'.

    Furthermore in the same meeting, HT asked me to speak to another member of the SMT to report 'I believe a child may be at risk of being bullied' (exact words). I did so the next morning, and that member of the SMT refuted it by saying 'please give the child break-time detention', which I felt did not rectify the situation of Child B being bullied. At the end of the day it is my duty to safeguard all children against physical abuse and bullying, it was like I was at a loss.

    I was doing all I could in the classroom to prevent any day-to-day incidents from happening (PSHE, circle time, offering solutions, giving children opportunities to make friends etc.), I contacted Ofsted, EFA, Union, named induction tutor, HR etc. I was going out of my mind because I was trying to prove something that was backed up with evidence but SMT wasn't having any of it. What should I have done in a situation like this? How could I prevent this from happening? I got the impression that my HT knew exactly what was going on but chose to sweep it under the rug, her power trumped mine.

    This was one of the many reasons I resigned.
  2. MacGuyver

    MacGuyver Occasional commenter

    Did you ever contact child b's parents?
  3. grussell1

    grussell1 New commenter

    There was an issue that prevented me from doing that.
  4. MacGuyver

    MacGuyver Occasional commenter

    So you couldn't tell a parent/carer that the child they were responsible for was being bullied? That must have been a big issue alright.
  5. grussell1

    grussell1 New commenter

    Major CP issue - not comfortable with discussing details about it on here. What I am saying is that I felt it was not dealt with by the side of the Academy.
  6. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    All the more reason for the school to take responsibility for sorting out the problem!
  7. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    My first reaction was 'call the parents of the bully' but I can see here it is not an option. And if SLT aren't supportive this leaves you in a difficult place.

    Although it goes against my normal instincts, maybe one of the few routes you have is to work with the child being bullied to increase their assertiveness. Maybe the bullied child telling the bully to stop firmly might stop it. (If this was not 2016 and 1986 some would go further here and say 'hit back' although I am fully aware such advice would be unacceptable in this day and age.)

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