Saturday, November 07, 2009

Baptism of Fire

It saddened me greatly to read Tanya's posting the other day about bullying.
The whole concept that people of any age can be so slyly cruel to another is sickening.
The post came at a particularly poignant and pertinent time for me because this week has shown the worst and best of human nature.
The worst has come out in a girl who went to primary school with Louise two years ago and often made her life less than happy probably we think because of jealousy.
This girl, when she found out that Lou was transferring to her secondary school this week, organised the worst kind of welcoming committee for her.
Through the internet and word of mouth she convinced her friends, a group of undesirables at the school, that Louise had been trying to steal one of their boyfriends (all of them aged 12/13 - I ask you?)
She then sat back and slyly watched her carefully orchestrated scenario unfold at a distance with Louise as the unwitting victim
By the end of her first day Louise had endured them all levelling nasty accusations in stage whispers in two of her lessons and finally they tackled her off the premises when she was waiting for me to collect her at the end of the day
Her second day carried on in the same vein culminating with a session in the changing rooms for a PE lesson where Louise finally broke down in tears and rushed out of the room to get help
We should be thankful that all this was only verbal not physical abuse but nevertheless totally unnerving and very upsetting
At the end of the first day I had sent an email to her form teacher to make her aware of the situation - many years ago Sarah suffered at the hands of some of her peers just before she transferred to secondary school - not wanting to exascerbate the situation we adopted a 'suck it and see' tactic which turned out to be the wrong one and as a result I have always since stepped in at the first sign of trouble to endeavour to get things nipped in the bud
Fortunately, because of my job, I have access to the County Global email address list and could pen this missive promptly - other parents don't have that sort of access and would have had to resort to ringing the school and waiting call backs which would have further delayed the onset of any solution
Coincidentally Louise went to her teacher for help just after she had opened my email and the school sprang into action to sort out the situation
As you can imaging Louise had been even more nervous about going into school on the second day and I was like a cat on hot bricks all day
At 2.30pm I received a call from the school - they wanted me to go into school at the end of the day to talk to her Head of Year
To give credit to the school they were mortified that this had happened and massively apologetic
Mrs Matthews had sat patiently with Louise going through all the Year 8 pupils' photographs on the school management system so she could identify the girls, all of whom she'd only met the day before and of whose names she had no idea
We came to the conclusion that Louise had been a victim of cyber-bullying and the school would do all in their power to sort it out
Yesterday I had another call from Mrs Matthew's PA reassuring me that they knew which girls were involved include the back-room conductor of the band and they would be dealt with.
She also told me that she was amazed at how mature our 12 year old blonde baby had been in dealing with the situation by both keeping her composure under fire and also having the courage to contact a virtually unknown adult in a new environment to ask for help. They have identified a place of safety for her to go to if she ever feels exposed and she added that Louise was a real credit to her parents in being able to handle the situation in such a composed manner so I guess you could say the best of human nature has manifested itself in her
At least now the school are aware of the situation and dealing with it, and should it continue, sanctions will be set for these girls to hopefully avoid any recurrence
On the better side of human nature two girls in her class that she has befriended have been massively supportive and done their best to help her settle in
Of course the most ridiculous thing about the whole situation, if anything can make you raise a smile about such things, is that because these girls had jumped in with both feet immediately on Louise's arrival they couldn't even try to shift any of the blame for bad feeling onto her
Cleverer girls would have bided their time and then started trouble a few weeks later being careful to blame Louise for any animosity - nasty and not bright - not a good combination
Instead they were hoisted with their own petard
Things can only get better (please)

28 comments:

Gina said...

Poor Louise.

Gemma was mentally and physically bullied for the first 12 months in her new Secondary school. The school refused to acknowledge that it was going on. It was only after I went to the Education Authority, newspapers and Police that something was done. The reason they ddidn't wantto acknowledge it was because the ringleader was the daughter of one of the Governors.
I'm glad that your school is more pro active.

Love and hugs Gina xxx

marigold jam said...

Oh Anne - how I do feel for you and indeed for Louise. Children (well adolescents in this case) can be so very cruel can't they? Nobody ever tells us of the problems and heartache we will go through when we have our dear little pink bundles (just thought is it pC to speak of pink bundles when some of you may have bundles of differing colours?!) do they? I do hope that things will settle down for Louise and thus for you too. Someone once told me that "a mother can only ever be as happy as her unhappiest child" - so true eh?!

Bon courage and we are all supporting you I know out here in Blogland.

Jane x

Chookyblue...... said...

lets hope your on top of it........chin up Louise.........hope the days improved dramatically ........

Cascade Lily said...

Oh Anne. Poor Louise! After making the brave decision to go to a new school she gets this! Good thing she's got such supportive parents who know what to do. How wonderful to have such an amazing daughter who can withstand such dreadful treatment. She will go on to great things!

alice c said...

Bullying comes in different shapes and sizes and can occur at later stages in life. Although it has been a traumatic experience for Louise and for you the positive message that she has coped and faced down the bullies will be something that she can take into adult life. It also means that Sarah's experience had a positive outcome and that is something that Sarah can set against the unhappy memories.

All the same - I wish for all of you that Louise had not had to discover this inner strength just as she was changing schools.

Andrea said...

I'm horrified and so angry on your behalf. Well done to you and Louise for handling it so well. Things can only get better I'm sure.

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

Oh, how horrible! I can't imagine the pain of going through this, either as the student OR the parent! That school administration sounds excellent.

sewkalico said...

Just awful! I could weep for you just having to go through any of this! What a ridiculous thing for poor Louise to have to endure. Hope it all settles soon!!!

Doodlebug Gail said...

Anne, I am so sorry (and really angry!) to read this - how absolutely horrid for Louise. It is good to read that the teachers were able to get involved quickly and that those at fault were dealt with. Hugs for you and for Louise as well.

Amanda said...

We will never be able to stop bullies from trying to bully I fear, but we can teach our children how to deal with it, and schools can develop effective pro-active policies. I'm so sorry to hear what a difficult start Louise had at her new school but incredibly heartened to hear how the school is dealing with it, and impressed with the mature way she coped. I imagine that you're possibly the worst affected, and just want to scoop her up and keep her with you.

katelnorth said...

Oh Anne... My Sarah has been so lucky with her secondary school transfer but I can imagine just what Louise's situation must have been like as there is a boy from Sarah's primary school there who is just the type to try this sort of nonsense... Well done the school for being so prompt at sorting it all out and for being so supportive. Well done Louise for being so mature and sensible and brave. She should be really really proud of herself. And fingers crossed there will be no more of it!

Libby said...

Girls are just the worst when it comes to things like this. Let's hope that everything has been nipped in the bud. It's easy to look at that sweet little face of your precious girl to know that she deserves only the best in friendships. Hugs to you all *s*

G'G'ma said...

My heart goes out to Louise. How brave to even enter the school building the second day! Seeking help right away was the good way to go. I'm sure the word will soon be out on how those girls tried to treat Louise. There are many students who will see through the meaness of those girls. Louise...soon your phone will be ringing off the hook by your new friends....wanting to make some fun plans for the day off. You are brave and soon this will be an ugly memory to forget. Hugs.

Nancy said...

Kudos to Louise for being so strong and pro-active through this nasty experience. And to you as well. I have never understood how some seem to enjoy making others unhappy or uncomfortable. I think it's one of mankind's worst traits. Hope things even out soon, and I'm glad to hear she's making some good friends.

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Why oh why do kids have to be so cruel! I hope things get better from here on end and that the girls that did support Louise become great friends. Well done to Louise for seeking out help rather than keeping quiet (as most would) and well done to you for springing into action and nipping this in the bud.

Kandy Newton said...

My heart goes out to both of you. Well done to Louise for being so mature and also brave enough to step foot back in the school, she does you credit Anne. Also good on the school for handling the situation so quickly (I think they are much better about this sort of thing nowadays). I'm sure it will settle down now and you can all get on with your busy lives.

Kim said...

I am sorry to hear that this trouble has come to your doorstep. Will bullies of all ages ever learn to be kind to others? Please tell Louise that I think she is a very brave and intelligent young lady. She will go far in this world, these hard times are lessons that will ultimately serve her well. I wonder how the bullies will benefit from this situation...will they only learn to be sneakier? Good parenting here. Hang in there!

AnnieO said...

Girls can be very vicious and cause pain in ways that are lasting. I'm proud of your dear Louise in being able to ask for help--that's huge--and even more for quick action to be taken. I was a victim in primary school but never told my mom about most of it, just kept it all under wraps. Recently someone contacted me on a social networking site to be my friend, saying "remember me?". Yes, I did remember her--as being the sidekick of a tormentor of mine from primary school who on the first day of algebra in secondary school searched around the classroom for someone to put down and bully. I was able to fend this off by pretending I didn't remember the incident she was bringing up and she left me alone after that. I did not accept her friend request but quickly deleted it. Old wounds still hurt.

julieQ said...

You know, I am so glad you got involved. Those malicious text and e-mails are horrible. Poor baby! And at 12 years old, mind you!!

Meggie said...

I am so glad it seems to have been dealt with so well. You may have read of a sad case here in NSW where a young boy took his own life, as a result of bullying. It seems to be a worldwide problem, and with the cyber world so readily available, it is harder to control.
Best wishes to Louise. What a pretty girl she is!

Nines said...

What a darling she is. Why are some children so cruel? I just don't get it...

sewprimitive karen said...

And just look at your little angel. I certainly hope they have dealt with that wicked little ringleader.

kwilta said...

As though transferring Schools isnt traumatising enough but to be harassed with 'mindless creeps' is horrendous. She does sound mature enough to deal with it all especially now that the powers that be are aware of it all. I wish Louise every success.
Irene V.

Shasta said...

How awful to have to go through this - both for you and for Louise. I hope it passes quickly, although I have to say when my daughter was in middle school, I just looked so forward to middle school being over.

French Knots said...

Bullying is awful to experience and as a parent to send your child off worrying about what might happen is torture. Well done to the school for acting quickly but also to Louise for being so mature and brave.

Michelle said...

Oh love, there's nothing worse than seeing your children unhappy, it tears at your soul, and I know what it is to be bullied being an offcumden as a kid. Weel done, you and louise for stepping on it so quickly. I hope Louise is secure in the certainty that she is a better person than they are and that is why they have singled her out for this treatment.
Love, hugs and hot chocolate to you both!! : )

Tanya said...

I read with great interest how the school and you dealt with the bullying that Louise suffered. I will share your post with my friend who wrote on my blog the other day. Obviously of the two countries, England knows what to do in such situations. Japan is still in denial and always takes the "wait and see" attitude.
I was even a bit annoyed with my friend who asked me to remove the post from my blog because she was afraid that there would be repercussions to the girls if they found their story on the Internet. PLEASE! They can't read that much English or even know that I am alive! All this tiptoeing around an issue is just another way to hide your head in the sand!

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