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)