21 May 2016

BULLYING // ELOISES STORY


I will start by saying that my Eloise is the kindest, beautiful most loving child I have ever met. She always has a cheeky little grin on her face and lights up any room she walks into. She is strong, she is fierce, and she is my best friend. I love her so much my heart could burst and watching my beautiful bubbly little girl grow more and more angry and distant over the past 8 months has been one of the worst experiences of my life. Watching her sob at night because she can’t get to sleep because she can hear the bully’s voice tell her to die in her head breaks your heart as a mother.

Over the past 8 months my little girl has been bullied by one particular child. It started with pinching. Eloise would come home from school with pinch marks on her cheeks, arms, hands, legs, fucking nipples and bottom. The girl pinched her so hard it left bruises and scabs where her nails had pierced my little girls skin.
When Eloise started school she was so excited, she would jump and skip about at the thought of school in the morning and it was wonderful. I was so relieved that she loved school because I had always worried she would hate it like I did so I cannot describe how happy it made me to know my baby was loving school. But this didn’t last long. Over time Eloise begun to lose her sparkle, she wouldn’t bounce off the walls at the thought of school the next morning and she stopped asking to go to school at the weekend. Something didn’t feel right. Back on 8th November 2015 I noticed bruises and what looked like a cut on Eloise’s hand and arm. I was used to her getting bruises from falling over or just generally being a 5-year-old but this was different, I asked her how she did it and she went quiet. That was when panic washed over me and I got that lump in the throat, sick feeling. I knew something wasn’t right then, as a mother you just know. She eventually told me the girls name and what she had been doing. I felt awful, I am Eloise’s mother and this had been happening for 2 months without me knowing. This bully had scared Eloise so much that she didn’t tell me for 2 months. Eloise tells me everything.
I didn’t know who the girl was from just the name so I got Eloise to point her out to me the next day and after that we went to her class teacher and told her what had been happening and showed her the photographs. She told us she would keep an eye on the girls and that was that. We were also told that they had had issues before with this bully and that she had been hurting other children in the class and it wasn’t just Eloise. Great, because that totally makes it better.
The very next day Eloise came back with a pinch mark on her cheek and this time we spoke to the deputy head who also ensured us she would keep an eye on things and make sure they are kept apart, etc, etc, etc, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. A couple of days later a pinch mark that broke the skin enough to cause perfect pair of nail mark cuts through her polo shirt on her chest/nipple. Few days after that the bully tried to pinch her again but Eloise said she was “too fast” this time and managed to get out of the strike zone. Eloise seemed so happy and proud that she has been quick enough to avoid being physically attacked and it broke my heart even more. This was after the school were “keeping a very close eye on them”.
A few days later the girl attempted to pinch Eloise again, a few days after that Eloise wasn’t quick enough and she was pinched again. Now I understand that a teacher with 20 odd other children to keep an eye on probably finds it difficult to have eyes on this bully all day every day (although the school kept flitting from “we can’t watch them all day” to “we will make sure we have someone’s eyes on them at all times” to we definitely watch them at all times so it couldn’t have happened” to “we can’t watch them all the time” again. Now I’m pretty sure most people would agree that for the school who had said they were keeping an eye on them at all times missed at least 5 incidents in less than 3 weeks are doing a pretty fucking shit job. My baby was coming home hurt. She was 5 years old at the time. No child should be coming home from school hurt let alone a tiny 5-year-old.
School did pretty much nothing because Eloise was too scared to tell the teachers and so they “couldn’t do anything unless she told a member of staff immediately afterwards”. What a load of fucking bollocks. What sort of attitude is that to have as a school? a pupil is being bullied daily and because they’re too scared to tell them, fuck it? WOW. I understand with children as young as year 1, things do need to be dealt with quite quickly otherwise they’re likely to forget, but this didn’t change the fact my little girl was coming home hurt. We were told to encourage her to tell a member or staff if the girl hurt her. We did.
One day Eloise came home and said that she thought maybe the bully was lonely as she noticed she didn’t have many friends. The next day Eloise went up to this bully and tried to invite her to play a game on the playground with her. Eloise was pushed over in return.
Eventually Eloise managed to tell the teacher which in turn made the bullying worse. We were told they didn’t see it happen so it couldn’t have happened because they had staff watching all the times and the girls were kept apart as per the heads orders.
They were made “talk partners” the week after they were notified of the bullying.
They were sat on the same table in class.
They were in the same swimming group.
They sat on the same table at lunch.
The girl would try and split Eloise up from her friends at play time.
Sounds very fucking apart doesn’t it?
The attempts became almost daily, and the successions close to that. Eloise is a strong, beautiful little thing and tried so, so hard to not let it bother her. She told me she was trying to be brave. She shouldn’t have to be brave. We would spend most evenings re building her confidence to have it smashed the next day. She kept telling the staff until one day she came home and told me she has tried to tell the teacher she had been hurt and the teacher ignored her. So she stopped telling them.
The next day that destroyed me was when she broke down on the way to school. She was sobbing because she didn’t want to go into school because she thought me and Ben weren’t helping stop the bullying. We were doing everything we could, we were going into school most days, phoning them, writing to them near enough every week. We were waiting around for the deputy or the head most days in-between my hospital appointments. We were at the school trying to get them to stop our child being hurt the day after I received steroid injections to mature my unborn baby’s lungs, as the huge list of complications in my pregnancy meant my second child could have been born prematurely. We were there the day I was taken into hospital because my baby wasn’t moving right. I was there even though the SPD meant I could hardly walk. I was there when I was still sore from giving birth and my poor little Eloise thought we were doing nothing because the school were still allowing her to be physically and emotionally abused by the same girl EVERY. SINGLE. FUCKING. DAY.
Same story “we can’t do anything unless Eloise tells us straight after”.
It was implied Eloise was lying. Then I was told that when the bully is questioned as to whether she did x, y or z, she will admit to the things she’s done after so they were goddamn aware that this had happened and was happening. They fucking knew. We went in enough and told the deputy head and the head master. We phoned up enough. We wrote to them enough. They knew. They let it go on for 8 months.
Having your child come home and say she “beed brave” today and didn’t cry when she was hurt by this bully would kill any parent a little inside.
After Christmas Eloise joined an after school club called Krafty Kids, they basically made crafty stuff which is right up Eloise’s street and she was so excited about going. We thought it’d be a nice opportunity for her to do something at school where she could relax and have fun without being in the same class as the bully. WRONG. Eloise couldn’t even eat her snack or sit in a seat without being told by the bully she couldn’t have her snack or couldn’t sit in certain seats.
Come February we took it to the Chair of Governors after an incident when Eloise was pinched on the bottom by this girl. We had previously brought this to the head master attention and he said that a 5-year-old shouldn’t be displaying “sexualised behaviour” and it was “very concerning”. It was decided that the girls would be kept apart at all times so there would be “no opportunity” for it to happen. In a meeting with him and the deputy he assured us this would not happen again. He said and I quote “I will make sure this doesn’t happen again”.
Total pile of bullshit because it happened again. And again. And again. And again. And Again.
So many times we actually lost count.
Eloise managed to start plucking up the courage to tell the teachers again whenever the girl made the “angry face” Eloise described it as which was basically the warning face of “I’m going to pinch you soon” and etc. Eloise told the teachers most times something happened for weeks and for weeks the bullying continued.
The physical bullying reduced but the emotional bullying increased. She would tell Eloise, that one of her best friends was moving away and she would never see her again. She would start a game with Eloise’s friend and tell Eloise she couldn’t play. She would smirk at Eloise when she did this. We witnessed this first hand. The bully would tell Eloise’s friends they couldn’t play with Eloise. The school even told us this.
In one of the 27348563874 meetings we had we were told that they were told by Eloise’s best friend that the bully had told her not to play with Eloise. They knew everything that was happening the entire time. Around this time, she pulled Eloise so hard it ripped the fur collar off her coat (which she adored, she called it her jaguar coat) clean off.
We were contacted by the “Attendance Enforcement Officer” because Eloise’s attendance was low because she was refusing to come in because she was scared and also because they pretty much ignored my letters stating she needs to sit out of PE because she suffers from Hypermobility Syndrome and made her take part or didn’t bother forwarding my letter to the PE teachers and therefore Eloise was made to take part and so she came home in so much pain she would scream herself to sleep. This would result in a sleepless night and hours sitting in the bath because this was the only thing that would make the pain in her knees bearable. We told them this multiple times and never were we given a meeting with the SENCO (not until a week ago after I’d spoken to an organisation that helps with bullying in school, etc and it was suggested that i request one.) This officer even asked me if my “mental state” (postnatal depression) was impacting on my decision not to basically force Eloise to come in on the days where she’s too scared. Mental health stigma at its best. I didn’t send my child to school because she was “scared ___ will pinch her” or “scared ______ will make her die” El’s words not mine. I may have postnatal depression which surprisingly doesn’t cause your brain to fall out of your arsehole. I was protecting my daughter. I would never force her to do anything that caused her harm and school was causing her physical and emotional harm.
At the start of this term the bully told Eloise she was “a little baby” for telling on her. Apparently the bully’s mother had told the bully to say this. What sort of a mother actively encourages their child to bully anyone? Why would you do that? It actually sickens me that there are parents like this.
Just as we had boosted Eloise’s confidence up enough for her to tell the teachers, that was allowed to happen. How, may I ask? Can so many incidents occur when the school is “doing everything they can by watching the girls at all times” and “keeping them apart and all costs”. Either the bully has Bernard’s Watch or the school are liars.
Turns out they are liars. A few weeks ago Eloise was getting dressed after a swimming class and she was told by the bully that if she were to get dressed she would be pinched. Hang on a second, we were told they were to be kept apart. we spoke to the head master for what seemed like the 100th time (probably not all that far off actually) and apparently Eloise’s class is split in 3 groups for swimming, the swimming teacher noticed the girls were in the same class and knew they shouldn’t, under any circumstance, be near each other let alone be swimming together in the same group and told the class teacher who gave little to no fucks and just told him to keep an eye. If that’s not blatant giving of no fucks then I don’t know what is.
He was “embarrassed” and “very cross” that they had been in the changing rooms together. He had no idea they were in the same swimming class. What sort of a head master, despite us going in so much we had the deputy roll her eyes at us during a meeting, would allow this to happen after saying no way would they be near each other. Eloise also told me that the bully splashed water in her eyes all the time while making an angry face at her. Nice. He even apologised on behalf of the deputy as she rolled her eyes and basically made us feel like we were wasting her time in the meeting prior to this conversation. He said maybe she was having a bad day. WOW. I get that dealing with 400+ kids everyday is bound to be stressful and bad days are expected but Im pretty sure a bad day doesn’t warrant rolling your eyes and sighing at worried parents who’s child you are allowing to be abused daily.
After all this Eloise still wanted to invite the bully to her birthday party because she was afraid the bully would feel left out. I admire my amazing daughter for this because after being physically, emotionally and dare I say it, sexually abused by this child, she still cared about her feelings.
Needless to say we didn’t invite her.
What did it was last week, Eloise received a death threat from the same child. “Don’t worry it was nothing physical but today ____ told Eloise to die in a nasty way” WOW. “don’t worry”?! “we let Eloise have a dip in the tin because she told us”. Fucking great you gave my kid a gel pen but wait a minute?! She was threatened, by a 5/6-year-old with death?!?
We wrote to the head immediately and as we had in the past, received a phone call the next morning as he appeared to like to avoid putting anything at all in writing, I said I wouldn’t be sending Eloise back until I was satisfied with what action they were taking in order to ensure Eloise’s safety because as you can imagine, Eloise was scared. He basically said she needs to suck it up and learn to be “resilient”. Hang on a fucking second?! You’re telling me that my 6 year old daughter needs to become resilient to physical harm and fucking death threats?! No. A whole fat lot of no to that. Nobody, especially a 6 year old child should have to be resilient to death threats. Kids pulling faces and friends not wanting to play a certain game or whatever, yes okay but death threats, physical abuse….no. It sickens me that this was even suggested to me. What’s worse is that it was suggested over and over again.
“We are satisfied we are doing everything”. Well I’m glad you’re satisfied because we aren’t. At the end of the day the bullying has escalated so therefore whatever you are doing is not good enough. My child is still being bullied.
Eloise even wrote the head master a letter. it said:
“To Mr _____,
I am sad that _____ is hurting me. I got scared when she said for me to die. Please make her stop.
From Eloise”
…He didn’t reply.
What takes the absolute piss is that the school doesn’t see what Eloise has gone through as bullying past October (which is fucking majorly concerning as we didn’t even know until November what had been happening) but as “a series of isolated incidents”. Fucking major contradiction right there. How can it be a fricking series if it’s an isolated incident?
They have on multiple occasions asked me and Ben not to post about this on social media because it impacts on the school’s reputation.
We, by law can express our views on any public establishment. We can even name the school although I’m pretty sure everyone here knows what school I am talking about. Many people have contacted me in concern. If you did your job properly, if you made sure my child was safe, if you provided the necessary duty of care you are required, by law to provide, if you actually adhere to your safeguarding policy then myself and Ben would have nothing to post about. But no, you allowed our daughter to be abused whilst in your care. You failed her. You are failing the bully by not providing her with the help she needs because no 5-year-old acts like that for no reason. You have failed as a teacher. As a head master. As a school.
It was Eloises first day at her new school today. She came home smiling, she has been skipping with a piece of rainbow tinsel and laughing instead of going to her room and sitting on her bed watching videos on her iPad or getting her toys to pinch each other. She has told me everything she did at school from the nature portrait she made at Forest School to what she ate for dinner and who she played “hide and seek tag” with. Even what flavour juice she had with her lunch. Last week she remembered nothing, I’d ask and she would shout at me that she couldn’t remember. She’s smiling and laughing today and is so happy she doesn’t want to take her uniform off because she wants to go back now. I think thats all the proof anybody needs of just how much suffering my daughter endured at her old school. Heres to a new school and a new chapter and a giant finger to the school that didn’t care.



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