Unsafe at school?

My daughter feels unsafe at school.

Regular readers will know that I share my thoughts and feelings on here.  Today I want to just present some facts to see what you think about a situation we are facing as a family.

We moved areas towards the end of April to a county about 200 miles from home so that my husband could take up a new job following redundancy.

We enrolled my daughter in the local school.  At first I thought she liked it as she skipped out with a smile on her face in the afternoon.

There was an incident where she said something truly awful to another girl.  She was disciplined both at school and at home.

She now reports that she does not want to go to school at all because she feels unsafe.

When I question her, she says she feels unsafe with some children and some adults.  She says the other girls tease her about her accent and her hair.

She feels she was forced to lie and say she had done something that she had not done because she was told that the girls who reported her were “trustworthy” by the teacher.  She tells me she knows that the teachers will always believe others over her.

We went in last week  when it became clear just how unhappy my daughter is at school.

We reported our concerns to reception and a teaching assistant came down and suggested she take our daughter to class.  We insisted on a discussion then and there.  She tried to have that conversation in the corridor so I asked to go somewhere private and we were taken to a room. We were told our daughter’s teacher was not available to see us as she was on playground duty. We were told our daughter is about the 5th new person to join the class and it is so close to the end of the school year.  We were told that the other pupils in the class were “trustworthy” and that my daughter had lashed out verbally at some of them.

I reported seeing an incident of teasing of my daughter myself as we arrived at the school and I was not asked for any details.

I emailed after this meeting asking for an appointment with my daughter’s teacher.   I again mentioned the teasing incident I had seen.  The appointment took place last night.  The teacher asked my daughter to describe her experience to date at the school.  My daughter shook and played with her hands saying little apart from some system changes that are different from at her other school.  The teacher said my daughter’s work is good and she has no problems with it.  The teacher said my daughter needs to improve her handwriting.

The teacher raised the incident of her saying something awful.  She told her she will just have to braver and make a friend or two.  She said my daughter had not raised an issue with her about teasing and added that the other girls in my daughter’s class were “nice”  I again said I had seen an incident of teasing of my daughter and again I was asked no questions about this.  In fact, very quickly she closed the conversation down saying she had another appointment.

I have asked the school for any suggested tools for moving the situation forward.  So far they have come up with that my daughter should have a good Summer break and then should come back and make some friends.

My daughter feels unsafe at school.

I would really welcome your thoughts on this one.

 

 

 

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    7 Comments

    1. Jeannette @autismmumma July 22, 2014 / 11:36 am

      How frustrating that the school are just not listening to you, we have experienced that this year and are very grateful that T is moving on.
      My instinct would be to move her, but I don’t know if there are alternatives and if you have three at three different schools, it’s not going to be easy for you.
      Yes, there is a six week break but if she’s feeling unsafe and not listened to now by school, that isn’t going to change.
      Speak to Parent Partnership, they are always willing to help and see what they suggest. If there is no scope to move, they should work with the school and you to get a resolution.
      The important person in this is your daughter and her safe-guarding, until she feels safe and secure there, she isn’t going to be happy.
      Good luck x

    2. Ojo Henley July 22, 2014 / 12:01 pm

      I don’t have advice, other than to go to the governing bodies. I have shared though, I hope someone can help, and that the 6 weeks off resolves some of this xx
      Ojo Henley recently posted…My Sunday Photo 20/07My Profile

    3. Lisa Wilkinson July 22, 2014 / 12:03 pm

      I feel so sorry for your daughter. It must be awful not to feel safe at school and the school don’t seem to be handling it well at all.

      One thing I thought was could you ask her if there are any other children she thinks are nice and then you could maybe try to contact their mums and organise a play date so that she could develop friendships over the summer holidays so doesn’t feel as bad when she has to go back.

    4. Stephs Two Girls July 22, 2014 / 12:29 pm

      I definitely wouldn’t leave it – even if you feel as if you are making a nuisance of yourselves, you deserve to be listened to and for them to help you find a solution. Not sure if the ‘unsafe’ bit is physically or emotionally, but either way is not good. Sadly teachers don’t always see everything that is going on and so you need to keep escalating the issue if necessary – new teacher in September though, they may listen more? Fresh start and all that? Hope you manage to relax and enjoy the holidays, then ‘regroup’ to go back in with the facts again xx
      Stephs Two Girls recently posted…My School Days. Brilliant, but Different.My Profile

    5. Izzie Anderton July 22, 2014 / 1:39 pm

      Sorry to hear that your daughter isn’t settling down and there have been problems. I volunteer as a mentor for a local charity working in schools and listen one-to-one to students who are having issues. This would be my advice: as you have the whole summer ahead of you, work on boosting your daughter’s confidence, encourage her to make friends and spend lots of time in their company. It’s going to be hard to tackle anything at school as they’ve now broken up for the holidays. In September, she may have a new form tutor, the classes could have been mixed up and hopefully this will make for a positive new start. If you’re still not happy, record details of what’s happening and make an appointment to see the form tutor, followed by the head if the situation isn’t resolved. Good luck!
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    6. Amanda July 22, 2014 / 4:43 pm

      What an awful situation for you.
      The school really should be finding out why your daughter feels unsafe, how can they expect her to settle and make friends if she doesn’t feel safe!
      I’m afraid I don’t really have any rea advice, but I wouldn’t drop the matter, come September I’d insist on a more formal meeting. Refuse to leave until they stop spouting on about how trustworthy the other girls are and addressing the issues your daughter is facing.
      I hope you are both able to enjoy summer break x
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    7. Carol July 24, 2014 / 1:17 pm

      Hi Kate

      I would not let this drop either. Certainly make an appointment to see the new teacher and explain how thing were in the other class and ask them to keep an eye on your daughter. If things do not settle down then speak to the head and then the chair of governors and if all this fails change schools. Good luck with what ever you decide and have lots of fun during the holidays
      Carolx
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