Things were rough from the start, children from two different area's coming together. Emily was studious, intelligent and well spoken. We realised quite quickly that all 3 of these things were an immediate source of ridicule to most of the other kids.
During year 7 she faced verbal taunts on a daily basis and physical violence every few weeks. School seemed to think that a bit of bullying was 'one of those things' They played down events to the point that Emily said there was no point asking for help. She tried to sort things out herself. She tried ignoring things, she tried fighting back. Nothing helped and despite me voicing my own concerns to school, nothing improved.
I talked to her about changing schools, Emily wanted to stay with her friends, she'd tell me it wasn't that bad, that she was ok. But she wasn't and I should have done something sooner.
Moving into year 8 it was obvious that the confident and happy young girl was a definite thing of the past. Instead I had a tearful withdrawn child who found little pleasure in anything. Attempts to ask school for help were pointless. They made us both feel that we were making a fuss over nothing. Bullying continued in the classroom, while teachers pretended not to notice. Pushing, kicking and hitting happened in the corridors. Nasty Facebook and BBM messages outside school. She no longer went out with her friends for fear the bullys would be out and about too.
|Emily getting her feelings on paper|
In January 2012 I couldn't bear to see her so down. I looked into the possibility of moving her to another school. It seemed this was something I was within my rights to ask for. I filled out the forms and we all waited miserably for 2 weeks waiting for a response. Emily could see light at the end of the tunnel, although the thought of leaving her few good friends upset her, she anxiously waited to see if she could move.
Sadly, the year was full. I filled out an appeal form and was told this would take a further 6 weeks. Emily was devestated. We felt in limbo. She didn't want to go to school, but I didn't want her attendance or education to suffer. Ridiculous really, under those conditions how much can you really learn??
Then the final straw arrived. On 2 consecutive days year 11 boys assaulted her, the first day she was pushed and kicked for no apparent reason. The following day a different year 11 boy pushed her and hit her in the face.
|Creative writing after the event - Emily|
Schools response? "Well if she didn't know who they were, then it wasn't personal" What can you say to that? Within 2 days I looked into Home Schooling and made the decision that regardless of the appeal outcome, she wasn't returning to that school.