I've been well in myself, but we've had a few incidents at school with Thomas which have taken up our time emotionally and mentally and which have left me feeling angry, upset and drained.
There's been an incident at swimming lessons, a playtime incident where a skipping rope was put around his neck and he was dragged to the floor and a lunchtime incident which resulted in the child involved receiving dinner time exclusions - but only at our insistence.
Last Monday, Thomas was happily playing with his friend when a child in his class came up to him and started kicking him. After Thomas asked the dinner lady for help who told the child to stop kicking, as soon as she walked away, he started kicking Thomas again. It was only when Thomas got home that we found out about this. No letter, no phone call, nothing from school even though the dinner lady had intervened and Thomas told his class teacher.
So, we asked for a meeting, although only Mark went, (after listening to Thomas crying all night and being frightened to go back to school, I was too upset and angry to go). Mark's an ex-Governor and the school's leadership is very weak. At the meeting they were at great pains to use the word 'game' and 'bullying'. A bullying accusation is great for a school. They have loads of policies, procedures, processes, clubs and support for children who are bullied. And it's a word parents and teachers alike are quick to use. It is actually a great get-out clause for them.
However, I've worked in school and Mark knows his stuff and we weren't going down the bullying route. Mark quoted their behaviour policy to them and had them tied up in knots within 10 minutes. This wasn't a game and it wasn't bullying, it was an unprovoked attack. So we Hit Them Hard and went for Assault. They couldn't do anything but agree and the punishment went from a paltry 10 minutes lost play to dinnertime exclusion.
They even had the cheek to ask Mark what he thought should be in the policy!
So, it's not been a good start to the school year for Thomas or us. All incidents were by different children so it's not just one child focusing on Thomas. Unfortunately, he just seems to have been on the receiving end of other pupil's bad behaviour.
He's still a popular boy, (although I don't think we're popular parents anymore), and has a small but close group of friends, both boys and girls, which is good to know.
Hopefully no-one who reads this will come across this type of behaviour towards their child, but honestly, if you ever do, think before you accuse of bullying. It's such an easy get out clause for schools. Hit them hard instead, look at their behaviour policy and go for assault. You'll see the panic in their faces.
Hopefully we've sent a message to school and to the child and things might settle down now. But who knows?