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12yr old repeatedly bullied and physically assaulted by students at school

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  • 12yr old repeatedly bullied and physically assaulted by students at school


    I hope you can help me.

    My son in year 8 at school has been bullied by other children since the beginning of year 7. My son has ticks and twitches which he believes makes him the target. All this is being carried out by a number of different students although there are some repeated actions by the same student/group.

    There have been several instances of his things getting stolen or damaged (trousers, shoes, water bottle, phone), and he has been made fun of, sworn at and called unpleasant names (retard). There have been a number of physical incidents. Some were caught on the school's CCTV and the school keep saying they are taking action, but things are escalating and my son is suffering.

    Since school started last month, my son has been physically assaulted and hit several times with wooden poles. Yesterday a child strangled him and put him in a headlock, a teacher tried to stop it but she was pushed and she had to go for help, my son managed to escape from this child. My son has since been sent to A&E by 111 due to pain, hoarseness and shortness of breath but there is no significant damage.

    My son is under the children's mental health care for support with his ticks. They believe this is caused by stress. My son's ticks have been getting significantly worse in the last year. The bullying at school affects him a lot.

    Most of the complaints I have made by email to the school. My son has reported most of the incidents to school staff and all of the significant incidents. The school has a database where staff report all the bullying.

    I NEED this to stop. I cannot take my child out of school or change school as his siblings go to the same school and the education is really good.

    I am at the point where I am reporting the physical assault to the police today. This is the first time I am doing this.

    - I want to request the logs of all incidents involving my child from the school, obviously with any other children's details redacted. How do I go about doing this?
    - I want to request details of how each incident was dealt with by the school to ensure there are appropriate measures taken so my child is safe - (The school has previously said they can't tell me because it's details about another child)

    - What details do I need to give the police and what actions do I need to take?
    I am concerned that any CCTV might be deleted intentionally or accidentally. Can I put the school on notice that they need to keep this? I don't care to have a copy, I do however want the evidence for the police and any authorities or if I take it to court.

    - I am considering taking this to court, what court will it be? Are there specific laws or law firms for this?

    I am grateful for any help, advice and next steps. Thank you so much.

    Tags: None

  • #2
    Has your son's condition been diagnosed as a disability under the Equality Act?

    Does your son have Special Educational Needs [SEN] and if so has this been acknowledged by the school?

    Have you made a formal complaint using the school's Complaints Policy? Usually the first stage of this is a formal complaint to the Headteacher/Principal, and if that is unsuccessful the next stage is a complain to the Governors/Academy Trust. If you have what was the outcome?
    All opinions expressed are based on my personal experience. I am not a lawyer and do not hold any legal qualifications.


    • #3
      Thank you PallasAthena for your comment.

      No, my child is not diagnosed as disabled or with learning difficulties, so does not come under the SEN. The school assessed him last year and also the Children's Mental Health Department NHS does not believe he may be disabled. They believe his ticks are from stress and stress definitely aggravates them and I do agree with this, there has been nothing else that suggests something worse.

      I have complained to the school a number of times in the last calendar year and they either ignore my emails or say they've taken the appropriate measures without providing any details and they just refer me to their anti-bullying policy.

      The school has a reporting system for incidents at school, and I am looking into how to do a SAR to request a copy of all reported incidents involving my son without disclosing any other student's identity or personal information. This will show/or not show the records they made regarding all these incidents. Together will all my emails, this should be enough evidence that this is something serious.

      I have today reported the last 2 incidents of physical violence to the police, hopefully, that may force the school to put a stop to this. The school has CCTV of both of these incidents.

      I have also told the school via email about the state my son is in and as per the doctor's recommendation for his well-being, my son will not return to school until they put a plan in place to keep him safe.

      Do you suggest I do the SAR and complain to the governors at the same time?


      • #4
        Do the SAR first before making the formal complaint, but download a copy of their complaints policy/proedures from the school's website and check the procedure - especially any deadlines you have to meet. If your son's school is a Local Authority Maintained Secondary School make the request both as an SAR under the Data Protection Act and as a request for your son's "Educational Record" under The Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005. The school can charge for the cost of photocopying under those regulations but must let you examine them at the school free of charge. The 'Educational Record' regulations do not apply if the school is an academy.

        If they have ignored your previous emails of complaint then that is an additional complaint in itself.

        You are not entitled to know what sanctions the school applied to other pupils, even with identifying information redacted. Because information about what happened to other pupils isn't information about your son. However, it is reasonable to expect the school to explain in more detail than they have done what action they took following bullying incidents without disclosing anything about individual sanctions.

        Be careful about keeping your son off school unless the doctor has expressly stated in writing that you should not allow your son to attend school until there is a plan in place. If your GP hasn't been that explicit the school/LA could start legal proceedings against you for non-attendance. I am asking about this because in 30 years of involvement with schools I have never seen a GP write that in their professional judgement a child should stop attending school.

        If the bullying you describe is continuing, escalating in fact, then I would question your assessment that "the education is really good".
        Last edited by PallasAthena; 5th October 2023, 15:15:PM.
        All opinions expressed are based on my personal experience. I am not a lawyer and do not hold any legal qualifications.


        • #5
          Look at the policies of the school which must by law be online. Follow them. Complain up to the LEA if all other processes have been followed. This cannot be allowed to go on.


          • #6

            I am updating this thread to help others in a similar situation and to thank you for all your helpful advice.

            I filed 2 incidents of physical assault with the police. One where another year 8 child beat my son with a stick and one where a different year 8 child tried to strangle my son, leaving marks on his neck and making his neck sore for several days. Following the second incident my son has been very scared and having nightmares. He has not been able to wear his tie or do the top button of his shirt as he panics when he feels something around his neck. The GP said to keep him off school for a few days after that incident (and then the school complained about his absence which is another story).

            The police said that unless it comes under GBH, they do not get involved with things that happen at school or carried out outside of school by school children as it is the school's responsibility to deal with these. The officer said he'll call the school to get the names of the perpetrators to keep on file for the police's future reference. However, as the strangulation and damage of personal property was serious, the police did call the school to ask what measures the school was taking following the strangulation and how they would keep my son safe.

            The police phone call and the involvement of CAMHS prompted a very tense meeting with the school. They have now put some measures in place to keep my son safe. There have been no further bullying incidents and we are very grateful.

            After speaking to the ICO we did a Subject Access Request of the records of issues with other children picking on and bullying my son. This was severely lacking in information because the school said they 'deal with things and do not put it on children's records unless it is serious'. This is another reason for us to keep records of everything and make the school aware of every single issue.

            What I have learned and will continue to do:
            1. Get your child to write a note or do a video recording of them describing who did what to them on the day it happened, including the names of the witnesses who were present. Also talk about how this made them feel, e.g. scared, worthless.
            2. Email the school about every single incident and keep track of these emails. If it is in a specific school app, print the emails or screenshots of your emails and their responses.
            3. If the form teacher or the head of year ignores or plays down the situation without investigating and solving it, then go above their heads, much like you would if it was a workplace or a corporation. There is always someone above them. (that's where evidence of previous communications and the record your child kept becomes useful)
            I hope no one ever finds themselves in a similar situation. If you do, make your voice heard, you are advocating for your child, and they deserve to be safe and happy.


            • #7
              I am .pleased there has been progress and thanks for your good advice
              All opinions expressed are based on my personal experience. I am not a lawyer and do not hold any legal qualifications.


              • #8
                I am also happy that things are better. All policies are on each school's website and they tell you who to go to if you are unhappy with the school's response. It is good the police took it seriously and I am happy your son is being protected. Well done.


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