WARNING: This post is edgy. On purpose. I’m making no friends saying what I say below. But right, wrong, or indifferent, it’s stuff that I feel needs to be said.
“You’re in a fight.”
Not my words.
I was chatting to a friend who I’ve known a long, long time.
I was gobsmacked. Because he is not aggressive.
In fact, he is an extraordinary influencer. Powerful, elegant and restrained.
I’d been talking with him about our family’s experience with school bullying, and how frustrating and worrying it had been.
He cut through what I was saying.
“You’re in a fight.”
“Yes, I know”, I told him. “Chris (names have been changed to protect identities) has been kicking, shoving, name-calling, punching, and now strangling my son!”
He said, “I’m not talking about the child, he’s not your problem. You’re in a fight. And you’re in a fight with the school.”
“No, I’m not! I like the Principal, really like her, and the Assistant Principal. I’ve met with them and had really great meetings about the bullying. They’re great people.”
He sat opposite me and got really relaxed, the way he does when he coaches people.
“What result do you want to get?”
That was easy, I explained to him. I wanted the bullying to stop.
“And how is that going?”
I paused. The bullying was daily, physical and emotional. My handsome sweet boy was being told he was ugly and looked like a frog and was beginning to believe it. He’d had a stick held up to his eye in class. This boy had brought a knife to school. It was frightening, and it was escalating.
“And the school knows?”
Yes, they did.
“So, help me out here. Are you sitting in the classroom during the day?”
No, I wasn’t. I opened the front door and waved the boys off to school and went about my day.
“Do you have a drone where you can see what is happening, and use a loudspeaker to draw attention?”
No, I didn’t have a drone, although it sounded a very attractive idea. Probably constrained by privacy laws …
“Are you supervising the corridors between classes, or the playgrounds at lunch-time?”
Nope. I was helping organisations like Army and Navy prepare corporate plans. I was developing performance indicators for programs working with vulnerable kids. I was conducting evaluations of innovative programs to see how they could scale. I was a parent, with a whole other life at work.
I wasn’t in the playground, corridor or the classroom during the day.
“So, who is?”
Well clearly, it was the teachers and the school leaders.
“So, they are in charge of the school?”
Yes, they certainly are in charge of the school.
“And they know about the bullying?”
I explained all the ways they knew about the bullying, from the talks at the front gate, to the meetings I had arranged, to the calls to the school office.
“So, the school leaders and staff are there in the school, all day, they are present in the classroom, they supervise the corridors and they supervise the playgrounds. They know about the bullying, and they are letting it continue.”
“You’re in a fight. With the school leaders.”
“The only question is, do you want to win?”
I didn’t want to be in a fight, but what he said made sense. I felt unenthusiastic though – I liked the Principal, although I knew she was heading off on leave. I also liked the Assistant Principal who had taught my son in Year 2.
“What kind of school experience does your son deserve?”
A great one, he is a beautiful boy and treats everybody well. He deserves that same experience back.
“And what kind of experience is he getting?”
Horrible, frightening, cr*p, day after day.
“And is that OK with you?”
No, it wasn’t ok. NOT AT ALL.
“So, the question becomes, what kind of parent do you want to be? Are you going to tolerate what is happening to your child, are you going to complain to me about it, or are you going to step forward and stop it?”
He knew me. I’ve always been the step forward person, from when I was at school myself.
“So, you’re in a fight. You want to win. Your son needs you to win.”
“I want you to listen very carefully. I’m going to tell you the secret to winning the fight, when you’re not there during the day, and you like and respect the leaders who are there. And this will work even if the leaders change and you get someone awful instead.”
To be continued …
P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you stop school bullies:
1. Grab a free copy of my guide
It’s the roadmap to understanding and side-stepping the traps set by schools that prevent you keeping your child safe at school. — Click Here
2. Join our free webinar
Fast paced, free online “crash course’ training. Now you can escape endless waste of time school meetings, stop the bullying of your child, and get your life back. — Click Here
3. Join our Implementation Program and connect with parents who are also stopping the bullying of their child
I’m putting together a new implementation program – working personally with parents to stop the bullying of their child. If you’d like to work with me to get this problem fixed … — Click Here