02-24-2017 11:07 AM - edited 02-24-2017 11:10 AM
We had an amazing talk on last Friday when the incredible Rubymay was generous enough to answer questions for an hour.
I want to especially thank @Greencheckers @Murgatroyd @Dani_ and @Maggiemay not just for their great questions but also how supportive they were of our special guest. Rubymay told me afterwards that she had an amzing time and would happily come back.
You can read the thread here, It's worth it. Lot's of great suggestions!
I wanted to focus on something @Maggiemay shared with us
"My daughter left her high school this year (end of year 10) and enrolled in TAFE. The positive changes we are seeing in her is truly amazing in just a few short weeks of her moving from a toxic environment and relationships. She has a new found love for learning and I can see her confidence growing."
First I'd like to acknowledge MaggieMay for her incredible efforts and say how wonderful it is that the move was a success for her daughter. Well done!
Maggiemay's outcome inspired me to haqve the discussion about, when is it time to go. The belief that uninterrupted schooling is the ideal has been aorund for a long time. Combined with the view that it's traumatic for young people to go through a big change. New school, new friends, new teachers etc. And both are true, to a degree.
But where's the line? How do you decide when it's time to remove your teenager and give them a fresh start?
@Maggiemay would you share with us how you arrived at that decision?
02-24-2017 12:41 PM
@Ngaio-RO The end of last year was a particularly difficult time for my daughter. Her physical and mental health really took a downward spiral. She was missing a lot of school and even though we requested work to be sent home it was not given. She would go back to school and received consequences for not having assignments done or she was not prepared for assessments. All this just added to her low self worth. My daughter decided that she wasn't going back to school.
Thats when the discussions started about what she was going to do. We sat down and made lists of what she liked, what she thought she might want to do as a job, would there be benefits of changing schools. We attended TAFE open days and she read all of the information and decided that TAFE was something she wanted to do.
School doesn't fit everyone and there are lots of different paths that can be taken to be successful in life. She is finding her way in the TAFe environment and has been lucky enough to meet some really nice girls. They have formed their own study group and help and support each other. My daughter is experiencing success at an educational and social level for the first time in years. It is still early days and she has a way to go for her to know her own self worth. As a family we are there to support her along the way and will continue to do so.
02-24-2017 11:52 PM - last edited on 02-25-2017 10:11 AM by Bree-RO
This topic is so close to my heart sometimes it's hard to talk about. The wounds still have not healed.
I have needed to remove my children from a total of 4 schools due to bullying.
School 1 was in a small country town in the Mid North Coast, my children were in this school for only 2 years. The the time my Daughter was in my year 5, Son #1 in yr 3 and son #2 in yr 2. My daughter was intimidated and teased daily, she would come home crying and refuse to go to school, one day thumb tacks were put on her seat and she sat on them, my son was physically abused by 11 children in a group, he was also bullied by teachers, youngest at the time, was not doing to bad actually, however when he first started at the school he was held down by a group of kids (mind u he was only on kindy then). No joke, it was getting to the point I was losing my children and my sanity. The teachers were over worked in this school. 90% had been there, for their whole teaching career, and were retiring one by one, term by term, including the Principal. (He's another story in itself) By pure chance I was given the opportunity to enrol them in a Christian private school and the school fees were subsidised dramatically because I was in carers payment. So for the next two years we were happy, healthy and learned to be a family again.
Then we came back to Sydney. They were terrified of the thought of going to a Govt school but I could not afford a private school here, no subsidy in the city 😬. They didn't accept Son #2 either due to his diagnosis of ADHD/ODD either. Even though due to his old school he was the best he'd ever been. Term one 2014, my daughter went to Govt High school which was great, the boys went to a Catholic School primary lasted 7 wks, the children of the school weren't the issue it was the teachers. Only option left was a local rural type Govt school, it was like they were back in the Mid North Coast, I watched a group of kids physically abuse him near a fence. They were 3 siblings from a dysfunctional family who didn't like the new kid. That was only the start. For 6 months I was called to the school mainly for #2. He was angry, lost, beaten, harassed even when he was at home. Again I went to the dept, wrote numerous letters, and I had to change schools again. BTW it was still only October 2014. So in 12 months we were up to school number 3. One boy in year 6 and one in year4. Back to another catholic school which was wonderful.
In 2015 #2 hit high school. The school where my DD was, was now considered out if our area, and would not accept him. The high school for our area was the worst known, the new one was not built. So, the only choice we had was the Catholic one. For the first term it was great, once the honeymoon period was over and the kids realised my son was different it was on. He was once again the picked on kid. Constantly in fights, refusing to listen, refusing to go to school, all he had going for him was his incredible talent to play the drums. Sadly I thought it was him being defiant and acting out. In April last year, (2016) my DD decided to change schools, purely BC the catholic school offered a program with the local TAFE on year 10. After 3 months she informed me she had made a mistake. She witness her younger brother be bullied, bashed, insulted almost everyday. No one knew who she was, one day she stepped in and pushed a group of kids off him. It worked until they found out she was his sister. In and amongst all this, there were many emails back and forth from the school. They blamed my son. The profanity, sexual harassment, disgusting insults and physical abuse took its toll by term 4. #3 went there for his yr7 orientation (Monday). He saw #2 minding his own business eating his lunch, out of nowhere a group of boys walked up behind him, and hit him, his lunch fell out of his mouth, the food fell out of his hand, the boys laughed and walked off. #2 cleaned himself off and walked away. #3 watched in disgust but could get to his big brother to help him. That afternoon he told me #2 was not making up the bullying stories it was real!!! A day later, #2 was to do a detention for defending himself. I refused to let him go so I was called the principal's office. (Friday) I showed him photos of the rotten food thrown into my daughters hair on on her clothing more than once while on the school bus, I could go on forever trust me, I repeated to him the disgusting words from his students, he asked me to stop and choose wiser words. I stared at him with disgust, then principal gave me an ultimatum that I let him do the detention or find another school. Well I found a new school. I am now financially stretched but all children are in a private and safe environment. So far so good. They have been there since November, and loving it. #3 is now in high school so they are together. #2 has his guard up. He's very fragile.
But he's no longer suicidal.
He is smiling
No depression for 4 months
HE WANTS TO GO TO SCHOOL!!!
Sorry this has been so long, but once I start I can't stop.
LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN! Watch them, get to know them. Go with your gut. If they don't want to go to school, the the reason is not because it's boring then something is going on. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE , report the bullying. So many people keep it to themselves or "just wait it out". Its not going to go away. Anymore than 6 months change schools. If things don't change within 6 months, it's not going to. Most importantly keep the communication open with your kids. Be there advocate. If they feel everyone at school is against them, they need you. Don't make the mistake I made. I seriously thought my kid was the problem. Many schools cannot cope with bullying. So they turn a blind eye. It's too hard or too big for them.
I think I better stop now. If you want to ask me questions or want to know more please let me know. This is a very censored story.
02-25-2017 10:13 AM
HI @seaglecc thanks so much for sharing this story, it will prove a great asset for other members. Immensely sorry about all you had to go through when dealing with the terrible bullying your children endured.
I needed to edit this post due to community guidelines [click here] and will follow up with an email shortly
03-15-2017 01:25 PM
I'm so sorry @seaglecc ! I was so sure I wrote a response to this!!
I guess I was so moved by your story I replied in my mind and forgot to type it out!
Your story is so incredibly heart breaking. I completely understand how you felt you were losing your mind.
We are required by law to send our kids to school, and everything around us tells uis that school is where they are supposed to be. People still refer to them as "the best years of your life" (although that seems to be dying out) and both parents and kids get in trouble of they don't go. So when it's the source of trauma for them. When sending them feels like you're sending them back to the lion's den, over and over. It's crazy making.
There's so much about this type of systemic bullying I don't understand. Where are the teachers and school staff?re are the parents of the other kids? Not even the kids doing the bullying, but the parents in general. Why isn't there more of a support network for families like yours? You give lots of context which all seems to poiint to systems that fail their vulnerable participants on every level. Not enough choice of schools, not enough money for families who need support for school fees, not enough support for families with entrenched dysfunction that are creating hurt children who hurt children. Not enough programs in schools to support kids effectively. I could go on.
I'm so thrilled things are better. I'm sure it's rough financially but I'm so glad your sons and daughter are showing genuine signs of healing. You sound like such an amazing mum, and family. Your committment to your kids is really moving. So much so, I'm wondering if you've ever considered looking at ways of getting help for the fees? Crowdfunding is a great way for people who have something to give, to be connected with real people who need support. You might find there's quite a number of people out there who would love to see your son stay where he is and would like to help you do that. Have you ever considered that idea?
04-07-2017 12:20 AM
@seaglecc I am sorry that you and yours had to go through all that mess, it woul have been , well i cannot imagine how any of you felt. I am wondering now if things are better.
I admired your sharing of your story, taking the time to say how it is, helps share the message that it is a whole community issue at play not one family issue.
Just loved your last paragraph. Awesome
with kindness and love x