The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
the shadow of the playground bully
Categories: blogging mums


This is one of the most poignant photos I’ve ever captured of Miniminx and it makes me want to cry just looking at it. Sadly, for the last few days, this is the face I have seen at home. She has been acting out of character and then I asked her on Tuesday before bedtime, if everything was alright, if everything at school was okay? She started shaking in her chair. Her small pink face brimmed with tears.

‘No Mummy, it’s not.’

Then out it all came, the torrent of tears, the heaving chest, the angst she had been bottling up for days, weeks, months even.

She’s been bullied at school. By two girls. That day they had taunted her throughout the lunch hour and she was distraught. Apparently there was some name calling last term which she had dealt with but this was worse.

It’s not the first time we’ve had to deal with this. It has happened before and at the time we were living in East London.

She was at a terrible school that would not address the bullying, so it just got worse and more vicious. We’re not talking hair pulling and the odd name here. She had a skipping rope thrown at her face, scissors, sequins in the eyes and would regularly come home with tiny pinch marks from a girl that would sit next to her in class and nip at her through the day.

As the only white kid in the school, apparently it would appear racist of us to complain. The head teacher did nothing. It was as if we were in some kind of vacuum, screaming silently and caught in a void. I’d applied to other schools and was on a waiting list. I’d gone to school and begged them to do something.

It got so bad that I even said to the class teacher;
‘If you do nothing – do I just have to keep her home?’
‘No you can’t do that.’
‘If you do nothing – do I have to teach her to answer back and fight?’
‘No, she needs to tell the teacher.’
‘But why aren’t you doing anything – why is this child allowed to behave this way. When is this going to stop?’

It got worse after the 7/7 bombing. And on the 21/7 the Number 26 bus stopped outside her school. I still dread to think what might have happened had the bomb exploded. The school was cordoned off, I couldn’t even get her home to safety. It’s the worst feeling in the world to feel so powerless.

The bullying got even worse after that, she was told by other children she would die because we were not of the same religion and their god would get her.

I continued with more complaints to the school, and more begging the other school to take her on.

One day, I got a call at work from the headmistress.
‘I’m sorry to tell you, your daughter is distressed. She has had a pair of scissors thrown at her.’
‘What?! By who.’
‘The same girl.’
‘What??!! What are you going to do about this now. It’s gone too far.’
My phone was blinking with another call – it was a number I didn’t recognise.
‘Sorry about the noise, it’s another call coming through. Aah, phew, it’s stopped. I have to come in and see you.’
In a strange twist of fate, it turned out to be the other school. I called them back and they had a place. She could start in nine days.
I thought things would be forgotten with a new start. In fact, shortly after, we ended up moving across the other side of town and finding sanctuary in a really great school.

But bullies are everywhere aren’t they?

It’s been a week of biting my lip as my daughter plays out her upset and hurt. She’s justifiably angry and hurt.
She’s angry I’ve told the school because she didn’t want to speak up.
She’s screamed at me for ‘telling’.
But she knows this has to stop.

I’ve had to explain to her over and over again that it will be all sorted out and we’re doing the right thing.
The teachers have talked with her and listened.
They have said the girls will be friends again and can get over this. The perpretator has been in tears herself apparently, and hopefully a lesson is learned.

I for one was delighted to see a smile on my beautiful bunny’s face yesterday after school and dismayed at her anger this morning. I said nothing. I knew she was very uptight because she would have to sit and talk face to face with the bullies to resolve the matter with the support of teachers. I hope it works – it takes a lot of courage to do it.

And in the meantime, there have been far too many tears for a young girl who has been made to feel horrible about herself in everyway. And it hurts to be on the sidelines.

And now I realise why she’s been asking about being homeschooled.
Well you would wouldn’t you after finding yourself under the shadow of the school bully yet again?

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15 Comments to “the shadow of the playground bully”

  1. Jennysnail says:

    Poor Miniminx i hope they can sort it out. Check out mummy whisperer’s blog – she has some articles about bullying.
    .-= Jennysnail´s last blog ..Back to School & Birthday Celebrations =-.

  2. This must be so distressing for you both. If it’s any consolation, I was bullied at school and I told my Mum not to speak to the school because I thought it would make it worse. I so wish that she’d done what you did and spoke to them anyway. Eventually the bullying stopped because I ignored it, or answered back – but the girls later started on someone else who DID tell the school and they called the parents in and put a stop to it.
    Hope it’s resolved soon and your daughter’s confidence returns.
    .-= Kath@Parklover´s last blog ..Longford Park, Stretford =-.

  3. This is just awful. Made me sad and angry. She has had so much to cope with already. I hope this dreadful matter resolves itself. I’d be so upset if my child was in that situation. Keep giving her lots of hugs and remind her how special she is. People bully to feel better about themselves but underneath they are nothing.
    .-= Rosie Scribble´s last blog ..Snapped in London =-.

  4. Linda says:

    Oh my God, I am so sorry to read this and can’t imagine what you must have both been through with all of this, it’s just heartbreaking. I hope that in days, weeks, months and years to come these terrible episodes can be forgotten. I will be thinking of you both and wishing for this to stop. I hope your beautiful girl gets to smile a lot more after school.
    .-= Linda´s last blog ..What’s your definition of success? =-.

  5. So sorry you have to go through this again. Hope it works this time…
    .-= A Modern Mother´s last blog ..My name is Susanna (not Suzanne, not Susie and certainly not Sue!) =-.

  6. amy says:

    Your poor little one to have to go through it all again, I hope it gets sorted out properly and you did the right thing to go into to school, i would have gone in too.

    This post made me feel so angry and sad because i was bullied at school too and mum just told me to ignore it and she never got involved, i remember crying all night before we went back to school in september because i didn’t want to face going back. she wasn’t interested.

    Eventualy it stopped in year 9 when i lost a load of weight and started sticking up for myself because no one else did, i ended up in a lot of fights and my mum was angry at me but she wouldn’t stick up for me so what else could i do?

    miniminx is so lucky to have a mum who wants to support her and stick up for her. xxx
    .-= amy´s last blog ..A bit of pampering =-.

  7. Linda says:

    Hi – after reading this, I’ve written a post wher I’ve rounded up some of the advice for parents I’ve reported on before now, I hope this may be helpful in some way to anyone and am inviting comments as to how other families have got through this:
    Take care
    .-= Linda´s last blog ..A children’s short story: Dotty the Dolphin =-.

  8. How difficult and distressing to have to cope with. I hope that you both find a way that stops the bullying – and helps the bully understand that her behaviour is unacceptable and that she stops bullying others too.
    .-= Brit in Bosnia´s last blog ..A little on the chilly side =-.

  9. So sorry Miniminx has had to go through such a horrible experience twice.

    I can only imagine how powerless you feel so sending you and Miniminx a hug.
    .-= Insomniac Mummy´s last blog ..Growing, teething and the Twitterverse =-.

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