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fillyjonk

Sexualised bullying seven year old

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fillyjonk

Sorry this is long but I'd appreciate any suggestions or insights.

 

At the beginning of the school year my daughter had an incident with a boy in her class.

 

Over a period of a week he kept trying to get her to go over to a corner of the oval because some of the boys in the next year up supposedly went there to wee on the ground. At this point she was trying to work out new friendship groups as all her friends were split up into different classes. At first she resisted him but gave in to stop him bothering her. He took her into the oval, dropped his pants and did a wee on the ground in front of her. He tried to get her to do it too and to be honest, I don't know if he succeeded (she says no but she was very upset).

 

It all came to light when some older boys saw something was amiss on the oval and reported it to a teacher. The first I heard about it was when the deputy principal called me. My husband and I had a long conversation with our daughter and got all the details, reassured her that she had not done anything wrong and asked her to tell us and the teachers if anything like that ever happened to her or anybody. She says she tried to tell the duty teacher before but had been shrugged off.

 

We were horrified that the incident could have happened and had a meeting with the deputy and principal. The (new) principal was also pretty horrified and she undertook to make changes that seemed reasonable. The bit was suspended for a couple and then had a period of in school suspension. He also had to speak to the school counsellor. (My daughter also had an appointment with her, which was beneficial).

 

The classroom teacher has been supportive in that she moved him to the complete opposite side of the class to my daughter and they are never put together for group activities.

 

Today in the line to go in after lunch the boy had a disagreement with my daughter and shoved his genitals in her face. The teacher told me about it after school but she didn't know at that point what action would be taken. She told me to think about what I would like to happen and put that forward to the school.

 

She's also suggested a script for my daughter to say to the boy whenever he approaches her, along the lines of "Just go away X, I don't want anything to do with you"

 

From what I can tell, this boy had a couple of targets, my daughter being one of them. The teacher suggests it is attention seeking add he goes for the kids that stand out in the class, for whatever reason. I don't entirely know what that means but she assured me that my daughter didn't stand out in a bad way. She also said that she has quite a forgiving nature, which makes him more likely to gravitate towards her.

 

So I don't know what to do. I don't know what is reasonable or even possible to ask if the school to deal with this boy. The teacher suggested the parents weren't altogether cooperative.

 

I've told my daughter that if she feels threatened by him to physically defend herself (she's pretty good at Taekwondo) and if she happens to hurt the kid and get in trouble I will be there to defend her and take any blame. Not sure if I am supposed to do that but I've got no idea.

 

Advice anyone...?

 

 

 

 

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EsmeLennox

In the absence of further information about the initial incident which might suggest the behaviour was sexualised, I think the school handled it badly from the outset. What you describe is not outside the scope of normal developmental behaviour for a 7 year old. Instead, the school has suspended this child and made him ashamed of his behaviour, perhaps aggravating the later behaviour. It is not uncommon for a child to act out toward another child that they perceive as perhaps being the ‘cause’ of their behaviour.

 

Now, perhaps there is further information which warranted the action the school took, I don’t know, but if the initial incident was as you describe then I can understand why the other parents are being less than cooperative. I’d be damned angry if my child was treated like that. The school would have been far better to guide the child about appropriate behaviour (again, I’m saying this on the basis of the info provided).

 

This is a useful resource about sexual development in children: http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/saam_2013_an-overview-of-healthy-childhood-sexual-development.pdf

 

I’m sorry your child has been involved and the boy’s later behaviour is inappropriate, unquestionably. In terms of what I would ‘ask for’...I’d ask them to conduct a protective behaviours course with the children at the school for the benefit of all children, including the little boy concerned. https://www.protectivebehaviourswa.org.au/sexual-behaviours/identify

 

The other steps they have taken, the script, the separation of the children is appropriate, and I would also think that in this instance an apology from the child and perhaps exclusion from lunchtime play is appropriate.

 

But above all, education for all the kids.

Edited by EsmeLennox
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EsmeLennox

And of course, although you’d have no way of knowing, if the school thinks there is something more sinister involved in terms of the cause of this little boy’s perceived sexualised behaviour they should also be acting to protect him by completing a mandatory report and involving a school psychologist.

 

Sorry you’re having to deal with this, OP...it’s horrible for all concerned.

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lucky 2

It might be sexualised but at that age who knows?

I felt sorry for the 7yo boy being suspended but there may be more to it.

My DD was "sexually harassed" at about age 9, though it feels like an overstatement considering the age of the children.

He wasn't suspended but it was thoroughly investigated and because the School practiced restorative justice DD was offered a meeting with the boy, she agreed, they talked, an apology was made and accepted.

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Winter frost

Op that sounds horribly stressful for you.

 

That said I am flummoxed that the school would ask you what you would like to happen. I suppose it is coming from a restorative approach, but really it sounds like a child counsellor or psychologist or other expert is needed here to work out how to help this boy (note I am presuming that there is a problem given the teacher has alluded to there being other instances with other children - obviously I dont know).

 

I would be saying to the school that I want them to ensure they keep my child safe. How they do that is a matter for them. I would be very troubled if there was a further incident

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fillyjonk

Thanks for your replies. As for the first instance, I guess maybe it was an over-the-top reaction. I don't know that the school decided it was sexualised behaviour, those are my words (and I never used them in dealing with the school). I know that the other oval wee-ers didn't get the same consequences, it was more about the coercion. From my daughter's perspective, he was very forceful in trying to get her to do things that she was unconfortable about. It scared me that it went on for a week and she didn't mention a word about it, and also that she tried to alert a teacher but was fobbed off.

 

As for the teacher telling me to think about what I would like done... She didn't know at that point what action was/is being taken. It was left with the deputy after lunch and she hadn't had a chance to check in before she spoke to me. I get the impression that there have been she is frustrated with a string of similar incidents that may have happened and perhaps thinks that not enough, or the wrong things are being dune. She's doing what she can in the classroom but I sense she's getting a little powerless.I guess that may be why she suggested I think about what I think should happen.

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fillyjonk

Thanks for the link to the protective behaviours course. I will definitely have a good look.

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knottygirl

Maybe they can move him to another class if there is a request from you?

 

It’s sounds very sus, I hope the school are reporting it to docs sexualised behaviour like that is usually an indication of abuse. At the very least it should be reported as it may in the future be another piece of the puzzle if there are further incidents.

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A NEW HOPE

My son was sexually abused at school. He was in the toilets and another boy dacked him then laughed at his penis size.

 

The school excluded the boy and now my son goes to the teachers bathrooms in the office to feel safe.

 

I don't think your school is doing enough.

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opethmum

Sorry I would be making an external report on this matter police and child services. No excuses for this incident whatsoever, there was intent of this and he knew what was going on at all stages. He meant for this to happen.

 

Time to raise some hell and not go away until a satisfactory outcome for your DD can be reached. If you are not happy with the school's resolution of the matter then I would move schools if possible because it will be clear that they are placing your DD's safety at risk.

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EsmeLennox

How have you drawn the conclusion that there was intent and that he knew what was going on at all stages and that he meant for this to happen?

 

He’s 7.

 

A satisfactory outcome needs to be reached for both children.

 

 

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Franny and Zooey

I question if younger or older children see weeing as sexual behaviour. I mean my friends at school always wanted me to go to the toilets with them at lunch time. I know girls toilets have doors but boys urinals don’t.

 

Did the older children also weeing in this spot get into trouble? Have they been suspended? Was that behaviour considered sexualised? Or because they were all boys that not sexual behaviour?

 

I am also surprised and find it unprofessional that teachers are asking parents “what do you want done?” I mean really!

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opethmum

He has been told to stay away from the child and if he knew better which he should, he should stay away from her, yet he thinks it is ok to approach her. Taking down his pants and then shoving his genitals in her face is intent on harm. He may have thought about it for a minute intent is there nonetheless and can not be spirited away or say he did not know what he was doing, he wanted to humiliate her because he was not getting his way with her or his desired outcome.

 

There is history and he reverts to sexual intimidation when he is not getting his way. He has already been told explicitly that this behaviour is wrong by teachers. He clearly has ignored everything and just does what he wants to hell with the girl's feelings.

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fillyjonk

As I said, the other weeing children did not receive the same consequences. They were, I'm assured, told not to wee on the oval and supervision and playground zoning policies were changed. Whether there were further punishments for them, I have no idea.

 

At the same time, none of the others forced an unwilling person to be involved. My daughter felt it was not right, she tried to resist and he kept at her until she complied. Whether there was any thought of sexuality involved, she was forced into a situation that she was rightly uncomfortable with.

 

I don't think it has anything to do with the sex of the child involved. From the schools perspective or mine. I would be just as upset if it had happened to my son as my daughter.

 

ETA he didn't take his pants down in today's event. I wasn't sure when I made the original post but my daughter confirmed.

Edited by Fillyjonk

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limakilo

I think its concerning that the boy feels that when he is angry at someone, that pushing his genitals at them/onto them is a form of "punishment" for them.

Hitting and kicking I would understand, that's normal childhood behaviour, albeit wrong.

I think the parents need to be spoken to and another meeting with the principle.

It's not about getting him into trouble, it's about dealing with those behaviours.

I would teach your daughter to get loud, and descriptive, so that she feels heard by those around her.

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PhillipaCrawford

So much to unpack.

 

As Esme said the weeing on the ground is not necessarily sexual - and yes I agree your daughter probably joined in. So what?

It was the something the neighbours and I did at a similar age in the mid '60's. I was the only girl in a group of boys and they were fascinated at the anatomical difference.

 

Far more upsetting for me than the incident was my parents reaction when they found out.

It was discovered when I told on said neighbour for undressing my Barbie. When I said I was going to tell my mum about him messing with the doll he responded "I am going to tell what you did if you tell on me" and Mum found out about the weeing and looking at each other genitals.

I was put to bed, dad walked around supposedly asking the other boys if it were true ( i reckon he just went around the block) and they shamed me in a major way.

That is what I remember, the condemnation and shame about what was a very normal behaviour.

 

I am not saying this boy has no issues.

But the school has turned a very normal developmental curiosity into a major issue. Your 'horror' isn't helping.

How do you know your daughter resisted the new game?

Just like me she has been made to feel it was so shameful that she will never admit that it happened. It's certainly not something I have ever revisited with my parents and I'm 55.

 

As for the using genitals as weapons - well who taught the boy that penises were so threatening they could be used that way. Suspending him certainly hammered home that message.

 

Look I don't know the situation. This boy might be a traumatised youngster who has been abused and is acting out because of it. In this case everyone needs help.

 

Or it could be that the school, subject to the hysterical OTT response which is increasingly common have created a world of hurt for everyone.

As a teacher what I would have done is

"You all know we keep our clothes on in public and wee in the toilet"

Then watched very carefully in case there was more to it. If there was it would have been handled far more sensitively than your experience

 

Perhaps this was a recurrent incident and they had long had concerns for this boy but they have handled it badly.

 

Sounds to me that nothing has changed since 1969 when my mum and dad were so horrified that their shame caused me to feel 'dirty'. A feeling that has never gone away and made the game far more vivid in my memory than there was any need for it to be,

 

PS I have gone on to a successful career and marriage with 3 kids not not wrecked for life,

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Not Escapin Xmas

Great post Anon100. The hysteria that the school seems to have drummed up is bizarre and over the top.

 

Of course coercing other kids isn't good, but it happens all the time! They are little kids and just finding their way. I have a 7yo DD so I know exactly what you're talking about. It's really tough when your kid is upset, and i totally get the issue around boys thinking that girls are just playthings (we've had that issue too), but there's a massive difference between that and accusing kids of 'sexualised' behaviour. I mean really?!?!

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marple

Who told you he "shoved his genitals in her face"? Did he grab her head and pull her down? Otherwise what does that mean as you say he didn't take his clothes off? That all seems a bit unclear.

I agree with pp, suspending a 7yo is huge overreaction going on the info given.

 

ETA- Forgot to say I hope your DD is not too upset.

Edited by marple
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fillyjonk

She was sitting down in line, he stood over her and put his crotch in her face.

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FeralGiggelosaurus

She was sitting down in line, he stood over her and put his crotch in her face.

 

This on its own would have me seeing red. This is NOT appropriate behavior and any 7 year old who thinks it is...that is a huge red flag to me.

 

I would be emailing the school and requesting a formal meeting on what can be done to make my DD feel safe.

 

I would also request some in class teaching with ALL students and what is consent (age appropriate of course) and who the students can go to to feel safe if they need to.

 

I would also ask my DD what SHE needs to feel safe and protected, don't do this behind her back, empower her, let her know that you are backing her 100%.

 

I hope it all works out okay and they both get the help they need.

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Hollycoddle
This on its own would have me seeing red. This is NOT appropriate behavior and any 7 year old who thinks it is...that is a huge red flag to me.I would be emailing the school and requesting a formal meeting on what can be done to make my DD feel safe.I would also request some in class teaching with ALL students and what is consent (age appropriate of course) and who the students can go to to feel safe if they need to.I would also ask my DD what SHE needs to feel safe and protected, don't do this behind her back, empower her, let her know that you are backing her 100%.I hope it all works out okay and they both get the help they need.

 

Agree with this. some of it seems like normal behaviour but even if it is, the OP's child was obviously badly affected for whatever reason (some are blaming the OP for creating shame but that's a bit of a stretch IMO) and other children need to be kept safe.

 

I think some of you are being a bit harsh on the teacher too, I think it's fair enough for her to have asked what the OP wants done as the OP has obviously spoken to her child about it and as a result, may well have an idea of what may be needed to keep the child safe. You all seem to be implying the teacher/school has no idea about how to deal with it when my first thought was that we always see on threads that parents feel that enough isn't being done about this or that bully at the school so at least in this case the school is at least trying to deal with the matter to the injured party's satisfaction.

Edited by Mollycoddle
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fillyjonk

I just wanted to clarify that my horror was at the fact there is an unsupervised corner of the playground where kids go to wee and that my daughter could be coerced into going there with another kid and her concerns were ignored by the teacher on duty.

 

You're right, she could have been a willing participant and then threw the boy under a bus when it looked like she might get in trouble. But I don't think so. Based on evidence and knowledge of her personality, I doubt she would have done this.

 

I also am a little grossed out by the kids are urinating on the oval. So there's a bit of horror there.

 

I don't think I shamed her in my response to the situation. She was already upset by the time I found out. What I hoped I did was to reassure her that it was okay to feel uncomfortable in the situation and right to speak out about what made her uncomfortable.

 

She is more settled and confident at school now, evidenced by her telling the classroom teacher what happened yesterday. I am happy with the teachers response of escalating, telling me, and doing what she can to keep the kid away from my daughter. I don't think there is much more she can do as a teacher.

Edited by Fillyjonk
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JRA
Great post Anon100. The hysteria that the school seems to have drummed up is bizarre and over the top.

 

I do wonder from the school's reaction whether the "weeing" incident was not the first issue with the boy.

 

The following incident of genitals in face to me suggests that as well

 

 

 

I just wanted to clarify that my horror was at the fact there is an unsupervised corner of the playground

 

Most playgrounds only have X teachers on patrol and there will be generally an area that is not visible at all times. The only way to have everything visible is to have NOTHING on or in the playground. And no buildings nearby.

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AdelTwins

After the first incident, more appropriate responses (in my mind) would have been:

1. ongoing counseling for the boy and your DD (if necessary)

2. whole year level protective behaviors sessions (including the year above if they were the ones starting the peeing on the oval trend).

 

Now that this second incident has occurred I would want the boy in a different classroom. As well as points 1 & 2 above. Suspension would occur after the third incident IMHO.

 

While it’s horriffying for your daughter, I really hope that boy isn’t being abused elsewhere.

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Mumma3

I sounds to me like he first incident wasn’t well handled and was blown up bigger than necessary and that in turn has caused the 2nd.

 

I remember when DS was in grade 1. 6yo. He asked his best friend to marry him. They had sorted flower girls, a guest list and it was all set for lunchtime. Her mum and I joked about getting our outfits ready and even other partners Ll thought it was very sweet. They were the best little friends and at 6yo, it was an innocent playtime activity.

 

Until the teachers put an end to it. Embarrassed them both terribly and carried on about how we don’t kiss people at school (neither of them even had considered that there would have to be a kiss !) Both children were very confused as to what they had done wrong and even recently, when caught up with he other Mum, her DD blushed when she heard that us mums were catching up.

 

In years gone by, pretending to marry your best friend was considered very normal behaviour at 6. I think we need to be very careful not to put adult connotations on the behaviour of little children.

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