Problems at School

My youngest is at nursery (kindergarden) at the moment and has been having some problems with a boy in his group.

This boy has scratched my son’s wrist until it bled, has pushed him into puddles and has rubbed mud and sand into his hair. My wife usually does the school drop off and has spoken to the teachers about this - they have all been appropriately concerned and assured her that they will look into it but the boy in question has ‘extra support needs’ and struggles with communication and emotional control.

Things seemed to improve initially but in the last week my son told me that the boy has been pushing him again and is now checking if he has to go to nursery every day because he is scared. I know of at least 3 other children who have also been pushed or chased by this boy.

I wrote to the head-teacher today who replied to tell me that they don’t have 1-2-1 support for the boy (or any children) due to budget issues but those who need it have constant supervision through the day and her understanding was that these incidents are happening ‘less often’.

My response was ‘less often is too often’ and if he has constant supervision then how and why are these incidents happening at all.

I have a lot of sympathy for the boy and from the sounds of it, it isn’t his fault but AIBU in my perception or response?

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You’re not being unreasonable. Is there a head person you can talk to?

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Yeah, she’s been my point of contact. I’ve just agreed a face to face meeting with her on Monday.

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How was the meeting?

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I think it went well, thanks. We were assured that the child in question is actually a very well natured little boy and that there is no malice behind anything that has happened. Its more that he communicates very physically and needs to work on ‘using his words’; he hasn’t deliberately been hitting or upsetting anybody. In fact, we were shown a photo of them playing in a group that very morning. However, they are going to keep a closer eye on the situation and do a bit more work on comms.

We’ve got a bit of work to do with with our son too. We have anxiety issues on both sides of the family so we may be reading to much into his behaviour but we look out for any signs of it in him and we have noticed that he is very sensitive and obsesses over things. Whilst other kids might brush off the incidents at Nursery, they stick in his mind and we’re a bit worried it could be an early symptom. So, we had an open conversation about that too and they are going to work with us on very gently building up his resilience.

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Maybe I’m going out on a limb here (and going slightly off-topic), but I would say most, or even all, bullies, have “extra support needs”, so that’s not saying much. From my observation, bullies become bullies because they have issues – usually, either mental/emotional development challenges or an abusive/controlling/uncaring family background.
Obviously, I’m not saying bullies should be coddled or bullying as a phenomenon is acceptable, but it’s worth a look why a bully is a bully, to go identify the root cause of the issues, so to speak. Alas, schools will probably never have the resources to do so.

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I may be being utterly naive but I’d like to contextualise this by saying that we are talking about children between the ages of 2 and 4 here and whilst I did point out to the Nursery that this behaviour would be called bullying (or worse) in older children I think I accept their assurance that there is no ‘badness’ behind it here.

I don’t agree that all or even most bullies have extra support needs in the sense that they are neurodiverse which is the context of the term here. Irrespective of whether we are talking about a ‘bad’ child or just one who needs more support than they are receiving though, my concern is that the school is a safe and supportive environment for my son. I’ll be monitoring the situation very closely over the coming days and weeks.

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Oh, absolutely. In a long-winded way, I was trying to say that I find the school’s excuse that that problem child needs extra support meaningless.
Also, I forgot we are talking about nursery-age children.

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I agree with you, a child who needs extra support despite the school not having the resources to do so isn’t a great excuse. The kid, whether malicious or not, is still causing other children harm (like if the pushee falls wrong and breaks their arm) or could be causing bad habits to form at home or in other situations.
I have friends with young children who have developed other bad habits like biting or hitting from similar school issues, and Alien’s school seems rather dismissive of the whole thing.
I hope you can find a resolution, AlienToasterRepairs!!!

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