Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Share your memories and stories from your days at school, and find out the truth behind the rumours....Remember the teachers and pupils, tell us who you remember and why...

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Ajarn Philip
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Post by Ajarn Philip » Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:15 pm

I've been thinking a lot about this thread since it appeared in its original form. I wrote earlier - briefly - about some of my own experiences in my first year. The tone is light-hearted - "Jeez, it was bad, but what the heck, these things happen" - but it truly was a nightmare at the time.

One of the Hertford girls said on another thread how shocked she was by the physical and violent nature of the bullying at Horsham. There are only a handful of us on this forum. If you could ask all the OBs for their stories you'd hear far worse, and some probably wouldn't want to talk about it at all.

I've also tried to think back and remember if I was ever the bully. I don't think so. I sincerely hope not. But I told elsewhere, as a memory of BSG (housemaster of Ma A late 60s) of an incident when, as an "End Monitor" in my second year in Ma A, I slapped a squit round the face, for reasons which escape me now, and then went and reported myself to BSG, who slippered me. But I didn't tell the squit I'd done that. Does he remember me as a bully? These memories are so subjective, which is why the moderators are right to ban the naming of names, as Reuben's tale poignantly illustrates.

JR says above that the bullying issue will never go away, and I'm sure that's (sadly) true. But it also has to be faced and dealt with, which it certainly wasn't in my time. We have to try to make it go away. Then perhaps the bullies will refrain from the more violent extremes described in this forum by people from various eras. Bullying may be unacceptable in any form, but there's one hell of a difference between being called names, or having your clothes hidden, and having the sh1t kicked out of you.

There's also the indisputable truth that some kids have "VICTIM" tattooed indelibly on their foreheads. I remember one boy from the year below me who ran away 8 or 9 times, he was so homesick. What were his parents thinking of? Some children, for whatever reason, just aren't suited to boarding school life. But these victims must be as obvious to experienced staff as they are to the other boys.

As I recall, drink driving became "socially unacceptable" over a period of a comparatively few years in the 80s. Peer pressure. I was never aware of cheering onlookers during those "operations", but there were certainly no objections from any quarter. Okay, we're talking about bullying at school, but peer pressure applies just as much to children as it does to adults - perhaps more. If bullying, at least in its most extreme forms, becomes unacceptable to the majority, perhaps it won't happen so much.

I think it's time to wind up, as I may be stating the obvious or using cheap pseudo-psychology to come up with easy answers. It may well be that the answers for today's kids have already been provided in the last few years, and that I'm taking this opportunity to exorcise a few demons of my own; demons that have remained dormant for nearly 40 years (until I joined this forum!!).

I have to state categorically (this is such a serious subject, and it's so easy to give the wrong impression), that my own experiences may have been a literal nightmare during my first year, but they didn't become a recurrent nightmare. Overall, my time at CH was a revelation, a series of opportunities and experiences that would never have been open to me if I hadn't been there, and my only regret is that I didn't make as much of it as I should have.

As for my own two demons, I've told myself, in my recent ruminations, that I was 11 and they were 12; we were all just kids. After that first year I don't remember having anything to do with either of them. But if I met one of them next year at on OB function, could I bring myself to smile and shake his hand?

Answers on a postcard, please.
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Post by blondie95 » Sat Jul 28, 2007 9:37 am

I feel that bulling is still evident now, just not in the same way. I joining in my deps was subject to some quite nasty bullylling in my deps year (considereing i had come to ch to get away from the nasty nasty bullying i went through at secondry school, its was shock to still be subjected to it somewhere no one knew me). By my grecians i had found my feet enough to ignore it and know who my friends were.

I would say that there was still bullying in the boys houses (esp as they had not long gone all through) therefore a no. of the older boys picked on the 2nd form alot!

I dont think its something that could ever be erased or controlled, i just hope its not as evident.
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J.R.
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Post by J.R. » Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:38 pm

Bullying is still rife in state schools.

Both of our daughters are school caterers, one at the second largest secondary school in Dorking. The other secondary school, which our eldest Grand-Daughter has just left appears to have a terrible record of bullying, which is strange because it has one of the best academic records in State schools in the South of England.

Two cases have even been reported in the local press where parents went to the papers because the school seemed either unable or unwilling to deal with the matter. A third case was 'suppressed' by the local education authority when the paper was 'advised' not to print the story, because it 'wasn't in the schools interest' ! I know of two pupils from this school, one the daughter of a very close friend who are having to receive home tuition because the parents have removed their children from this school, again because of the school being either unable or unwilling to deal with the matter.

From my experiences as a father and grandfather, I have found that the best way to deal with it in state schools is to confront the school and offer them the ultimatum that they address the matter. Failing that, tell them that 'The Family' will then take the matter into their own hands.

Its worked with us on three occasions over the past 20 years. I would have had absolutely no problem with issuing a bully with a very large dose of his own medicine, even after being warned by the school/police not to take the matter into my own hands.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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The Comprehensive -

Post by Angela Woodford » Sun Jul 29, 2007 3:09 pm

My three children went to the local comprehensive -

Intelligent,worldly, but in no way academic, this school was their preference, and it seems to have worked out OK for them.

In no way, though in a tough part of Kent Chav-dom, could the standard of bullying be in any way comparable with the horrors I have read of CH Horsham. The miseries I had as a junior at Hertford would not have been tolerated.

It seems awful, that in order to enjoy the considerable advantages of CH, the pupils have had to undergo such physical and mental agony; even to the extent of needing medical attention but not receiving it.

Was it worth it?

JR has said that the influence of "The Family" was enough to keep the worst of bullying in check, but at CH, that would have had no power at all would it? The revelations of Cleopatra, Ajarn Philip and sejentinev shocked me profoundly. I always thought (guiltily) that if my children had had a bit of extra coaching and motivation they might have been eligible for CH but maybe they would have suffered more than at the local comprehensive. I don't know -

I'm proud of my son in that he seemed to have protected smaller boys from bullies. 6'2", goodlooking, and intolerant of cruelty. That's my boy!

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Post by blondie95 » Sun Jul 29, 2007 3:34 pm

it doesnt matter what school your at, there will be bullying!
What i experienced at ch was totally different to what i had a secondry school (that was based upon physical appearnce-which was all sorted out by train track braces!) At CH is was nasty attack of my personality and who i am! Picking on my attempt to be friendly and exchange stories as being something else entirely!
Fact is though it was 6 years ago now-i got over it have realised it has made me stronger and know that i am a happy, thoughtful and loving person and have friends,family and a lovely future hubby, house and job i totally adore! When i look at what some of the people who bullied me have ended up doing/as well i cant help but feel some satisfaction i have come out stronger!
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Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:09 am

Hi Amy

I do, at a rational level, agree with you. The last company I worked for was a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Numico. I have no idea whether all Dutch have a hands-off approach to management, or whether we were unlikely .........

The General Manager of Numico Research Australia was, in my opinion (inserted to protect myself and the forum from any possible legal action) an incompetent manager and a coward. I have proof that he is also dishonest. The Laboratory Manager he employed was incompetent and a bully. Soon after I started working for the company I witnessed him verbally attack one of my colleagues, and shove a container containing disinfectant and de-contaminating syringes into her chest. And so it went on - despite verbal and written complaints which we eventually began directing at Holland.

Holland eventually withdrew funding, and the company folded. Janina (assaulted colleague) and I are much happier in our new roles. The Lab Manager is working for a national accreditation authority, and probably still bullying his colleagues (he could not, or would not, even see, let alone admit, that his behaviour was unacceptable, and making us ill), and The General Manager is, so I've been told, auditing carrot factories in Poland (Numico are very fussy about the size of the carrots they process into mush to be fed to babies and adults who can't swallow).

On a good day I used to feel sorry for them - particularly The General Manager who, I'm sure, lived in fear of someone else's lies being believed, such that he lost his job the way he had manoevured others out of his way to the 'top'. He is, again, in my opinion, a weak, pathetic individual, but that didn't stop him making our lives miserable.

Did the experience make me stronger? Yes, I rather think it did, but I would still rather have spent my four years at the company working with managers who supported and encouraged the researchers rather than telling us that we were incompetent. I would also not choose to be shipwrecked with such people. They seemingly have no sense of the synergy that evolves within a supportive and caring team environment, but are selfish, negative and destructive. My theory is that it is people who don't like themselves who bully others, in an attempt to drag us all to their low level of self esteem.

Sorry, I'm starting to hyperventilate, so had best stop now :roll:

Best wishes

Caroline
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Post by J.R. » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:41 pm

I haven't checked the papers yet, but I'm told by an interested party that tonights 'Panorama' programme is dealing with school bullying.
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Post by carong » Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:27 am

I have the dubious distinction of having gone FROM Hertford into a State school in the late 70's. I was not aware of any bullying at Hertford but from the off my experiences in the state sector were a nightmare - not least because I 'talked posh' and was academically way ahead of the what would now be called Chavs I was now forced to mix with.

The net result was that I 'dumbed down' in an effort to be accepted and it drastically affected my academic career, and while I would now consider myself to be a well balanced person there was an incident in a pub garden a few years ago when two of the main ringleaders were there and seated between me and the entrance to the Ladies ... I had to be escorted to the loo by two of my friends!!

Because of this I have drummed in hard to my 3 children that they should not tolerate bullying in any form, and that they should step in if necessary. I'm proud to say that my daughter - now at Housey - did so recently despite the boy in question being the son of a member of my mother's church, which could have made life awkward for her and my mother. Sadly, his victim has now left the school because she was so unhappy.

Gosh, chuntering on a bit now ...

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Post by Ash » Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:22 pm

The bloke who bullied me (no names mentioned) is now apparently an incurable crackhead.

Couldn't happen to more of an asshole... I still think after all these years that if I bumped into this individual in the street, I'd give him a good kicking...

And I'm not one for bearing grudges... It was relentless at school though.

The main difference between public school and comps is that when you are boarding, you can't escape the bullying after school - it just continues day after day and gets worse and worse...

I wasn't the most popular bloke at school - (none of the people who were on my year on this forum were ever horrible to me, ironically) and I was pretty badly set upon.. To be honest though it just tought me to stand up for myself, so in some ways it was character-building more than damaging.

I'd still like to give a "certain" individual a good smack, but since it looks like he's pretty much done it to himself, that's enough for me.
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Post by Wuppertal » Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:57 am

I've just read through each and every comment on this thread and they all make fascinating reading.

I did experience some bullying, but certainly not comparable to some of the stories here of days gone by. I found that the bullies seemed to be in denial that they were doing anything wrong. They said that what we were getting was nothing compared to what they got thrown at them when they were younger; and they thought that this factor meant that it was perfectly acceptable for them to bully my agegroup.

It is probable that I got treated a bit worse than others because I told the culprits to their faces that what they were doing was wrong, and they took offence to being told this by someone who was, according to their own bizarre idea of life, an inferior human being to them. But I don't regret saying that to them at all; infact 9 years later I'm rather pleased with myself that I stood up to them and told them the honest truth, rather than just accepting that they're 'entitled' to bully me and others, and doing nothing to prevent it - or if not to prevent it, at least to condemn it.

I find it difficult to understand why all these awful things that occured before my time at CH were allowed to happen, especially at a school that is supposed to be expert at dealing with children from difficult backgrounds and cirumstances. I'm guessing that the teachers probably knew quite a lot about what went on, but were perhaps reluctant to interfere too much because it may well have made the situation worse for the victims. It's a bit of a vicious circle, and I wish something could be done about it. But if a bully who targets a particular pupil finds himself in the teacher's study being told off for it, as soon as he leaves the teacher's sight he will head straight for that pupil and bully him even more in anger of being 'grassed' on. So, the victim won't tell anyone, and the bullying will continue until the bully grows up a bit and realises what he's doing, which may take many years, or in the worst case, the entire duration of his CH career.

Back to my personal experience, if I happened to meet any of the people again who made things unpleasant for me, I think I would be able to 'smile and shake their hand', as an earlier poster wrote: partially because the bullying I was dealt wasn't that bad; and partially because at the time they were in a rather brainwashed state, believing that they were doing nothing wrong and that it was their right to do it - which they will have realised is not true when they left CH and went into the wider world.

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Post by cj » Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:46 pm

Wuppertal wrote:I find it difficult to understand why all these awful things that occured before my time at CH were allowed to happen, especially at a school that is supposed to be expert at dealing with children from difficult backgrounds and cirumstances.
I've said this before and I'm not apologising for repeating myself, but in many ways CH was not equipped to deal with the children it was founded to assist and in some cases caused more problems than it solved.
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Post by wurzel » Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:00 pm

in terms of bullying one thing that was far less likely at ch than a state school was in terms of what you wear. Definitely at the time I was at CH (80's) the whole casual thing was taking off in the "outside world" and coming from a poor family meant I could never afford the designer clothes (not that i cared a pair of black wranglers was good enough) but if i had gone to a comp (actually it would most likely have been Tambridge in Horsham) I would have been visible to others as "not fitting in" as my younger brother was.

That was 1 thing the uniform really protected you from and I think for that reason the growth in times you can wear civvies is probably a bad thing.

There was only a few people who did the whole designer clothes thing and I would think adlop and ash will remember them (phil messenger, chris waite etc)

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Post by cstegerlewis » Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:20 pm

Have to agree with you there Ian, and who can forget Phil with his 'sovs' - I guess he would be classed as very bling these days (or dare I say it, a bit chav :lol: )
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Post by cj » Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:22 pm

wurzel wrote:There was only a few people who did the whole designer clothes thing and I would think adlop and ash will remember them (phil messenger, chris waite etc)
cstegerlewis wrote:Have to agree with you there Ian, and who can forget Phil with his 'sovs' - I guess he would be classed as very bling these days (or dare I say it, a bit chav :lol: )
I wonder what Phil M is up to now. He was very distinctive in his choice of dress, which made him very unusual in that he looked like the rest of the population outside CH. The 'in' thing at that time I think was either having a flat-top hair cut or being a Goth. I was neither! Uniform is a great leveller and one thing that CH was right in keeping given that many pupils came from backgrounds which could not have provided. I never recognised my friends on leave days etc when they were out of uniform. It was very odd.
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Post by Rax » Wed Sep 26, 2007 8:58 pm

cj wrote:I've said this before and I'm not apologising for repeating myself, but in many ways CH was not equipped to deal with the children it was founded to assist and in some cases caused more problems than it solved.
I agree. And the effects were not just direct. Personally, I come from a stable and happy background. In a way due to this however, I entered CH a naive indidual with no notion of the social survival techniques that were necessary to avoid this treatment.

Having said that though; although CH was a bearpit at times, I'd still rather my own life and situation than those of my abusers.

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