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...

Moderator: Moderators

Jenny Pardington
3rd Former
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:31 pm
Real Name: Jenny Pardington
Location: Wandsworth, London

Post by Jenny Pardington » Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:56 am

Mid A 15 wrote:On the theme of how many from the same family, there were three Pratts in Maine A when I started: Graham (the Housecaptain), Robin and Martin. I seem to remember being told that there was an older brother too. Maybe they had sisters?
Yes - they did, at least one. Angela P. was one of my closest friends and appears as A.M.W.P. in the thread "Letters from the distant past". She recently contacted me through FRU and we had a lovely lunch catching up on the intervening 40-odd years.
Jennifer Bore, 5's and 8's 1953-1960

User avatar
Jobaker
2nd Former
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:54 pm
Real Name: Jo Darling (prev. Baker)
Location: Liverpool
Contact:

Post by Jobaker » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:40 pm

This is a tough topic.

I think that all bullying is fundamentally wrong. I also believe that at the heart of bullying is an underlying issue within the bully's life/history. Things are always more complex than they appear on the surface. Of course, that is never an excuse to bully/abuse another person!

For some people, the reality is that the inescapable bullying at school is a better of two evils, compared with for example, much worse abuse at home.

During my time at CH, I wouldn't say I was bullied. I didn't feel accepted by my peers though, and found it very difficult to fit in. It was just little things like being ignored or having noone wanting to share a study with me.

I remember the last night of the Summer term on my Deps, when the Grecians were at the Grecians' Ball, and I cried my eyes out alone in my study all night because I couldn't bear the thought of them not being there next term. (I made friends with some of the Grecians in my house because they were far more accepting of me than my own year). So in contrast with a lot of the stories here... it was not the year above that made things hard, but rather my own year.

It was all right in the end though, and I did fit in eventually. I can understand the situation if I take a step back, because I was a very shy and quiet girl, with a lot of issues.

I personally think that given the fact that a lot of pupils at CH surely have a lot of issues relating to their home life etc., there should perhaps be some sort of accomodation for that. I was lucky because one of the teachers, off his own back, actually found me a counsellor and paid for me to see him every week! That was a gesture for which I will be eternally grateful! I often wonder if CH could employ a permanent counsellor, to whom pupils can be referred or can visit themselves if they feel the need.

Jo Baker
LHA (99-01) Grecians East (01-02)


Senior Staff, Christian Survivors Ministries
http://www.christiansurvivors.com
http://www.christiansurvivors.com/forums

Foureyes
Grecian
Posts: 647
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:26 am
Real Name: David
Location: England

Post by Foureyes » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:32 pm

Interesting to see that the subject of bullying has come up again. As in the previous round of discussion there is a lot about C.H. and perhaps slightly less about State schools, mostly comprehensives. What would be interesting is to hear how C.H. compared (or compares now) withb other boarding schools. Is Housey better/worse/the same as other boarding schools of similar size? I pose the question, but do not know the answer - can anyone provide any information?
:shock:

User avatar
cj
Button Grecian
Posts: 1738
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:35 pm
Real Name: Catherine Standing
Location: Devon

Post by cj » Thu Nov 01, 2007 11:18 pm

Jobaker wrote:
cj wrote:
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.

I personally think that given the fact that a lot of pupils at CH surely have a lot of issues relating to their home life etc., there should perhaps be some sort of accomodation for that. I was lucky because one of the teachers, off his own back, actually found me a counsellor and paid for me to see him every week! That was a gesture for which I will be eternally grateful! I often wonder if CH could employ a permanent counsellor, to whom pupils can be referred or can visit themselves if they feel the need.
It just doesn't make sense not to have that sort of provision in a place like CH. Although not related to bullying, the worst consequence that happened at school of a lack of this care was Rick Slater's death in 1990 and who knows how many people have had to endure suffering directly related to experiences like bullying and worse after leaving. I'm deeply heartened to hear that someone helped you, Jo.
Catherine Standing (Cooper) Image
Canteen Cath 1.12 (1983-85) & Col A 20 (1985-90)

Any idiot can deal with a crisis. It takes a genius to cope with everyday life.

User avatar
Jobaker
2nd Former
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:54 pm
Real Name: Jo Darling (prev. Baker)
Location: Liverpool
Contact:

Post by Jobaker » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:08 am

I would love to see it happen - because there is most definitely the need for it. I know matrons are supposed to be there as a kind of 'counsellor'... or someone to talk to if you need to. This is fine for the more 'minor' problems pupils have, such as homesickness. Some pupils' issues require specific training, however, in how to help someone to deal with the more difficult and damaging problems that pupils have.

I was extremely lucky. I imagine it is very rare indeed that a teacher takes it upon themselves to get a pupil help such as I was given. The cost to an individual teacher to do that for every pupil that needs it would be impossible I'm sure.

Issues don't just go away by themselves. Particularly with the more complicated ones - dealing with abuse for example, require support and counselling/therapy to overcome. If CH is a haven for children in situations where there are a lot of problems at home etc. then there is really no sense in not having some provision for helping those pupils to deal with their issues.

Jo Baker
LHA (99-01) Grecians East (01-02)


Senior Staff, Christian Survivors Ministries
http://www.christiansurvivors.com
http://www.christiansurvivors.com/forums

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3107
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown
Location: Essex

Post by sejintenej » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:36 am

Jobaker wrote:I personally think that given the fact that a lot of pupils at CH surely have a lot of issues relating to their home life etc., there should perhaps be some sort of accomodation for that. I was lucky because one of the teachers, off his own back, actually found me a counsellor and paid for me to see him every week! That was a gesture for which I will be eternally grateful! I often wonder if CH could employ a permanent counsellor, to whom pupils can be referred or can visit themselves if they feel the need.
There is a certain amount of sense in that but OTOH parents might well complain if their child is given counselling without their explicit consent (especially when the cause is something at home) or alternatively that their child is not given counselling.

In my day the Rev Pullen certainly tried hard. He has already been mentioned in these columns in a favourable light. I don't know how trained he was if at all; for personal reasons I kept well clear
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 167AD

User avatar
Richard Ruck
Button Grecian
Posts: 3120
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 12:08 pm
Real Name: Richard Ruck
Location: Horsham

Post by Richard Ruck » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:54 am

In the seventies, too, I think that pupils were supposed to feel able to take any personal issues to the chaplain, as he was, in theory at least, able to dispense impartial advice.

In our senior houses each pupil would be assigned to one of the house tutors, primarily to have regular talks about our progress (academic and otherwise). This, of course, had mixed results. Some were great, and really made the effort to give advice and support. Others, I suppose, were going through the motions as it was an irksome but unavoidable part of their jobs.

No-one's fault really. Some people are just more suited to chucking lumps of sodium into beakers of water in ancient laboratories than discussing teenage angst.
Ba.A / Mid. B 1972 - 1978

Thee's got'n where thee cassn't back'n, hassn't?

User avatar
cj
Button Grecian
Posts: 1738
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:35 pm
Real Name: Catherine Standing
Location: Devon

Post by cj » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:45 am

Richard Ruck wrote:In the seventies, too, I think that pupils were supposed to feel able to take any personal issues to the chaplain, as he was, in theory at least, able to dispense impartial advice.

In our senior houses each pupil would be assigned to one of the house tutors, primarily to have regular talks about our progress (academic and otherwise). This, of course, had mixed results. Some were great, and really made the effort to give advice and support. Others, I suppose, were going through the motions as it was an irksome but unavoidable part of their jobs.

No-one's fault really. Some people are just more suited to chucking lumps of sodium into beakers of water in ancient laboratories than discussing teenage angst.
Precisely. Academic staff don't necessarily have the skills to deal with either 'angst' or more serious and deep-rooted issues. And their remit then becomes muddled - you should be concentrating on your work rather than faffing around with this, that or the other (which is what I was told when I approached somone). An independent, non-judgmental person is what is needed.
sejintenej wrote:There is a certain amount of sense in that but OTOH parents might well complain if their child is given counselling without their explicit consent (especially when the cause is something at home) or alternatively that their child is not given counselling.
I understand this position and try and envisage myself in that situation with my daughters, but the school is supposed to act in loco parentis during term time. No permission is required to see the doctor in the sicker or to visit Crawley A&E after a vigorous rugby/hockey match. Besides if things are happening at school that are problematic then surely the school should have the means to sort it out? After all, being 'successful' doesn't mean leaving school with fabulous exam results, going to a 'good' university and earning lots of money. It means having the mechanisms in place to deal with yourself and your life, the inevitable slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
Catherine Standing (Cooper) Image
Canteen Cath 1.12 (1983-85) & Col A 20 (1985-90)

Any idiot can deal with a crisis. It takes a genius to cope with everyday life.

User avatar
Ajarn Philip
Button Grecian
Posts: 1787
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:30 pm
Real Name: Phil Underwood
Location: Thailand

Post by Ajarn Philip » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:57 am

cj wrote:After all, being 'successful' doesn't mean leaving school with fabulous exam results, going to a 'good' university and earning lots of money. It means having the mechanisms in place to deal with yourself and your life, the inevitable slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
One of the best paragraphs I've read on this forum.
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 68-75

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3107
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown
Location: Essex

Post by sejintenej » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:04 pm

cj wrote: but the school is supposed to act in loco parentis during term time. No permission is required to see the doctor in the sicker or to visit Crawley A&E after a vigorous rugby/hockey match. Besides if things are happening at school that are problematic then surely the school should have the means to sort it out?
I think that there is a major difference between dealing with an injury where time may be of the essence and a longer term situation where parental guidance can be obtained. The "loco parentis" is limited in scope

You come across a person hit by a car and you would be quite right to arrange medical aid immediately (probably by calling 999). OTOH can it be right for you to arrange treatment for someone you are not related to because they appear (say) senile? The school is not going to give the go-ahead for elective surgery (as an example) and the doctor/surgeon will ensure that the parent / legal guardian approves.

Should the school have the means to sort it out? IMHO legally no. OTOH if there just happens to be someone competent there whom the pupil can himself/herself voluntarily approach, good. There should however be no form of coercion on the pupil.
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 167AD

User avatar
englishangel
Forum Moderator
Posts: 6955
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:22 pm
Real Name: Mary Faulkner (Vincett)
Location: Amersham, Buckinghamshire

Post by englishangel » Sat Nov 03, 2007 6:44 am

State schools offer counselling for students without parents knowledge so how much more important in a boarding school. Like doctors, you don't need a parents permission to go and the parent has no right to be told if the doctor/counsellor thinks it in the student/patients best interest.

The Daily Mail occasionally has pieces on the times when this doesn't work and throws up its hands in horror on the nations behalf, but how many more times is there a very positive effect, we never hear about the good times, they don't sell newspapers.
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3107
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown
Location: Essex

Post by sejintenej » Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:39 pm

englishangel wrote:State schools offer counselling for students without parents knowledge so how much more important in a boarding school. Like doctors, you don't need a parents permission to go and the parent has no right to be told if the doctor/counsellor thinks it in the student/patients best interest.

The Daily Mail occasionally has pieces on the times when this doesn't work and throws up its hands in horror on the nations behalf, but how many more times is there a very positive effect, we never hear about the good times, they don't sell newspapers.
Whilst I accept (and regret) that newspapers survive on bad news, unfortunately I am concerned about so-called counsellors.

1) I used to work in a position where it was not unlikely that I would see people being very severely injured, even killed. The "employers" and out "trade body" did nothing to arrange for the provision of counsellors should one be needed saying that we "should contact our doctors and the NHS would provide". I would far rather be able to talk to someone who knows at first hand what goes on, the pressures and stresses involved and the risks and is prepared to simply listen.
A work colleague was badly affected by one incident and couldn't go back for a couple of years when the victim on crutches was no longer being seen on TV - lack of competent counselliong in my opinion.

2) When my son died my wife was given "counselling" at the hospice where he died by a nurse from the hospital which had mistreated him. When my wife mentioned such occurrances at the hospital the counsellor told her she was being hysterical, that none of the things could have happened and she could not come back to the counsellor until she apologised. 7 years on and my wife is not fully over it, her condition having been made worse by the counsellor

The ombudsman's office found that all the occurrances and more actually happened (they found 32 separate causes of complaint), the top people at the hospital were fired and they had someone in the hospital for nearly 2 years enforcing and overseeing the required changes.

Professional counsellors? The concept fills me with dread.
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 167AD

User avatar
icomefromalanddownunder
Button Grecian
Posts: 1228
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 6:13 am
Real Name: Caroline Payne (nee Barrett)
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:56 am

sejintenej wrote:You come across a person hit by a car and you would be quite right to arrange medical aid immediately (probably by calling 999). OTOH can it be right for you to arrange treatment for someone you are not related to because they appear (say) senile? The school is not going to give the go-ahead for elective surgery (as an example) and the doctor/surgeon will ensure that the parent / legal guardian approves.

Should the school have the means to sort it out? IMHO legally no. OTOH if there just happens to be someone competent there whom the pupil can himself/herself voluntarily approach, good. There should however be no form of coercion on the pupil.
So you advocate that the school wait until it is an emergency - the pupil is suicidal - and then it's OK to step in?

Sorry. Absolutely and utterly disagree with you. However, it has been my limited experience that no amount of counselling will be of any help until the person is need is ready to accept it, and has some empathy with the counsellor.

Caroline

huggermugger
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 252
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 11:39 pm
Location: Greenham, Berkshire

Post by huggermugger » Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:35 am

Hello all

I am a current parent and as some of you know have had some experience of how CH deals with bullying today, albeit in a fairly minor way.

One of the things that has impressed me most about CH are the support systems, formal & informal, which are in place. My only other experience is of state schools - my own & my daughter's - and CH compares very well.

Firstly, the anti-bullying policy is comprehensive and specific. More to the point it is enforced. We are asked to read it carefully, with our children, and ensure they understand it. In this policy, great empahasis is laid upon the responsibility of everyone, not only to not take part in bullying but also to challenge it & share information about it happening. The final line is "Keeping quiet protects the bully and implies that the harassment can continue"

Secondly, the children are left in no doubt of who to contact, and how, if they need help. There is a Peer Support system in each house where they formally look out for each other, report back to a more senior group, who take action in the form of issuing warnings & refer it to the housemaster if necessary. It was this "early warning" system that first saw the problems with my son (I abbreviate this to DS), so that by the time I knew about it, action on this level had already been taken. (In our case, action was needed & taken by the housemaster as well.) There is a strong ethos, at least in DS's house, of looking after the younger boys.

In the front of the CH calendar they are given details & times of "confidential listening & support" from Mrs Mitra, both with & without appointment. Independent listeners, ie: not directly connected with the school, are also available in the form of (I presume local) clergy, contact details of whom are on noticeboards around the school. I don't know if any of these people are formally qualified though I suspect they would be.

These, of course, are in addition to the support offered by houseparents, tutors, etc. I'm sure it's not totally bombproof, but it's the best attempt I've seen so far.

I would be totally happy for DS to talk to someone without my being consulted. I have to accept that the school will do what it thinks best for my child and trust them that they will involve me when they think it is right to do so. Btw, we have to sign an agreement which, amongst other things states that

"I authorise the Head Master to act on my behalf while my child is in the care of the School. Whether my child is under or over 16, I authorise the HM to take or authorise in good faith any decisions or actions on behalf of my child which in his view or the view of his staff may be needed to safeguard or promote my child's safety and welfare"

In the case of a medical emergency, every effort is made to contact the parent but if not, the Head is authorised to act.

Sorry this post is a bit wordy!

User avatar
Ajarn Philip
Button Grecian
Posts: 1787
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:30 pm
Real Name: Phil Underwood
Location: Thailand

Post by Ajarn Philip » Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:42 am

No more wordy than it needed to be, and probably very reassuring to potential parents.

I can see David's point, particularly as his family has direct experience of some very unhelpful counselling in what was clearly a devastating experience, but I disagree with the conclusion.

"lack of competent counselliong in my opinion."

Agreed. Incompetence in any job is obviously A Bad Thing.

"Professional counsellors? The concept fills me with dread."


If I felt the need for counselling/therapy of any kind, I would expect to deal with a professionally trained person, who was completely independent of any institution that might have contributed to the problem in the first place.

Counsellors by any name have generally had a bad press, sometimes with good reason. However, this brings us back to the 'bad news is worth talking about - good news isn't' point mentioned earlier.

Moving away from David's points, this topic also touches more generally on points raised in gingerbeard's mental health thread. In the USA it is quite normal, and in many circles almost de rigueur, to have a therapist. I don't advocate therapy because it's trendy, but in the UK we still haven't breached that 'embarrassment' gap. Many of us (including me) like to think we can solve our problems ourselves. Sometimes we can't, and if/when that happens to me I can only say that I hope I am helped by a well-trained, competent, independent professional.
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 68-75

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests