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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Chris T
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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by Chris T » Thu May 08, 2014 5:30 am

All this is sobering reading in contrast to the (often well deserved) nostalgic praise for CH read in this forum. Bullying certainly existed in the 50s. (Even then there was some appreciation of the potential dangers and the care available. A boy aged about 14 used to go to a weekly appointment in Horsham with a psychiatrist. But finally he was asked to leave.) However one notorious bully actually knocked out a victim (behind the Barnes fives courts, a favourite bullying site), with fortunately no apparent immediate physical consequences, nor any apparent mental ones, for that victim remains a friend of mine till the present. I too was bullied, for a probable reason that I won’t mention, because that would identify me, so I know something of bullying victims’ experiences.

There are two crucial points to make and they are most important in view of the many most convincing and horrific accounts in this thread.
(1) The senior housemaster, whatever his other failings, was the most essential influence in preventing or reducing bullying. This point has been made before.
(2) In my experience very few were bullied overall and even fewer bullied severely, although the majority knew it happened and usually ignored it.
This second point should also be made to give a fair perspective and so deserves emphasis. If others agree, please say so? I, although a victim, was lucky to have been in a house where the housemaster was effective in this direction.

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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by Fjgrogan » Thu May 08, 2014 7:20 am

I think that anywhere that large numbers of teenagers form a community there will be bullying of some kind. Anecdotally CH Horsham seems to have been milder than many other large schools, at least in physical terms. At Hertford bullying took a more psychological turn, I suspect with longer term consequences. But basically we knew that it was wrong and needed to be kept hidden. Compare it with what happens in the general population today where 'abuse' is overt and apparently considered acceptable. They go out and get drunk and then stab or shoot each other, whilst recording it all on their mobile phones so that they can show it off to their mates! Girls are as bad as boys. I have said many nasty things about CH Hertford over the years, but as I turn increasingly into a Grumpy Old Woman I am inclined to think that on the whole we had it 'pretty good'.
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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by William » Thu May 08, 2014 1:05 pm

Chris T wrote:However one notorious bully actually knocked out a victim (behind the Barnes fives courts, a favourite bullying site)

I knew this perpetrator at school, though not well. By chance I met him a few years ago for the first time since leaving school and had to spend a couple of hours with him. I was most surprised to find him a totally normal and pleasant person. What can one deduce?

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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by michael scuffil » Thu May 08, 2014 2:22 pm

It seems to me to be an important point that 'bullying' is not just a one-off act of violence by a stronger person against a weaker, of which I was an occasional victim. It's the 'repeated' aspect which constitutes the bullying. I was not a bully at school, though I must admit to knocking a younger boy out (not behind the fives courts, but in Dining Hall). J.H.Page got to hear of this, of course, and summoned me. He said: 'Usually if an older boy hits a younger boy, I hit the older boy. But in this case I know he's been asking for it for months, so I won't. Control your temper next time.'
We lived, if not happily ever after, at least reasonably amicably for the next four years.
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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by eucsgmrc » Fri May 09, 2014 12:17 am

Chris T wrote:In my experience very few were bullied overall and even fewer bullied severely, although the majority knew it happened and usually ignored it ... If others agree, please say so
Based on what I saw at primary school, I had my own ideas about what bullying was, and I rarely saw it at CH. I saw nastiness and cruelty - not much, and not often - but I don't recall seeing a true bully who could entrain a gang of followers to persecute a victim over a protracted period. On the other hand, I was so insensitive and immature that I might have been one of those followers myself without realising. We had our snide "jokes" about individuals that lasted for years. Did those individuals feel bullied? I didn't know then, and I don't know now. I probably wouldn't have cared then; I hope I would now.

As for housemasters: I know that I annoyed Kit Aitken deeply and frequently. My attitude and my personality were very much alien to his view of the world. For all that, I am sure that he did make an effort to be understanding, fair and restrained - and even, in my later years, friendly. I got several of his canings and slipperings. He dealt out those punishments efficiently but I certainly never thought that he enjoyed it. The house he ran was not particularly happy, but it wasn't corrupt either.
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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by J.R. » Sat May 10, 2014 11:38 am

Bullying of new entrants to the Prep houses in the late 1950's seemed endemic and little was done by staff to stop it !!
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by sejintenej » Sat May 10, 2014 5:28 pm

J.R. wrote:Bullying of new entrants to the Prep houses in the late 1950's seemed endemic and little was done by staff to stop it !!
I don't recall any real bullying in Prep A in 1952/3 except from that housemaster. I agree with John Wexler that there was pretty minimal bullying in Col A during our time. Yes, I did get injured enough to be put in the sicker one time and there was one monitor in my first year who connived to have Kit use his cane. Later I had a pure accident on sports day, filling my eyes with sand, and was threatened by Kit with the slipper should I go and get it washed out and miss my high jump turn; I couldn't even see the bl***y posts. Otherwise, in 7 years no great problem.
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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by J.R. » Sat May 10, 2014 6:22 pm

sejintenej wrote:
J.R. wrote:Bullying of new entrants to the Prep houses in the late 1950's seemed endemic and little was done by staff to stop it !!
I don't recall any real bullying in Prep A in 1952/3 except from that housemaster. I agree with John Wexler that there was pretty minimal bullying in Col A during our time. Yes, I did get injured enough to be put in the sicker one time and there was one monitor in my first year who connived to have Kit use his cane. Later I had a pure accident on sports day, filling my eyes with sand, and was threatened by Kit with the slipper should I go and get it washed out and miss my high jump turn; I couldn't even see the bl***y posts. Otherwise, in 7 years no great problem.

I believe Prep B was more prone to bullying than Prep A during my time.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by michael scuffil » Mon May 12, 2014 7:26 am

J.R. wrote:

I believe Prep B was more prone to bullying than Prep A during my time.

As the intake was random, that must be down to the housemasters. Jones in Prep A, I think. Was it Eagle in Prep B?
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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by J.R. » Mon May 12, 2014 11:08 am

michael scuffil wrote:
J.R. wrote:

I believe Prep B was more prone to bullying than Prep A during my time.

As the intake was random, that must be down to the housemasters. Jones in Prep A, I think. Was it Eagle in Prep B?

It certainly was. He wasn't that keen on stopping what I believe he thought was normal for the new intake to have to suffer.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by rockfreak » Tue May 13, 2014 8:21 pm

[quote="Fjgrogan"]I think that anywhere that large numbers of teenagers form a community there will be bullying of some kind. Anecdotally CH Horsham seems to have been milder than many other large schools, at least in physical terms. At Hertford bullying took a more psychological turn, I suspect with longer term consequences. But basically we knew that it was wrong and needed to be kept hidden. Compare it with what happens in the general population today where 'abuse' is overt and apparently considered acceptable. They go out and get drunk and then stab or shoot each other, whilst recording it all on their mobile phones so that they can show it off to their mates! Girls are as bad as boys. I have said many nasty things about CH Hertford over the years, but as I turn increasingly into a Grumpy Old Woman I am inclined to think that on the whole we had it 'pretty good'.[/qu

As usual with me, I'm not going to miss a political point here. Unless the figures have changed, they used to be that two-and-a-half times the amount of money follows a child through the private school system, by one means or another, than through the state system. In other words, if our educational advantages - the teaching, the resources, the buildings, the facilities, the playing fields, were available to every child in the land (whether they chose to board or not), you wouldn't see anything like the crime and yobbishness that we see today on the streets. You're right about us having it pretty good. The right-wing will always say that "it's not about money". They would say that wouldn't they? Of course it's about money. How do they account for the fact that in countries like Finland and Germany they have a virtual one-tier educational system, and yet they have better social cohesion than us and indeed better economies. Are the older OBs willing to compromise their final salary pensions and paid-off mortgages by paying one penny more in tax or giving up one square foot of their sodding great living space? I suppose some smartarse will reply to this by saying it's no part of the Bullying and Abuse heading. Well I say "Yah boo sucks!" When I introduced a Politics thread someone said it was in the wrong place. Geoffrey Cannon, you appear to be one of the few people who have grasped the iniquity of Friedmanism over the last three decades. Please come and back me up.

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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by sejintenej » Tue May 13, 2014 11:02 pm

rockfreak wrote: How do they account for the fact that in countries like Finland and Germany they have a virtual one-tier educational system, and yet they have better social cohesion than us and indeed better economies. .
I can only comment on a very few countries.
Here in France (almost one tier state schooling) children have what we might call civics or good manners lessons in schools from almost their first day. From that, whenever they meet someone they WILL either shake hands or kiss someone they know or are introduced to whenever they meet them. They WILL behave in a respectful manner but parents will notice and allow them to make a point in a conversation. Yes, they do get a clip over the lugole when they deserve it but they already know they deserve it. In a small community like this everybody knows everyone else so kids can't get away with anything. By contrast parents openly allow older children more freedom than in the UK - a girl can freely sleep with her boyfriend without eyebrows being raised. (OK I don't know if parents will serve the hot chocolate to them in bed in the morning ;-) ). Here in the country there appears to be minimal push to better themselves; his daughter's happiness is all even if she fails at Uni according to my neighbour.
In Norway (state schooling) I found young children far more grown-up and worldly than in the UK. My jump teacher spoke fluent colloquial and technical English and behaved like an adult even though she had never been outside her small village - she was just 6 1/2 years old! Again it was how they were treated in the home and also the thoughtfulness and care engendered by having to adapt to and survive in a potentially dangerous environment.. I SUSPECT that in those two countries there is little other entertainment in the home so there is far more interaction between parents and children - that is what I have seen with our honorary grandchildren and their friends here.
In a small corner of Spain (and I am talking about the Caudillo's time) there was close interaction between church, parents and children. In the specific family the use of Spanish in the house was absolutely forbidden so to talk to me was using a foreign language - the father was an absolute controller and Paquita and Mercedes were under the thumb of the priests. Later, after Franco, there was loosening but I was back there too early to see what would happen.
In Brasil I had no contact with under 15's so cannot comment; older teens were pretty "loose" concentrating on self advancement (with a few exceptions).

National economies; I think that this is totally disconnected from how children are brought up. Compare France (struggling under a left wing government and massive central control) with Spain (like Eire, went mad when money became more available and is paying the price), Norway ( left wing, massive centralised control) and Brasil which went from runaway madness to a very strong economy after Lula (trades union boss) became president. I agree that there is massive inequality in Brasil but just look at the 100+ BILLIONaires in England compared to all those on the breadline - at least in Rio you could get a roof, stolen electricity and water, no need for central heating and can grow food easily, none of which you can do in Tower Hamlets. Yes, I have massively generalised in making these comparisons but we are talking about very varied nations.
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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by michael scuffil » Wed May 14, 2014 10:11 am

rockfreak wrote: How do they account for the fact that in countries like Finland and Germany they have a virtual one-tier educational system, and yet they have better social cohesion than us and indeed better economies.
Your statement would not be recognized in Germany, where the three-tier division of the educational system is widely bemoaned in theory, but nothing is done about it in practice because the bemoaners benefit.

They have a selective system resembling the one we used to have in England. But as they don't have any real selection criteria (like an 11+), the selection tends to run on class lines. Social cohesion is no better in Germany either. If anything, worse, I'd say.
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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by Chris T » Wed May 14, 2014 3:34 pm

To sum up the two valuable comments from Rockfreak and Sejintenej, BOTH ARE CORRECT AND NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. Of course poverty causes bad (social) things, but the culture of a community/nation is at least equally (and frequently more) important. Two examples make my case:

(1) In Britain during the great depression, things were very much better socially than now (eg crimewise), but obviously and most regrettably life was far, far worse economically, for a large majority. Today’s UK culture is different.
(2) Consider China of the Mao era. (Then there were a very strong work ethic and respect for older family members which still remain, although there has been a vast increase in crime, since.) Of course in Mao’s days there was general abject poverty and vast crimes perpetrated by the state (eg the Great Leap Forward). But the previous points (work ethic and respect) concerned the majority of Chinese.

So economic factors do play a great part in the ‘Bullying and Abuse” as Rockfreak points out (so that this posting remains relevant to the topic, for crime is related to Bullying, etc), but in some societies cultural factors can often play a much greater role. Sejintenej’s examples confirm this too.

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Re: Bullying & Abuse - Take II

Post by sejintenej » Wed May 14, 2014 6:49 pm

Chris T wrote:To sum up the two valuable comments from Rockfreak and Sejintenej, BOTH ARE CORRECT AND NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. Of course poverty causes bad (social) things, but the culture of a community/nation is at least equally (and frequently more) important. Two examples make my case:

(1) In Britain during the great depression, things were very much better socially than now (eg crimewise), but obviously and most regrettably life was far, far worse economically, for a large majority. Today’s UK culture is different.

During this time there were several deterrents; communities were self-contained, well informed about the inhabitants and wouldn't tolerate people who were a danger or were in trouble with the law. You either complied or became a major criminal (relying on survival through violence and crime or ingenuity). There were the Kray types but also the white collar criminals; one such financed several presentations to CH, was caught, imprisoned in the 1920's and when he came out had to flee to Paris and then Havana where he die"d in poverty. In the 1960's his family were approached for help in bringing his body back to the UK but in view of his conviction for embezzlement, not a penny was raised. When I started you could not work in the City or any financial institution if you had any conviction or were divorced (ie breach of your wedding vows); there were very strong deterrents against doing the wrong thing. John Profumo was seen as having "done the wrong thing" and despite working valiantly for the East End poor for 50 years he remained persona non grata. It was the arrival of yanks in the City and their reliance on written law, contracts and failure/refusal to honour verbal undertakings and the "practice of the trade" (which is one of the foundations of English law) which I blame for part of the breakdown. More recently we had a minister who was forced to resign for wrongdoing, became a minister again perhaps two years later and when he broke the rules again he again had to resign and so was given a top job in Brussels; should he have been driven out of Europe the first time, never to ever return to these shores?
Chris T wrote:(2) Consider China of the Mao era. (Then there were a very strong work ethic and respect for older family members which still remain, although there has been a vast increase in crime, since.) Of course in Mao’s days there was general abject poverty and vast crimes perpetrated by the state (eg the Great Leap Forward). But the previous points (work ethic and respect) concerned the majority of Chinese.
My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that up to and during Mao' reign there was little movement out of original communities, ancestors and the older family members were (and I thing often still are) venerated. Confucian thought still had a major influence throughout poorer communities. With economic growth, the move to employment centres to avoid backbreaking work on the land has split up families and communities so the influence of the old has wained and, people being away from home, are tempted by what they see.

Blame this on economic growth? perhaps if industries could have been built in existing communities the breakup would have been muted but I acknowledge that such a picture is economically impossible. Back in my near hippie years there was a movement to have industries on a village scale - housing chickens in a grounded "faster than a chicken's f*rt" Concorde, your own windmill for electricity, a mud and straw bale house ........a le John Seymour's 'Self Sufficiency'
Chris T wrote:So economic factors do play a great part in the ‘Bullying and Abuse” as Rockfreak points out (so that this posting remains relevant to the topic, for crime is related to Bullying, etc), but in some societies cultural factors can often play a much greater role. Sejintenej’s examples confirm this too.
“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

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