Jacob has a learning disability, and was bullied by another boy who had special needs too. Luckily, Jacob’s mum spotted the signs very early and alerted the school, who acted very quickly to stop the bullying.
“My child Jacob was being picked on by another boy. Jacob has a learning disability. He was being picked on by a boy who also has special needs but he is higher functioning than Jacob. Jacob was upset saying he never wanted to go to school again. He was finding it difficult to go to sleep at night and was very difficult to get out of the home in the morning.
However, the teaching staff were absolutely brilliant about it. I wrote my concerns in his communication book. The teachers looked out for any incidents and noticed this boy tripping up Jacob. They immediately removed this boy and made him play in the infants’ playground as a punishment, they also withdrew his golden time. They spoke to this boy about his behaviour and how he should behave.
They also spoke to Jacob about the incident and re-assured him to go to them for help in the future over subsequent issues and, to me, the most useful thing they did over the next couple of weeks was to ensure that Jacob’s self-esteem was not damaged in any way. They made sure they praised him for all the good things he did. The communication between home and school was brilliant over this time so that we could also praise him and build up his self-esteem and confidence.
We need to ensure that bullying issues are not just about anti-bullying, disability awareness etc. We need to ensure that children and young people with additional needs are helped to be resilient individuals, skills which will prepare them for adulthood as well as keeping them as confident and secure as possible within their childhood.
I have spoken to many parents who have not had the positive experience I have when their child is bullied at school. At least two, I know have been told by the headteacher, “There is no bullying in my school” and parents’ concerns are often not taken seriously enough.
Jacob is now very happy and settled at school again and I commend the actions taken by his school. He does attend a mainstream school where there is a special unit within it and he has the support from a special needs’ teacher which I am sure has helped the situation enormously!