My son was bullied on school transport. He was a victim of “happy slapping” on the school bus. We weren’t sure how to handle the situation, but the school’s head teacher was marvellous when we called her for advice…
“My son was bullied on school transport. He was a victim of ‘happy slapping’ on the school bus. He didn't tell us about it because he thought the boys who were ‘just having a bit of fun’ with mobile phones were being his friends. As a child with complex health needs and poor social skills, he doesn't have as many friends as he would like, so, ironically, he almost ‘welcomed’ the attention and, at least at first, saw it as acceptance.
His vulnerability made him an easy target. We found out about it not from our son but through a friend. Their daughter had come home crying as she was so upset about what she had witnessed on the bus on a daily basis for about a week.
We weren't sure how to handle this situation, but the school's head teacher was marvellous when we called her for advice. She called in the bullies immediately, saying that ‘a concerned parent, not of the bullied child’, had reported them. The evidence was secured from their phones and subsequently from the phones of their friends/associates who had been sent copies. They were severely punished.
The issue of ‘happy slapping’ was then treated as a whole-school learning exercise, with all younger and vulnerable children being told not to put up with it, but to report it. A letter was sent out to all parents on the subject.
Our son was never exposed as an individual, and does not know how the bullies were reported, dealt with and how the problem was stamped out. The letter home gave us the opportunity to raise the issue with him in the general sense, and he then told us he had been a victim. We were able to talk about it objectively and provide reassurance and hope that it won't happen again.”