Reading this about a 10 year old boy in meath that has been removed from school due to bullying,
This is the blog, Poor kid, My heart goes out to him and his family......
To whom it may concern,
We wish to bring to your attention the following sequence of disturbing events to which our family and especially our youngest son have been subjected in recent months in Kells. Co Meath, Ireland. What will emerge below is a damning indictment of racial and xenophobic intolerance in modern Ireland.
By way of background, we relocated to Ireland in June 2010 from South Africa following a brutal family murder and ongoing violence in South African society. Gerard is an Irish citizen who lived in SA for several years, his wife and children are born and bred South Africans.
Below is a sequence of events to date:
-Sept 2011 - Son starts at new school, having experienced racial bullying at previous school (very small rural school in Co Meath, Ireland)
-Oct 2011 - Son comes home having been punched in the face - this was not reported to us by the school. We went in the next day and the Principal's response was he doesn't call in parents every time there is an "altercation" between boys. We mention that our son has informed us of organised fights at break time, the Principal vehemently denies this. Our son reports to us he is being teased over his accent. Principal denies any bullying but agrees to monitor situation.
He also encourages our son not to be a tattle tale after we bring up other issues which came to light. This he also relayed to our son by the Principal, this was done to improve the chances of him making friends and not be seen as a rat.
-November 2011 - We are called by the school to tell us our son is injured we need to collect him, I found him semi conscious, dizzy, slurred speech and very pale after an "accidental" clash of heads during PE class. In Cavan A&E he has CT scan and diagnosed with severe concussion. Suffers headaches and double vision for about 4 days.
-December 2011 - We observe the group of boys involved in bullying, some of whom live in the same estate, coming into our property several times and playing nick nack, xmas decorations are stolen from our porch.
-Jan 2012 - First day back to school after Christmas break, found tyres on our car deflated- reported to Gardai, rang Principal as we know first names of boys but not surnames so Gardai cannot take complaint. He tells us to buy a cctv system and come with proof to him.
-25th Feb 2012 - Front lounge windows hit with oranges, we witness the boys - call police - told they busy with road blocks, no cars available. One hour later numerous eggs hit house windows walls and a rental car. Again we witness them being thrown. Again call police. We stand on pavement outside house, ask a few local kids for surname of one local boy, it is given. 1 hour later 4 boys at our driveway, looking in and laughing, our eldest son (16) runs after them and asks if it was them who egged the house, they deny, he says ok and comes back.
Our 10 year old is traumatised by these events and breaks down crying. What came out then was the fact that these boys and others have been racially abusing our son for months, calling him a “F**king foreigner” and mocking and imitating his accent. Eventually Gardai turns up 4 hours later! We provide name and address of one boy and first names of others. The Gardai return after being at house of boy and tells us they deny everything. The Gardai also say as boys are under 12 there is no criminal responsibility and they can do nothing about the situation.
-Monday 27th Feb 2012 - Our son is afraid to go to school, we keep him at home and telephone the Principal and tell him what happened. The Principal asks why our son has not told him of incidents at school. We remind him of his "advice" not to be a rat.
That evening another concerned parent and her son, who is in same year as ours, comes to the house. The boy tells us of the fact that on a daily basis our son is being brought to the point of tears due to racial bullying over his accent. Furthermore he tells us that the bully who the gardai called to is bragging in playground that day that he got away with the egging and is coming back for our car.
Most disturbingly, the boy who was in the "accidental" head clash causing our son concussion has been bragging that he deliberately head butted our son, and also got away with it. This child also without prompting spontaneously described the organised fights which are happening in the school.
-Tuesday 28th Feb 2012 - We call the Gardai and make formal statement about the 2 assaults on our son- the punch in the face and the head butt incident. We call Dept of Education, we get bounced around the HSE, Education Dept, Education Welfare Officers, Social Workers etc - a brilliant case of buck passing for 2-3 days and still NO ONE is intervening on our behalf.
We hand delivered detailed letter to the school's Board of Management and requested meeting and investigation.
-Thursday 1 March 2012 - We speak to a Sergeant who informs us that the Principal had suggested the head clash was our son's fault and our version of events was in contradiction to his therefore no further investigation of incident. We are in shock. We contact school and under freedom of information act ask for a copy of the accident log, we also remembered that we had claimed medical
cost through schools pupil insurance scheme which also had report from principal. We contacted the insurance company and requested copy of claim form. We got both documents which clearly support our version of events and contradict the evasive version the Principal gave to Gardai. The insurance claim was completed by him in his own hand writing and signed by him.
When I collected the accident log from school, had a brief chat with Principal he again denied any bullying, and informed me that [Board of Management] BOM were meeting on Monday next in private and we were not invited.
-Friday evening 2 March 2012 - Youngest son's birthday. We met with the Sergeant and presented both documents to support our version of events, they now accepted our version, said they would call to houses of 2 boys this evening, and interview Principal on Monday. 45mins after getting home my wife answers call from a Garda (the one who took the original complaint re. car tyres), she
informs my wife that she has just had " a very concerned parent" of a boy whom allegedly our oldest son had threatened and verbally abused (this is the one who threw the eggs). The garda wanted to come to our house and formally caution our eldest son. My wife refused, and we were threatened with arrest and that a senior officer would come to the house and "force" the caution on our eldest son.
I immediately contacted the Sergeant we had met earlier and told him what had happened. I told him this was a false accusation and obviously further intimidation of us as a family. He rang back after speaking to the garda who had wanted to issue caution and told me they would not be coming tonight to issue caution but had an appointment to meet the other family tonight (Sat) and would call to us afterwards.
Our youngest who is being bullied broke down after all this drama and panic in the house asking why are the police coming for his big brother.
-Saturday 3 March 2012 - We removed all children from the house as we expected to be arrested for obstruction of justice for refusing caution. Contacted a criminal solicitor who informed that the Gardai had no charge and to refuse them entry to the house.
-Sunday 4 March 2012 - Gardai arrived early evening, we confirmed that they were not there to issue a caution. Gardai inform us that they had visited 6 different families but all denied involvement. Gardai received undertaking from families that they would not interfere with us again.
-Monday 5th March 2012 - Delivered second letter to school for Board of Management, addressed to all members excluding Principlal. In this letter we highlighted the evasive nature of the Principlal's response to Gardai enquiries. We were not invited to this board meeting. We receive a phone call just before 9 pm asking us to come to school, we were unable to attend and arranged meeting for the following day.
-Tuesday 6 March 2012 - Meeting held with some members of the board. Meeting was recorded with consent of all parties. Board was initially reluctant to concede problem with bullying in the school. Difficult and heated meeting for 1 hour and 42 minutes. Eventually board admitted that they failed our son. Solutions proposed see attachment. Son to return to school Thursday 8thMarch 2012. -Wednesday 7 March 2012 - Son and teacher meet at school to discuss 'secret' method of communication. Class teacher and son were to finalise this the following morning before school.
-Thursday 8 March 2012 - Son finishes school day, reports that he had been taunted over egg throwing and called names after school. Son is visibly distressed and refuses to go back to school.
We went immediately to see the Principal and inform him of what had happened. Teacher had not finalised 'secret' signal and son couldn't alert him to what was happening.
-Friday 9th March 2012 - Son kept out of school as fearful yet again.
-Monday 12 March 2012 - Son returns to school after debriefing. Teacher finalises 'secret' signal. Principal was due to give talk during assembly on bullying but this didn't materialise due to confirmation photographer at school. Principal did give individual talks to each class.
-Wednesday 14 March 2012 - Son has a good day at school, seems relaxed and enjoying school again. House egged again that afternoon. Gardai are summoned. Camera was not running at the time so no footage available. Started camera then and caught the bullies passing by looking in and laughing.
-Thursday 15 March 2012 - Take video clip to Principal. He confirms identity of boys. Principal notes their names. Get phone call from Principal later that day and he informs us of existence of a facebook page. We go back to school to meet with him. Principal gives us a screen grab of the facebook page. Principal informs us that the page has been removed. We demand another board meeting to discuss suspension and possible expulsion of those responsible for the hate page.
Principal stated that expulsion was not an option for primary schools and that the maximum suspension was three days. We take the screen grab to the Gardai. Gardai confirm that it is incitement to hatred and a serious offence. Mother of boy responsible for page comes to our house seeking resolution and forgiveness. We inform her that the situation is too serious and that Gardai have been notified. Gardai meet with parents and boy who set up the page. Other children and parents from the page don't bother keeping appointment with Gardai. Gardai confirm no prosecution is possible due to age of offenders. We look at facebook profiles of other boys involved and realise that the hate page had been circulated to approximately 200 other people including many students from the school.
-Friday 16 March 2012 - We advise the Principal on level of exposure of this hate page. Inform Principal that we are removing son once again for his own protection. Principal agrees that son should not be made aware of this hate page. Unfortunately our son had been made aware of this page by another student in school during the course of Wednesday.
-Tuesday 20 March 2012 - Son not at school. Board of Management holds closed meeting. We had prepared a submission for the meeting. Was not afforded opportunity to present it to the board as meeting was held in the morning. Spoke to Principal in the afternoon. Principal refuses to discuss outcome of meeting. We are told to wait for a letter from the chairman of the board. No time scale is given as to when we will receive letter. We express our disgust at the fact that we were excluded.
Mother of boy who set up hate page arrives again at our house. She requests to meet at local hotel so that we can 'sort this out between us'. We refuse and ask her to leave our property.
-Thursday 22 March 2012 – Receive BOM decision via email. BOM has decided not to take any action against the bullies. The BOM is taking the facebook incident in isolation and not attributing it to bullying behaviour in the school. This despite the fact that they have conceded that our son is indeed being bullied in school.
In conclusion at no stage has anyone enquired as to the well being of our son. This case is not being treated with fair procedure and urgency which it obviously deserves. The fact that our son is being denied his right to education whilst the bullies continue school unpunished and are roaming the streets of Kells on a daily basis clearly demonstrates the injustice of this situation. The effect of all of this on our son cannot be underestimated, he is already trying to modify his accent around home, when we talked to him about it it said he is trying to get rid of his South African accent to fit in more at school.
It is widely acknowledged that bullying in schools in Ireland, whether it be racial or otherwise, is an ever increasing problem. As quoted by Dr Mona O'Moore from the Trinity anti-bullying centre: 'Within in the last year, I've heard of at least four secondary school students who have died by suicide because of bullying. There was also one eight year old who took that drastic step.'
We as a family are no longer prepared to allow us and our son to be intimidated by ten and eleven year olds and their irresponsible parents and an ineffective board of management at the school. We are disgusted that the Children's act is protecting the bullies and not our son. We will stop at no lengths to highlight this problem in the Kells area and hopefully from doing so, someone in authority will have the guts to stand up for what is our constitutional right namely to live in peace and that our son get the education in a safe environment, which he deserves and wants, free from racial abuse,.
This is a very shortened version of events as there are many other details which we do not want to disclose at this point. We feel that the information we have provided here paints a disturbing enough picture. If you require any additional information please feel free to contact us.
Gerry and Liza Dalton
Kells, Co Meath
I was bullied mercilessly all through secondry (and to a lesser extent throughout primary),partially because of my family name,partially because I was 'a bit soft'.
I grew up the eldest of 5 and the only boy so I guess my being 'a bit soft' stemed from growing up in a predominantly female enviroment.
Secondry was a different level altogether,there were 3 of them in particular who just seemed to hate me for no other reason than I was me,they were from a neighbouring estate where I had to go to school,I got walloped for been from a different estate,for coming to their school,for wanting to play on the school team,for been a good dancer!...the later was to prove my escape from the hassle I endured.
See I've always loved music,dancing & drama so I was always up for the school plays n stuff (aswell as for football,gaelic & later martial arts),one of the nuns who taught us delivered the ammo for my tormentors when innocently in religion she classed me as "a very gay young lad" ..... we were discussing peoples characters,when asked what was my character the jibes of "a sap , a girl, a ****head etc" rang out and she piped up with her attempt at a genuine character appraisal,much to my horror! I knew instantly I was going to get it and I did in great measure,P.E. became thw worst ordeal of all,showering after double PE was like running a gauntlet of hate,the label of "queer","fag" coupled with my family name just left me open to a daily routine of trips,sly punches,belongings been taken and hidden,pushed,slagged and then the home time covert op of trying to out wit my tormentors by sneaking out over the wall and away down the road before they came after me.
I darent tell anyone coz it would've only made it worse,no way was I going to give them anthing else to hate me for,darent tell my mates they have slagged the bollix out of me and sure I was safe around my own estate,it was only school that was the problem.
But then a strange thing happened,I mentioned I love music & dance,summer of 85 and breakdance was all the rage,and I was pretty good! we had a little crew from our estate and used to head into town of a saturday and hang around the central bank,I was in my element the music the dancing the buzz ....and the girl attention (contrary to the beliefs of my tormentors,and several others at school I am straight)
Anyway,low & behold there was a crew from the neighbouring estate that also hung around in town on saturday and I knew a few of the faces from school,in conversation one mentioned my 'school identity' and was surprised at the different me to what he'd heard and thought I was, getting to know him he schooled me on the head tormentor,that he was from a fooked up family and it was all front,the other 2 were just little weak dopes that he had easy control over,and apparently none could fight their way out of a paper bag.
Roll on September and back to school,to cut a long story short there was team hate waiting to welcome me back,that lunchtime I'm leaving the canteen and heading to the jacks and walk straight into top dog walking out of the jacks,he pushes he and I dont know where it came from but I fooking walloped him full in the mouth,he goes flying and I go after him swinging wildly,punching him (and the floor a few times) and Im crying with fear/temper/anger/frustration until i'm dragged off by the mechanical drawing teacher (who coped for a few unitentional hits of my flapping arms).
After that I was always ready for the hitting but atleast it was only when there was the 3 of them and only after school (on the days they'd caught up with me,had me boxed off or snuck up on me,by 3rd year the main one had given up on school and the other 2 weren't as up for a fight as in previous years,but the name calling,the laughing,the stuff been taking on me,the stuff getting wrote in the toilets about me,never stopped,I damaged me,it dampened my ambitions,it made me weary and distrusting and aggresive, it's all as fresh in my mind as though it was only yesterday, it's been 20 odd years now,would love to bump into anyone of them today.
Just realised writing this out,wonder if its one of the reasons I'm so anti facebook ya know,not wanting to tempt fate!
You think there would be something they could do.
I find this a little worrying, are the parents partly to blame here?
I also cannot understand the attitude of the teacher and the gardai.
We are just getting the parents side of the story but reading that blog makes you wonder how much bullying is not taken serious.
Doesn't suprise me, I went to 4 different primary schools and got bullied at each one, must have had bully me tattooed on my forehead, me with my uk accent in rural co cork schools, not a good mix in the 1980s. The English were evil!
My parents never knew I was bullied, they still don't know! We moved schools because we rented and the lease ran out. Tbh I was delighted every time.
your surname? or your family background?
You were probably a shy child and the bullies seen this. How come you did not tell your parents?
Didn't tell them anything ever, at 15 I took an overdose, spent 3 days in icu only then did they know about some of the bulling, not the primary school bullying. They weren't approachable and my dad was a problem too, he was an alcoholic.
I was shy, I'm not anymore i changed my life after my overdose.
My surname, a popular calendar date that was the bane of my life from the age of 9 to 18 so much so I used to tell my da (I'm ashamed to say) I hated him for having our stupid name and wishing I had my ma's maiden name or any different name than the one we have.
Funnily enough there is another tribe of the same name (no relation)who have a somewhat coloured background and are no strangers to the local Gardai,growing up where I did the local gardai used to stop us from time to time and ask the usual "name,address,what ya doing where ya going" stuff ,and almost everytime I gave my name I'd get the raised eyebrow look and a "ah another one of them are ya" comment,at the time I never knew what they ment........there's a whole other story with this!
I dont know if I'd call it bullying because it wasn't something that happened every single day, but I did get picked on a bit in secondary school.
First there was this guy in my year who would stare at me at any given chance, to the point that I was creeped out. One day I heard him calling me fat to some other lads in our year and they all had a giggle. I wasn't obese but I was bigger than the other girls in the class at the time. It really hurt my feelings because before that I never had a problem with how I looked (I was 13/14) anyways this happened near the summer holidays and I used it as my motivation to give myself a "makeover" during the summer.
Lost the extra weight, got a nice hair cut, started wearing more makeup, etc. I honestly looked like a different person in September - a lot of people were calling me "the new girl" and the kid who called me fat kept giving me "the eye".
A few years later when I was about 16 I wore a necklace with a religious medal to school (you know those strings with the little medal of Mary you get when priests come to visit the school) and this girl from my year comes over and tells me to take it off or she'll rip it off my neck...I didn't take it off and she didn't rip it off but she tried to annoy me for the next few months - calling me a freak, laughing behind my back, saying my clothes were weird etc. in fairness I was going through my emo phase so I was dressing a bit different than most 16 year old girls in rural Ireland...but anyways. I remember seeing her Bebo page and she was even bad mouthing me on there. I assumed after the necklace incident she was a (super crazy) practicing catholic but she had a baby when she was 18 with some knacker lad shes not married to..and she has been on the dole since she left school. Met her out a year or two ago and she said she missed seeing me....fake b1tch.
The principal of that school in Kells Co Meath is an absoloute imbecile. Reading that blog just frustrated me! Rediculous how that can happen.
It doesn't have to be an everyday occurance for it to be bullying,just reading the opening paragraphs of your post I would say you were been bullied,maybe to a lesser extent than others but to experience intimidating behaviour toward you,to be made feel uneasy,to suffer verbal taunts is clear enough a case of been bullied.
Good on you for taking the attitude you did,in your case you won twice over,they didnt get the desired effect,quite the opposite infact and the plus for you was your own well being and health,so well done you!
I'm sure you're joking but I'm not.