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Advice please.

(60 Posts)
grannyactivist Wed 04-Feb-15 20:33:10

Today a little girl in my grandson's class went to the teacher and told her that when they were lining up outside the classroom my grandson said, "I'm going to kill you" to her (no context asked for or given). The teacher's response was to ask the tattle-tale poor, traumatised child, 'How did that make you feel?' And of course the child said it wasn't nice or it was upsetting or some such. (Both children are just turned 5.)
The teacher then insisted that my grandson write a letter of apology, which was given to the little girl's mother at home time and my daughter was asked in at the end of the school day to discuss this 'very serious incident' and told that the little girl's mother was very angry and upset about it. The teacher said that this was such a serious thing that she was going to put my grandson on a 'Behavioural Report' as a consequence - and my daughter told her, somewhat forcefully, that she was going to do no such thing.
Now, my grandson can be silly; he says 'bum-face' and 'poo poo head' to the other children if they irritate him excessively (the same girl's mother 'reported' this to my daughter before Christmas) - but he is also bright and the most accomplished reader in his class. He is never disruptive and usually gets on with his work without any trouble. At his previous school the teacher said he was a delight to have in the class and an asset to the school. (He went to a school nursery class.) He is also incredibly kind and patient with his little brother.
So, am I right in thinking that this teacher is barking mad to make so much of so little?

nightowl Wed 04-Feb-15 20:53:00

It does sound like a complete over-reaction to me grannyactivist. I would have hoped that a teacher would have more sense than to take one child's word for this and accept at face value what was supposed to have been said. Even if your grandson did say this, what on earth is a five year old's understanding of a statement like 'I'm going to kill you'. I would expect a teacher of this age group to have a better understanding of child development than to think this was a 'very serious incident'.

I sympathise regarding the 'bum face' and 'poo poo head' - my slightly younger grandson's favourite expressions are 'willy head' and 'poo poo head' and he is continually saying 'ooh I hurt my winkie' when he is standing doing nothing at all and all with a big smile on his face. I ignore it as it's obviously done for attention and obviously part of learning about differences between males and female anatomy. If any other mother complained about this I would be quite shocked and tempted to tell her to find something else to worry about (though of course I wouldn't actually do so).

I think your daughter has the right idea, but how sad for your little grandson that his teacher cannot act impartially in her care of all the children in her class. She is not doing the little girl in question any favours either - what a little tattle tale she is going to be with a teacher and a mother like these.

kittylester Wed 04-Feb-15 20:54:29

Yes GA you are totally right! The correct response should have been something along the Inez of 'Did he dear! Never mind!'

annsixty Wed 04-Feb-15 20:57:18

Actually I think the teacher was right to express concern and act ,It maybe she took it to extreme lenghs but I would not like my GC to be told someone was going to kill him/her.Your GS perhaps is silly but he needs to learn that such sayings are taken seriously and are frightening to young children.

Anne58 Wed 04-Feb-15 21:00:37

Totally over the top reaction!

Ana Wed 04-Feb-15 21:01:08

A letter of apology at just turned 5 years of age...? (well done to him if he was able to write one, I'm not sure my GDs would have been!)

This sort of overreaction reminds me of those reports of schools who have been putting children as young as 4 on a register for using 'racist' and 'sizeist' language in the playground.

Penstemmon Wed 04-Feb-15 21:10:08

Seems rather heavy handed to me grannya!
I would simply have asked your DGS to look at his class mate to see that he had upset her and get him to think why she might feel sad as a result of his words. When (if!) he could understand then I'd ask him to think what he could do to make her feel better! End of!
If however this is an ongoing situation where two children don't hit it off and irritate each other your DGS and the girl need support to manage the situation. It is possibly 6 of one and half a dozen of the other!

If the girl knows her mum thinks badly of your DGS from a previous situation she may know she can get attention by irritating him into doing something to upset her! Seen that before. Equally seen kids who also get a buzz out of upsetting children!

Have a look at the school's behaviour policy. It should be on their website. Check that these are the procedures for such incidents. I expect there are 'Golden Rules' saying something like 'We are kind to each other' If I were you I would advise DD to ask to speak to senior teacher to say whilst she agrees with the school behaviour policy generally in this case she feels it was a heavy handed application. She needs to say that she has told DGS that what he said was not kind etc etc. and will sanction him if he says things to upset people on purpose.

soontobe Wed 04-Feb-15 21:25:10

I agree with Penstemmon. Your DD can find out what the school policy is.
If it is not school policy, or if your DD does not agree with the school policy, she should ask to speak to the Head.

Penstemmon Wed 04-Feb-15 21:37:29

soontobe disagreeing with a policy is not the question! Schools can set the policy that they feel is right for the school. Accepting a place is tantamount to accepting the policy! If however the school has not followed its own policy then a parent may need to discuss that!

If a child has been genuinely upset by another child a school needs to deal with it. The question is how!

annsixty Wed 04-Feb-15 21:39:50

And I also whilst obviously being in the minority here think it is a bit over the top to call a teacher who is probably following school guielines "barking mad".Just feel strongly about this.

Penstemmon Wed 04-Feb-15 22:04:02

Annsixty having often been the headteacher in the middle of two parents both feeling angry and hurt over a quarrel between their children I instinctively feel it is likely there is more to this situation. However teachers are human and in a busy classroom they sometimes misread a situation!

grannya's DGS needs to be told clearly he should not say things that upset people. He is at an age when he can begin to empathise and understand that what you say can be unkind. Just not sure writing a letter will really get the message across!

soontobe Wed 04-Feb-15 22:12:38

Policies are up for debate though Penstemmon, surely?

Policies at our primary were never written in stone. Each of the umpteen policies came up for regular renewal.

Mishap Wed 04-Feb-15 22:20:34

Shock, horror! - 5 year olds threaten to kill each other! School's safeguarding policy fails to meet standards!

GrannyTwice Wed 04-Feb-15 22:24:57

I do think ga that you are also guilty of some over reaction. Firstly, I am concerned that you called the girl a tattle tale and that Kitty thought the teacher should have brushed off what she said. I thought we had moved to listening to children and encouraging them to report behaviour/comments that upset them. It does sound as though the teacher may have over reacted but she should have done something and have taken it seriously. Your dgs did need to be told that he simply can't say things like that and he has to learn as do all children about what is acceptable to say and what isn't.and fwiw I don't think he should be saying those other comments to children either.

Nelliemoser Wed 04-Feb-15 22:53:11

Oh dear that was badly handled!
A sensible teacher should certainly talk calmly to the boy and make it clear that what he had said was unkind and why. When that child had thought about it he should then be asked to go and apologise.

He is only five for heavens sake.

Good grief the things my daughter used to shout at her brother at that sort of age! She has grown up to be perfectly civilised person.

FarNorth Wed 04-Feb-15 23:12:15

It's quite likely that the boy's remark did not come out of the blue and he may have been provoked.
I think the teacher should have spoken to both children about what is acceptable, without giving blame.

rosequartz Wed 04-Feb-15 23:16:50

Oh dear, get her to listen to the Joyce Grenfell version of how to deal with little children.

The teacher should have told him firmly that we don't say things like that, it is not kind. The little girl should have been told to ignore it, he was being unkind and now he is going to apologise to you, isn't he and made him say sorry.

You can make a mountain out of a molehill and in doing so make it seem so much more important to the children concerned.

rosequartz Wed 04-Feb-15 23:20:51

grannyactivist Wed 04-Feb-15 23:54:41

Annsixty and GrannyTwice I do appreciate your honest comments, even though if I'm being honest it's not what I want to hear. I used the phrase 'barking mad' merely as a synonym for ludicrous.
There was more to the incident than I put in the OP and I'd like to correct the impression that my daughter thought the teacher should have 'brushed off' what the girl said. My daughter expects a high standard of behaviour from her son and would have expected the teacher to firstly check the context in which this incident occurred. My daughter did do this and it seems that many of the children, including the girl in question, were egging each other on to say ever sillier things, but the girl mentioned only my grandson to the teacher. Having spoken to my daughter again this evening she told me teacher said that my grandson apologised to the girl without prompting as soon as she asked him about the incident. Yet she still insisted he write a letter.
My grandson used to love going to school and had a lovely time in his last class, but since joining this particular class he now gets upset every day and really doesn't want to go. The teaching assistant says his behaviour is typical for his age and that he has excellent manners, she really likes him.
At home he began acting up at about the end of October - at the same time (we later realised) as he started to say he doesn't like school. His behaviour at home has improved and he's much more like his old self; except that he now gets upset every morning (sometimes crying) and says he really doesn't want to go to school. sad

GrannyTwice Thu 05-Feb-15 00:01:50

Oh ga- I'm afraid in the other place (MN) that's called drip feeding and is a hanging offence! But seriously, what you've now added does change what I think but having said that what I posted was what I still believe based on the original post iyswim. I hope things get sorted with your dgs and school.

rockgran Thu 05-Feb-15 07:08:24

As a reception teacher (many years ago). My reaction to such an event was always to consider that the accused child might have been provoked rather than assume that the "victim" was entirely innocent. (Little girls can be very sneaky!)

kittylester Thu 05-Feb-15 07:19:28

As a mum of 5 (3 girls) I stand by my comments up there! I had assumed it was the aftermath of something that had been going on at break and I would just keep an eye on things. It's a complete over reaction!

Anya Thu 05-Feb-15 07:23:37

A telling off for your GS, an apology by him to the girl, shaking hands and a 'I'm surprised at you, you're usually such a kind boy' from teacher.

gillybob Thu 05-Feb-15 08:33:13

Exactly Anya that is the way it should have been dealt with. The teacher had no way of knowing what had happened to make the little boy say what he did. Perhaps the little girl had nipped him, kicked him or said something equally unkind to him previously. I think the teacher went way over the top doing what she did and she has probably gone a long way to build up a resentment between the two children.

I also agree with rockgran little girls can be sneaky and come over all sweet and innocent when questioned whereas boys tend to lash out. My DGD (8) so good at winding her little brother up with words. She provokes and provokes him until he snaps, then she runs to grandad and tells him how her horrible little brother has done this or that. On Tuesday she pulled a drawing book from under him while he was using it and ran off with it until he caught her and thumped her. Her reaction was totally over the top (screaming and wailing) I made her give the book back and told them both off. Her reaction was to curl up in the corner and wail "I hate him he's the most horrible brother EVER"

Children Eh?

Falconbird Thu 05-Feb-15 08:48:35

Grannyactivist - I think the teacher overreacted.

Little boys, and I had three, can talk this way but it means nothing. I think teachers are hyper sensitive these days because of things that have gone on in schools here and abroad but the children are only five.

I also think there is a culture of "telling teacher" now because of things that go on whereas when I was a child we kept everything to ourselves. Was this good or bad, I honestly don't know.