PARENTS FROM AROUND Moray have been expressing their concerns over bullying in schools – some describing the official reaction to any complaints as “a complete joke”.
Following our story last week about staff at Millbank Primary School in Buckie failing to intervene in a playground fight that saw two boys beating another, several parents have contacted insideMoray over concerns that the issue is more widespread than a single school.
While a spokesman for the local authority denied that there was any change of policy as regards action taken by staff in such instances, parents insist that many do use ‘health and safety’ issues as reasoning behind failures to take immediate action when fighting or bullying is taking place.
One parent told of his daughter being beaten at a school by another pupil and staff being aware but taking no action – adding that the most worrying aspect was that his child reported the matter to him some time after and not the school itself. In that case the parent spoke to a school head teacher and was assured action would be taken – only to receive a letter saying that everything was being done to support the family of the child who had been concerned in delivering the beating in the first place.
Another parent at a different Moray school related a similar story, saying that her son had been set upon by several boys on an almost daily basis.
Again, when a complaint was made there was a promise of action – but none was taken, forcing the parent to eventually move the child to a new school where no more bullying happened and the child “thrived – really began to smile and be happy again”.
While the Scottish Government published a national anti-bullying approach in schools almost six years ago, it is an issue that continues to trouble parents throughout the country.
Charity Enable Scotland this week issued an alarming report that said seven out of 10 children with learning difficulties have suffered bullying at school – adding that their education has suffered as a result of their being targeted.
Around half have been excluded from extra-curricular activities as a result of bullying – and 82% were of the view that their school did not care about them. Parents were also included in the study, with 80% saying that they found dealing with schools over the issue “stressful” and 72% saying it was a “battle”.
Enable’s campaigns and policy manager Kayleigh Thorpe said: “We have specialist school resources to support young people to reflect their own attitudes and behaviours and gain a better understanding about classmates who have learning difficulties.”
In response to our story last week a Moray Spokesman said that no parent had sought clarification from Millbank School before making “spurious claims about council policy” – that was, however, strongly denied by parents who insisted that they had approached the school head teacher over the issue.