Bullying Hell – a story by Elizabeth Legg

Parents Stories_BannerMy daughter is VI, she is blind (left eye) and has 4/60 in her right on a good day. She was in mainstream school and was bullIed all the way through for about 8 years. The last 18 months of her schooling in secondary school she was physically attacked 5 times on two occasions the police was involved and a student was arrested.

The last occasion she was hit in the arm quite hard and it left bruises by a year 11 girl who took a dislike to Jamie for the way her eyes wobble. (She has nystagmus quite bad). Nothing was done by the school and the staff were not bothered to get involved. I removed her from the school at this point and she never returned. I then home schooled her for about 4 months and gave up my job as a TA myself.

Jamie has always been picked on during primary school, we both had a fair share of being treated badly by teachers. Jamie is my only child and I did not have any support from family or advice from school or the vision support service.

Jamie would turn up to school, without the correct font to read, without any equipment to support her learning. They could not manage her complex needs and that lead to Jamie being isolated by her peers as well as staff. Sometimes Jamie would just sit in the school reception all day doing nothing because her 1:1 did not turn up to work and there was no replacement.

Because of the lack of empathy, understanding and knowing of how to communicate to someone with Jamie’s emotional needs and visual impairment the school staff would emphases her difficulty in front of her peers making her really stand out when she had a strong desire to fit in.  They would make remarks about her sight in front of peers, making them all laugh at her as well as the other staff laughing at her.

Jamie would often get the blame for things she did not do by members of staff at her secondary school and be shouted at by them. Jamie was not allowed to take part in any sports by both mainstream schools she want to. She never did a sports day. She was always put in a gym with a TA and if the TA was not there she would just sit in the LRC.

Jamie was often cornered by students and made to turn out her school bag by year 11s when she was in year7. Because of year7s making roomers she had taken things off them when she had not. The school never did anything about this.

Jamie was accused by her TA that she did not do her homework when she had done her homework with me 2 nights before. I had wrote in her diary that she had done it. Yet her TA accused her she did not and thrown a pen at Jamie and said she was lying and marched her to the SENCOs office where she also shouted at her. While Jamie was being shouted and crying Jamie went through her back and showed them the homework. With my writing clearly stating she had done it. They did not say sorry to Jamie or to myself they just brushed it off….the SENCO even tried to deny to me that this even took place.

Jamie would have daily comments said to her about how she looks and walks, things like ‘wang eye’ ‘cyclops’ ‘retard’ ‘spaso’ from other peers. Again the school did nothing when I reported this. In fact the head said he could not see me as he was to busy. He always said this to me.

Jamie was punched in year 7 by a boy in year 10. She was pouched in the back, this same boy then started to cause trouble at home as well. Calling me names outside of my home while flying past on a push bike. I ignored everything, I don’t like confrontation and I am quite a quiet person. So I called the police and he was arrested. Again the school could not be bothered to do anything about it. The Senco just brushed it off.

Jamie’s sight some days is worse than others and she has complex needs, she has ASD and needs to be spoken to in a soft way, not shouted at. I take firm but fair approach with her and she is a good child and quite happy. She is quite innocent really for her age and still likes dolls and younger girls type things.

Jamie was picked for liking dolls in school, for being artistic. She has a poor walking gait, where both feet turn inwards and was picked on because of this.

During activities week, Jamie picked a 1st choice of ‘look good feel good’ and a 2nd and 3rd choice for activities while in mainstream secondary school.

Jamie did not get any of her choices. She was given an option of a camping trip or nothing by the school. This was for 2 nights with 3 girls that the school knew were picking on her.  The other girls were all able bodied and this camping trip was there first choice. All the other girls in the year who are able bodied as well, did the look good feel good. Jamie was not classed a priority for her first choice. Even girls who had Jamie’s first choice down as there 3rd choice got to do the activity but Jamie did not.

Jamie was spat at on a number of times by year 11s, she was hit several times by peers in her year. Jamie would often go to the toilets and cry during lunch times and just to get away from the other students. TAs would bang on the table and make her jump and try to make her read things she could not see. They would tell her you can read it when she could not. She would tell them she could not see it and they would tell her off for lying.

In primary school a student shut her hand in a door which resulted in Jamie having her nail fall off. There was no staff to be seen when this happened. This same student picked on Jamie all though her primary years.

During a lunch hours students would try and take Jamie dinner money off her so she was left with nothing to eat.

Her PE kit was stolen on a number of occasions, as well as her pencil case. I even saw other students wearing her trainers.

During an after school club Jamie attended at primary school she was dragged across the floor by a member of staff that worked there. She works at Jamie’s old secondary school (beaminster comprehensive) as a TA. This woman got frustrated with Jamie because Jamie did not want to come out of a tent that she did not have to come out of. So the woman dragged her into a hot kitchen this was witnessed by other members of staff who did not want   to give a statement to the police because they told me they were afraid of losing there jobs. This TA was also arrested. But was let go by police because she said my daughter has ASD and it is the only way to deal with her.

These students still do try to pick on Jamie and I have had to have words with the police and file a hate crime log because of it. I now have CCTV as well.

There is a lot more I could go into in regards to this, but this is the outline of it all. I am just glad I developed the sod it gene and decided to remove her from school and to hell with what people say! What’s the worse they could do after all. I was myself bulled by the school made to feel frightened, by the staff the SENCO. The vision support service is absolute rubbish and I have no confidence in them what so ever. They have denied everything….

I don’t trust mainstream schools anymore at all. After working in one as well and seeing what goes on. If I were to ever have anymore children they would not be going to mainstream schools.

I hope that helps and my advise is for any parent, if your not sure with mainstream, don’t hesitate and be told by mainstream teachers to keep your child in mainstream. Special schools are much better and are there to help….

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One thought on “Bullying Hell – a story by Elizabeth Legg

  1. Oh boy, what a tough read! My heart goes out to you both! Well done for finally taking a stand and removing your daughter from that horrible situation. The sad reality is that some schools and some local authorities don’t live up to the clear requirements that they support children and young people with visual impairment (or any other disabilities).

    Have you had (or are you interested in) support from any charities? Blind Children UK’s habilitation and Education Support services spring to mind, but of course it’s totally up to you. If you want to know more you could phone 0800 781 1444 or email services@blindchildrenuk.org

    Very best of luck to you both!

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