Our daughter was only 8 that day.  I arrived at school at the end of the day to collect her and her teacher met me at the door, looking ashen.  She quickly explained that our precious daughter had been beaten up by an 8 year old boy at lunchtime in the school yard.  Another boy tried to stop the assault and had to run to get a teacher for assistance.  As our daughter lay motionless and hurt on the ground, her attacker (an 8 yr old male) then punched the teacher trying to restrain him.  The school never bothered to call us.  Our daughter was visibly hurt and shaken and could not sleep in her own bed for weeks after.
Whilst the incident shocked and sickened us….. the response from adults at her school appalled us.  Following the attack our daughter was hauled out of her classroom (on her own) by the boy’s class teacher.  She was asked “what did you do to make him react like that?”  Then she was told “He tells me you laughed at him.”  The facts stand that my daughter was being followed by this child – who had a history of violence at the school – who was trying to force her to play with him.  She asked him to leave her alone.  He refused and kept following her.  She saw some other children doing a duck dance on the cricket field and laughed.  This enraged the boy and he attacked her.
So here is our poor shaken and hurt daughter being questioned as to her involvement or level of provocation.  Yeah right….. what if she was laughing at him, which she was not, does this give him the right to beat her up?
But it gets worse.  The response and actions of the Principal (yup, a male!) were beyond belief.  He tried to ignore the incident.  I requested a meeting and gave him 3 days to investigate.  We attended with the school’s bullying policy in our hands and accounts rec’d by phone from parents of children who witnessed the attack.  We were then to discover that the Principal ripped up the incident report that the intervening teacher, who had stopped the attack, wrote and lodged.  The Principal then made his stance very clear to us.  He told us that by us requesting that action be taken and that our daughter should feel safe at school that “we were taking away this boy’s right to an education and he would not allow us to do that.”  We responded that was not our intention at all, we wanted measures put in place.  He then informed us “this boy has a right to learn to self manage and we will provide him the environment to do this in.”  I could have fallen off my chair.  My partner (a wonderful respectful male) tapped me under the Principal’s table and indicated to leave things there.  We left the meeting in disgust and removed both our children from the school immediately.
I was in an abusive relationship for some years when I was married in my 20’s.  I grew up thinking that you had to ‘put up and shut up.’  I remember vividly my Mother telling me:  “You made your bed, you lie in it.”
There is NO BLOODY WAY our daughter or son will grow up with such beliefs and values.  They will each know how to respect their own bodies and lives, while respecting those of others.  We will do everything to empower them.
Moving our kids to a new school was a big upheaval for them.  Yup, once again the victims are the ones who must suffer.  But now it is the best thing we could have done.
We wrote a letter to the School and the Ministry of Education.  No one replied.
The culture of male abuse lives on in our school system and arrogant self serving teachers and Principals get away with it.  I apologise now to those who work in schools who are not scared to stand up to bullying and violence and teach children what is right and what is wrong from the outset.
 Incidentally the boy went on to attack and assault numerous other children at the school.  He was finally expelled when one father, who knew of us and what we went through, refused to leave the school grounds after the boy attacked his child and threatened to involve the media.
We are pleased we did not ‘put up and shut up’ over this.  We are pleased to have had many meaningful conversations with our children over this.  We are pleased that our children are shocked when they have watched recent TV coverage of the Roast Busters.
Shame on the Ministry for not getting involved! Shame on the Principal! Shame on the boy’s class teacher!
Further examples of people in authority manifesting and supporting abusive situations and behaviour.