Intimidation!

annhoney

ScotHE
We have recently become home educators and our son is five years old. We always wanted to home school but when we moved house we knew no one and decided to put him to a small rural school with only eight pupils. We also thought that there would be less chance of bullying in a smaller class as the teacher would have more chance of being made aware of it.

In the past my other three children who are now adults were bullied. My daughter's hair was set on fire and my older son was chased home from school frequently with threats of violence. He was also urinated on. Recently he told us that he had a knife held to his throat at school by a bully. My youngest daughter experienced problems with staff bullying her at school. I also remember being bullied at school and will never forget the fear and anxiety it caused me.

Even though I complained nothing ever was really done by the schools. I even complained about the behaviour of a head mistress at one of the schools my children attended. Again, no one really took notice. Much later this woman was up in court due to her behaviour in that school and she was put on the sex offenders list.

Recently we withdrew our son from school. We wanted to home educate him as we had many issues with the school. The more serious of these issues was regarding safety. The school had no barrier between the playground and the car park/driveway. This meant that the children were weaving and dodging cars entering and exiting the school. There was also no playground supervision whatsoever. I would never allow my child to play around traffic and I would always supervise him when outdoors. This was an accident waiting to happen.

After the October school holidays we were subjected to intimidating behaviour from the school and the council. They insisted that we put our child to school in spite of the safety concerns. We refused! We were bombarded with calls and threats of the police being called. The police were sent eleven days later. They used a three day policy on unexplained absense against us even though we had spoken to staff at the school, left messages on the school answering machine, contacted a local education officer and written to the Chief Executive of the Highland Council.

The Chief Executive has failed us completely as he has ignored our safety concerns in his response letter. He just reiterated the three day policy. We have serious concerns regarding this policy as it was implemented because a child had gone missing on his way to school. Our child did not travel to school by himself as he is only five years old and he lives over eight miles from the school. We drive him to school and the school know this. Using the policy on us made no sense.

The school even spoke to emergency contacts who were family who assured them we were all okay. If the school and education authorities knew we were all fine then you have to ask why they called the police eleven days later. Intimidation!!! They did because they could. It took them over three weeks to come to a decision on our son's withdrawal from school. I guess they couldn't find any dirt on us.

My husband is also a retired teacher and thankfully he was no longer teaching as this could have seriously impacted on his career. We just feel drained with it all. What is wrong with these people?

We wrote to Educational Law at the Govan Law Centre but after no response we persisted with phoning and eventually were told to send our documentation to the Civil Legal Assistance Office in Inverness. For what purpose we do not know other than to get a solicitor. The woman we spoke to did not seem to know anything and said that there was no letter coming to us but that she could send us our stuff back from the Govan Law Centre. We feel let down.

Thanks to Alison (Administrator) we are going to write to the education minister. Any other advice gratefully received.
 

Admin

Administrator
There seems to be an ongoing problem of formal complaints being ignored or mishandled by local authorities. Even FOI requests are left unanswered or swerved in too many cases.

Mike Russell, the Scottish Education Minister, has been made well aware of the problems of rogue councils failing to adhere to statutory guidance (and even primary legislation) on home education, and Schoolhouse reported on his response to Parliamentary Questions tabled by Robin Harper MSP in 2010.

GIRFEC, which is widely used as justification for state sponsored bullying of families under the guise of 'child protection' and 'early intervention', is based on some very dodgy foundations, which have nothing whatsoever to do with the Danielle Reid case, however these grave robbers try to spin that particularly tragic state failure for their own purposes.

GIRFEC also has no statutory basis (although they are trying to shove through Labour initiated legislation by dressing up its wolf's universal surveillance agenda in sheep's 'child protection'/ 'early intervention' clothing to make the sheeple buy it.

This blog post is a good introduction to the bigger picture, and Kenneth Roy of the Scottish Review is one of the few journalists who has scratched beneath the surface to expose the true nature of GIRFEC and its big brother eCare. The mainstream media have so far been content to simply trot out government press releases about protecting vulnerable chiiiiildren, while the fake charity sector enthuses at the prospect of fabulous new funding opportunities for themselves.

:frusty:
 

annhoney

ScotHE
More on Intimidation!

This is a quote from a letter from the Chief Executive of the Highland Council regarding sending the police to our home. It states that

'The Area Education, Culture and Sport Manager discussed the situation with the Public Protection Unit, Northern Constabulary and it was felt entirely appropriate and in line with established policies that a visit should be made to ascertain ***** well-being as he had not been seen since 7 October 2011. This in no way should be seen as harassment, but was the Council and its partners discharging their responsibility as defined in 'Safe and Well' child protection guidance.'

Our son attended school on the 7th October. There was a coffee morning which we also attended. The school broke off for the October holidays that day. The Highland Council has totally misled the Northern Constabulary into believing that our son has been missing since the 7th October. Our son missed one day of school before the school was informed why he was absent. They ignored what we and others said. We are disgusted at the tactics of these people. Did the Highland Council get the police to the homes of every child that was 'missing' from school during the holidays? Why are we being discrimated against!

When the police called to our home we had overslept as **** and I had been ill. I never heard the door but my husband did and said that a female police officer had knocked gently and left before he could answer the door. My husband immediately went around to the police station to speak to the police officer regarding the visit. We had a feeling what her visit was for after being continually threatened by the authorities.

My husband produced a letter that we had received from the Chief Executive stating that the council were investigating our concerns on the safety issues at ***** School. My husband also explained that we were home educating our son. The police officer read this letter. During this meeting the police officer apologised for bothering us but said that she had to see our son because of what the Highland Council has said. The police officer suggested that we bring ***** round to the police station so that she could see him and also show him around.

***** got to see around the police station and he got to sit in the police car. We made sure that we told the Chief Executive about the positive experience we had had from the police. I am sure that this is not the experience that the Highland Council would have wanted. Fortunately for us it all backfired for them.

We have also had problems with the local school nurse/health visitor. When we moved to this area we arranged to see the health visitor to get some leaflets on immunisation and to get our son a health check as we had not seen a health visitor for a while.

In the past I have had a positive experience of health visitors. They were always helpful and supportive. This one was a nightmare! During the whole meeting she kept trying to get us to enrol ***** at the local school nursery. We kept refusing and told her that we wanted to home educate. The next thing I knew there was a piece of paper thrust into my hands which listed the local toddler groups and the times of these groups. Our son was not a toddler. She even enquired to what time we rose in the morning and then said that he would miss his toddler group if we did not get up earlier.

She asked if our child had toys. This is offensive to anyone. Even the poorest of families can provide toys for their children. When I informed her that I had a disability she turned to my husband and said that he had a full time job there. It was as if I was invisible and had no feelings. She clearly did not agree with us being vegetarians. She even asked where ***** got his iron from. I think she probably meant where he got his protein from.

She also showed an unhealthy interest in our other three children who are adults. This was absolutely none of her business. She even asked if they lived with their father. This was particularly offensive to my husband because we had never informed her that our other children were my husband's step children. She questioned us on the relationship that we had with them.

My husband left the room to take our son out to play as he was getting fed up. I also felt it was very inappropriate of her to be asking personal questions in front of our son. When they left the room she looked at me directly in the eyes ratherly sternly and stated that even though we were home schooling she was still *****'s school nurse and she would have to see him. I became upset and told her that she had just threatened me. I also informed that if I did not want him to see her then she would not see him. I left the room in tears.

I also want to say a few things on the headmistress that I mentioned earlier on this website. This woman will have been punished enough but it is the authorities that I am angry at. I know for a fact that prior (years) before this woman appeared in court that the authorities were aware of her behaviour. I had complained about her and my son came home from school one day very excited. He informed me that a boy in his class had had his trousers pulled down by the headmistress and that all the kids were talking about it.

At some point later I mentioned this to the Mum of the boy concerned and she communicated to me that it was being dealt with. One has to ask why this headmistress was allowed to continue working with children. It was years later that she appeared in court in Aberdeen and was put on the sex offenders list. I never followed the trial and do not know what she was found guilty of exactly other that it concerned children.

In my opinion the authorities are as guilty as she is. They knew about her behaviour but swept it all under the carpet.

I know for a fact that she also bullied her staff. I know this because I became friends with a teacher from that school. I know for a fact that she approached the authorities and the unions. I know for a fact that they did not treat her as they should have.

Thanks to Ali P and Elaine Kirk for the responses. The education authorities can stick 'our' money.

Sorry if I am making mistakes! It is a learning curve.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Elaine Kirk

Super Moderator
.
Hurrah for the police in not adding to your son's distress!.
I remove names etc from posts, one reason being that this part of the forums is public so it maintains your family privacy IYKWIM.
 

Diane

HEdups
Sorry to hear all this. Unfortunately there are many, many ignorant people in this world who do not understand that, in fact, in many cases school is the choice which leads to abuse of children. The members of an institution always support each other whether or not they are right but simply because they are members of that institution. The whole of our society is built upon bullying - businesses, banks, school... If you are not part of their institutions you are seen as an enemy. Some of us manage to avoid intimidation from the numpties of the state. You have been so unfortunate as to have run into your unfair share of bullying and prejudiced people. I hope that things improve for you.

Diane
 

Diane

HEdups
Unfortunately you have to play them at their own game. Tell them that you will return your son to school but they those people who have been intimidating and harassing you will be held absolutely responsible for your son's health, happiness and safety while he is travelling to school, during his time at school, and during his travel time from school. That they and they alone will be pursued through the courts should ANYthing, even something relatively small, occur while your child is subject to their duty of care. Tell them that you are lodging a letter with a solicitor with instructions to proceed against each and every one of them should any incident take place.

That might make them feel a bit more accountable.

Diane
 

Peter191

ScotHE
Recently we withdrew our son from school. We wanted to home educate him as we had many issues with the school. The more serious of these issues was regarding safety. The school had no barrier between the playground and the car park/driveway. This meant that the children were weaving and dodging cars entering and exiting the school. There was also no playground supervision whatsoever. I would never allow my child to play around traffic and I would always supervise him when outdoors. This was an accident waiting to happen.

How many cars do you get entering an 8 pupil school? You'd think parents in that situation would learn to drive very carefully and kids likewise be made thoroughly aware of the dangers by their teacher. It's surely a very different situation to a larger school, but if, as you suggest, the kids or drivers are acting cluelessly (which? both?) then certainly some action seems called for.

I'm also surprised you're having so much trouble withdrawing given that your husband is a teacher and presumably you intimated your intention to educate at home, not merely saying "we don't like your safety standards so we're taking him out". If your husband is a teacher it immediately removes the question of whether the ability to provide a reasonable education is there, doesn't it?

We're in the Highlands too but so far have had no contact with the education department, and no experience of withdrawing. Does anyone else here have experience of withdrawing a child in the Highland Council area?

Incidentally there is a NOSHED Yahoo group for the area (North of Scotland Home Educators - it's not an organisation, merely an informal Yahoo group where people can organise activities off their own bat or in conjuunction with others on the group).

Kind regards

Peter
 
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