So an interesting debate opened up this week. I am a member of a Facebook group solely for mums. It’s a group where pretty much anything goes. The mums talk about their sex lives, their relationships, their in-laws, their family arguments. No language is barred and the only thing that isn’t tolerated is abuse or bullying towards other members… Unless that is you want to slag off a school that did massive damage to your child
And a mum did exactly this opening up the question is it ok to lay into a school (without naming them) because there are members on the group who go to that school.
Now here is the thing. I know this mum. She happens to be a member of my support group. She pulled her son out of the same school my daughter was in. She suffered the same negligence and abuse that K did – she got out quicker than we did though and her son is absolutely thriving in his new school.
She posted a no holds barred post in this mums group. She absolutely slated the school and one particular teacher. But she did not name the school at all and neither did she name the teacher.
But one mum was upset at the post. She was very uncomfortable that the post was so strong and absolutely laid into one teacher. She very respectfully explained that she was a mum at the school and didn’t like hearing the school being slagged off and didn’t like that the teacher wasn’t able to defend herself to the abusive nature of the post. Remember – no teacher was named. The only people who would know who was being talked about were other parents at that school who knew all about this as it was no secret.
Me being me couldn’t keep quiet so I joined in the debate. It was all done very respectfully but it got me thinking. Why should we be silenced and is it ok to use Facebook in this way. This is a group where bitching is 100% allowed. Why should us mums who have had the most horrific experience ever feel like we aren’t able to speak publically about what happened. Because some mums who are still at that school don’t want to acknowledge the systematic abuse of special needs children, children that were going to be an inconvenience, children who would bring their grades down, children that they didn’t want in the school?
Granted things have moved on, management has changed and from what I hear they are trying very hard. But is that enough for me? No it isn’t. I never got closure for what they did to K. I’ve never received compensation for what they did to K. And more worryingly is that this particular mum only left the school within the last 6 months.
So why should I keep quiet for the sake of current parents there?
Let’s not forget this is a school who locked my 8 year old daughter in a room. A room that had 1 window facing a playground and 1 door. A door that on the other side stood a teacher holding K’s tights which they had removed from her in case she strangled herself with them. A room that I had to walk past to collect Z while she stood there screaming to be let out whilst teachers said “don’t worry, ignore her”.
This was a school who called me in because they couldn’t cope with her so pinned her to the ground whilst I was made to force a tablet into her mouth. You may say why did you let them force you but the truth is unless you are in the same situation and are fighting to get the best support for your child, fighting for appointments with camhs who are ignoring your calls, ignoring cries for help then in all honesty, you’re lucky if you know what day of the week it is
This was a school whose head teacher sent Jon abusive emails telling him that we were not good parents.
This was a school robbed my daughter of a childhood that should have been full of happy memories. This is a school who robbed my daughter of experiencing everything that all those “happy to be at that school” mums will experience. Things like Prom’s, leavers disco’s, GCSE results, school trips abroad. This may sound silly but in a couple of years all I’m going to be seeing is Facebook full of mums saying “so proud of xyz – they got 200 A*” As I write this I can’t even imagine K taking a single GCSE (I know she will and my pride at whatever she achieves will be more than any online post will ever reflect)
But my point is, why do I have to keep quiet to protect those families that are still there.
Let me make this very clear, there are 2 things I hold fully responsible for destroying my daughter.
- Her fucking shitty useless soul destroying, abusive, negligent, incompetent, vile 1st primary school (bar a couple of awesome teachers who she adored and who adored her – which funnily enough was in year 1 where we had no issues at all)
- Camhs (In case you’d missed it in other blogs I absolutely detest Camhs and will continue to spend as much time as I can campaigning for reform until someone pays attention to me!)
My words may seem strong but they don’t even scratch the surface to explain how much damage that school did. To this day K cannot be in a room with the door shut. Her anxiety cripples her. She cannot function without a multitude of medications every day. What 12 year old should have to suffer this.
She longs to be like everyone else. She longs to be going to parties with friends, she longs to have a social life, she longs to go to a mainstream school. As I’ve said before I’m under no illusions as to how difficult she can be but had that school nurtured her, had that school called in the right support, had that school not been so abusive to her then perhaps she wouldn’t have been robbed of all the things she longs for.
I am sorry if it makes the current parents of that school feel uncomfortable but surely I and the other parents who suffered the same as me (and there are many !!!) have the same rights to shout about that school as parents who want to praise it.
I do understand where this mum was coming from. I really do understand that her feelings were because the teacher that was at the heart of the post was not able to defend herself. But the suggestion that colleagues of her and parents of children at that school are uncomfortable with public posts just doesn’t sit fairly with me
So my question is, should parents of children who have been bullied, abused and neglected by this school be allowed to use Facebook groups as a platform to vent or should we keep quiet so that we end up fading into the darkness and the school carry on like nothing ever happened and no-one is made to feel uncomfortable.
Maybe I need to set up a new “secret” Facebook group for families of this school – maybe that will give us the closure we need.
But in the meantime, if there are any lawyers reading this that really want to help some of us then do get in touch !