“You’re not going to like what I have to say.”
I remained quiet to let him speak.
The Boy stared out the window pensive as if collecting his thoughts.
“Effy was horrid to me again today.”
My heart sank. Not AGAIN.
“Tell me what happened?”
“Well he huffed at me all the time and said I was slow in a baby voice.”
Nothing really to get wound up about is it? But when it happened every day and has been happening for weeks before Christmas you get the idea that Effy has a problem and seems to be taking it out on The Boy.
In fact a few weeks before the end of last term I had had a conversation about Effy’s behaviour with The Boy after he had said that Effy had hurt him and that he had taken to preventing The Boy and his best friend from playing on the bar by shaking it until they had fallen off. But it wasn't just Effy there were other incidences.
There had also been the incident about Golden Time – that precious 20 minutes at the end of a Friday when the children are allowed to do anything they want. The Boy had been hurt and was going to tell the teacher but the culprit had warned The Boy that if he did tell then The Boy would lose Golden Time as well, as the culprit would claim The Boy had hurt him too. Bit of an impasse there.
I accept that at school as in life there are strong personalities and weaker ones, those prone to bullying/picking on behaviour and those too eager to please. But in a school there should be a zero tolerance on this sort of behaviour. It is NOT acceptable.
At a small school where there are only 30 children in the playground full stop then there is no excuse for not noticing.
When it was first brought to my attention I asked The Boy what he wanted to do. Did he want me to tell the teachers? He was reluctant. I suggested I e-mail them without saying who culpritswere so that no one would get into trouble. He thought about it for a night and the next morning said he’s like me to tell the teachers because it wasn’t just him who was having trouble. So I told the acting head teacher and his class teacher and thought: job done.
It’s never that simple is it?
Over the Christmas holidays The Boy stayed with his Granny in Yorkshire and had by all accounts a wonderful time. He also talked to Granny, and talked and talked.
He wanted to know what a “Nancy Boy” was, and when asked why said that he was being called “Nancy Boy” by Effy. By turns over the next few weeks we learned a lot.
The Boy was not only being called names, he was being physically pushed around, intimidated and ridiculed and it had been going on for ages.
Yesterday as we drove into Ipswich on a quest for a new washing machine; I asked how the day had gone, knowing that the children had all had a talk about why it is important to be nice to each other by the head teacher.
Him, a bit hesitantly: It was Ok.
Me: Just OK?
Him: Well it was Ok until Effy put a hoop over my head even though I didn’t like it.
Me: He put a hoop over you?
Him: Yes he put a hoop round my neck in PE
Didn’t the teacher see?
No he did it when she wasn’t looking
Did you say to Effy to stop it?
He would just keep doing it
Darling you must stand up for yourself. You must tell people if they do something you don’t like or else how do they know?
But I do
But you didn’t today did you?
It’s very difficult.
No it’s not all you have to say very loudly is Effy stop it I don’t like it or Effy go away or Effy leave me alone. Nice and loud and he’ll soon get the picture especially if lots of people see him doing it and being told that you don’t like it. Come on practice it now with me.
And we did but he soon got quiet again
Oh darling I know you are scared but if you don’t pretend to be brave and stand up to him he’s going to keep doing it and you don’t want that do you?
I just want him to be my friend
I know you do but sometimes friends drift apart darling, sometimes they say horrid things and do horrid things for no apparent reason.
Did that happen to you?
Oh he’s a perceptive soul. I said yes that it had happened to me and he wanted to know more so I told him how A and I fell out, how she’d written in her diary how silly and childish I was and how she’d deliberately left it out for me to read. It was classic girl stuff – indirect but effective and no one could be held responsible but the victim herself. I said that sometimes friends were no longer friends but that perhaps over time they could eventually be friends again.
When will the real Effy come back?
I don’t know darling I just don’t know.