Following on from my last post, I thought that this update on things going on in my life would be something to share as a positive thing, even if the subject matter is less than pleasant and not positive at all.
My daughter, Boo (real names have been changed to protect the innocent) is 9 years old, and since November 2017 has been subjected to bullying in her school. While this did stop around Xmas. it has started up again in the past few months, and despite her mother and I attending the school, writing emails and talking to the teachers, only one investigation was ever carried out (in November) – and the conclusion was that they could find no evidence that bullying was taking place, despite the issues stopping when the child accused left the school.
This week, Boo’s mother (we don’t live together – Boo lives about 200 miles west of where I live) notified me that my 9 year old little girl had come home in tears because Child X had spent the last week or so constantly following her around the playground and classroom calling her a fat, ugly loser. He has also said to her that he is “going to make more friends so that we can all bully you more”. As conversation went on, it transpired that this had actually been going on for a couple of months. When she tells the teacher, they ask the child “Did you say this?”, naturally the child says “No I didn’t”, and the case is dropped.
Now, I know that Boo has some issues. She is currently under supervision of the Educational Psychologist, because she has some problems making and maintaining friendships. I am under no illusion that she suffers from separation anxiety disorder, due to the fact that I left her with her mother – for reasons that are not appropriate to be discussed here. This means that she is an incredibly sensitive child, who just wants people to love her, which lets face it is all anyone really wants. When people are nasty to her, it hits her harder than it might his a less sensitive child – she struggles to just shrug it off.
For a 9 year old girl, sensitive or not, constantly being called fat and ugly is the beginning of a teenager having Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Anorexia, Bulimia etc. It is the start of depression, and is one of the biggest contributors of Teen suicide. As a father, this is heart-breaking for me. As a father who suffers from depression it is terrifying for me. My daughter is drawing pictures of children standing around her pointing and laughting at her and calling her a loser. My 9 year old little girl is talking about not eating and losing weight, when she is already her ideal weight for her height, medically.
I have arranged a final meeting with her school principal/head teacher for 10th July, having sent him an incredibly shitty email about this, and I WILL get this resolved, but even if I do, the damage has already been done. I don’t want my daughter to go down the same road I did, struggling with depression, self harming, or worse, but the reality is that this is a very strong possibility, all because a head teacher is more concerned about the reputation of the school, and tried to bury his head in the sand and/or sweep all the bad things under the carpet.
I am not going to let this lie. I am not going to be fobbed off with excuses, lies, or accept any attempt to play this down to “kids will be kids”, or “Eden is too sensitive”. I have already vowed to take this to the schools Board of Governors, and I have already made it perfectly clear that I will inform OFSTED, my local MP and the local and even national newspapers if this doesn’t get resolved, as in good conscience, I must let the parent of any other child at this school know what is happening, and how ineffective the school has been in resolving this.
Finally, the stress of finding all this out has taken a heavy impact on my own physical and mental health. Last night I spent half the night laying awake with stomach pain and vomiting, all the while my mind is endlessly going over what I have done wrong and how I have failed my daughter as a father, ranging from thoughts of her being better of without me, to how the hell I can even begin to try and stop her spiraling like I did. As someone who presents with Schizoaffective Disorder, i can find it incredibly hard to “shut off” my brain. Where most people can fall asleep and stay asleep, I can either struggle to fall asleep because my brain won’t stop going over and over and over stuff repeatedly, or I can fall asleep, but then wake up an hour or 2 later with thoughts going through my brain that I can’t stop. Some days I can manage, other days I feel like I am going to explode. I can go from happy and ecstatic to almost suicidal in seconds, and for no apparent reason, and I am terrified that this is something my daughter will have to face if I don’t fix this.
Anyway – another day, another battle. I try to take each day as it comes, but my failing physical health isn’t helping this at all.