This happened to us last week. On Tuesday in fact, we had a call from the school around lunchtime to say he had been punched and knocked out and an ambulance was on the way. To say we were gobsmacked would be a huge understatement. we literally couldn’t believe it. My eldest, who is 16 yrs old, has never been in trouble at school or anywhere else in his life! He is a chilled, everything happens around him sort of boy.
When we arrived at school he was being walked into the ambulance and I went with him to casualty as my OH followed along in the car. He was still a bit dazed at that point although he was able to have a conversation. His face was swollen on one side and he complained of a headache and he was very pale and shaky. It was only a 10 minute journey to the hospital and the paramedic in the back with us was brilliant, keeping him chatting about his exams, what he planned to do after 6th form etc, yet all the time also reassuring me about what they were doing. It was a real shock when he booked my son in as ‘ a 16yr old assaulted on school premises’! Yet this is exactly what had happened.
Then we had a 5hr visit which included an xray to check if he had a fracture in his jaw. Thankfully all was ok, except for the inside of his mouth which was swollen and damaged as he wears braces, and the general concussion that comes with a bang on the head.
When we got to the bottom of the story it turns out that my son had said something verbally about what he was wearing, like most 16yr olds he did use swear words but said that this is general boys banter that goes on constantly. So apparently he swore at the boy and then all he remembers is a sharp pain in his temple and then waking up on the floor and then being helped by friends to the medical room.
Now we have spoken to him about the consequences of using any sort of verbal abuse towards anyone and he readily put his hands up to his part in the lead up to being punched, however, we also made it clear that there is ABSOLUTELY no excuse for physical violence and that a physical reaction is just as much a choice as what verbal reaction is.
Anyway, we were advised obviously to keep him home for a few days and watch for signs of concussion just in case it got worse. So the next day we expected the school to phone first thing to check on his possible injuries……………. but there was no call. At around 12ish I contacted the school to speak to the teacher who was dealing with the incident. When he called me back he explained that the attacker had been given a 1 day exclusion and he and his parents had already been into the school that morning for his ‘re inclusion meeting’! He also said that up until then the boy in question had had a bad day and therefore my son’s comment pushed him over the edge. He also said that as far as the school was concerned the matter had been resolved.
Therefore, I ask you is a 1 day exclusion an appropriate punishment for a punch so hard it knocked my son out for a minute or two? Is the matter resolved? I’m sure you can guess my answer.
I was furious, no-one had contacted us to confirm any possible injuries and yet the attacker had already been dealt with and completed his punishment! My son missed two and a half days off school and only went in on the Friday so he could catch up on his missed schoolwork in order to catch up over the weekend, yet the attacker was already back at school. My son had to also face the humiliation attached to being knocked out by a single punch by another pupil. There was supposed to be a meeting with the Head of Year and the 2 boys on the Friday morning, yet the attacker was late so that didn’t go ahead.
As parents we were seriously disappointed in the care of my son over this attack, we had not been consulted as parents either. The next step for us was to arrange a meeting with the school’s Head Teacher which ended up being on Monday morning. We were in his office for an hour and I had printed out the emails that had gone between myself and the Head of Year who was dealing with it. Apparently this punishment is in line and fair with a previous incident in 6th form 2 yrs before and therefore he would not reconsider the level of punishment. However, we continually made it clear it was not a ‘fight’ but an ‘attack’ and should be looked at on an individual basis. He did agree with us in the end and has himself forwarded it on to the Board of Governors to see if the system is at fault and whether there is a possibility that a change is in order.
I am still in my right to formally complain to the Board of Governors if they deem this incident to have been dealt with properly, which I can tell you now I most definitely will. In the mean time the Head Teacher is going to investigate why we were not contacted about the level of my son’s injuries before the other boy was dealt with as he seemed quite astonished himself that no one called us.
So for a week or so I will wait and see what actually comes back from the school before I take it further, but I still cannot believe this has happened to my son. I didn’t want to put the pics up on here out of respect for him but I have them which I can use when I contact the Governors. Whatever the outcome it is too late to help my son, however, for the next person this happens to hopefully a decent system will be in place so that other pupils and parents do not go through what we have. My son was relatively ‘lucky’ when it came to his injuries however, the next person may not be so ‘lucky’ so an appropriate system needs to be in place.
I would love to know what you would have done if this had have been your teenager?