We have always taught our girls and all of the children at the AFC to not tolerate bullies, what are the signs to look out for when you think you are being bullied. So, we were very surprised when Erin came in complaining about girls in her year, this is a group of so-called IT girls that think they have some sort of rule over the other kids in the year.
When you drift your mind back to your school days, you all knew who the girls were, and even now you will still put them in that category, times have not changed.
I was a quiet lad that loved school, I would run straight across the field to get a quick game of tennis football before the bell, I enjoyed my classes, football again at break and loved school dinners. But because I was quiet I became the target of bullies, they would do the usual things, throw insults and other things at me, shove me and generally try to break my fun-loving spirit for their own enjoyment; It gave them a feeling of power over people. They tried to rule by fear as if it was respect. What they didn’t know was that I had a punch bag outside that I trained with doing punches, kicks elbows and knees as much as I could and was developing an Iron will by pack runs every Sunday. One fateful day while I was getting pulled around by my rucksack (canvas from the 2nd world war) my training came into play I threw the bully from the girl’s yard over the wall down to the boy’s yard with one perfectly timed Ogoshi Hip throw. From that moment onwards, everyone left me alone and I carried on with my schooling with no hassle. Unfortunately, these bullies still do the same thing to the same kinds of people.
Erin’s friendship group had been the target for these bullying tactics for most of last year and Kerry had complained to the school and it had subsided. But as soon as they returned to school they started again. Erin was the last of her group that was not bowing to their will, so they started to focus all their attention on her. The sly comments about her, the chair kicking and the group effort to make her give in and bow down; the female version of lord of the flies. Erin tried to ignore it, but it all came to a head during P.E when they were playing football, as Erin loves football but especially enjoys tackling. Because all of the other girls didn’t want to tackle these girls, due to being frightened of them, Erin on the other hand was not bothered because she has trained since the age of 4 and has trained sparred and grappled with boys and girls and loves the challenge. After tackling the Queen B of this little group, in true Hollywood Oscar winning performance threw herself to the ground and claimed the tackle was too hard; having more pride hurt than anything else. This led to threats of slapping in the changing rooms and threats of that nature.
Kerry decide to get in touch with the school and see how to proceed, we decided together, that the situation should be monitored. But bullies being bullies the second in command of this little group started being mouthy and trying to make life uncomfortable. This gave me and Kerry sleepless nights, we could see it was bothering Erin, but she would not admit, she was finding school hard to deal with. So, I found out the home address of the ring leader and was going to keep this on standby if the school could not stamp it out; I would.
After a sleepless night I dropped the girls off at school and seeing Erin’s face told me all I needed to know, she was sad and didn’t want to go. Also unknown to me she had been crying at home to Kerry about the situation, and Kerry had said you should say something back to these bullies and if they try to hurt you in anyway you can use all your training to defend yourself and we as parents would back you up 100%. Funnily enough We had just gotten a new punching machine at the gym and I had videoed Erin playing on it as she was having so much fun with it and popped it on social media just a day earlier. So as the girls left the jeep I decided an 8 .15 am appointment with the ringleader’s parents was a good plan, as no-one is ready or prepared for an early morning call. If you waited until teatime or late evening people are more alert; but not when they are in their PJ’s or the Bath. With a little detective work I had found the street the night before now just to find the house, as I drove up the dead-end street (pun intended) I notice a face I recognised at the kitchen window; The ring leaders mam. So, I turned at the dead end and blocked their car in and went to the door. Just then I heard a voice saying, “who’s just come in the gate?” so with great comic timing I said “me”. The mam came to the door dressed in her best PJ’s, so I asked for her husband/partner by name, she told me he was in the bath, but what did I want? I called her by name (which always worries them and makes them think how I know their names and where they live). I Told her that her daughter was the ring leader, and that she and her little group had been making everyone’s life at school miserable and I was here today to make it stop. She then said that the school hadn’t informed her of anything, so I told her the school was fully aware of the situation and had been monitoring it since it was brought to their attention. She then tried to say she was unhappy if this was true; I reaffirmed every finger pointed to her daughter, meanwhile dad was still hiding in the bath (that water must have been cold by now). I said my peace and pointed out I won’t want to make a return to the house so if you could tell your daughter to leave mine alone; then I popped in my jeep and returned home. On arrival like a manic Juliet, Kerry opened the bedroom window to ask me where I had been (she knows me better than myself) I came in and gave her a detailed account of my home visit. Unknow to us Erin was finding her verbal tennis work at the #kickassgirls course coming into practice on the football field. Ringleaders little helper, and second in command of the group started to call Erin little miss kickboxer, so obviously they had looked me up through the world of face book and seen Erin’s training video, but to the girls surprise Erin talked back to her and used words that the girl would understand (she swore) then after a verbal stand off the teachers jumped In and separated before Erin gave this bully her first free martial arts lesson. When we picked Erin up from school, the poplars were trying their best to stare us out; but to no avail as both myself and Kerry are masters of the stare.
The weekend came and went with no-one knocking at our door, but Erin was still unsure about what school had instore for her. As she was playing football in P.E, she kicked the ball and bully second in command came over and laughed in Erin’s face, then walked over to her little minions to share the joke. Erin followed her over and asked what was so funny because she wanted to hear what the fuss was about; at this point the teachers who had been keeping a close eye on the situation sent Erin and Bully No.1 to the head of year to sort it out once and for all. This seemed to help but Erin did get a bit tearful explaining everything that had been going over the last few weeks.
Molly being the best sister in the world and best verbal back up in any verbal tennis match ever heard about it and found Erin to see if she was ok. Molly then being a bit worried about Erin going to her next classes text Kerry to tell her! This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and Kerry raced to the school, thinking there had been more problems since the P.E incident. From Molly’s classroom she saw Kerry pull up and storm into the school; Molly can tell when Kerry in not happy by her ‘walk’. Summing the head of year and Erin in to the front entrance she asked what has happened, both Erin and the head of year looking at each other in confusion, as they thought everything was sorted after the meeting earlier. Kerry gives a certain vibe off when she is angry/upset as in Star Wars “you feel a disturbance in the force “and this was the vibe she was giving but I am sure the head of year then saw how much it had been pissing myself and Kerry and how much it has affected the whole family. Working closely with the school, dealing with the bully’s family and talking about it as a family managed to stop the bullying and this is what we wanted; just for Erin to enjoy school again. We are so proud that she had stood up to them and not let them win.
Hopefully this will be the end of it but has shown us that bullies have not changed through the generations; a sad but true fact and all we can do is stand up to them to make life better.
Big love from the AFC