As a child I was raised to respect adults and teachers. Don't get me wrong, at times, I was a little monkey - not so much naughty but I had too much to say for myself. It was always 'Suzy talks to much' or 'Suzy has an answer for everything'. But as I said I was raised correctly, never broke the law, even though fellow classmates were often out 'nicking' from the shops on a Saturday and I knew who I should respect.

My kids are pretty good kids. Luke my eldest who is 12 is exactly the same as me, not naughty at all but just too gobby which extends to school and home life. Joe my youngest who is 7, is angelic at school, never ever in trouble. At home he can moan a lot and argue and fight with his brother but on a whole he is as good as gold.

I feel the reason my kids are the way they are is because I raise them with the same values that I was taught as a child. Basic manners, such as yes please and no thank you, letting older people through doors first etc. And it helps to know your boundaries and know if you push them or break them that there will be a punishment. I do not mean walloping or locking them up, merely early to bed or banned from computers and the many other games consoles taking over.

These basic manners cost nothing. Even if you weren't raised with them, you can still isntill them in your own children. After all, we all want to be respected but what a lot of people have to learn is, you cannot be respected if you have no respect for others around you or for yourself.

Luke has never been a 'tough nut' and luckily for me, if there is even the slightest hint of trouble when he has been out playing, he always comes home. He doesn't want to associate with a bad crowd and so far he has been this way all his life. He wants to be a police officer so he knows he cannot get in any trouble whatsoever.

Sadly, Luke was bullied for a while a few years ago. There was one kid who I have agonised over whether I should name him. I do not see why I shouldn't but to cover my own back, I have changed the name. Michael was and still is in the same school as Luke and unfortunately he also happened to live near where we used to live. At first Luke would play out with him and his mates riding his bike or just chatting. I never let him go far and he was always within sight or he would always tell me where he was going if he wanted to cycle off around the block. Basically as I said, a good kid.

Michael however was not and still is not a good kid. Him and his little crew were often out in the street throwing stones at peoples windows and causing a nuisance. Bear in mind that they were only ten or eleven at this time. Whenever these events happened, Luke would come home and stay in. But once Michael and Co. realised they couldn't get Luke to carry out the criminal games they played, they turned on him.

Every time Luke went out he would come home upset because Michael had been horrible to him. Kids are kids and I always told him to stand up to Michael because it was the only way he would stop the bullying. But Luke didn't feel he was able to. On one occasion Michael broke Lukes bike deliberately and I went out there and gave him a mouthful. He was so rude to me, laughing at me and telling me I couldn't do anything to him etc etc. I was disgusted and incensed at the verbal abuse coming from a child. His mother even pulled up and he got in the car but she never asked me what was going on or made any attempt to speak to me. If someone was shouting at mine in the street, I would calmly make it my place to find out what was happening.

On other occasions, Michael and his gang would throw stones at Luke and hurt him until one time, Michael actually hit him. Still Luke did nothing and came home crying. Lukes Dad went and found the kid and told him to keep away but again the abuse was unbelievable. The problem being these kids get away with it because they know they enrage you but they also know that as adults we cannot touch them.

So for Luke this continued until the last year of Junior School. Playing football in the playground, Michaell pushed Luke over, so Luke finally stood up for himself and pushed him back. Then ensued a small fight that resulted with Luke hitting Michael l in the tummy and Michael then splitting Lukes lip.

I found out about this after school and Luke said he was in trouble. I had already been to the school and explained what was happening with Michael and Luke on a couple of occasions so there was no way I was having Luke in trouble for standing up to a bully.

The headmaster said he was going to punish them both but I was adamant that Luke should not be punished. I explained that I do not agree or like violence but I will not allow my kids to bully people so I do not expect them to be bullied either. After showing the headmaster Luke's split and swollen lip, he agreed that Luke wasn't in trouble but told him that in future he should tell a teacher if the situation arose again.

Telling the teachers does not achieve anything. I wrote a blog recently about the Senior School they now attend, saying that the punishments there are too harsh, in my opinion. But in Junior and Infant schools, there is no punishment. No detention, no lines, no deterrant.

Luke never again had any trouble from Michael because it was only when Luke stood up for himself that Michael realised he would have to move on to someone who was still scared of him.

What astounds me is that Michael and his other associates, all seem to come from loving families with hard working parents. Why then do they feel the need to become violent unruly thugs at such a young age? Am I wrong to be bringing up my kids with manners and respect for others? Because it seems even those children that come from good homes, do not give a damn.

So I thought that was the end of any trouble at school for my kids but sadly now Joe is going through the same kind of thing. He is in his last year at Infant School. A few months back he was karate kicked in the back whilst waiting in line for his dinner at school. He was quite hurt and had a nasty bruise. I went in and complained about it to the school who told me it would be dealt with.

The same little boy just last week has once again hurt Joe. But this time I feel it was much more menacing and pre-meditated. Joe was waiting to come home in the afternoon and had his lunch box in his hand. The boy saw Joe's chocolate in his box and asked him for it. Joe wouldn't give it to him, rightly so, as it is his chocolate bar after all.

The boy then threatened Joe and told him if he didn't give him the chocolate, he would beat him up. Joe still did not give it to this other child, so the child cornered him in the classroom, punched him in the stomach and as Joe crouched to protect himself, the child pulled Joe's hair.

Joe came out of school and told me what had happened and I went and spoke to his Teaching Assistant. She assured me the information would be passed onto his Teacher and that she was aware it had happened. Why then, wasn't I informed? I left it that evening but the next day decided to go in and speak to the Headmistress.

I explained what had happened and said I was not happy about it. My son goes to school to learn, not to be attacked. I was more or less told that the child in question has problems with behaviour and that he is being monitored. I was then told that they could not promise it wouldn't happen again. When I told them that I had told Joe to hit back the child as hard as he could the next time, I was told off! I was told they would not tolerate that and that Joe would be in trouble, if he did hit the child back. Again, I was told he had to tell a teacher. He did that the last time he was attacked but it didn't get him anywhere in the long run.

This same child also uses words that no seven year old should know. Joe was at home and mentioned the dogs 'cock'. I asked him to explain what that was and he knew it was a 'willy' so he had used it in the right context. I didn't tell him off as he didn't realise but explained it was a word he mustn't use. When I mentioned this to the teacher and head teacher I was told that different families have different values and bring their children up in different environments and there is nothing they can do.

Joe's teacher said she would speak to the child in question and that it would be dealt with. So at the end of the school day I went to see her and this is what she did.........she sat Joe down with the other boy and told Joe to tell him how he had made him feel. Thats it. She was quick to point out that Joe had worked with the other boy after with no problem. Of course he did, he would have been too damn scared not to.

I am sick of bullies ruining my kids lives. Joe gets himself in a state every day now, on the toilet two or three times before we leave, getting upset, worrying about school. My son is a bright child who is both academic and sporty and now he is unhappy at school which could affect his education in the long run.

What I want to know is why the hell the school cannot deal with things more effectively. Us who bring up our children properly send our kids to school for an education only to discover they are being subjected to physical abuse and learning words that they shouldn't be.

I am not a judgemental person and I know that families have problems and children have behaviour issues BUT when it upsets my children, then I cannot sit back and let it happen.

The school didn't punish the other child for using vulgar words. The school didn't punish the child for basically trying to extort chocolate out of Joe. And the school didn't punish the child for physically assaulting Joe. So tell me what chance in hell do I have? I have to send my child to school knowing that he could be hurt again and knowing that no one will protect him. It is getting to the point where I understand those who home educate. At least that way, you know your child is safe and that you can protect them.

I seriously do not know what I am meant to do. My once happy-to-go-to-school little boy is now a quivering wreck every morning. And at this moment in time, there is not a thing I can do to help him.
Tuesday 15th February 2011