Bright but bitchy girls #peeronpeerabuse #bullying 

You know the type I mean. The girls who never seem to the culprit but you know that somehow they were involved, starting the issues. And it’s never a huge issue, well not in the scheme of issues that teachers are dealing with, but it’s constant. The evil looks, or comments under the breath. The loud laugh when someone enters or leave the room. Even worse, the ignoring ( this seems to be getting a bigger response recently) . Or the bag that goes missing or the folder that happened to find its way out in the rain and is then ruined and no one seems to know how it got there.
Sometimes they are just as bad as each other, or used to be best friends but then ……… This is so hard for teachers to address. You interview one girl, who tells you about the comments and looks and how she hasn’t got any friends anymore. ( even though you have seen her with plenty of girls) She doesn’t want to go to lunch as everyone hates her. Her self esteem is low. She can’t give you any concrete evidence or dates. So you then go to the other student, accuse her of these points but she manages to come up with examples of how the other girl excludes her or belittles her, commenting on social media about the clothes/ fashion that is ” for hoes”, which happens to be the brand that she wears all the time. Adidas in this case !. Even further investigation with friends and onlookers, never produces concrete information of who is the victim and who is the bully. Some friends seem to be stirring the situation further. Gossiping and passing info between them. ” well she then said “. So after realising that you have spent hours upon this and not actually solved anything, you try to look forward.
To start with you as school, try to provide safe spaces for both of them and to help build resilience. You try to find teachers students can talk to. Give them coping strategies. But this is met with a shrug of the shoulder ( am I bothered comes to mind). And then you discover that they haven’t blocked each other on social media and they ( along with the friends who seem to have divided loyalties) spent the whole weekend bad mouthing each other. Of course it’s never simple, you suspect one of them has an eating issue and the other is a carer for their terminally ill parent. So both come with baggage. You want to help but they don’t seem to want our help or to listen to our advice. In fact we seem to be pawns in their game. Once a completely different girl told me that she had seen one of the above girls move a bag. I was ready to go and tell her off, but checked cctv and saw that it had been a younger boy student, who was just trying to get his own bag.
When I look at how much time this has taken up, I do question how effective I am at the job. Lucky I have staff who have the same doubt. We often discuss how we have managed situations and how we could deal with it better. Staff who look for courses and pursue their own CPD? They then feedback to the staff room. Hopefully helping when the next situation arises, and it will.

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Assistant Head ( DSL) at a boarding school. Interested in all PSHE and safeguarding topics.

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