Got kids at high school? Is it really like that? Guest post from Ces Loftus

I hated my first two years at high school, I was bullied constantly to the extent I started playing truent to escape it and considered ways to end my life. I was different and didn’t fit in with the “it” crowd so it made me a target. I had no friends and spent all my time at home studying and was very academic. After my parents complained to the school numerous times the head teachers answer was to put me out of the top work level class and put me into the ‘special needs group’ to get me away from the bullies. The school would never have gone against the bullies who were the ‘good looking, popular, parents own local businesses and run the PTA’ type. My studying was all I had so that just made me feel worse and the bullies taunted me even more at every break and home time. In the end my parents put themselves under financial strain and got loans out to put me into private school where I made friends, flourished academically and enjoyed life once more.

at least i'm not a bully
Image by Miss Blackflag via Flickr

I have sat watching films with my kids over the past years, films like ‘Drillbit Taylor’ and ‘Seventeen Again’ which are set in American High Schools and depict aggressive and constant bullying taking place in schools were the teachers do nothing to stop or even take sides with the bullies. My kids say “Is high school really like that?” and well, for me, it was…

My eldest is at high school age now. As we have moved to another area mid term we chose to put him into a middle school here rather than put him at a disadvantage by starting high school having missed the first half term. The junior to high school step is a big enough one at the best of times.

He has some reservations about what it will be like at high school next September. We had to apply for a high school place a few days after moving here because of the cut off date for applications so we didn’t even get to go and view the local schools. I’d be really interested to hear from anyone with kids in high school now. Perhaps you can answer the “Is high school really like that?” question better than me.

Ces xx

on twitter @Ces_Creatively

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Mother of three wonderful girls aged 16, 7 and 6.
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  • Guest

    Hi Ces,

    My experience at high school wasn’t as bad as yours but being a brighter kid ina rough comprehensive high school definately had it’s drawbacks. I was concerned that my daughter would have bullying issues the same as I did as she is bright. But she passed the exams for the local girls grammar school. She is settled here with girls of similar abilities to herself and making new friends. We did get the chance to look around the local schools and we let her make the decision which she preffered – she walked into the grammar school and said “This is the school I’m going to.” She would have settled for a couple of other schools but one school she was so uncomfortable when we looked round she just wanted to leave.

    I think it is so important to let kids visit the school they will be going to and it’s such a pity your son couldn’t do this. Maybe you could arrange for him to visit the school and meet some of the teachers to take away some of the ‘scare’ factor.

    Bullying will aways be present in our schools – both high schools and junior. The teachers just don’t know how much of it goes on and some don’t deal with it effectively when they do know. The scale of bullying is rarely as bad as these films portray but we as parents need to encourage our kids to speak out – if not to protect themselves then to protect others (mine is no good at sticking up for herself but will always stick up for other kids).

    But finding the right high school is so important, one your child feels comfortable in from the start. It doesn’t matter if it’s the best or the closest – it just has to be right for the child.

    I’m sure there are plenty of other mums out there with both good and bad experiences at high school and I hope they will share too. Especially those wityh good memories of their time at high school.

  • Fhaslett

    I have 2 boys at high school & am so glad I moved to the NE 7 years ago because the High school they go to is fab. My oldest son is very academic whereas my younger son is more needy & has got in with the ‘wrong crowd’. I decided to become a Parent govenor because this enabled me to have some input in the way the school was run. The thing is to keep in contact with the head of year & build up a good rapport, if you are approachable they have no probs in keeping in touch & doing their best for you. I find kids can’t tell the difference between day to day teasing & bullying they both seem to be caught up in the same emotions. Even though no one wants their child to go through this, it will always be in schools, kids can be very cruel. Just prepare your child to deal with suitable reactions & tell you what’s going on.