My 11yo grandchild just started high school. She went for two days and will not go back. When she was at small school she was bullied and now she's experiencing the same thing because the same girls from junior school have moved up with her to high school. Don't get me wrong, my grandchild is a big lass so if she hit them she would knock them into next week, but she is not that way and these girls know this. My grandchild is not without a good brain, but we don't know what to do! She will not go back to that school. How do we go on about home schooling?

  • Which country are you in? Different countries have different rules and resources. Would hiring a tutor for a few hours a week be feasible? Sep 19, 2022 at 12:48
  • When you say “won’t go back”, do you mean she doesn’t want to or that you (or her parents/guardians/…) have decided she shouldn’t?
    – AsheraH
    Sep 19, 2022 at 20:23
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    Do you mean middle school? Is there another school she might be able to transfer to? Also, is there a school counselor? There must be people with whom bullying is a commonly-dealt-with issue. (Principal, teacher, school counselor, etc.) Have they been worked with? Regarding home schooling, it depends largely on the country and state you live in. In the US, it's relatively inexpensive, as students have a legal right to all the textbooks, workbooks, tests, etc., that in-school students have. However, it gets harder the higher the grade. Sep 19, 2022 at 23:42
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    @anongoodnurse in the UK (and I assume other countries) high school starts at age 11, in places without a middle school. The UK has a...confusing.... array of slightly different systems.
    – R Davies
    Sep 20, 2022 at 7:42
  • @RDavies - Thank you for clarifying. Sep 20, 2022 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


Bullying is obviously not tolerable, and your grand child is in my view making a rational decision in prioritizing her own well being before her academic pursuit.

It is my impression, from listening to psychologists on the topic of long problematic school absence, that children for whom school works out, generally do go to school. For those who don't, addressing what it is that makes school not work for them is imperative.

These same psychologists (Swedish, so I can't cite any literature that will be useful for you, but have heard this from at least both psychologists Stina Hindström and Bo Hejlskov Elvén) also make it clear that anxiety about having to return to school is a terrible obstacle, so their first course of action, when counseling parents with this problem is to instruct them to go home and reassure their child that they will not go back to school until they themselves feel ready. That reduces the anxiety, and creates a secure environment in which the child will be able to process their feelings about school in a much more productive manner.

That being said, the bullying absolutely must come to a stop. Make it clear to the school principal that they must find a durable solution to this problem before your grand child will return.

As regards the practicality of home schooling, that will vary regionally, but I assume most countries are arranged so that if you drop off your kid at a school, the head of that school is then responsible for the safety and well being of that child, for the duration of the school day. If they fail to live up to that responsibility, I expect you would be in a very good position to demand that they conjure up another means of managing her academic activities.

  • The theory of a school's duty to protect children varies a lot between countries, and the practice varies even more. Sep 19, 2022 at 12:49
  • @Paul: I expect that it would, so I had little to comment on that note. I can't get my head around how if you drop a child off at an institution, the responsibility of keeping that child safe could be with anyone but the adults governing the institution. I'm sure there are creative workarounds, but I don't see them. The parents' aren't present, and the children are children. I get that the "standard of care", if you will, could vary, but I can only imagine one reasonable place to put responsibility.
    – user36162
    Sep 19, 2022 at 13:29
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    Its not who is responsible that varies, it is what constitutes "safe". In many cultures bullying is still seen as just kids being kids, why worry? See for example parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/40957/… Sep 19, 2022 at 15:28
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    @Paul: sure, but such a culture could be confronted. I think that has probably been the norm in all cultures until enough people challenged it. If the responsibility issue is settled, OP could argue from a point of evidence for the harm of bullying.
    – user36162
    Sep 19, 2022 at 17:56
  1. "She went for two days and will not go back." In what country does an 11yo get to decide what she will and wont do? She's supposed to be in school... her parents should make her go. Being afraid is no reason to stay home.

  2. "...my grandchild is a big lass so if she hit them she would knock them into next week..." An almost 100% way to stop the bullying would be for her to knock one of the other girls into next week. They are picking on her because they perceive her to be weak and defenseless. Encourage her to change that perception.

We've got to stop coddling these kids. Bullying didn't use to be such a problem because kids "duked it out" on the playground. Then we got into this "no tolerance" nonsense for fighting. Kids no longer have a way to solve these problems for themselves... to learn to defend themselves. And then we wonder why they "snap" and start shooting up schools.

Maybe violence shouldn't be the first response, but it shouldn't be taken off the table completely. A good punch in the nose and those bullies will likely move on to someone weaker.

  • Are you able to support any of your opinions with reliable sources? Bullying has been studied internationally. If you're right, there should be plenty of support for your answer. Sep 22, 2022 at 12:05
  • those bullies will likely move on to someone weaker So that's the problem solved right? Because weak people don't matter? Sep 24, 2022 at 8:55

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