Bullying and Censorship at HELP (Home Educators Learning Place), Felix rd.
A child who had previously harassed one of my kids (with a spade) attacked him up on the tall wooden structure, causing him to fall on his brother, who fell about 7 foot off the structure. When I reached him, he was lying on his back, crying in pain, not moving, but hyperventilating. We called an ambulance and they put on a neck brace, then took him to hospital.
Within hours a member of HELP sent me an email saying she had called a meeting in our absence and people had decided it was all an accident (this would have been whilst we were in the xray room, I read it when I got home). Then she sent an email apologizing for this.
I complained on the HELP yahoogroup, and was immediately censored - my complaint deleted, with threats in ALL CAPS.
Where was I when my child fell? I was in a HELP meeting, indoors, which is apparently the only acceptable place to discuss anything, as far as the yahoogroup owner is concerned. I feel as though I had formed an opinion of HELP/Felix rd which was very naive and reflected my hopes for what the group is rather than the reality.
I find out that issues have been raised before about the particular child, and been ignored. I had previously raised this issue (violence, and a particular boy) with a member of HELP, who whilst being a lovely person (like a great many individuals there) didn't do anything about it.
My kids do not feel that they have any friends at HELP, but that they do have enemies. Enemies whose actions are protected by the old guard (parents) within HELP.
HELP does not appear to have the ability to deal with internal problems effectively, instead having a culture of keeping quiet, and moving on for the good of the group as a whole. While there is an attempt to collect information regarding problems in the organization, I have little confidence that anything will actually change, as the culture is already set, and words alone will not solve every problem, but are all the action that seems likely to occur.
Let me repeat the key points: A child with a history of violence caused my son to fall a long way, and HELP tried to cover/hush it up.
I like a lot of the people I have met through Bristol Home Education Learning Place, but as an organization it does not seem to have the ability to self organize enough to deal with problem children. If other members had felt comfortable enough to circulate information, I might never have let my children out of sight whilst sitting in a meeting in noisy room, and the incident described above might not have happened.
If your child gets hurt at HELP/Felix road, I accept no blame, as I have said my piece and you have now read it.
Please note, that I have not been shy in noting the accomplishments of HELP previously, publicly and in good faith.
The issue of kids carrying knives at Felix rd is parallel to this, although no harm has come of it yet.