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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71153
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My 8 year old child has become the target of a hate campaign

Customer Question

My 8 year old child has become the target of a hate campaign by the mother of another child in the class. The mother has been going into the head teacher on a regular basis for the past year to complain about my child. The children have been observed by school staff, who all agree that my child had done nothing wrong, but this mother will not accept being told this. She gossips to other parents and tells them negative things about my child - a boy told my child that his mum had said he was not a nice person (I work, so do not get to the school playground all the time - she tends to spread her malicious gossip on the days that I am not there) - when I invite children over to play, parents tend to make an excuse as to why their child cannot come, also my child very rarely gets invited to classmate's parties. She has turned several parents against me (for no apparent reason) - she has drip-fed one particular mother so much negativity about my child and myself, that we nearly had a fight in the playground last week. She also uses her son to upset my child - he says things such as "none of the mums like you", "I wish you would leave this school", "this situation is all your fault" - word that have obviously come straight from her mouth. Her actions have now affected both mine and my child's health. My child has started to display anxious behaviours - I feel depressed and cannot sleep at night. I have spoken to the school and they say they are powerless to do anything. Do I have grounds to take out a civil injunction - I would like her to be made to remove her child from the school.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
I am really sorry but there is absolutely no chance of a court ordering that an eight year old child is removed from school for the behaviour of her mother.
In any event though, if this is just general gossip then that is not unlawful per se. It is childish and people wouldn't do it if they had jobs and hobbies and a life but being a waste of space is not against the law.
Obviously saying untrue things can amount to defamation. You don't say exactly what she has said. Saying that you are not a nice person would not get over the hurdle. Examples of defamation would be saying that a person has a sexual interest in children or something similar. It has to be such an offensive allegation that society would shun you to offend in this specific instance.
I am really sorry but this is just childish behaviour from a person who is, at least biologically, an adult. That is not against the law I'm afraid. This would not even amount to harassment. She is free to express misgivings to other parents even if they are without basis.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Our children were at a previous school together, we both moved our children because they were not doing well academically - but she tells parents that I had to move my son because he was so badly behaved. I was thinking of making a formal complaint against her, through the school and insisting on a face-to-face meeting with her (she wont talk to me on the playground - she just walks away) - can I insist that she attends such a meeting. Could I report her to the police for harassment of a minor?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
You could complain to the school but you cannot force her to attend if she refuses.
I am really sorry but this is not harassment. She isn't making contact with either you or him. She is walking away from what you have said.
This is just saying unpleasant things which is not against the law in the UK.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I was told by the local child protection team that I could get a protection from harrassment order from the police - what she is doing amount to the bullying of a child

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Other.
(I cant wait for Jo C.) I now know that there are no legal paths that I can pursue in relation to this mother. Is it illegal for me to make a poster and pin it to the school gates, informing other parents about what she had done to my son.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I am sorry but this does not amount to harassment for the reasons above.