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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 30 Jul 2017, 22:31 
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The accident really gets the school off the hook, because it means they don't have to find a way of dealing with Eustacia. The same when Mrs Pertwee's illness gets them out of having to find a way of dealing with Yseult, although she's a much lesser problem.

I don't think that going to the authorities would have done any good. Mlle seemed to be aware that Eustacia was unhappy, but she was never very effective at dealing with things. Miss Wilson was unsympathetic: she doesn't come out of this book well at all. It might have been better to go to Madge or Gisela for advice ... probably not Gisela, who was about to have a baby, but maybe Madge. But I'm not sure what Madge could have done. Jo's idea of asking her to help with the magazine, a couple of years later, was a good one, but Eustacia in her first term would probably have sneered at the idea of working on a school magazine.

Maybe Jem would have done better! Weren't doctors of his generation supposed to have some knowledge of Latin and Greek, to help them understand medical terminology? And he'd probably have studied them at school to a greater extent than was taught at the Chalet School.

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 01 Aug 2017, 02:11 
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Alison H wrote:
Mlle seemed to be aware that Eustacia was unhappy, but she was never very effective at dealing with things. Miss Wilson was unsympathetic: she doesn't come out of this book well at all.


Even when Eustacia reminds Miss Wilson she is newly orphaned, Miss Wilson is strangely unkind to her. Given that we later find out she lost her entire family within a year, it is bizarre she is not more sympathetic. Especially the way she deals with Jacynth years later and is very kind to her.

The school meeting was also a bit strange. Where was Eustacia while it was being held? Would you like to know the entire school was meeting over how to deal with you? Or maybe she was glad of a chance to be left alone to read :D

Clearly we are meant to be on the school's side and think that Eustacia was wrong in her behaviour. But the more I read it as an adult, the more sympathy I feel for Eustacia.

The only time the school is shown in any halfway decent light is when Evadne is kind to her. The teacher make almost no effort and, after the school meeting, the prefects don't bother either.

And then they all blame her for a snow storm!

Cheers,
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Last edited by Joyce on 02 Aug 2017, 04:33, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2017, 02:40 
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I wonder if Miss Wilson mellowed/ developed more sympathy/understanding as she grew older? It could even have been a change in the times that made her deal more sympathetically with Jacynth than Eustacia. Maybe too regarding Jacynth her position of greater responsibility made her think more deeply. Her Exile/war experiences could also have made her less hard.

Nell was never a particular favourite of mine. However, for the purposes of the ongoing book discussions I have been reading most of the books since New CS and I think she does bring a unique angle to the series.

I cannot judge her in the Tirol books as I don't read them very often now. Although I did like the book Eustacia ages since I have read it.


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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2017, 09:57 
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I have just reread Three Go To and I did notice that Nell gives new girl Mary-Lou advice about being at school unlike in Eustacia where she is, at times, unpleasant.
Perhaps she had mellowed over time.Of course ML was always going to be a favourite of EBD and that may have played its part.


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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2017, 15:41 
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I don't see most of the stuff surrounding Eustacia to be bullying. With her peers, it's more a case of logical consequences for her behaviour - at age 13 or so, someone who makes it clear that they hold their classmates in contempt, tattles freely and slaps people is lucky if being ignored is the worst response they get. I can't think of any case where her peers were targeting her with whispering campaigns, insults, nasty pranks or exclusion that wasn't a direct result of her behaviour.

For the prefects, they mostly want to help, and are trying to enforce school rules. The whole school meeting was way over the line into ganging up on her, but I'm not surprised that the prefects weren't able to figure out an effective way of socializing Eustacia. I do think the staff was too hands-off. They knew of Eustacia's problems, and could understand the reasons a lot better than the girls, but mostly left it to the students to handle.

I'm not sure what would have worked, though! What Eustacia wanted was to be left in charge of the family home in Oxford, managing the servants and presumably studying classics on her own. Her behaviour at school was unacceptable, and she was so totally unsocialized. I'm not sure she would have responded to tender sympathy, either.

I suppose logical explanations of the rules (spoken and unspoken) might have helped. She wouldn't have agreed, but over time it might have sunk in. And maybe the prospect of extra tutoring in classics once she had settled down and caught up a bit on her work would have helped. And a bit of what she was getting - positive reinforcement and friendliness when she behaved, and being let alone when she didn't. But early teens are not known for their patience when it comes putting up with other people's anti-social behaviour.

But without the accident, I suspect she'd have had a long miserable time before maybe learning to fit in a bit.

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2017, 16:26 
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I think the school's going through a bad patch at this point, and Eustacia's unlucky in that she arrives just then. The handling of both her issues and the feud with St Scholastika's is very poor: Mlle Lepattre and Mary Burnett really don't do well at all. In Rivals, the CS girls, who are supposed to be so well-mannered, are very rude, forcing the Saints off the path and into the mud, and then arguing with and throwing snowballs at them in the street. It's very hard to imagine Gisela or Mary-Lou, or even a "lesser" Head Girl like Elinor Pennell, having a public argument with the Head Girl of another school, as Mary does with Elaine. And all Mlle does about any of it is tut a bit in assembly.

No-one seems willing or able to take responsibility for any of it. Then Miss Wilson blames Jo for Eustacia running away, which is so unfair. Jo hasn't really done anything that anyone else hasn't, and she isn't even a prefect at that stage. But no-one takes charge of the situation. However, as you say, it's not really bullying in the usual sense of the word. No-one deliberately tries to make Eustacia suffer.

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2017, 01:36 
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jennifer wrote:
I don't see most of the stuff surrounding Eustacia to be bullying.


Well, I would argue that anything that makes you cry yourself to sleep is not great!

As someone who was horribly bullied for several years, I can promise you the 'silent-type' bullying the CS girls indulge in can be just as bad.

I was 'actively' bullied and it was terrible, but one of the few times it stopped was because a substitute teacher did in one day what my real teacher refused to do - have a word with the group of girls who were giving me a hard time and threatened to report them to the head master if it didn't stop.

But then it became 'silent' bullying instead for the time she was substitute. And it was pretty much what the CS girls do - very active pointedly ignoring me.

No matter what - if I asked to borrow something, if I was in line for class they would all literally line up the other side of the door, I was already picked last for teams when we played sports but now they didn't even bother to let me know if a game was on and if tried to tag along they would 'suddenly' not want to play. I was almost glad when the real teacher came back and life went back to 'normal'.

I am almost in tears remembering it now! I was only 10 at the time and very sensitive and the slightest thing could make me cry. You can imagine how THAT went down.

Alison H wrote:
No-one deliberately tries to make Eustacia suffer.


And yet she cries herself to sleep. So she was clearly not a happy girl. I would agree her behaviour right from the beginning is not great, but she has the excuse of never living in a school community before and still being young.

While they don't actively bully her, nor do they do anything to ensure she fits in and is happy. There are sporadic attempts by Evadne etc to be kind, but it's just assumed she knows the basic rules of community living like don't tell tales.

Also keep in mind Eustacia was at a boarding school so she couldn't escape it after school so it was constant silent bullying.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2017, 09:31 
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Joyce wrote:
jennifer wrote:
I don't see most of the stuff surrounding Eustacia to be bullying.


Well, I would argue that anything that makes you cry yourself to sleep is not great!

As someone who was horribly bullied for several years, I can promise you the 'silent-type' bullying the CS girls indulge in can be just as bad.

I was 'actively' bullied and it was terrible, but one of the few times it stopped was because a substitute teacher did in one day what my real teacher refused to do - have a word with the group of girls who were giving me a hard time and threatened to report them to the head master if it didn't stop.

But then it became 'silent' bullying instead for the time she was substitute. And it was pretty much what the CS girls do - very active pointedly ignoring me.

No matter what - if I asked to borrow something, if I was in line for class they would all literally line up the other side of the door, I was already picked last for teams when we played sports but now they didn't even bother to let me know if a game was on and if tried to tag along they would 'suddenly' not want to play. I was almost glad when the real teacher came back and life went back to 'normal'.

I am almost in tears remembering it now! I was only 10 at the time and very sensitive and the slightest thing could make me cry. You can imagine how THAT went down.

Alison H wrote:
No-one deliberately tries to make Eustacia suffer.


And yet she cries herself to sleep. So she was clearly not a happy girl. I would agree her behaviour right from the beginning is not great, but she has the excuse of never living in a school community before and still being young.

While they don't actively bully her, nor do they do anything to ensure she fits in and is happy. There are sporadic attempts by Evadne etc to be kind, but it's just assumed she knows the basic rules of community living like don't tell tales.

Also keep in mind Eustacia was at a boarding school so she couldn't escape it after school so it was constant silent bullying.

Cheers,
Joyce


And when Eustacia runs away because of bullying and her all round misery, Jo is told that Eustacia ran away to impress her! Saintly Jo isn't much of a saint in Eustacia. And the staff didn't bother to tell any of the girls about why Eustacia is different, so they bully her. And the staff do nothing.

Talking of saints, Mary-Lou never really felt like a good head girl to me. She's horrible to Len and Con in Theodora, and then is kind to Margot, who attempted to blackmail Ted with no apparent regret! She also embarrasses Ted, who has turned over a new leaf. Ugh.


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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2017, 10:54 
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Silent bullying happened to me, led by one girl who was popular.My teachers did nothing, my mother knew, she did nothing, not totally suprised there.
Being excluded, ignored, for a reason you do not know, really hurts.

I also felt Mary-Lou's intervention in Theodora was clumsy, perhaps she had good intentions, but she should have left it to those with more experience and not stuck her nose in.Len had been told from a young age that as the eldest she had to be responsible, to be lectured for doing just that struck me as very unfair.


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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2017, 11:33 
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But no-one else did anything. Mary-Lou even told Mlle de Lachennais and Kathie Ferrars that trouble was brewing, and, instead of thanking her for the heads-up and saying that they'd keep an eye on the situation, they said that they'd leave it up to her.

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2017, 11:46 
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Terrygo wrote:
Silent bullying happened to me, led by one girl who was popular.My teachers did nothing, my mother knew, she did nothing, not totally suprised there.
Being excluded, ignored, for a reason you do not know, really hurts.


Not having support from parents or teachers is the worse part. My mother not only did not believe me but she got angry when I told the school counsellor and he called her in for a meeting. Unbelievably she said I should not have "complained" to him.

I thank the good Lord there was no social media back then so I could escape it after school, or I have no idea what would have happened.

And that is one reason I feel for Eustacia - she has no parents to turn to, her aunt is far away and useless and the teachers are unsympathetic AND blame her as well. By saying and doing nothing, they tacitly endorse the silent treatment being meted out by the girls.

Cheers,
Joyce

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Last edited by Joyce on 05 Aug 2017, 02:11, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2017, 15:54 
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Being miserably unhappy doesn't mean that you're being bullied, though. The CS tends to be pretty welcoming to new girls, helping show them the ropes, including them in group stuff, making sure they've got a partner on walks. But Eustacia has been pretty nasty to her classmates, right from the beginning, and they've responded directly to her behaviour.

I think the CS crowd could have done everything perfectly, treating Eustacia with tender sympathy, inviting her to join everything, ignoring her antisocial behaviour (but still requiring that she follow rules and school routine), and she'd still have been miserable and cried herself to sleep. She's lost both parents in a year, been rejected by her only other relatives, and is now immersed in a totally alien environment, 24/7. Her previous accomplishments don't matter, and she's horribly backward in most of the things that do matter. She doesn't recognize the friendship of her classmates as something she wants or need.

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 04 Aug 2017, 02:20 
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jennifer wrote:
Being miserably unhappy doesn't mean that you're being bullied, though.


It depends on WHY you are miserable. Eustacia was not happy at the school right from the start. Much of the early stuff is because of her own behaviour, but it was slowly getting better before the glacier visit. And she was also very slowly starting to fit in.

Then it all goes downhill. She only cries herself to sleep and runs away because of the silent treatment she was given. Which is bullying no matter how else you want to look at it.

The problem is people see bullying as name calling or nasty pranks, and that is horrible too. But the silent leave her out treatment is just as bad.

And why did Mademoiselle not address the silly rumours running round the school?

Even a speech at assembly giving the real story of what happened at the glacier including the fact that a snowstorm is NOONE'S fault.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 04 Aug 2017, 07:53 
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The teachers never seem aware of these rumours. Or, if they are, they don't do anything. In Peggy, it's - from the school's viewpoint - far more serious, because the rumours are undermining the Head Girl and attacking the integrity of the school authorities who appointed her, but it's left to Dickie to call a meeting to address the matter.

Eustacia does box Kitty Burnett's ears. I appreciate that she's unhappy, but it's quite understandable that Kitty and her friends blank her after that. The CS is not a violent place: there a very few incidences of one girl physically assaulting another.

In Lintons, the question of the "schoolgirl code" is brought up, and dealt with very well by Cornelia, who sees that it's necessary to report Thekla for bullying Joyce, when Joyce herself won't say anything. Maybe, if someone had reported Eustacia for attacking Kitty, the school authorities would have realised how bad things were. Or would they just have punished Eustacia and left it at that?

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 05 Aug 2017, 23:30 
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Alison H wrote:
Maybe, if someone had reported Eustacia for attacking Kitty, the school authorities would have realised how bad things were. Or would they just have punished Eustacia and left it at that?

Sadly, it's most likely that she would be punished and left in Coventry by the other girls (with no objection from staff). The mistresses are a bit appalling with their endorsement of things like banning a girl's only hobby for weeks and letting no one talk to her until the mistress has decided it's okay. As a side, doesn't something like that happen in Lavender? Bride's group certainly ignores her for almost half a term. Ugh, the girls are so quick to rally around popular people, no matter how they behave towards other people (e.g. Jack, attacking Jane multiple times and somehow still vastly more popular than Jane, the focus of the book Jack and Jane, I think?)


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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 06 Aug 2017, 02:05 
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-DL- wrote:
As a side, doesn't something like that happen in Lavender? Bride's group certainly ignores her for almost half a term. Ugh, the girls are so quick to rally around popular people, no matter how they behave towards other people (e.g. Jack, attacking Jane multiple times and somehow still vastly more popular than Jane, the focus of the book Jack and Jane, I think?)


Lavender whacks Anne's fingers with a hockey stick and then doesn't apologise. She's sent to coventry for it and Miss Annersley notices but decides trust people like Peggy Bettany that it won't go too far. Eventually Biddy steps in and calls them out for bullying. So there is a slight justification for what the girls do. And it doesn't last half a term - it lasts about a week.

But the Jack/Jane fight is absurd. In what possible way is it Jane's fault? Was she supposed to just stand there and allow Jack to attack her and not fight back? Or was she supposed to run off and 'tell tales'?

But Jack suffers from EBD's decline in writing skills. She's very one sided even when she has nice moments they appear to be forced. But bizarrely, it's also quite realistic. Jack sums up the role of the mean popular girl that noone wants to cross, which is probably not what EBD meant at all!

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 06 Aug 2017, 08:29 
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-DL- wrote:
Alison H wrote:
Maybe, if someone had reported Eustacia for attacking Kitty, the school authorities would have realised how bad things were. Or would they just have punished Eustacia and left it at that?

Sadly, it's most likely that she would be punished and left in Coventry by the other girls (with no objection from staff). The mistresses are a bit appalling with their endorsement of things like banning a girl's only hobby for weeks and letting no one talk to her until the mistress has decided it's okay.


The staff are aware of Eustacia slapping Kitty as Mademoiselle Walks in on the scene and asks why Kitty is crying. Eustacia tells her it's because Kitty knocked her over on purpose to make the others laugh. Mademoiselle does speak to her and points out to her her parents were kind and gentle people who weren't violent towards anyone and that her behaviour is unladylike etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 08 Aug 2017, 11:40 
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Joyce wrote:
-DL- wrote:
As a side, doesn't something like that happen in Lavender? Bride's group certainly ignores her for almost half a term. Ugh, the girls are so quick to rally around popular people, no matter how they behave towards other people (e.g. Jack, attacking Jane multiple times and somehow still vastly more popular than Jane, the focus of the book Jack and Jane, I think?)


Lavender whacks Anne's fingers with a hockey stick and then doesn't apologise. She's sent to coventry for it and Miss Annersley notices but decides trust people like Peggy Bettany that it won't go too far. Eventually Biddy steps in and calls them out for bullying. So there is a slight justification for what the girls do. And it doesn't last half a term - it lasts about a week.


Sorry, I haven't read Lavender in quite a while. But Lavender has been treated less than carefully for a girl who has never been away from her aunt now stuck in a boarding school. It's assumed, like in most books, that she'll know the schoolgirl code of by heart simply by being at the Chalet School. The mistresses aren't too helpful either, with some exceptions.


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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 09 Aug 2017, 01:37 
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I would say Jack's treatment of Jane defiintely constitutes bullying, and am always shocked at how poorly it's handled! Poor Jane is actually forced to share the blame. Jack basically gets off scot-free and is then rewarded by spending quality time with Len and visiting the Maynard house. I feel Madge as Head would have dealt with her far more effectively.
I do feel sorry for Eustacia, and I do think beng blamed for Miss Wilson's injury/ the snowstorm/ Robin's extreme reaction (why oh why was she even on that trip?!) is ridiculous, but I wouldn't say she was bullied. I do feel that the staff should have handled it better and the prefect appear quite weak. OOAO would have made an effort to get through to Eustacia and not just had a whole school meeting (how dreadful to know to that the entire school are discussing you!).
I would say Betty is bit of bully- she is really quite horrible to the highland twins, and I think slaps one of them.
Would the treatment of Joan be considered bullying? She is made to feel very strongly that she is not "one of us" and is generally excluded for the entirety of her school career...

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 Post subject: Re: Bullying?
PostPosted: 09 Aug 2017, 03:04 
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Good post mrs helston! ☺


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