This recently happened to my 7 year old niece. She’d been in a decile 5 school where she’d been thriving and doing really well. Her parents moved and she ended up in a decile 9 where the teacher decided her writing wasn’t up to scratch and forced her to spend all her lunchtimes locked up in the classroom writing lines. She’d come home from school in tears, in the weekend say ‘Why am I so sad?’.
Until finally her mother had enough and complained to the principal who got her moved to a different classroom where she’s since been much happier.
Luckily her folks knew the warning signs. My folks, being stereotypical Tiger Parent types, made the hammer bigger when the square peg didn't fit. It was only after I returned home a broken, dispirited varsity dropout - a Clayton's hikikomori, even - did they eventually see the error of their ways.
In my case, it was the classmates, rather than the teachers, that were being shits. The school in question was Merchant/Ivory in perception, but more like Kath & Kim or Revenge of the Nerds in practice.
Hah, the worst bullying I experienced - and sustained - was at the decile something-high school I went to (Epsom Normal Intermediate). From the girls. My initial reaction to middle class girly-girl women is still a suspicious one - stemming from those days.
The decile 1 intermediate school I attended the following year gave me no such problems. A bit of teasing for reading "too many" books. One invitation to a fight behind the incinerator, resolved by a handshake when I arrived with quivering knees (I was happy to bestowed the title of "palagi with guts to turn up").
But I fitted into that school better because of my class. Occasionally it does matter more than ethnicity. There were only about 3 (middle class) Maori in my year at the first school I attended - I never observed their being bullied. The right clothes and "attitude" matter, whatever sub-group you're trying to deal with.
We’re all entitled, because we’re members of this society. Isn’t that what this is supposed to be about?
Sure, but feeling like you have some supra entitlement because "I paid taxes all my life", which somehow makes you a better person than the struggling DPB mother...?
And here's another bit of anecdotal evidence, from a teacher who's been talking to her colleagues who are thinking about school choices for their own children:
I don't really share this gloomy view, largely because at the moment we're lucky that our lad is at a brilliant and enlightened high school and very happy there. I also have the impression that the teachers are pretty proud of and happy in their work, and several of them send their own kids to the school. However, our lad's path through the education system hasn't been all plain sailing. He had a very nasty teacher at intermediate level who was relentlessly negative about him and did little to stop a culture of bullying that took root in the classroom. He was quite devastated when she handed him a 'below national standards' in creative writing; his spelling is a bit wonky but he's got a great original narrative voice and has gotten completely different (and better) assessments on this front from pretty much all his other teachers.