Need some advice


#1

hi
im a parent of 2 cadets who started back in September 2017, passing out in April 2018.

*I have omitted any details which could identify the cadets, the sqns or places

They were part of sqn A and loved it, and my youngest (Z) befreinded another cadet (M) who was found to be self harming so reported it to the CO who got this cadet help and support.
Z was commended for their actions and M & Z became friends.

My eldest child (X) was also loving their time as a cadet, making friends, going flying, attending events.

Then in July 2018 shortly before an annual camp my husband was posted elsewhere (we are a military family but i have never served) so the children moved to sqn B - took about a week to finalise the transfer.

They were part of sqn B for the annual camp, which was going well as they were with the new friends from sqn B but were also seeing their old friends from sqn A (both sqns were under the same wing). During the same M and another cadet R cornered Z and threatened to beat them up and suffocate them in their sleep. Z was upset and called us, but was overheard by the SO for their dorm and was asked to escort them to the camp office and file a complaint.
M & R were reprimanded, and moved dorm but not removed from camp.
Z didn’t know where this anger had come from and heard from other cadets at sqn A that it was because they had moved and M felt alone because they were a foster child.

3 months passed and out of the blue one evening M called Z and started screaming that Z was ‘in love’ with their significant other (obviously they didn’t word it that way but i don’t want to divulge the sex of any cadets involved) to which Z said that was stupid, seeing as we now lived over 80 miles away from sqn A and Z hadn’t seen anyone since the annual camp.

Z’s father heard the shouting being done down the phone and he took it from Z and said ‘is this M?’
M promptly hung up. Z made contact with M’s carers and asked them to call so that Z’s father could speak to them about what he had heard.

They called and stated that Z was started it according to M and that Z had in fact beat up M at the annual camp. We contacted the camp organizing officer and requested clarity and we received back an email stating that a complaint was made by Z about the conduct of M & R and the conduct had previously been witnessed by a senior cadet and as a result M & R were reprimanded.
We sent this report to M’s carers who called again and said they would sort the situation.
We made it clear that Z would be blocking M on the phone and social media which M’s carers agreed they would also make M do.

Then all was quiet, Z & X attended sqn B and continued their cadet careers, for around 6 months so they were at sqn B for almost 9 months.

Then we had to move again and made contact with sqn A for the cadets to transfer back (being the closest sqn) but we received mixed messages, the first being yes both Z & X would be welcome back, then a day later that it needed to be authorized through the Wing, this process took almost 4 weeks.

Z & X were told to report to the CO upon arriving.
They were informed that if anything happened between themselves and M that there would be consequences.
Z & X were confused as to the problem as assumed the issue had been resolved 6 months prior.

On their first night back it was sports and nobody spoke to either of them, so Z asked someone they had previously trusted what was wrong, and they were told that nobody wanted to associate with Z because they had told M to ‘go and die’ - something i will vouch never happened.
They also told X that they all hated Z because they used M for money - again something that is untrue - M bought a birthday gift for Z of chocolates, Z bought M a £30 piece of jewellery or Xmas (as M’s birthday was after Xmas) - Z always had their own money for tuck at sqn.

Both cadets came home from their first night back stating that senior cadets, same rank cadets, staff and even JCs they had never net made them feel unwelcome and were pointing and laughing at them, so along with their father we asked the CO to investigate, and he claimed that M had done nothing wrong, even if it were untrue which he couldn’t prove, he was not willing to make sure they were civil, even when Z broke down because of the jibes he ignored them and told them to ‘get over it’

Both have now chosen to quit their cadets careers despite them loving it!

I just wondered if this is a complaint that needed looking at as both my children feel the sqn sided with M without even speaking to them and despite hearing the nastiness they ignored it.

I didn’t realise there were children who could be as nasty and vindictive as M - to the point that their lies and rumours have caused my children to want to quit!

Am I overreacting?


#2

I wouldn’t say you’re overreacting, if you’re not happy with the outcome from the OC of the sqn then I’d suggest reapproaching them and ask to speak to his/her sector commander (if they have one) or going to the respective wing hq

Hope this helps


#3

From what you’ve said you move about a lot and I imagine the last thing you want to do is put your children through uncertainty like that if you don’t want to but is there another nearby squadron they could move to rather than just quit.

Obviously I can’t comment on who’s telling the truth but it seems like M has certainly seized the narrative on squadron A and whatever you do it’s going to be very hard to change that narrative.

I think you’re well within your rights to complain. Squadron A’s OC seems to have their head screwed on so maybe have a frank chat with them and get their advice?

If what you say about M is true it seems likely they may have mental health issues so it’s possible they genuinely feel victimised and are acting to protect themselves.


#4

My husband has finished his service and the location where sqn A is, is where we’ve decided to stay.
We did try attempting to speak to the Commander at sqn A and were met with blank stares and ‘yes ok’
I did wonder about M’s mental capacity as well but that is not my place and in all honesty I wouldn’t know where to start! and between Sept (when they all started together) & July (when we moved) I never saw the same person person collect them. But all were wearing the ominous Social Services name tag so I have wondered not just for M but many kids in the ‘system’ how if affects them.

What upset my kids more was that despite them airing their concerns about being unwelcome after their first night back (including getting abuse from JCs who joined after they left about the situation) that the Commander basically said ‘brush it off’ and when he asked them to report to him on their first night back he directed his ‘any issues and you’re gone’ at them, cadet M wasn’t in the meeting.

I am annoyed that more senior cadets are also not being as neutral as they probably should be and are also being rude and acting in a very unwelcome manner towards 2 cadets who were part of their sqn previously.

I have thought about them moving to another local sqn but the question remains as to why M decided on this course of action when no contact was made for over 6 months! But they have taken it upon themselves to drag my 2 childrens names through the mud and have everyone on side!

Seeing as I was getting nowhere fast with the sqn commander i was looking for where to go next.
My eldest has a number of flight hours already logged and loves it as they want a career flying planes - possibly in the RAF - so the cadets seems to have been a perfect springboard - but even that now hangs in the balance as they feel totally stabbed in the back.

Our youngest was part of the marching team prior to moving and on the first night back was offered a place again but M is also on the marching team and my youngest doesnt want to cause the sqn any upset - but M doesnt seem to have the same idea.
I’ve heard in the last hour from another cadet that M tripped my youngest while on final parade - sounding more like bullying now!


#5

This is getting a bit beyond my knowledge and experience now but if you feel OC Squadron A isn’t taking your concerns seriously your next port of call would be their Sector Commander or Wing Executive Officer.

It may be worth talking to OC Squadron B if you are still in contact/able to contact them. They’re likely able to provide better advice than us as they are aware of the situation and at least know what your kids are actually like. It’s very difficult to provide advice without knowing what’s actually happened and the parties involved.

From the way you paint it your kids sound like the sort of young people the organisation wants and there won’t be many staff who actively want to see cadets hounded out.


#6

What a terrible comment from the OC, he/she has just prejudged any future ‘incident’ and that child is at fault. Time to move Squadrons.


#7

Before people drag out the virtual pillories and stocks, remember we are just getting one side of the story here.


#8

I am not saying my kids are angels but they lost a family member they were close to a few months before joining to suicide so would never tell anyone to kill themselves or die.

I see where you are coming from about it being one sided but its hard to get anything from the other kids carers as they change, as i said i never saw the same person collect them on more than 1 occasion.

One sided or not, they do not deserve to be treated unfairly because of 1 cadets word - thats then the squadron acting on ‘one side of the story’
Since they went back they received, via the sqn private facebook group chat, rude and nasty messages which have been screenshot and sent to sqn, none of which my children instigated, so all i was asking for was advice and guidance.

and if as you say its ‘one side of the story’ please explain how new JCs whom my children only met for the first time a week ago knew about the incident at the annual camp from last year, or these so called things my children have supposedly said.
If they were there i’d have understood but these JCs only joined in Sept 2018, while my kids were at a different sqn over 80 miles away!! The only way they would know is from this other cadet - who started it all


#9

Kids are and will be kids. In all types of school and all types of youth groups there will be jealousies and vindictiveness. We also have to accept that even our own children aren’t always what we would like.

When your children moved back or were rumoured to be doing so, others would have said something about them and some who weren’t there would have joined in. There could be some intervention by staff but that presents the very real danger of making things much worse.

Distance has not been a barrier for good or bad to be passed for centuries.

I don’t think we can expect Air Cadets to be angels, I know we weren’t when I was a cadet, we did and said things that never got picked up and had things happen to us that we just took, that viewed differently now. They and we were after all just teenagers, learning and picking our way through the morass that is life.


#10

This matter has been referred to higher authority and i would suggest it is better dealt with in accordance with policy rather than on a public forum.

The matter is to be referred to the WExO on Monday morning but if you wish to discuss before then then please contact depoc.xxxxx@aircadets.org or cpa.xxxxx@aircadets.org xxxxx being the wing your children belong to.


#11

… and shut down. Don’t be dissuaded nette_lou … you are a parent and have support out here.

Don’t also blindly accept assurances about being dealt with in accordance with policy as the record shows this is biased toward protecting the club.

Your problems are private, but in posting here, you illustrate the problems discussed elsewhere on this forum in which such uniformed behaviour is claimed not to happen and ATC-HQ decry accountability.


#12

Are you the OC or a WSO in the wing??


#13

Indeed this problem is far more widespread than recognised or even admitted too.

Yet another instance, neete-lou, pooly handled and very poorly managed, I know the original OP for this case, and their integerity is top notch,


#15

I have purposely not mentioned either sqn, my children by name nor the other cadets by name because I was told it was ‘being handled’
As of today I have not heard anything, and i dont know who bfg is nor have i used a user name that in any way related to my actual name - so for bfg to say its been referred worries me
The purpose of my post was to ask for advice for next steps - I now feel like you are wanting me to withdraw a post intended for advice - I haven’t named anyone and well within my right to defend my children from malicious lies!


#16

PM sent.


#17

Wow.

Kids will indeed be kids - and adults like you are supposed to rein in their excesses and stop this sort of thing from happening.


#18

Yep you try and rein it in bur doesn’t mean it will stop.


#19

The voice of leadership there.


#20

Fairly sure an autocratic leadership style can deliver results when delivered in the right qay towards those more challenging cadets


#21

Nope the voice of a parent which brings a whole different experience and things that I can’t do as a squadron commander, but you hope that parents enforce, if you have occasion to speak to them.

Although our kids were always told (as my dad told me and my brother) keep away from and ignore the idiots and they’ll soon get bored. it worked for me and my brother. I had a pretty torrid time at school from time to time, but you just got on with it. If someone said "I’m going to beat you up’ etc you avoided them and you know what they didn’t ever do it, despite seeing them everyday.