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Bullying is a Crime, Not a Rite of Passage

May13

by

Sticks and stones will break my bones,
But words will never hurt me.

Remember that nursery rhyme from when you were a kid?

The thing it, words do hurt. They cut deeply. They wound the soul in ways from which it is never able to recover.

I have one son who is bullied at school. It isn’t the overt, punch you in the face, stuff you in a locker sort of bullying (though he has also experienced that) It isn’t the sort of bullying that can be caught on tape, replayed later to astonished gasps. It is the quiet, taunting sort of bullying. It is the name calling, the whispering, the faces. I call it the Chinese water torture method of bullying. Each individual incident is seemingly inconsequential. Why don’t you just brush it off? Ignore it. It’s just words. She’s just a girl, what is she going to do to you?  But added together, the weight of each individual drop, it becomes too much to bear.

I suppose my son is an easy target for bullies, if I were to try to be objective. I believe he most likely has a mild form of Aspergers, a condition on the Autism spectrum. He is very, very smart and what some would call nerdy. He doesn’t understand why other people don’t immediately understand what he is talking about. He feels compelled to point out to everyone and anyone when they are wrong. This does not endear him to his peers or teachers, who are the ones bearing the brunt of his corrections.

He is not into the popular mainstream teenage things. He shuns what most kids his age think of as cool. He prefers to wear collared polo shirts and khaki shorts. He reads science textbooks for fun. He is slightly overweight and uncoordinated. Some days I feel like all he needs is a sign on his back saying “Kick Me.”

But what they don’t see, can’t see, is the kid I know. The one with a heart of gold who would never intentionally hurt anyone. The one who will play with his younger siblings. The one who when bullied says, “Why are you so mean?” because he just doesn’t understand it. The one who views the world in black and white, with unwavering rules. My heart breaks when I think about what life must be like for him at school every day, the subtle torments.

The bullying has been going on for the entire school year, though my son did not tell me anything about it for many months. His behavior at school has also deteriorated. He changed from being quiet and laid back to being angry and argumentative with his teachers. I chalked most of it up to puberty. Puberty turns previously rational beings into stark raving lunatics. Now I think it is just him lashing out, getting out his frustrations in the only way he knows how.

*****

Over and over again we hear on the news about children who are being bullied to death. Children who are robbed of their self-esteem and ultimately their will to live. We hear of tough zero-tolerance bullying policies that schools have in place. And yet things don’t seem to change.

“With bullying reaching a crisis level in U.S. schools, University of Texas at Austin sociologist Robert Crosnoe has completed one of the most comprehensive studies of the long-term effects on teenagers who say they don’t fit in.”

While so much content on television and the Web is about outrageous acts of bullying and physical aggression, much more is hidden in the social warfare of school. Things like backhanded compliments, snubbing, looks of disapproval and disgust in the hallways.

“It sounds so silly especially compared to those classic forms of bullying,” Crosnoe says. “But these are the things that really matter in the long term because they are subtle. They can get under a teenager’s skin and become a preoccupation causing them to doubt themselves and distracting them from what school is supposed to be about.”

*****

My son has reported this girl who picks on him every day, and her friends who stand by and laugh, on more than one occasion. He has filled out incident reports. The girl has been brought in to the office and when questioned filed counter incident reports against him. The principal has pretty much thrown her arms up at this point in defeat. She brought them both together into her office and told them to stay away from each other. How exactly that is supposed to work when they must walk down the same hallways, I am not sure.

Yesterday afternoon my son came home from school visibly upset. He had gone outside to where he gets picked up and realized that he had forgotten something. All of the doors to the school lock from the outside except for the main door. He knocked on the glass door from which he had just exited and the girl was in the hallway with her friends and some other kids. She told everyone not to open the door for him. She laughed at him through the door. He had to walk all the way around the school to get back in and when he did she was there to taunt him some more.

I told him to report it to the principal. And he told me that the principal has said he is not allowed to write up any more reports. That she is tired of the he said/she said. If he writes up another report he will be suspended. She doesn’t want to deal with it anymore.

I want to tell the principal that I know he isn’t the easiest kid to deal with. My son isn’t instantly likable. My son has issues. His issues make issues for his teachers. I know that she is counting the days until the school year ends and he moves on and she doesn’t have to deal with him. I understand that. But the bigger picture is that my child has the right to go to school and not be bullied. He has the right to walk the hallways with someone shouting “retard” “faggot” “loser” at him, without people “accidentally” bumping into him. He has the right to sit in a classroom without someone rolling their eyes at him every time he speaks.

As adults we don’t put up with this sort of abuse from other people. We would not tolerate it in our workplace.

I am waiting for my call to be returned from the principal of the middle school. I wish I could be like her and just not deal with it, but I can’t, won’t, allow my son to be made to feel like he is inferior.

About the author

Chris Jordan

http://notesfromthetrenches.com
Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.

Yes, they are all hers.

No she's not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.

Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That's why her youngest is almost 6.

Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.


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51 Responses to “Bullying is a Crime, Not a Rite of Passage”

  1. Fairly Odd Mother May 13 at 6:57 pm Reply Reply

    This pisses me off so much on many levels. The principal will suspend HIM for sticking up for himself? That is pathetic. 

    I wish I knew what the solution was, but I’m certain that ignoring it isn’t the answer. Good luck advocating for your son. And good luck not grabbing that girl by her scruffy neck and giving her hell.

  2. Suebob May 13 at 7:17 pm Reply Reply

    “And he told me that the principal has said he is not allowed to write up any more reports…” doesn’t she realize what a dangerous situation she is setting up by saying this? Just by saying that, she could dissuade a child from reporting serious abuse, especially a child that believes the rules are black and white. Gah.

  3. SoMo May 13 at 7:23 pm Reply Reply

    Girls are the meanest creatures on earth. My daughter, who is 8 yrs old, has had similar problems from time to time. Usually she befriends a couple of friends and the others come around to not picking on her. Mostly I have given her comebacks for the things she tells me they say to her.

    If this was my situation and it had gotten to this point w/the principal saying she would suspend my son, the victim, I would be down there first thing in the morning and give her my 2 cents. That is ridiculous. So, if she was beating him up and never stopped the principal would just throw her hands up, too. The principal can have teachers watch this girl and report back, since there have been so many incident reports on her. The girl can be expelled. I am sorry, but I think this zero tolerance talk is just talk. I keep hearing about it and then in the next breath the school isn’t doing anything. Next I would get my son into a karate class to build his confidence. This is not to teach him to fight. I think if he would carry himself better and maybe the girl would leave him alone.

    In my mind, I always envisioned that reenacting that scene from The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. When the nanny confronts the bully and basically threatens him within an inch of his life. It seems that it would be so satisfying. I am sure all it would get me in real life is a whole lot of legal headaches.

    Good Luck

  4. Mama Moose May 13 at 9:10 pm Reply Reply

    I too have been in a similar situation in High School. So has my brother. We both ran away to different schools – which obviously doesn’t solve the problem but even looking back (now that my sister is the situation and only in middle school) I cannot for the life of me see what a better solution is. I think parents know when their kid is a bully, I think they help to shape them into what they become and that it is ultimately their responsibility to curb their kid. School days are awkward and hard enough, kids really don’t need to worry about bullies.

  5. Kim May 13 at 11:05 pm Reply Reply

    Have you considered taking you son to fill out an incident report with the police? Bullying IS a crime in most states. No one should have to live with it just because the school isn’t equipped to handle it.

  6. Cary May 13 at 11:49 pm Reply Reply

    I am so sorry Chris. Big hugs to you and your family. I would also ask for the parents contact information. They may have no idea that it is going on, and she is most likely reacting to something in her own life. If you can do anything to alleviate this before high school starts the better. You may also want to contact the high school principal, counselor, vice principal to see if they have any suggestions. If not than at least this will be on their radar, and maybe he can find an ally for the future. Good luck.

  7. Heather May 14 at 10:21 am Reply Reply

    I am so sorry, I have seen bullying in our elementary school, it starts to young and they are ghosts that never really leave. I hope the principal does right by your son.

  8. Zoot May 14 at 11:34 am Reply Reply

    Chris – man…I know where you’re at. My kid was bullied so bad in middle school. Horrible HORRIBLE bullying. I’m not sure if it still happens now, he may just not tell me, or he may have more control over who he’s hanging out with and just surrounds himself with his peers. Either way…he seems okay now. He’s grown out of the chub, medicated the acne, and found some self confidence. But man…those years…I would not go back to them for anything. It was awful.

    Hang in there, hon. Mine was less of a bookworm/science type and more of a, “Hates Sports, Only Hangs Out With Girls And Reads Girl Books” type so you can imagine the names he was called. In the end? It’s all awful. ::sigh::

  9. Emily May 14 at 2:43 pm Reply Reply

    I was bullied and I was lucky we moved often enough and I could switch schools and the student body. Now I’m sort of a gypsy and I don’t like to stay in any place too long – guess it’s perfect that I’m a military wife then :) I think it’s not a big enough deal at the moment since school is almost out, but if he has the same principal next year, I’d go to the superintendent if it continued. It wears on you, just like you’ve seen his grades and behavior disintegrate. I just lost my desire to compete and my grades slipped. They were still good, but not nearly as good as they could have been. I wish I could have found a way not to be bothered by it and just do my own thing. It would help if he had an outlet – perhaps a club or something outside of the school where he felt like he fit in. They have BoyScout Explorers.. which might work. I went to one at the airport that taught us about being a pilot and how planes work. They’re usually geared towards more specialized interests than the ordinary scout programs (and they’re coed).

  10. Stacy May 16 at 2:48 pm Reply Reply

    So sorry your son is having to experience this with no support from the adults at the school. Just read an interesting article on Salon.com about a book that posits that the geeks and outsiders in high school become more successful adults. That the very quirks that make them outsiders as teenagers are what benefits them as adults. Not that it makes it an easier to live through high school.

    I haven’t actually read the book, but the topic is interesting. The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins

  11. Erica May 16 at 2:52 pm Reply Reply

    Insert two 10 year old girls into this situation and I am experiencing the exact same thing. I think all principals must go to the same school…and learn he said she said type answers. My daughter is in a classroom with a little girl who is obsessed with her. She will stare at her then when my daughter looks at her she makes the “loser” sign or says fat girl, etc. Every night I pick up my daughter, she bursts into tears. I have called the teacher, the principal, the counselor, begging them to please do something. Their answer…”Stay away from each other” It is to the point my daughter doesn’t want to go to any classmates birthday parties, and she hates school. It breaks my heart and I don’t know what to do anymore.

  12. Brigitte May 16 at 2:56 pm Reply Reply

    Being permanently scarred from being bullied myself, I had hopes for the new rules many schools have. Sadly, they don’t seem to have anyway to enforce them, especially with the most subtle forms of bullying. The principal seems to still be the same species of idiot that was hired for principals when I was a kid: blame the person who spoke up! I can’t believe there’s been NO progress in that area. >:-(

  13. Kate May 16 at 2:58 pm Reply Reply

    The principal should lose her job considering she isn’t doing it.

    I am so sorry to hear he is being bullied. I will never understand why people can be so cruel to one another.

    Hope it gets resolved when you meet with the principal.

    My brother was bullied and it definitely sticks with you for life.

  14. Maggie May 16 at 3:00 pm Reply Reply

    In Feb 10 I pulled my 4th grader out of his Parochial school for similar situation. The principal blamed my son whop was lashing out (yes, inappropriately) at his bullies. We had this problem the year before, it seemed for most of the Fall but came back. The teachers chose not to let me know problems came back 2 weeks before Christmas vacation until the last week in Jan. In retrospect the teachers emphasized that other kids were getting into the act. letting me know the whole class was involved, but I did not pick up on this until after a few unsatisfactory encounters with the principal. Fortunately my son seems to have a happy ending so far. The new school is better for him and there is a counselor on premise who helps him out. Best of luck. 

  15. John May 16 at 3:17 pm Reply Reply

    Wow, this brings me back to my days in middle school. That’s horrible. I feel so sorry for him. Unfortunately, some people who work with kids, such as his principal, are just completely incompetent and should be immediately fired. I went through a lot of the same stuff with adults at the school I went to not doing anything about it… I wish kids weren’t so cruel.

  16. Maureen May 16 at 3:24 pm Reply Reply

    Chris,
    I have gone back and read the post from your blog that you linked to and forwarded it on to others a number of times. It is so beautifully and honestly written. It brings tears to my eyes every time. I hope your meeting with the principal helps. Your son will know that you will always fight for him. Good luck.

  17. Cair May 16 at 3:28 pm Reply Reply

    Chris, I am so sorry for your son, and for you and the rest of the family.

    I hope the principal grows some and finally deals with this issue.

    Gad, I really dislike girls who are mean like this. My daughter has some in her class, but now that they are in HS people are seeing their crap and they are becoming less powerful. I was delighted to see that when they ran for class officer they lost. Ah, gee, so sad. NOT.

  18. Barbara May 16 at 3:31 pm Reply Reply

    Wow.  So sorry for your son.  The schools pay all sorts of lip service to anti-bullying, but I think that is bull (pun intended). My daughter was purposely pushed down on the playground by a student 2 grades higher than her (and another student witnessed the event).  She had to go to the nurse to have thorns removed from her hands and chin.  I was not informed that she visited the nurse, and her teacher did not let me know of the incident (which, of course, occurred on a Friday afternoon).  I left messages for the nurse, teacher and principal for Monday morning.  

    Monday, my daughter was called to the vice-principals office, where, in my opinion, she was victimized again.  The vice principal repeatedly asked my then 3rd grade daughter if “It could have been an accident.”  Eventually, she agreed it could have been.  I was contacted and told my daughter retracted her version of the incident.  Not knowing then what to think, I said I would speak to my daughter.  She came home in tears and said the VP would not leaver her alone until she said it could have been an accident, and that eventually she told her it could have been, but it wasn’t.  (My daughter is very literal).  Due to prior issues we had with the school (much too long to explain here and not relevant to the discussion) I let the issue drop, for fear my daughter would suffer repercussions from my follow up.

    The bottom line is the schools do not want to do the required paperwork for bullying, pure and simple.  

    My daughter is now in 6th grade, but this incident has never left my mind.  It was the end of any remaining confidence we had in the school system.

  19. Mari May 16 at 3:36 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks for sharing Chris. I am so sorry you have to deal with this. We have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying here in Mass. – unfortuantely it doesn’t always work but most educators know that they will be held accountable if they don’t follow it. That principal should be ashamed of herself. As you mentioned the consequences of bullying can be devasting – maybe you should remind her of the Phoebe Prince situation here in Mass. The poor girl could not take it anymore and she took her own life – the staff at the school never did anything to help her. They will have to live with that for the rest of their lives.

  20. Rebecca May 16 at 3:40 pm Reply Reply

    I am appalled that the principal is “giving up” on this situation. WTF. This woman needs to do her job… and do it well. Put an end to this disgusting behavior. Pronto. If it means calling in the parents, so be it. Wishing all sorts of good and positive energy your way (and to your son!) that this can be handled and put to rest. I have two sons who will enter middle school in the fall. God help the kid(s) who decide to make them targets for bullying. I, like you, will not stand for it. Period. Good luck, Chris. :)

  21. Kate May 16 at 3:43 pm Reply Reply

    My brother killed himself after being bullied throughout high school and finding no friends in college. I remember he used to be a shy but incredibly happy kid before he entered high school when he changed into a painfully shy, depressed, and very angry young man. I don’t think the people who bullied him will ever know what they did to my family. Please, support your son, don’t EVER ignore it or tell him too, fight the good fight and maybe change a little piece of the world.

    ***********
    Isabel: I am so sorry Kate.

  22. Maeana May 16 at 3:59 pm Reply Reply

    Have you thought about going back to homeschooling with just this son? He sounds like he could pretty much learn all he needs to on his own without the stress of going to a school where learning and questioning aren’t valued. He’d also have an amazing teacher who understands everything about him. It sounds like sports aren’t an issue for him, and the only social he’s getting is negative. I say this because he sounds so much like my oldest. It breaks my heart to think of him going through what your son is going through.

  23. Lil May 16 at 4:05 pm Reply Reply

    Because of the mean behavior of the local public middle school kids, I moved my son to a small private school after 6th grade. Now he’s back with those same kids at the public high school but it seems they’ve passed out of that middle school mean stage. Hopefully your son will find that the same is true for him when he moves to high school next year.

    Like in some of the other comments, I think I’d be all over that girl, her parents and the principal in this situation. Happily school is almost over for the year.

  24. edj May 16 at 4:12 pm Reply Reply

    Oh this is so heartbreaking! I applaud you for getting involved. In my own situation, my daughter tells me my son is bullied and my son says he isn’t. (they’re twins) It’s so disturbing! I think the bullying is subtle and maybe he misses it. He is such a sweet kid; unfortunately, that often equals classic victim. Anyway. Keep us posted on how your situation turns out.

  25. Melody May 16 at 4:41 pm Reply Reply

    I plan to pull my two girls out of public school the year that they enter middle school. I do not want them to learn what their peers will teach them.

  26. Katie in MA May 16 at 5:11 pm Reply Reply

    I would tell the principal that if she is 100 PERCENT SURE that the bully isn’t the issue, then fine. But she better be because if something happens, if the *unspeakable* happens, then you’re bringing her unwillingness not only to her superiors and the school board, but to the media and to every parent who will listen. “Not wanting to deal with it anymore” is unacceptable. That is NOT in her job description.

  27. When I was in 4th grade, a girl who had bullied me for years, told all the kids in her class that I had AIDS.  This was like 1994 and we were too young to really understand what it was exactly, but that rumor cost me the very few friends I still had left.  I was like your son, very smart, usually too smart for my own good and a little overweight.

    When my mom, who was a teacher at my school, spoke with the principal for the 30th time, the principal said that she wasn’t going to discuss the matter any further, that really this was all my fault and I brought the bullying on myself.  

    Bullying destroyed my self esteem for years, it made me not want to be a smart kid anymore, it made me meek, it made me hate myself.  And while I blame the bullies somewhat, I blame even more the adults, especially that principal and some teachers, for not standing up for me.  

    Fight for your son, show him that he is not the one who is screwed up, that the bully is in the wrong and that though he is a little different, it’s those differences that will make him an incredible adult.  It will get better and I hope you’re able to help make that happen.

  28. Brianna May 16 at 5:31 pm Reply Reply

    Hi Chris,

    I’ve been reading your blog for years (and years) but have not commented – until now. I’m a middle school teacher in Canada and I teach children who are very much the way you describe your son – intelligent, curious, driven, and not always aware of social cues or what is considered ‘cool’. From a teacher’s perspective, these students are some of the most interesting, engaging and passionate people I’ve met, and I’m intensely protective of them. I am so sorry to hear that your son has to go through that. School should be a safe place, and it is up to the adults who work there to ensure that happens. Your son is very lucky to have such a wonderful family and I hope that this situation gets better for him.

  29. JJ May 16 at 5:51 pm Reply Reply

    There’s an odd thing that happened along with “zero tolerance” (which seemed to just mean that adults didn’t have to actually think or ask questions in a situation). That was that bullying was suddenly seen as “requiring two people.” That is, even if one child is always the victim, the child is seen as somehow equally responsible.

    The bullies quickly learn this and feel free to go on with their actions. The victims quickly learn that the people with the power don’t seem to want to help them and stop complaining. The administration considers the problem solved, when it’s just as bad as ever.

    I know one kid who was suspended after he was attacked from behind in a middle school locker room by a kid who frequently hit/tripped/attacked other kids. This kid though, had karate training and acted instinctively, flipping the kid and breaking the kid’s finger in the process. His parents were happy enough to accept that suspension because the other kid left him alone after that — though of course, he didn’t leave other kids alone. :-p

    Know another kid who was given a lunch detention because…he didn’t report that he’d been beaten up on the bus. Honest to God.

    Olweus program is said to be good — olweus.org. It recognizes that there are kids who are much more likely to be victimized and doesn’t treat them as somehow equally “guilty.”

  30. wendy May 16 at 6:19 pm Reply Reply

    First off the principal has not right to push this under the rug. She has policies and rules to follow as well. Don’t stop at her. Go to the Superintendent and the School Board, this is a huge national issue. You are blogger and published author, she should be afraid of you. The fact that a school district does not know how to deal with a child with possibly mild Aspergers even though not truly diagnosed and I use the team Aspergers lightly. I use the term loosely because we have narrowed the realm of “normal” to such a small category and those children who do not fall into it need a label.
    I work in a school and this really pisses me off. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If they don’t want to deal with the issue really piss them off and request testing for your son. From date of request they have 60 days. He may test as gifted then they really have to deal with him in a whole new realm. If they don’t like his behaviors force them to help him. Force them to work with him. Force them to give him social skills training so he can handle the situations independently. Force them to be the best he can be. That is what your tax money is for. The speech pathologists, occupational therapist, and guidance counselor should be helping him. Force the guidance counselor to have lunch with him once a week so he has an adult who understands him and is on his side.
    The adults should be making him feel safe. No one should should make him feel small. Arm him with what he needs.

  31. tiffany May 16 at 6:34 pm Reply Reply

    OH MY GOSH! you might have just described my 9 yr old son. I just had a sit down this afternoon with his teacher over him getting bullied at school. He has a boy and a girl in his class that call him names like geek and nerd and tells the other kids to not play with him. He now refuses to go on the field trip to the park in 2 weeks and wants to stay at school instead. She said she will talk to the offending kids and have the other teachers observe whats going on and report back to me in email this week. We shall see…..I just want to transfer them to another school since im an employee of the district and get him out of there…

  32. Claire May 16 at 8:07 pm Reply Reply

    Chris-
    Fight, fight, fight for your son. Take it to the Supt., take it to the school board, take it to the press.  Take it all the way to the TEA. Your son deserves to learn in a safe environment.

    A kid at CyFair ISD killed himself earlier this year because of bullying. TEA can not and will not allow bullying to continue. Go beyond the principal, who clearly has no idea how to deal with this situation.

  33. eko May 16 at 8:11 pm Reply Reply

    I am SO sorry for your son.  

    I can NOT imagine dealing with these type of girls – nor ever having them as children! (I have all boys) — and that is NOT to say girls will be girls…but some ARE!  a group of them taunted me IN church.  I think someone I KNOW of — but who kind of ignores me for some reason – (an adult woman) must have seen what they were doing, and did nothing.  I was dumbfounded and really did not know how to handle it – other than pray.  I thought I was going to lose it!!  I am adult and these were teens – and they were getting vicious.  I have only once before experienced something like this, but virtually…

    We have a no-bullying policy too, but I think it’s crap and then essentially – too often sh** is done.

    I don’t have any answers – other than — I am seriously considering home schooling my youngest, I am just too old for such crap…for him or me.

    Hugs to both of you!!

  34. Michelle May 16 at 8:29 pm Reply Reply

    Do you know about http://www.stopbullying.gov?  According to that, if the school isn’t keeping your child safe, you need to report it to your state or county governing body.

    I really hope you are able to resolve things at your meeting, we went through a year long training (parents, teachers, and students) at the Catholic school my children attended up until last year.  It was very helpful.

  35. Erin May 16 at 8:54 pm Reply Reply

    I filnally pulled my son out of 3rd grade in the middle of the year. I felt like no matter how hard the school tried they could not stop all the secret taunts that my son was getting. I homeschool him now, something I never thought I’d ever do. But when your child needs you, you’ll do anything to help him succeed the best way for him. It’s been great! Good luck, I hope that girl gets busted!

  36. Lisa May 16 at 9:16 pm Reply Reply

    While it sounds like the principal is negligent, what about the other adults in the school?            No other staff or teacher has witnessed this?  I’m very sadden that so many adults fail children- basically because it’s messy and requires standing up for what is righti instead of what’s easy.

  37. Dawn May 16 at 9:29 pm Reply Reply

    High school was not a happy time for my younger daughter. I found out after she’d left the school that she was being bullied not by students, but by teachers and the guidance counsellor. The principal at the time was only interested in the “star” pupils – the straight-As, the music festival winners, the drama stars, the athletic stars… and my daughter is learning disabled, so even if I’d realized while she was at the school, nothing would have been done. It’s a good job I only had two children. If I had even had a third, I would have been homicidal by the time he or she reached middle school. So sorry your son is being treated this way.

  38. laurel May 16 at 10:23 pm Reply Reply

    we all know about bullying being unacceptable, but i think it gets put in the too hard basket too often. personally i think this sort of thing needs a bigger focus at preschool and elementary level.

    i would suggest when the principal comes around, that both your son, and the other bully kids get seen by a counsellor (not the usual lame high school ones, but a proper one) to find out how both are feeling. maybe that will help to at least have them feel heard, and perhaps come to their own solutions with guidance. the bully wil be having some kind of issues to be acting this way.

    it’s rough going, but i think helping to keep his confidence up is the best tack. he will be stronger for it.

    and middle school sucks for everyone. if ever i was going to homeschool my kids – it would be during those miserable years.

    thank you for sharing this, and all of your trials and tribulations with family. it helps us think about our own families and how to deal with all these issues.

  39. Lyssa May 16 at 10:26 pm Reply Reply

    As someone who was bullied all through middle school and high school, thank you for standing up for your son and I’m sure that he appreciates you doing so.

  40. kris (lower case) May 16 at 11:24 pm Reply Reply

    i see this kind of crap all the time at my sons parochial school. it is like the school allows a couple of kids to be the sacrificial lambs of the school. neither the teachers nor the principle seem to be able to see the bullying or to stop it. it is like they shift the blame to the kid. this is my sons last year at that school i am tired of watching this sort of thing go on.

  41. meredith May 17 at 6:22 am Reply Reply

    I’m so sorry your son has to go through this. Your post helps me understand a friend of mine who has a daughter in a similar situation but she doesn’t always share what’s going on with her daughter, just enough to know that the kids in our town’s middle school are very very hard on her. A change of school is being considered.

  42. Lindy May 17 at 9:38 am Reply Reply

    My daughter went through this in elementary school. Part of the problem was that the mother was a friend of mine so I just blew it off and figured it was typical behavior. I was wrong. When it got to the point where this other girl was drawing her finger across her throat like a knife when she saw my daughter I finally did something about it.
    I went to the mother and spoke with her and she was very apologetic and made her daughter apologize the next day. Her daughter had been doing this to another girl too and they figured the other girl was just lying. I was very fortunate in that my friend was very proactive. She called the social worker immediately at school to get help for her daughter and dealing with the bullying.
    I’m sorry that your son has to go through this. Maybe it would help to talk with the parents since the school isn’t doing anything!

  43. Julia May 17 at 9:42 am Reply Reply

    This upsets me in so many ways. I have raised my daughter and son to be respectful to think of how that would make them feel it if was said/done to them… I bet you her parents are not aware… I hope her parents are not aware. My kids would be grounded for LIFE!

  44. jL May 17 at 10:07 am Reply Reply

    If the principal is going to take the stance of “I’m tired of this and your son is not allowed to file any more reports” then she should let you know that in writing [which you can then let the superintendent know].
    If she is not willing to give you her new “policy” in writing, then clearly she knows that there must be a problem with her policy.

  45. Stephanie May 17 at 10:27 am Reply Reply

    You need to go to the Superintendant. Don’t let this go on. If you have to, file a police report. It’s not okay. I know you know that, but don’t let that Principal get away with laziness. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for your son. :(

  46. Sallie May 17 at 11:19 am Reply Reply

    This made me cry. I’m so sorry that your son, or any child, has to go through this. I’m going to sit my kids down today and share this with them and reinforce to them the importance of just simply being kind to others and treating others the way they want to be treated.

  47. Cy May 17 at 12:27 pm Reply Reply

    Chris–I’m so sorry and also so scared for my own son who sounds a bit like yours. He has a kid in gym, who he has to dress near, who says inappropriate things to him everyday. We’ve grilled him endlessly and asked if he wants us to intervene. He’s very sweet and sensitive. I have been worried about our junior high since he was about 3 years old! I hope your update on your own blog leads to a resolution, although in my opinion that candy ass principal needs to be fired! Is your son off to high school? Will that be any better for him? I hope so!!

  48. Alisa May 17 at 12:36 pm Reply Reply

    We just finished taking care of my son’s bully, who had not been only terrorizing my son, but most of his grade level and the one below him. My best advice is to document every.single.thing. To be told he can’t file a report is illegal, to threaten to suspend him, when nothing has been done with this girl is also illegal. Check into your student handbook. Those are the exact legal terms you’ll want to use, also “call” an attorney. Most times, that is what does them in. We also filed a sheriff’s report and while they won’t do anything against the other child due to them both being minors, involving the police changes a principal’s stance almost immediately. Call the district office. It took a group of parents almost 6 years, but we finally got this kid transferred out of school. The best part for the immature of us? He only lives a block away from our school. Now he has to be driven 15 minutes away. Good luck and don’t let that principal get away with this! It is absolutely unbelievable. For what it’s worth, my son started acting out in the exact same ways as yours and when the teachers got on him for it, he started becoming a bully. Luckily, he has family and friends who quickly put a stop to that, but it’s a cycle and the school is teaching these kids it’s a good thing. Wishing you the best.

  49. Pam May 17 at 7:06 pm Reply Reply

    I’m the lunch lady at an elementary school. Home school and independent study are good options! Kids are so cruel to each other. So sorry your son has to deal with this, glad you are advocating for him, and making the school accountable.

  50. Cate May 17 at 7:57 pm Reply Reply

    Ugh, we could have almost written this post about my nephew who has Asperger’s and no filter whatsoever. It also doesn’t help that he’s a head shorter than everyone his age. When they finally went in to confront the principal, she said, and I quote, “I hate this age!” The WTF are you doing as a middle school principal?

  51. shawn May 19 at 9:05 pm Reply Reply

    I was bullied in middle school. I truly believe It made me stronger in the long run. I finally learned to defend myself and the bully stopped. As a man reading this blog, I understand appreciate your concern for your son. Like you, I too would notify the principal or vice principal. But please understand the faculty can not fully stop bullying. It is a sad part of the human condition (in other words, getting rid of one bully allows another to rise up). I would take him to Martial Arts so he can learn to be confident, strong and self controlled (not to mention it will help with the coordination)

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