With over 15 years’ experience of child advocacy, today we share a story about bully. As a parent, one needs to be aware of what you may be up against, when trying to get the matter resolved with your child’s school.
Here is a specific case study incident that occurred in one, New York State School District.
After nine reported incidents of bullying on a school bus. Three reported incidents of bullying happening curbside and one district meeting, which consisted of school superintendent, principle, bus garage head, two bus drivers and one parent the bullying finally stop.
“My daughter first told me there was a girl picking on her, calling her names. I explained maybe the girl was never taught that name-calling was wrong. I told my daughter if the girl did it again, she needed to let her know it hurt her feelings and ask her to stop.” – Parent of bullied student
The question here is why it took 12 reported incidents. Phone call after phone call, letter after letter a second grade student was going through repeated bullying on not only the bus but also curbside by the other student’s parent and an adult stranger.
“I was on my way into work, when my eldest daughter called me. She said my youngest daughter never got on the bus; they were headed to the police department. I was shocked! I didn’t have any clue what was happening. You hear all the time about situations gone oh so wrong. It was now happening to my child. The name-calling turned into, pushing, kicking now this. She told me the parent of the other child, crossed the street and started yelling at my youngest daughter, calling her a lair. My oldest daughter, told the woman she needed to go back across the street. The woman kept getting closer saying things like my daughter was sick in the head. I never made it into work, I had to file a police report because my eldest daughter was still a minor.” -Parent of bullied student
A police report was filed and local police officers visiting the home of the alleged bully. On two separate occasions, local police officers spoke with the parent who approached the seconder and older sibling across the street at the bus stop.
“The police informed me; they visited the home of the other student and spoke with the mother. They said the mother was told not to approach the children in anyway. The police also said the parent tried to lie about the situation, saying it was another child. My daughter got it wrong. They then visited another parent in the same building to speak to the other child’s parent. This parent explained that her daughter was friends with mine and they got along just fine. However the other child had issues with her daughter as well.” -Parent of bullied student
Note: In order to be considered bullying, it had to be shown an “intent to intimidate” or “aggressive behavior.” You can go to Stop Bullying.gov: http://www.stopbullying.gov/index.html to get more information.
It is important to know the parent of the alleged bully, crossed the street leaving their own child on the opposite side waiting for the school bus. This shows aggressive behavior on the part of the parent and intent to intimidate a young child.
How did it get this far out of control when the parent of the second grader continuously reported the incidents to both the school and police? It might have something to do with the fact that the second grader was kicked several times leaving a bruise on her leg, yet the assistant principle remarked, “She really wasn’t kicked that hard”.
Note: Any physical contact, which leaves a mark on your child, should always be documented and reported. If the injury is serious, it may call for a doctor visit. Be sure to take a photo of any injury. Physical is physical, it does not matter if it is a scratch, bruise, bloody nose or worse.
On the other hand, a known bullying incident was repeatedly occurring on a school bus yet there was no camera placed on the bus to video the incidents. When asked why there was no camera on the bus, the school principal replied, “We only have enough funding to buy two cameras a year there simply is not enough cameras for every bus.”
There was also an issue with the location of the school concerning the residency of both children and local police. Just blocks away from the local police department, the mother of the bullied child reported all curbside incidents to them. However, the school where the children went was located on the far side of town, which fell under the sheriff’s office.
Another issue noted one officer was more than willing to talk with the school about the matter while other officers were not. There was definitely are breakdown in communication and no one wanted to take full responsibility of the situation.
The school stated, “Any incident occurring on the bus was their responsibility.” While the police stated, “Anything happening curbside off the bus was theirs” yet the matter was not getting resolved.
The mother of the second grader was more than willing to meet with the parent and the principle to talk while the other was not inclined to do so. What started out as name-calling progressed to pushing and kicking, than intimidation curbside by a parent and an unknown adult.
“I remember talking to the officer; they suggested I speak with the parent at the school. I explained I tried that already the principle said the parent refused. The officer stated the parent actually told them to tell me, they wanted to meet me curbside, what type of parent was I! I remembered speaking my thoughts out loud, “That poor child, no wonder they are acting out with a parent like that”” -Parent of bullied student
Here we have a second grade student bullied both physically and emotionally yet it took the parent demanding a meeting with the school superintendent to get the matter resolved. The second grader was unwilling to go to school, begged to stay home and was afraid of being hurt. While the school insisted, they were taking care of the matter following their protocol for handling bully situations.
“My daughter came home saying the girl tried to trip her as she was getting off the bus. I thought what is it going to take, my daughter in the hospital before anyone does anything. I was angry! I had enough! I was done being nice!” -Parent of bullied student
Clearly, the school’s protocol fell short of acting on the behalf of the afflicted child. It seemed the mother had to do everything, even move her child’s bus stop in order to try to keep her daughter safe. However, the bully continued even then.
Here are five important tips for handling a bullying situation
- Report all bullying situations as soon as they happen.
- Remember to document date, time, people involved, specific things said even take a picture.
- Request a meeting as soon as possible with the principle and parent of the other child.
- If the parent is unwilling to meet, get it in writing.
- Make it clear if another incident occurs you will be taking the matter to the superintendent.
Nice does not always work, as this parent found out. She tried to be understanding of what the other child must have been going through. She gave the school plenty of chances to get the matter resolved. It was only after the parent demanded a meeting with the superintended of the school, the matter finally got resolved. The mother of the bullied student, believed it was because she stated, “You tell me, how to get my child to come back to school after you let this go on as long as you had. My child is afraid and you do nothing to protect her.”
While the schools may be trying, they are not trying hard enough. Go to this link to get statewide policies and laws on bullying http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/index.html . Talk with your schools superintendent, demand swifter and stricter punishment for bullying.