Monday, June 1, 2009

School Bullies, what to do?

I'm thinking bullying started about the time Eve coerced Adam in to taking a bite of a bright red apple. Speculation aside and truly no laughing matter, my oldest child is being harassed by kids in her 5Th Grade class. Yes, my sweet intelligent, yet shy and a tad quirky 'tween has been subjected to behavior that Mom MD and I consider unacceptable.

Without going into too much detail, a girl has decided to make my daughter's educational experience miserable not only while in class, but at lunch, in line, and on the playground with continuous verbal abuse. Another boy approached her immediately after school and basically told her that he loathes her and she is a female dog...nice huh? Unacceptable.

I was bullied as a kid. Many of us were at some point between Kindergarten and high school graduation. I was an overweight kid. My tormentor was actually my age and a teammate on my Little League team. He lived on the next street over sometime between the 6Th and 8Th grades. I still remember the morning at the bus stop that he punched me in the face (I believe I was wearing my retainer) just because I wouldn't let his friend cut in line. I'm thinking that this was the same morning that he grabbed a cat by the tail and hurled it over a wall....nice huh?

The neighborhood kids were elated when he moved to Texas sometime before high school. I didn't hear of or from him until about 8 years ago when out of the blue I received an e -mail that said "Hey D, it's your old friend J.." I so wanted to fire back a nasty e -mail and say "You were NO friend of mine....you were the neighborhood bully and I'm surprised that you're not in prison!" I didn't respond.

Back to the present, and our daughter's situation. Even though this hasn't escalated into anything physical, Mom MD and I are not willing to let this behavior continue. We made the decision tonight to take action and write an e-mail to her teacher with a cc to the principal. We didn't go into specifics in the e-mail, but instead indicated that we'd put a handwritten letter from our daughter detailing the various incidents in the teacher's inbox tomorrow.

In addition, we requested that the teacher, principal, and school provide us with what actions were being taken to discipline these kids. Kids always need to know when their behavior is inappropriate. What they're doing is hurtful, degrading and utterly unacceptable! Are we taking the proper stance with an acceptable course of action? Should we have contacted the parents directly? Any personal experience, remedies or suggestions would be much appreciated.

11 comments:

Kat said...

I think it sounds like an appropriate response, but I would expect little in the way of discipline unless the little buggar is caught in the act.

Jess said...

I would go through the school first...

In my own experience, having the parent go to another parent can cause fist fights in the parking lot.

Not that MY Mom ever beat anyone's ass...ok, maybe just verbally. Ahhh, I love my Mom.

Employee No. 3699 said...

I think you're doing the right thing by contacting the school first. I hope this gets taken care of quickly, I feel for your daughter.

msprimadonna67 said...

As a teacher and as a mom who has also had to deal with this issue, I think you are doing the right thing by contacting the teacher as well as the principal. These are the people who can be present and intervene during the day when this is happening. I would also follow up in a week (if you haven't heard anything yet) and then follow up again in a few weeks (if you are still in school at that point), just to make sure the situation continues to be monitored and your daughter is not having to continually face the bullying. Sometimes it takes a little work to ensure it, but every kid deserves the opportunity to go to school feeling safe. Good luck to you and to your daughter; I hope this first step resolves the problem.

msprimadonna67 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aunt Juicebox said...

Don't wait a week. Seriously. I was bullied by a girl when I was in 1st grade, she was in 4th, and it started with her smacking me in the face in the stairwell. She physically hit me as well as verbally abusing me for weeks. I'm still scarred from it. If you don't hear back from the teacher immediately that's too long. I mean it, it may seem aggressive but you have to protect your child. The girl that bullied me wouldn't even stop when the teacher and principal finally intervened. Things were different in 1980, but my mom actually had to threaten the girl herself before she would stop stalking me for every chance to literally kick me in my ass. I don't suggest that, but I would make damn sure that kids parents knows what she's up to. Be prepared for them to be in denial that their precious angel would ever do anything so horrific. And if you are the one being bullied, believe me, it's horrific. Can you tell I feel very strongly about this subject?

Reinvent Dad said...

I appreciate all your good thoughts and suggestions. Her teacher did what they call an I-Message. The two kids who are having the dispute and the teacher step into private and the child who is being teased or bullied makes a statement to the other child "I do not like it when you ____. It makes me feel___. Please stop doing _____" My daughter went outside with the teacher and both students separately and told them that it hurt and scared her, and she'd like them to stop. The boy said that he was put up to it by friends and apologized (& didn't sound THAT sincere according to my daughter)....the girl DENIED that these incidences had ever happened and said in front of the teacher "I can't believe you'd say something like that about me?" - NICE huh? I'm documenting this..well heck, this blog is documenting this except no names are being mentioned to protect the innocent, and the NOT-SO innocent.

A Free Man said...

Good luck. I don't envy your situation and I imagine it's one that a lot of us are going to have to face. I hate to be a negative nelly, but there aren't a lot of good ways to sort out the situation. I was reading a story in the paper yesterday about the same thing and they were saying that most of the time adult intervention either has no effect on the bullying or makes it worse. As for going to the parents, most bullies were raised by bullies. Wishing you good luck.

The Stiletto Mom said...

Horrible. I was bullied as a kid too, and around that age. It's so hurtful. You are right to go through the school first. We have had a couple of instances but I'll warn you, unless they see the kid doing it personally, they sometimes suggest you work it out on your own. I'm eternally thankful for the cameras on the bus that showed a 4th grader beating up my son in kindergarten...kids can be so awful!

Jason, as himself said...

Hi! I found you on Kelly's blog, Grand Pooba, and I made a comment there about your comment. Then I saw you on coffeeyogurt and decided I would click over and read a bit.

You have an interesting life and I like your blog. Especially with those triplets...very cute by the way.

I am a teacher, and I always appreciate it when a parent comes directly to me first when there is some sort of a bullying situation. Sometimes the kids don't say anything to me about it, and I have no idea what is going on. I take immediate action to make sure it stops--I was bullied, too. A LOT. There is no reason kids should go to school in fear.

Anyway, back to my comment on Grand Pooba. I hope I don't offend; it was not my intention.

Have a good day.

Zach said...

My friend and neighbor was going through some similar problems with his son and the school bully earlier this year. He told me he got a program called The Total Bully Solution and was very satisfied with the results. You might want to check it out. Best of luck to you and your daughter.