Monday, April 27, 2009

School bullies, uproar, angry Tea & resolution and life goes on

Two weeks ago, Basil came home from school kind of worried.He told me that some friends of his who aren't really his friends were harassing Guy on the playground and calling him "gay" (not a reference to his name which is very different from what I call him here) and "retardo." Basil went to them to tell them to knock it off which resulted in all the boys except for Guy getting called to the office.

When he told me, I insanely told him to not worry, were it an issue, they'd have called me. It was around the anniversary of Columbine and then that 11 year old, Jaheen Herrera killed himself. Still no word from the school. I called Guy's teacher and we talked and I told her that maybe a general discussion with all the kids in that class was in order, you know, "It's the end of the year, discipline is down, let's remember the rules."

Pressure mounted, I was assured that all was fine in spite of what Basil was saying and then last Friday at 4:07, he came home crying because he was in trouble and had to go through an anti-bullying session this week and he thought he had to write papers on it about not bullying AND standing up for his brother, something that Guy's teacher was mentioning.

I called the principal. He said that he'd talked to the kids and that as far as he knew, they just talked to him because I'd told Guy's teacher that a talking to was fine since I knew the kids.

Basil maintained that he was really in trouble and that this had gone to the school psychologist so I sent his teacher a chirpy letter, "Hey! Basil's telling me something silly and there has to be a misunderstanding since I wasn't notified. . . "

She justified it and said they didn't want another Columbine in a few years. EXCUSE ME? Not calling me, the parent of one of the accused and the victim, in spite of my contact with the school, was somehow preventing a Columbine incident? Any time a problem is bad enough that my kid gets sent to the principal and the school psychologist is brought in on the matter, I had BETTER be notified!

Basil didn't want to go to school until the problem was resolved which I backed.

The principal went off to deal with it and says that Basil is cleared, but I am beyond words furious!

I looked at Basil's parent report and all it said was, "Playground incident." There was no explanation, and had Basil not wanted to tell me, he could have just laughed it off, "Oh-- kickball, I hurt a kid, he thought I meant to, I didn't" and I have probably wouldn't have asked further.

Guy was feeling terrible because he didn't want to get anyone into trouble, just to make them stop. He is NOT a potential vengeful person with weapons.

It is very irritating that they didn't call me in any of this and that my son was so upset that he was afraid to go to school. Had my husband and I not intervened, this allegedly bullying incident would have gone by and been on his record. They had well over a week to let us know what was happening while I spoke to them a few times.

Next year I am getting them into a charter school so I will be around all the time and hopefully I'll hear things before they get to such a level, but with all the policies, they couldn't tell me when exactly I would have been notified, which is rather disturbing. Where are parents in the equation? If they are worried about something to tragic, and since I have been called about Basil talking to his pals in class, wouldn't this have been something to have called me over?


Ropi said...

Well, this is quite inconvenient and now I am happy that I am not a father yet because I am not sure I could be confident enough in this case. I mean I really hate telling bad things to someone.

steve on the slow train said...

This is the kind of thing I dreaded when my kids were in elementary school. In first grade there was a girl with spina bifida and Sarah stood up for her a couple of times when kids were teasing her. But we never heard anything about that from the school. Of course, that was pre-Columbine (not pre-Columbian).

Olivia said...

HUGE mistake, referring to Columbine in such an offhand way to the parents of the children in question. Looks like the district needs some sensitivity training.

Tea N. Crumpet said...

After the principal got things cleared up, I sent a cheesy thanx to the ones involved, "Now we can establish a cohesive net of communication between kids, teachers, administrators, school psychologists and do good for the KIDS!!!"

They really speak like that to each other so what I though was oozing with sarcasm my son said was treated with nodding and smiling.

GDad said...

This whole incident sounds really upsetting. A woman at work went through something similar with her kindergartner, and it really caused her a lot of grief. I hope the rest of the school year goes by without incident.

RE: your response at the end -- I routinely mock people like that at work, and so far, in my 18-year career, nobody has ever called me out on it.

WEIRD - my word verification is "consequo"

Anonymous said...

I told you I was catching up today! :-)

I was a victim of bullying in elementary school back in the olden days (olden days to my kids, 70's to you and me) and my 6th grade teacher actually told my parents just to take me out of school because the principal etc wouldn't do anything about it. So while I know there are excellent people that become teachers, I think the whole system is a mess ... and that's why this stuff happens. This is largely why I have homeschooled all my kids all their lives.

Now, I'm about to send kid #2 to public school for the first time (she will be a junior in high school). It's her decision and she's old enough now I won't worry about her too much.

I hope you find a good charter or smaller school for the kids to attend. If I sent my little ones to public school, I dread all the time and energy I'd have to spend on fighting with teachers, administrators etc on issues like this one. I love how you handled it by the way.