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Ridgeman
Ridgeman asks:
Q:

When the school doesn't stop bullying, what do you do?

I have a bright and athletic child who is smaller than his peers. Since SK, he has been picked on and now that he is in Grade 5, the "picking on" has turned to violence. Last week his friends rough housed him after school during a game of "King of the Hill" and I explained to them that they needed to play more gently. There was a 12 year old there at the time who was not involved but felt the need to try and intimidate and challenge me. Repeatedly I told him not to get involved. As a result, yesterday, this 12 year old decided that on the way home from school, he and two of his friends would jump my son. The proceeded to take ice chunks from the road and slam them into the back of his skull while calling him an f@&king sissy. My son got away and they chased him down a second time and did it again. My son was hysterical when he got home saying he did not want to go back to school. I called the school and the principal was gone. My husband and I decided to get police involved. We are still waiting for an officer to come and take our complaint. This morning we went to see the principal. Her response...I will wait and see what the police do. After six years, this is what the zero tolerance for bullying amounts to? After our meeting, I went home and thought about this response and was not pleased. I sent the following email to the principal and CC'd the Super. and the board trustee:
Principal,

Pursuant to our conversation on Thursday, December 11, 2008, and your decision of wait and see until the police investigate, we feel our son, , is in further jeopardy of reprisals with beatings and bullying. Our son has been marked as an easy target and has been suffering for years. We have approached the school on numerous occasions to ensure the safety of    to and from  Public School. This current critical situation has had serious repercussions on our son's emotional well-being. As parents, we need to advocate for our three sons attending this school. We are no longer accepting lip service from the school's administrators. We have no faith in the school and    has expressed fear and lack of faith in his school for his personal safety. The "wait and see" what the police do is no longer an option.

   is a good student that has taken an active role within the school and it is unjust that this child be prevented from enjoying what the school has to offer. From our perspective, over the years, these bullies have been given more consideration then my son, the victim. As a result of this latest incident, he has insisted that we provide him with transportation as he is scared to be alone outside. We feel that this requires an immediate response and action and that we be kept apprised of the situation.

Respectfully submitted,
Mom  and  Dad.

Someone please help. We don't know what to do anymore. It is a full time job advocating for this son. Our other two children (SK and Grade 3) do not have this problem. Where do we go from here?
In Topics: Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jul 8, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Concerned Parent,

I am sorry to hear of the bullying behavior your son has had to endure since the start of his grade school years. No child should have to worry about safety issues while on school grounds or for that matter, anywhere in the community. I certainly understand your frustration regarding the school administrator's lack of action. Like you, I would not accept a wait and see response approach. Your letter to the Principal with a copy to the Superintendent and School Board was a very appropriate next step. I also applaud your contact with the local police to report the assault that occurred and hope that appropriate investigation was performed and consequences issued.

I would strongly encourage you to band together with other parents and staff to take a look at what is going on in your school. By enlisting the help and support of others you will be affecting change for the entire student body, not just your son. By addressing the problem as a school wide issue you will take the pressure off of your son who might otherwise become the poster child for your cause.

My suggestion would be to meet with other parents to solicit suggestions on what you can do as a community to eliminate all aggression, violence and bullying and make your school safe for all students and staff. Ask that your PTO/PTA list bullying as a discussion topic for the next meeting and volunteer to head a committee that can work on drafting new antibullying policies and procedures.

With regard to your son's personal safety, I would encourage you to make the necessary arrangements to provide for his safe passage to and from school each day. Are there parents that you could partner with to car pool? Is there a possibility that you could form a team of community members that could be a visible presence after school to make sure that bullies are held in check? Many retirees are looking for ways to give back to their communities. It is quite possible that some of the more mature members of your community would be willing to serve as crossing guards for the students.

As you mentioned, your son is athletic and bright. Continue to encourage his participation in appropriate school sponsored activities and help him to further develop his relationships with those that treat him with respect. Teach him to focus his attention on staying safe by walking home with a buddy, walking from class to class with others and arranging to sit with friends at lunch.

In addition, I would encourage you to request another face to face meeting with the principal to review what you are planning to do to help your son stay safe and reiterate your request that the school show more interest in the physical and emotional safety of all students.

As a parent and concerned citizen, you are doing the right thing. I encourage you to continue to fight for your son and all of the young people of your community. If you would like to discuss this matter in further detail or if you think that it would help to talk through how you feel, don't hesitate to contact the Boys Town National Hotline to speak to a crisis counselor. I would also encourage you to talk to your son about the availability of the Hotline. Please encourage him to call and talk about any topic that is concerning to him.

Thank you for raising this issue. Your commitment to your son's safety is admirable.

Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
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Additional Answers (33)

Wayne Yankus
Wayne Yankus writes:
You are off to a good start advocating for your son.  First, I would not let up on the administration. A child deserves to be safe in school.  Go to board of Ed meetings and voice your opinion, run for the board, join the PTO or the PTA and become vocal.  however, advocate for all students or you will be labeled as a one issue parent.

Second, I would suggest that you meet with his guidance counselor and ask for a faculty meeting of those that teach him and express your concern. Include lunch room aides.

Finally, I would have your son start some karate, judo, or other self defense skills as a confidence building skill not to meet violence with violence.  Especially have his pediatrician check him out with the head injury.  The school physician should be aware of the injury.

Keep going for your son.

Wayne A. Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
> 60 days ago

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Sutashia
Sutashia writes:
Your story really upsets me!  I was teased myself in school.  It is something that stays with you for life and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.  I'm quite certain that not only is your child afraid to walk or ride a bike home alone but I'm sure he must also fear just walking through the hallways of the school during class changes. What do you think he's thinking about when he's in a classroom?  The subject at hand or what's going to happen to him when the bell rings? From prior experience I can tell you that I was always concentrating on what was going to happen in the hallway and who I was going to run into between classes.  Needless to say, my grades were C's and D's - always.  When I got to college where people were a little bit more mature, my grades went from C's and D's to A's and B's.

My suggestion is what I did for my kids (not because of bullying but because of them being left behind in reading and math).  I home school them.  Don't think that you can't do this because you don't have teaching credentials.  You have already been there.  You would be surprised at how much more a child can learn by watching educational TV shows, surfing the web for school projects, and enjoying field trips with home school classmates.  He will not lose social skills but will gain them and will become more mature at a faster rate. At least that has been my experience with my two kids.

I would do some online research and try to find a local home school program that your son can attend.  My daughter is in high school, my son is in 5th grade. Their grades have improved dramatically. They can return to public school any time. But you will find after home schooling for a little bit, that your child's grades will improve which will also improve your child's chances of getting into a better college and quite honestly, they may not want to go back to school.

I think that by forcing your child to attend that school where obviously the bullys are not being scolded can have a very bad effect later in life on your child.  I am so glad that you are very concerned for your child's safety. My parents told me to suck it up and deal with it because that's just how life is.  That is so not true! My mom had every excuse in the world why she couldn't home school me but my friend was home schooled and she went to Harvard!

I am fighting with our High School tomorrow because they are trying to force me to send my child to their school because they have to pay for her education. Crazy, huh?!?

Good Luck to you and your sons! I do hope you find a solution so that your child does not have to go through the fear.

I will check back to read up on other's responses to your dilemma. Take Care. Pam
> 60 days ago

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lchoover
lchoover writes:
I am so sorry to hear about your son.  My son is also in the 5th grade.  He is very smart and very artistic; also, small for his age.  He has been bullied nonstop for the last year and a half.  In the 4th grade it started as name calling and tormenting.  In the 5th grade it became violent.  He was constantly beat in the head (daily) on the bus.  The last incident that occurred on the bus which left him with a busted lip and broken glasses.  

I reported this to his school and the transportation department only to have them give me lip service and lie to me when I asked to review the tapes from the bus.

My son is only 10 and has thought about death because of all of the torment that he has endured.  The schools do nothing!  I think that children are extremely lucky to find a school that will honestly do something about these out of control bullies.

My son is not in intensive therapy because he is so depressed and anxious over this.  I decided to home school him because I didn't know what else to do.  I asked a therapist and child psychiatrist what I should do and they agreed that home schooling my son was probably the best option at this time; at least until we can get him over this severe depression and anxiety.

I feel like my hands are tied and that the only way that I have any control over what happens to my child is to keep him home.  We have joined several home school groups and have found a great group of kids for him to interact with.  

Good luck to you.  I hope things improve for your son.  I know how heartbreaking and frustrating it is as a parent for you to feel helpless.  I think that our schools in this country are truly letting our children down.  Bullying is an epidemic.
> 60 days ago

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wemoved
wemoved writes:
Oh, man!  I've been there; both as a student and as a parent.  In CA, where we used to live, my children were targets because we lived in a largely Hispanic community and we are not Hispanic.  The middle school was overcrowded and teachers and administrators were overwhelmed and could not enforce authority over the students.  It got so bad for my older boy and my daughter that I ended up pulling my son out of school and moving him out of state to live with his uncle.  And before that he cut an afternoon of classes at his high school because he heard that his sister was going to be beat up that afternoon.  On another occasion she came home dirty and scraped up and would not tell me what had happened to her.  In CA the laws have stripped administrators, teachers and parents of the ability to discipline the children under their care.  We need to give them back the right to discipline or there will be more incidents like the ones that were in the news recently.

My older boy has since graduated but he loved his new school and made many friends.  When the school year ended my daughter, my younger boy and myself followed him to the new state.  My younger two children are now in high school and they love it.  They have also made many friends and, since they no longer have to be concerned about ducking the bullies, their grades have improved exponentially, going from 'Ds' and 'Cs' to 'As' and 'Bs'.  My younger boy especially.  We thought that he would go back into Pre-Algebra for his freshman year but within the first week of school he had gone from Algebra I to Honors Algebra.  A good example of what can happen when the kids don't have to worry about being bullied, in a school system where the teachers and administration still have the right to discipline the students.
> 60 days ago

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Haltnow
Haltnow writes:
I recommend that we all start to do heavy research and start to learn what bullying really is.  It is al circle of violence that starts young, continues, mid life, gets stronger as an adult and then we teach the children to follow suite and continue the circle.  We must break the circle.

Try checking out the new Bullying website for your answers: http://www.haltnow.ca/bullying/40-schoolyard-childhood/90-what-can-be-done-to-stop-bullying-parents-responsibility.html
> 60 days ago

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Sbraun
Sbraun writes:
The other answers do not address what happens when parents talk to other parents and they don't do a thing, nothing! Their child would never bully and doesn't have a mean bone is his body, how dare you suggest they are in a group! I have never received a competent or good answer on what to do and how to deal with bully's.
> 60 days ago

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MaileySmith
MaileySmith writes:
I am so sorry to hear about your son. I have 10 years old son and have been bullied in school for almost a year. Like you, I report it to the principle but nothing happens, and I don't want my son to experience that again. I transferred him to another school, and I provided him with Safekidzone mobile security application to ensure his safety. This application is really a big help for him. It has a panic button to press if he needs help and can easily notify me if anything bad happens to him. Now, he gains back his confident. Help your child try to visit their site http://safekidzone.com
> 60 days ago

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Raxin
Raxin writes:
I got bullied back in middle school (many years), and recently I looked up information on myself from that time.  The administration wanted me to go into counseling, and my parents flat out refused.  My parents felt that since I was the victim I didn't need it and the bullies needed counseling.  My parents also tried to transfer me to another school, which got denied on two counts:  There was no guarantee I'd be better off at another school, and the application was turned in after the first of the year.  What they failed to mention was they didn't want to lose that money.  
     One possible solution (unfortunately) is to sue the school system.  Gather your evidence:  your letters and any police investigative reports.  A school's biggest concern is money, and even a threat of losing any capital should force them to change policy.  I hate to suggest this, but it sounds like you've tried everything else, and is now time to drop the atom bomb by suing the school.  At least the threat of suing should get them to move.
     Great suggestions by everyone else, though for the small/country schools, some of these won't work.  It's all dependent on where you live...Good luck to all.
> 60 days ago

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Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
I do not understand why schools turn the other way and allow this type of behavior to take place inside of what is supposed to be a safe place for our children to get an education.

Rules are set for a reason and any act of disrespect toward another student or teacher should immediately result in suspension or permanent removal from the school.  I'm not sure why it is so difficult to administrator proper punishment, unless those who are in authority are afraid themselves.  If that is the case, then law enforcement should be involved, as these children are sure to be a menace to society.  

Unfortunately, I do not have advice to offer---only support.  I do suggest documenting every incident with dates that you can recall and document each conversation regarding this matter that you have had, dates and names.  Be prepared to produce your evidence in an organized manner and don't give up in your fight for what is right and fair.  Meanwhile, it is important to keep the self esteem of your child/children high and assure them that these people are only lashing out through their own inadequacies and non of theirs.

Best wishes!
> 60 days ago

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Motamouth52
Motamouth52 writes:
well im a student and ive been bullied the best way is to find a better school (optional) its not easy but it works i moved across the country and it help me and its way better now so thats an option or does he know self defence is he doesnt which is not a problem but just try something new with him like a new bus rout or take him to school
> 60 days ago

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teabag
teabag writes:
i'm a stubent and i have been bullied the best way to stop bulling is
( optional ) stop fighting and arguing
> 60 days ago

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Holli_B
Holli_B writes:
I am sorry that your son has gone through this.  I have a 7 year old in 2nd grade.  He has been a victim of bullying for 3 years now.  I took every step that all the good intentioned experts recommend. I have had numerous meetings with the school's teachers, principal, and counselors with no resolution.  Even the school superintendent was unable to fix these problems.  So, instead of waiting and letting my son go through any more of this, I pulled him out of school.  He is now being home-schooled and the difference in his behavior and demeanor is as different as night and day.  What ever you do, just don't give up on your son like our schools have.
> 60 days ago

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R.B.dad
R.B.dad writes:
I also have a child who has been bullied for years and like you feel it is a full time job keeping up with everything.  I gave my son a 3 step action, 1. let an adult know of situation, 2. speak with councelor, and 3. speak with principle. Now that he's done that numerous time we went to the police department and filed a report. We now have the school looking into the problem and they now know that I will do anything for my son. He is now working in improving his grade (he was always an honor roll student till he got to Jr. High) we are in constinte contact with administration and teachers. His self-esteem has gotten better knowing that matters are being taken care of. But keep at it with the school and law enforment. And speak with each other as family so that your children will understand that you will be there for them.
> 60 days ago

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JasaMO
JasaMO writes:
Hello

I had a similar problem with my 5 years old. His bully is a teacher´s son at their school...and the principal is a very weak one. He should be fired 10 times.
I placed my son at brazilian jiu jitsu classes(american Top Team ) and moved him to another school. His self steam is back and he told me he is ready( after 4 months of training) to face his bully.
Jiu jitsu has been better than any doctor he has gone to and he is happier and healthier than ever now.
I´m very thankfull to his Jiu Jitsu teachers that made a miracle to our family.
God bless you and I hope this can help you
> 60 days ago

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Magdalene7
Magdalene7 writes:
Regarding to your question of what to do next, I would suggest finding out more information from this helpful website:

http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/federal/index.html

I hope that it helps answers any other questions for you and allow you to take the information and use it to put a stop to this.
> 60 days ago

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CUTESINDYHERNANDEZ
CUTESINDYHE... writes:
What I think is that you should talk to the schools principle and the kids mother and talk to them and if you dont want to so move your child to another school!!!
> 60 days ago

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skilwit
skilwit writes:
First I'd like to say - I am sorry you and your child are having to go through this.  My son and I went through the same thing.  I was going to the school nearly everyday signing into the office just so I could be out on the playground so my son wouldn't be harassed by a constant bully.  I also had to take my infant daughter with me.   When I told the Principal about the bully problem, she said, 'Please don't refer to any of my students as bullies.'  She then said that the boy inflicting the harm on my son had trouble at home and that she'd already talked to him.... So she knew he was a problem and fluffed it off cuz she didn't really care about my son's well-being as much as she would her own.  She tried to force my son and the bully to be friends and later the 'bully' would hurt my son when they were out of her sight.  To make it worse,  the bully had 2 other boys lying on his side. The bully also learned to grab his own crotch and yell-out in pain whenever my son told on him - saying my son kicked him in the crotch.  Of course the staff could not check the damage or verify it. The yard duty always believed the kid that had a witness,  even if the witness was on the attacker's side.  Yard duty's really don't watch kids enough to know the truth from a lie. in fact,  they don't care from what I could see. They just talk in a  hundle..and treat kids like props.  When I was out on the playground,  all the kids came to me and told me who was hurting them and who was mean.  Funny they didn't go to the yard duty (and I was a stranger to these poor kids and they thought they'd have a better chance to get help from me cuz they knew how 'worthless' the yard duty's were).... I even watched a kid get punched in the gut and a yard duty saw it and just walked away.  The yard duty didn't bench the kid (it was the same bully too). So the bully seemed to have the staff in his back pocket.  I'm sure his parents were at ease (unlike me). Cuz it really felt like we were being discriminated against for being a victim. In addition we are a Christian family. My son made it known to his kindergarten teacher that he believed in God and she said,  'Don't be a know-it-all!'...  Back to the bullying: I told the Principal that it 'takes two to tango' and that my son could not be at fault due to him being the only one with wounds and damaged clothes.  She then accused me of working against the school's system of handling these problems.  I said it was because they didn't know to protect my son because they kept preventing me from making an official report. And that they were biased against making reports. (The report makes them have to watch your kid or face 'legal' problems with the paper trail.) The Principal also told me not to confront the bully's parents - despite their son tearing my son's clothes and assaulting him.   I snapped on the last day my son was attending public school.  He went up to his teacher with me after school to show her the big bruise on his forehead that the bully gave him.  He explained that the bully swung him around and slammed him into the tether ball pole.  The teacher replied and said,  'Now you know that that didn't happen.'  I looked at her and put my eyebrows down and asked her if she was a witness.  She said no but she talked to a person who talked to a person who asked a kid (the bully) what happened.  So basically the school (at least ours), is on the side of the kid who kicks other kids' butts.  So if you actually want to keep your kid in public school - do what I didn't do.  Force the school to make a written report every time your child is attacked listing the person who your child said performed the assault.  Never let them talk you out of it or belittle you. If they try - say you're returning with a police officer. Remember that this is an assault. The school promises to keep your child safe and parents are responsible for what their kids do. Also possibly charge the school and the bully's parents with assault every time it happens with a police report.  Also send them bills for medical and clothing that is wrecked.    If none of this helps, get a lawyer,  sue the school and have the district pay the tuition to get your child sent to a private school where this can't happen anymore.
> 60 days ago

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ContrerasOhana
ContrerasOh... writes:
OK son or daughter, if my son or daughter were beating up or bullying your kid, your kid has every 100% right to kick the crap out of mine. First of all, my child is taught to leave their hands and feet to themselves and if they don't have anything nice to say that their lips stay closed. If my child is the one that started the issue, I want to be involved and notified so that I can take care of the issue at home. Schools can't and won't ever stop bullying and disturbing actions and comments, that begins at home.

I will handle it and I want the other party to be just as involved with taking care of the attitude and trial of their child just as much as I am mine.
> 60 days ago

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drichardson12
drichardson12 writes:
I am a parent of a 9 year old son that is going through the same thing. over the last year he has been jumped by another student and his older brother. this kid has spit in my sons face, punched him in the stomach, threw a basket ball at him and hit him in the face in the middle of class and was asked "how did that taste?"

This is happening in front of teachers and when my son says something to them to get help they have all told him that they have a "no tattle tale policy deal with it on your own" when my son does deal with it he gets suspended...

I have brought this to the principal and super, several times and they will not do anything about it. the last incident was yesterday and i called as soon as i found out what happened and they are doing nothing again...

I am in the same boat as you are, i just am at my last straw and have no idea what to do next.... so if you do find something that works PLEASE SHARE!!!!!
> 60 days ago

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hasharahha
hasharahha writes:
I have not read the whole situation but teach your sun how to defend himself help him get tougher or if his friends don't stop there not his friends
> 60 days ago

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