Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bullying - What's Your School's Policy?

Does your child's school have a policy on bullying?  And if so do you know what it is?

I ask these two very important questions because my child is on the receiving end of bullying.  Two weeks ago it was brought to my attention by my daughter that she was being picked on by two little boys in her class.  She is in the first grade and both students are in her classroom.  My daughter is mild mannered in nature and doesn't like to get anyone in trouble, but in turn she felt as if her telling would get her in trouble as well.

The only reason we found out was because after school I told her to change out of her school uniform and she hesitated.  When I asked her why, she said that she had bruises.  I lifted her shirt and sure enough she had scratches and bruises on her back and shoulder.  Once I got her to calm down she told me that there were two boys who had been bothering her at school.  And when she told them she didn't want to play anymore they drug her by the legs across a graveled playground.

So as any concerned parent would do, I went to her school.  As I walked to the front desk to explain the situation, the women at the front desk told me that I would have to talk to the Guidance Counselor.  After being given directions I took my daughter to bring the matter up.  It felt as if I was giving a police report.

She asked the children's names, class room, and about the incident in question.  My daughter told her what she had told me and we were informed that it would be brought up to the principal.

"What's the policy for bullying?" I asked.

To which I got the response, "There is no tolerance for bullying."

I asked what was the policy for teachers when a child mentioned such a thing and was told that the teacher should have mentioned it to the front office.  This was never done.

And then today as I was getting ready for work my mom came home after taking my daughter to school for me.  Her first words were, "You need to go to the school and talk to them.  Alex told one of the boys head butt her."

And so once again I made the trek back to my daughter's school.  This time I spoke to the principal and explained what had been told to me.  And once again I asked, "What's the policy for bullying in the school?"

And once again I was told that they had a no tolerance policy.

Hours passed as the day went by and I decided to pick my daughter up from school.  I normally don't since I'm at work when she gets out, but I of course felt that this was too important for me to have my mom pick her up.

As I walked to my daughter's class, I was asked by the Assistant Principal to talk along with my daughter's teacher.  There they asked my daughter to explain what she had told them.  The headbutting incident may or may not have been an accident.  But the dragging across the playground had happened and there was no denying that.

Apparently what had happened was that my daughter did in fact tell a teacher.  One of the recess ones they have monitoring the playground.  The boy in question was given a consequence which was being put on the wall.  According to the teacher she felt that was adequate punishment and did not inform any of the other teachers or the front office.

When asked how many times she had told the teacher my daughter replied, "3 or more times."

And still no one was told of these incidents.  So again I asked, "What is the policy for bullying?"

And again I was given the generic answer of there was a no tolerance policy for bullying.

In all the time that I have asked, I have not yet been told what that policy is.  They have mentioned talking to the boy and calling his parents now.  So I asked and what about notifying the parents that this is going on.  What is your policy on this.  To which she asked, "So no one from the school notified you?"

The answer to that is no.  This Sunday was Mother's Day and my daughter pretended to be sick so she didn't have to go to school this week.  No child should ever have to be afraid to attend school.  And if anyone knew my daughter they would see how unlike her it is.  She would rather go to school with the flu than miss a day.

And so parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles--I ask what is the policy for bullying at your child's school.

Don't let the ones who proclaim to make this a safe environment for your most precious gift stonewall you on the issue.

I can firmly tell you that my child will not be attending this school next year.  And for any parents who may stumble upon this issue make sure your answers are satisfactory and not just smoke and mirror to satisfy you temporarily.

Stop Bullying now...before it's too late.



  1. Im so sorry!! People seem to think that their child cant be bullied, but in truth they can. My son, who is also in first grade, has taken up for one kid in the lunch room...but all they tell him is that he boy being bullied has to tell them. I was dumbfounded when he told me this. You would think they would take this seriously, but no. My son hasnt said anything more about the situation, but i did tell him to keep telling someone. I agree with your decision to not let your daughter return to that school, i wouldnt either. I seems these schools go out of their way to have spirit weeks about bullying, but do nothing when it really happens.

  2. The school handbook says "zero tolerance" and defines bullying written or verbal expression or physical action of sufficient degree that results in harm, fear of harm to self or property, and of sufficient duration to create threatening, abusive or intimidating educational environment. State education laws now allow the parent of the victim to make the school move the bully to another campus. State criminal law defines bullying as verbal or written expression or actions which cause the victim to change his/her actions or routines out of fear of harm or intimidation.

    My son has been the target of bullies since he started walk-in speech therapy due to his size and his speech giving the impression of a much older child with severe developmental delays. My advice (1) document each incident (2) educate yourself and (3) have a solution in mind. At the start of each school year request the school handbook and district policies, find out the criminal laws too. I document with an email to myself per child. Each time there is a new problem with a child, I find the last email, reply and add the new details with date, approximate time (during recess, math, lunch), who else and what happened. When I need to contact the school, I forward the email to the principal. I've also found knowing what I want done about the situation usually gets it resolved faster, things like moving my son to another classroom, assigning a bully to the seat directly behind the bus driver, suspension of transportation priveleges as opposed to stop the bully from dragging my child, stealing his homework, throwing rocks.


Total Page Visits