What would you do?

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by momlaffsalot, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. momlaffsalot

    momlaffsalot Well-Known Member

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    Last week (Thursday) my 14 year old came home from school for lunch very upset. There is a boy in the same grade who is just ill mannered. He harrasses everyone, makes noises in class, etc, but especially loves to dig at my son. He was sitting behind my son whispering names like,
    'N-word' 'beaner' 'greaser' and my son told him to stop (this is nothing new, this kid does this all the time). My son is caucasion, but darker skinned like me and my mother but I was horrified by the name calling regardless.
    The boys mother works in the school as the secretary to the principal. I called her just as my son was leaving to go back to classes and I told her there was an issue we needed to discuss and when would be an appropriate time to do so. She said for me to call her at home and started to give me her number, then she asked 'what exactly is the problem?' I said her son was using racial slurs and harrassing my son. Her response was to tell me that her son was adopted and of hawaiin descent and was the target of racial slurs from the time he was a kindergartener and that my son needed to toughen up, that it was really not a big deal! After a second of stunned silence, I told her I was appalled that this was her reaction and that if her son was the target of name calling, then he has an even bigger responsibility to not subject other kids to that! She then told me that I needed to find something else to do with my time because this was petty in her opinion. I said it's obvious to me why your son has behavioral issues if he has a mother who makes excuses for his poor behavior. She responded that I was the one with poor behavior by calling her at her job to discuss this.
    I told her not to try and twist this, that I had begun my call by asking her when would be a good time to discuss this issue and SHE was the one who asked what was going on. I told her to put me through to the principal at that point. The principal said he would look into things.
    That afternoon, when my son came home, he had a swollen cheek that later turned into a black eye. Turns out this boy had continued his harrassment, tapping my son on his head with a pencil, etc. My son asked for the kid to be moved. The teacher told the boy to move then she walked out into the hallway. As the boy passed by my son, my son handed him a smiley face sticker and said that he seemed to be in a bad mood and maybe that would cheer him up. That was a poor choice on my son's part. When he handed him the sticker, the kid threw it in my sons face and grabbed a paper my son had on his desk and ripped it up. My son grabbed this boy by the shirt and told him to leave him alone. My son said he knew getting physical was not a good choice so he let go and turned to walk away. The boy tackled him and threw him into a desk and at this point the teacher came in and her and a few students got between them.
    They were sent to the principal and placed in ISS for three days. What really bothers me is that no one called me.
    My son was wrong to grab this kid, but at the same time, I understand his frustration because this has been going on for years...constant harrassment.
    How would you handle this situation? Do you think I should call the principal again or just let it go since a few days have passed?
     
  2. pumpkinlady

    pumpkinlady Well-Known Member

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    Document what has happened. Dates, times, places, & etc. Then I would send a letter to the Prinicpal requesting that he settles this issue in a timely manner. You might want to give him an actual date that you would like this done. At the bottom of the letter make suere you note who else has received copies of you letter. (Like you lawyer and the school board to start.) This should put a fire under some ones butt.
     

  3. grannygardner

    grannygardner Well-Known Member

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    I'd call the school and ask for an appointment with the principal. Things such as this are better handled face to face instead of on the phone. If you're in the principal's office it's much more difficult for him to pass it off. If you get no satisfaction, contact someone on the school board and ask to be put on the agenda so that you can bring it up at the meeting. I am apalled at that woman's attitude and would not let this escalate.
     
  4. Burbsteader

    Burbsteader Well-Known Member

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    I'd be stomping in there faster than you could blink. No phone calls, physically get yourself in there. (take pics of black eye too)

    Enough is enough. You physically go to the school and do not leave until you are satisfied. Discuss this ONLY, ONLY with the principal. Flat out ignore the other mother regarding ANY discussion of behavior, etc. Only discuss after first discussing it with principal and then only with principal present.

    Do NOT bring up your son's behavior. They will use it as an excuse to twist it around.
    The real issue is what your son has to deal with. The other mother will for sure try twist it around. Don't argue with her about it, pointedly ignore her.

    I have never had to use the lawyer card, and I don't recommend threatening to use one right away. But don't be afraid to use that tactic down the road if your son's needs are not met. Attorney letterhead gets attention.

    Good luck.
     
  5. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    I'd homeschool.
     
  6. the mama

    the mama loves all critters Supporter

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    Go to the school. The school is responsible for your child's safety while he is on campus. They have a responsibility to notify you when your child is injured. You have the right to press charges agaist an attacker. Racial slurs and violence are classified as a Hate crime and can carry heavy concequences. The mother who works at the school is not imune to consequences. She can lose her job if she is behaving inappropriately. Threaten to attend the school board meetings. A squeeky wheel gets the grease.
     
  7. hassette

    hassette Well-Known Member

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    I agree that discussing it with the principal is the way to go for now. However, make sure your son knows that by handing the kid a smiley face he escalated the situation. It's possible if he had just let the kid be moved and let it go the situation would not have gotten physical.
     
  8. FiddleKat

    FiddleKat Mother,Artist, Author Supporter

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    I wouldn't have even bothered discussing it first with this woman to begin with. I would have gone straight to the principal to discuss it. Its obviously she is ignornant and doens't want to take responsibility for her child.

    Your son acted the best way he could. First, he tried to avoid confrontation but because this other boy initated a fight, he (your son) does have a right to defend himself. Getting 3 days is probably a routine thing schools do. My DH is a school bus driver and he reports everything that happens on his bus to the principal. Even if one of the kids he felt was at no fault, he's still required to write them up and both or all kids involved usually get a mandatory suspense for 3 days.
    As far as she telling you to tell your kid to "toughen up" is unexusable on her part. Racial slurs no matter what is unexceptable.
    Im sure if your son called him a name,that mother wouldn't have the same attitude about it.
     
  9. js2743

    js2743 Well-Known Member

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    i would talk to the prinicipal and if i felt he wasnt gonna take care of it go over his head and tell him so. im sure when he see's his job in jeopardy he will start doing something about this. im sure there are more kids being bullied by this same kid, stuff like this is why school shootings are happening. your son may be a really nice kid but he can only take so much and he is gonna start thinking of other ways to handle it. so put a stop to it now before your child is the one in bigger trouble.
     
  10. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

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    You did right by trying the parent that works for the school first. Then the principal. If the principal is useless, go up the line. That's how it's done here. Make yourself known. If you take crap they will ignore you. I am sorry your son got hit......really. Now it's time to go up the line and become someone they will know is not to be messed with. This child is the same age as your son so it will probably be a long term problem.
    School board here you come.....I would ocmplain about the parent's attitude to them anyway, no matter what the principal does. They should know an employee has a bad and damaging attitude. In the past you could say "get over it" but now a days what if her kid decided he needs to stab your son???????
     
  11. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    I'd go to the district superintendent. This is why I homeschool my youngest.
     
  12. Ninn

    Ninn Custom Crochet Queen

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    I second the chain of command, but do it face to face with a witness. We had a bus driver here who wouldnt do anything to protect kids from bullies on the bus. When a girl broke my son's arm because she wanted him to sit down. (He was, he is just really tall and she thought he was standing-that was her excuse-he was 8, she was 17) she did nothing. She sure had alot to say when I started riding the bus to school with a video camera!! I took video to the schoolboard and she got fired within a week.
     
  13. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Document... photograph.... submit copies with firm letter to everyone. You can actually form quite a firm letter without laying blame in any one direction and being quite vague:

    "My son complained on X, Y, and Z occasions, and P number of times on the day in question, that Jack was physically touching him and verbally abusing him using words like _______, ____________, and ____________. My son has been told that he is not to respond to this type of harassment in kind, that he is to report it to an authority and let them handle it. It would appear from the bruising on my son's face (see enclosed photographs) that the physical and verbal abuse has not be handled effectively.

    On the day in question, when my son was assaulted, I was not notified. This is not acceptable.

    Going forward I expect to be notified within 2 hours if my son has been physically assaulted by another student. I also expect the racial slurs and verbal harrassment to be stopped immediately. While I recognize the difficulty the school has in controling this kind of behavior in students the school needs to send a clear message that hate language will not be tolerated.

    Love...
     
  14. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

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    You "could" - if you were so inclined - file a criminal complaint with the police -- particularly while your son still has the black eye. In addition to that, I believe you may have a civil action against the school for the "injury" to your son -- take photos, take him to the doctor, etc. to document it. It couldn't hurt for you to speak with an attorney (if you know of one) to see what your options might be and perhaps for him to send a letter to the school saying that you are considering filing a claim for personal injuries against the school. These two things might give you a few bargaining chips in your "discussion" with the principal, especially considering that his secretary is the little hellions mother.

    It also might be worth mentioning that since this dispute exits, and she is in a position to tamper with your son's school records, that if there is any problem with his records - ever! - you will resort to legal action AND it might not be a bad idea for the school to remove the "secretary" from her current position.

    Personally, I'd go for the jugular on this, and settle for something a bit less just to seem reasonable -- AND if that didn't work, I'd enroll the boy in a private school if there's one available.

    Good luck!

    MaryNY
     
  15. emulkahi1

    emulkahi1 Well-Known Member

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    I've read a few articles about schools with programs in place to squash bullying. I wonder if looking into something like that, and bringing it up might not be a positive step? I've never had to deal with school administrations in this manner (as a parent, no kids here). I was, however, a victim of bullies in school and I can sympathize with your son. I wish you--and him--the best as you hopefully get all of this worked out.

    Erin
     
  16. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    You must follow chain of command. Teacher to Principal to Superintendent to School Board.
    I would first have a meeting with the teacher and suggest that your son and this boy be seperated that they are not sitting beside each other. Next stop is the Principal's office. Tell him everything that happened and tell him that you expect ALL harrassment of your son to stop - NOW! (While I can understand your son's frustration, him getting physical with this kid was the wrong thing to do.) Explain to the Principal if things are not corrected immediately, your next visit will be to the Superintendent.
    Chain of command must be followed to get results. Going directly to the Superintendent or the School Board will get you no where. Teachers answer to the Principal, the Principal answers to the Superintendent, and the Superintendent answers to the School Board. Only after going through the Superintendent and getting no results do you go to the Board.
    Good luck!
     
  17. momlaffsalot

    momlaffsalot Well-Known Member

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    Excellent advice here. Thank you. It's frustrating sometimes, not knowing where to turn or what to do next. I realize (and so does my boy) that my son responding in any way was wrong, but I also realize these boys are 14, testosterone is flying and like I said, this is an ongoing problem. I've asked my son if he wants to be homeschooled but he doesn't and I respect that.
    This school does have a bullying program, in fact, that was one point I made to the principal. I told him that I am aware that there is a zero-tolerance policy in effect for bullying so he knows I'm not going to tolerate this.
    I am going to call him right now to make an appointment for a face to face meeting. :hobbyhors
    Thanks for the input, I really appreciate it. I'll keep you posted!
     
  18. Becca65

    Becca65 Well-Known Member

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    I would start with the principal, if nothing happens there, go to the school board..maybe even threaten to press charges.. I wouldn't put up with that kind of harrassment on my kids.
    These boys were spreading rumors about my DD when they were in 5th grade, and it was enough to ruin her reputation, and it was all lies.. I went right to the principal and he threatened the kids that we were thinking of pressing charges of sexual harrassment, shut them up fast. and the kids even apologized.. soo no i wouldn't let this go at all..
    Even if you decided to homeschool, your kids will one time or another run into some kind of bully, whether it be in college or the work place, will they know how to handle it?
     
  19. Spotted Crow

    Spotted Crow Well-Known Member

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    BTDT! All of last year with my son...It wound up with me telling the kids that the next visit that they got wouldn't be just me but also the cops. I'd say that most of the schools have an antibullying policy, so make sure that the school knows that YOU know it too. Everyone's given you great advice. I went to my son's teacher, then the house master, and after talking to the housemaster it all came to an abrupt halt and the kids didn't bother him anymore. This year all the trouble is his big mouth and I'm not getting him out of that... :nono:
     
  20. manygoatsnmore

    manygoatsnmore Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Bullying is one of the main reasons dd is homeschooled. The bullying was happening on the bus and at the bus stop. The school would do nothing about it. I could not always be at the bus stop and I sure couldn't be on the bus. I remember being a teased child, and there is no way I was going to put up with it happening to my dd. As there were a few other issues (ADD kid who couldn't concentrate with all the noise around her at school), home schooling was the answer for us.

    As you have said that your son doesn't want to homeschool, you'll have to be a momma bear for him...even at 14. A 14 year old boy can be arrested and sent to "kiddie jail" for what that boy did to your son. It is assault and battery. Assault for the name calling and battery for touching your son (even if he hadn't given him a black eye). And, as others have mentioned, there is the hate crime aspect. The mother needs to wake up and see that her son is headed for real trouble. The other behavior problems he displays are a red flag as well.

    That said, it's quite possible that she knows her son has real problems and is defensive because of having received complaints in the past. She may be an overwhelmed single mom struggling to get through each day with a very difficult child. That's not an excuse, but just another slant on the reaction you encountered. Having btdt with kids that were not easy to raise lets me see both sides. But, there was no way I would have tolerated that behavior or excused it on the part of any of my kids.

    I hope your meeting with the principal is a fruitful one. It would be nice if the boys could be in separate classes and not have any classes together. Don't know how big your school is or if that's an option, but a bit of distance between them could only be a good thing.