Parents Beware of your Local Schools Policies

Managing Real Estate Broker with Windermere Peninsula Properties

Dinah Hopes for a Good Day...If you have scanned the headlines this morning you probably saw a story about 6 year old Zachery,a cub scout forced to be home schooled for 45 days because he brought his cub scout silverware to school.

I know there are many sides to this story. Although I do not think that the school used their best judgment here. What message are they really sending to Zachery. Slip up even innocently and we gotcha...

Then there is my daughters experience. It was her first year to sit in the back of the bus. It was one of those little things that said you are now in high school- congrats.

On nearly the first day she started being bothered by a couple of boys on the bus. They said crude things to her and telling her she should kill herself and told her how to do it.

I told her to stand up for herself. She was afraid that SHE would be the one in trouble then. So I told her to sit somewhere else. She said why should I? I haven't done anything wrong. She was right. All she did was ride on the bus 10 minutes to get home every afternoon.I suggested that we talk to someone at the school. She was adamant that that was a BAD idea. We had been that route before it had never failed to make EVERYTHING worse than it already was.

Up to this point I did not know they had been telling her to commit suicide. I found that in a note on the counter one morning. So I called the school.

How can we keep my daughter anonymous and get these guys to stop? They said talk to the counselor. So I convinced my daughter that we should. That was my mistake. The school principal got involved. At first I felt relieved then He started insisting that we address the boys in a meeting and ask them if they were doing this. EXACTLY what my daughter was afraid of...Confrontation. We have learned this only makes it worse.

I had asked the bus garage and now I was begging the principal to just observe one day. If they heard it they could say that they noticed it. All we wanted was our daughter ( the victim) to remain out of the picture. The Principal was indignant and pursued the issue. I was told if you tell a school counselor anything that involves harm to someone of threat of harm they have to report it. IT IS NOT CONFIDENTIAL- even if the victim wants it to be.

I begged him to allow my daughter to switch buses. He reluctantly allowed it. All the while my daughter is terrified that the boys will figure it out. This has killed her trust in me and certainly the school. She will NEVER trust a school counselor again.

So who wins here- The school who won't be bothered by my daughter's needs again, the bullies who got away with it...or My daughter who has no way to resolve her issues unless it is their way regardless of how it effects her.

As a Realtor how do I answer the question...How are your schools? I tell them they are like any other public school. We have a lot of options here for education. ( take it or leave it) We are in a debate now as to how to help our daughter and we are looking into online education with sports for socializing and P.E. After all we may fix the schools, but will we in time for my daughter to be successful now.She sleeps as much as she can she doesn't want to eat and she gets headaches Sunday night before school. In a nut shell she hates it. How is that going to help her become successful?

Parents keep in mind that what your kids tell a couselor is rarely confidential!

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Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

I read about this in the NY Times this morning, pretty bizarre. I have to say that as a long time parent volunteer in the School district where we live in Austin Texas that we don't see this kind of strange reaction all that often, In fact the amount of parent involvementin the district is very high and the results are generally positive. Thanks for a good post pointing out that all is not always as it seems!

Oct 12, 2009 05:39 AM #1
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Prado Real Estate South - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Dinah, When my son was in Kindergarten, a BULLY kid threatened to kill him, yes, kill him! if he didn't move out of the seat and give it to him on the bus. This BULLY kid was in 3rd grade, had his hair bleached out, earrings in both ears and his dad was a policeman! Needless to say, I marched into the school and told the Principal this and the next day, she spoke to this kid and his parents and set the situation straight! This kind of behavior and what you are describing is horrendous and should not be tolerated on public school buses or anywhere for that matter! That is why I now drive my boys to school. At least there is some control over what they hear or see. I hope you find a solution for your daughter.

Oct 12, 2009 05:41 AM #2
Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker & - Falmouth, MA
Heath Coker Robert Paul Properties Falmouth MA

We are in an upside down society. Lawmakers break the laws. Victims are found at fault. Doing things the right way is not the best way. And on and on....

Oct 12, 2009 05:42 AM #3
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Oh that has m so agitated - I felt like I was in your shoes! How is it as a parent - we try to do our best and we need the support of the school and counselor in support of our kids - they're the experts - how on earth have they not figured out a better way of handling these kids are all grown but it frustrates the heck out of me!  Makes me want to go on a crusade or something! lol

Oct 12, 2009 05:47 AM #4
Steve Andrascik
Lake Mead Area Realty - Boulder City, NV

I empathize with you, Dinah Lee. Don't have children of my own. Seems once you ask for help from the authorities, be it police or school officials, the whole scenario is out of your hands and your wishes and or considerations take a back seat to the "official" course of action.

Oct 12, 2009 05:59 AM #5
Richard Shuman
The Only B.S. I Have is from the University of Massachusetts - Lake Mary, FL
Real Estate Broker - Orlando Area - Love Referrals

Unfortunately it seems that the administration in schools are so afraid of being politically correct, covering their butts, and trying more not to get sued than they are trying to use common sense to solve a problem.  What a sad state we've become.

I'm truly sorry for your daughter and believe it or not, for those boys. Because, not to make excuses for their inexcusable behavior, they obviously somewhere along the line, have not been given the proper guidance and taught respect, humanity and compassion.

Oct 12, 2009 06:06 AM #6
Dinah Lee Griffey
Windermere Peninsula Properties - Allyn, WA
Managing Broker Windermere Peninsula Properties

Richard- I feel for those boys too. I was also concerned that it would be taken so far as to make that who they were instead of teaching how it made someone feel. To remember to treat others as you want to be treated. If it continued it would have to be stepped up. What is wrong with steps and not making chaos when you don't have to?

Oct 12, 2009 06:17 AM #7
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Ultimately as a personal choice even though it was not easily afforded, but I enrolled my daughter at a private Christian school.  Later on my step son who has MD attended there.  At the public school where he could not keep up with other kids in PE he had been bullied and ridiculed, at JMA he was accepted, encouraged and welcomed by the other children.  As it turned out, we lost out on AP classes, but for the safety and well being of my children's bodies, minds and souls it was the best choice for our family.  I do tell prospective clients about both the public and private schools and usually end with my choice, if given to do over again would have been the Christian school from day one, but that's my personal choice.


Oct 12, 2009 06:41 AM #8
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Dinah Lee:  I would compare this to the requirement that a doctor or nurse, or even a school nurse MUST report any type of apparent abuse of a child when they see it during an exam.  Failure to do that could boomerang back on the doctor or nurse if something happened later to the child, and it was later found that someone who should have known better... the doctor or the nurse... had seen evidence of it, and had not reported it.

Same thing here.  What if... the counselor or the principal was aware... from you telling them... of the suicide issue... and did NOT do anything about it... even if their inaction was per your request... and then your daughter DID commit suicide.  Once it came out that the school HAD been aware of the issue... they surely could have been liable... for doing nothing about it.

So... while I understand where you are coming from... I don't think the school officials had a choice.  They could have done more, and they could have reacted differently, but once they were aware... they could NOT... simply do nothing.

Oct 12, 2009 07:14 AM #9
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Hard!    Without being in your shoes, it is hard to say wha tto do.  the confedentiality issue is one that concerns me.  Yes, it the child had contacted the counselor or other school official, I can understand them taking the action they did, but that is not the case.

My atty: is bored, I may have had him draft a letter, but then it can get really ugly.

Oct 12, 2009 08:00 AM #10
Dinah Lee Griffey
Windermere Peninsula Properties - Allyn, WA
Managing Broker Windermere Peninsula Properties

To tell you another side...

My older daughter wanted something done when her name appeared on a deathlist. The school called the cops and emergency expelled the student. Problem solved he is gone right?

No. After threatening to kill my daughter, pulling a knife on her and telling her he knew how to get away with it, not to mention the sexual assault. He was admitted back at the beginning of the next school year as though nothing had happened. No restrictions. He then tormented my daughter at lunch. We then got a restraining order, which the school would not inform the teachers of. When I insisted for every ones protection they complied but would not say who this was on.????

We begged the school to let us know when he was coming back and they said that it did not look probable until two days before classes started. My daughter was hysterical and afraid. The School did NOTHING to ease her fears.

This 15 year old boys last day on was April 25th and he started school with everyone else after summer break in September.

My daughter was made so miserable our only option was to remove her from the school. The only thing in these cases that is consistent is the lack of respect or concern for the victim.

Oct 12, 2009 08:58 AM #11
John Secor
EXIT Real Estate Results - Winter Springs, FL

Public schools have their hands full.  There is no good way to handle the situations you have described.  These kids are juveniles so privacy is dictated by law to protect everyone, it does seem that the victims have no where to turn.  This same thing went on 30 years ago when I was in high school but todays kids face challenges we would have never thought about back then.  Violence, drugs, gangs, peer pressure man I'm glad my kids got through it, what a nightmare.  I hope it all works out for you, hold your daughters close, help them anyway you can and don't apologize to anyone for doing it. 

Oct 12, 2009 09:29 AM #12
Scott Smith
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Gloucester, MA
Gloucester & Rockport, Massachusetts

Tammy: That is a shame that your stepson had an experience like that in any school. It was good that he found a refuge in a Christian school. I went to a private school that was affiliated with the Baptist church. I was ridiculed, harassed and bullied from 1st grade - 12th grade because of a perception about my sexulaity. Not one teacher or administrator came to my defense. So much for a Christian school. 

Guess it only works when the Christians accept who you are?

Oct 12, 2009 10:16 AM #13
Leesa Finley
RED Properties - Wake Forest, NC
RED Properties - Raleigh NC Real Estate

wow - i am speechless from the post and the comments.  The reason is because I go through the same crap here with my son being the target.  I have pulled him off the bus from time to time and taken him (i know, not everyone can do that) but I always hit a brick wall whenever I tried to get anything done or even anyone to LISTEN!  My heart absolutely aches for you!

Oct 12, 2009 11:00 AM #14
Dinah Lee Griffey
Windermere Peninsula Properties - Allyn, WA
Managing Broker Windermere Peninsula Properties

In the conference with the Principal he actually walked out of the room on me. Didn't speak a word. When I asked him why he would do that he said my comments about my older daughters experiences and lack of trust were irrelevant. Irrelevant? The girls are 20 months apart and a good part of Megan's apprehension is from Alyssa's experiences. Irrelevant!?!
I firmly believe he was trying to goad me into becoming angry and causing a scene. It didn't work. I just wish I another option for my kids.

Oct 12, 2009 01:47 PM #15
Larry Bettag
Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001 - Saint Charles, IL
Vice-President of National Production

Dinah....I have 5 kids, the oldest is 10 and the youngest is 2.  This would infuriate me.  I'd go higher as well as to the press.  It's just ridiculous at that age!  I'm furious to even hear this.  I'd call an attorney or something.   I can't tell you how mad this makes me.  Let me know the results.

Oct 13, 2009 01:11 AM #16
Terry Miller
Miller Homes Group - Tyler, TX
Miller Homes Group and Tyler Apartment Locator

It seems that schools teach and cater to the worst among us and leave out the good kids.

Oct 13, 2009 02:17 AM #17
Alice Linahan
Voices Empower - Argyle, TX


You and your daughter are in my thoughts and prayers. This situation is so hard and frustrating.

Hang in there and keep fighting for your daughter. You are an amazing Mom and that is what she needs most in this time of great trial.

Oct 13, 2009 03:01 AM #18
John Mayer
Oikos Realty, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach Florida - Cocoa Beach, FL
Your Beach Area Expert

Dinah - I think they didn't show proper judgement in this case. Vey nicely written and informative post!

Oct 19, 2009 07:06 PM #19
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Dedra:  I taught junior high school for nine years before going into real estate.  I cannot tell you how furious I would have been if that had been my daughter that was being threatened.  Also... if I had known you when this happened to one of your students... I would have, if you agreed, I would have joined forces with you and would have done whatever I could have to make sure your student was safe.  I am so glad your former student is ok.

Dec 08, 2009 02:18 PM #21
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