WHEN IS IT THE SCHOOL’S RESPONIBILITY TO STOP BULLIES?

By
Real Estate Agent with Broker Associate PenFed Realty 0496522

My 8th grade daughter called me from school last Tuesday.  She said she wanted to walk home with her friend.  I said no you need to ride the bus.  I will be home soon after you arrive and you have game practice.  She started texting me about how her friend has been threatened of getting beaten up on her walk home that day.  I said the obvious, "Tell a staff member."  She replied, "You don't get it.  They don't care.  The girl that wants to beat her up is going to wait until she is off campus so the school cannot do anything about it."  I said that is ridiculous and she needs to tell someone immediately.  I wasn't convinced she would so I did.  I called the office.  The Principle and Asst Principle were working off campus and the bell was ringing because it was the end of the school day.  The office clerk answering the phone said she would page the students (I mentioned all of them by name) and if they didn't respond she would leave a note for the Principle and Asst. Principle to call them in for an interview the following day.  I got a text from my daughter that said her friend is walking home with a boy to prevent a problem.

When I got home from work my daughter was on the phone with her friend.  Apparently, the boy and her friend both got punched.  The girl was crying and said she didn't want to go to school the following day because she was humiliated and scared.  I said she has to go because the staff already knows something is going on and all the students involved will be called in for an interview.

I didn't give it a second thought until Thursday night.  I was asking my daughter about her day and said the obvious again, "What happened Wednesday morning."  She said, "Nothing.  I told you they didn't care and wouldn't do anything."

Friday I called the school and left a message for the both the Principle and Asst. Principle.  They didn't return my call within a few hours so I called the Superintendent of the school district.  I explained my story to his secretary and left a message for him to call ASAP.  The Asst. Principle called a few minutes later and said she had no knowledge of the fight until Thursday morning when the police got involved.  She had no note from a staff member and had no idea I called.

So Monday I receive a call from the super.  He told me stories of his childhood and the harmless pranks the boys played.  He argued that if a student had come to another student's home on a Saturday night at 10pm and punched him in the face that the school wouldn't have any authority to punish anyone.  I argued that it wasn't on a weekend but while the student was walking home from school.  I also pointed out that I was personally told the issue would be dealt with the following day but it wasn't.  Furthermore, the threats were made on compass even though the fight was off campus.

Am I right to be so upset about the way this was handled?  The super thinks I am overreacting.  Keep in mind we live in a very small town.  These are small schools.  I am a real estate broker and it is my goal to move people, with and without school age children, into my community.  Should I tell my clients how badly they handled this?  It is not the first time they have let the students down but I wasn't a member of AR then.

Thanks for reading my rant.

Comments (13)

Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

That's a tough one, Melody.  I think at this point, the school should yield to law enforcement and let them handle it.  Make sure they handle it.

However, what the hell is the superintendent thinking that "Boys will be boys."?  Maybe back when Moby Dick was a minnow but these days, things are different and situations escalate quickly.  Tell your client he's a moron!

Apr 14, 2008 01:51 PM
Melody Botting
Broker Associate PenFed Realty - San Antonio, TX
You Deserve The Best

Tell my client he is a moron for moving into my community?  Maybe I got that wrong.

If he told me he needed to look into the situation and call me back it would have been the 'honest most responsible' thing for him to do.  Yes, his attitude was 'boys will be boys'.  You know how girls can get.  I am still steamed and I will call him for an update tomorrow.

I agree law enforcement should handle it but the students have no faith their school will handle anything.  That is what bothers me.  From what I have witnessed thus-far the students are right.

Apr 14, 2008 01:57 PM
Becky Respess
Broker/Associate Century 21 Judge Fite Co - Cedar Hill, TX
ABR, CRB, CRS
I agree totally with Amanda! Boys will be boys is never a good answer. Your client is definitely a moron. Hang in there!
Apr 14, 2008 01:58 PM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

Sorry, Mel.  I thought that you were referring to the Super and the school staff being potential clients as well.

The Superintendent is a moron.

Apr 14, 2008 02:13 PM
Melody Botting
Broker Associate PenFed Realty - San Antonio, TX
You Deserve The Best

I thought I was missing something.

I think he just wanted me to get off the phone.  You know me, I am so passive I just trust other people to take care of things and do not question authority- NOT!

Apr 14, 2008 02:19 PM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas
I spat my tea right out while I read that.  Okay, it was a beer.  Either way, you owe me a new keyboard.
Apr 14, 2008 02:23 PM
Melody Botting
Broker Associate PenFed Realty - San Antonio, TX
You Deserve The Best
That is what you get for not going goose hunting with me!
Apr 14, 2008 02:33 PM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

It was impromptu.  I was headed to take the rest of the broker tests and my car turned left.  Next thing you know there was a youngster asking, "Would you like another one, Ma'am?"

Ma'am sent me right over the edge.

Apr 14, 2008 02:36 PM
Melody Botting
Broker Associate PenFed Realty - San Antonio, TX
You Deserve The Best

So did you punch him in the face?  There is a lot of that going around these days.

Apr 14, 2008 02:55 PM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

Of course I didn't punch him.  He had the beer.

Apr 15, 2008 01:05 AM
Melody Botting
Broker Associate PenFed Realty - San Antonio, TX
You Deserve The Best
Smart move!
Apr 15, 2008 03:04 AM
Maria Fernandez
Farmers Insurance - Irving, TX

Hi Mel,

I feel so bad for the kids that were hurt.  It's sad that the school officials do not take these type of situations more seriously.  I believe that because like your daughter said the school does nothing is the reason some of these kids take matters into their on hands.  Which should never happen! Staff should be more responsible in preventing these situations from escalating--that's their job!  When it comes moving people into the community--there are problems in just about every school district.  I know, my kids are in a different school district and its a big district with the drama!

Apr 17, 2008 07:32 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital
Melody, I think the school should handle it, at least to the point of getting Mean Girls parents involved.  The 9th grader who lives next door to me is being bullied at school, and they are treating her mom like she is the trouble maker - and it's a super-expensive DC private school, too!
Apr 21, 2008 12:36 AM