- Posted October 17, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Bullying awareness: Your story
Bullied by the system
My husband & I have done all that we can to help prevent further bullying, i.e. meetings with the mother of her bully, meetings with teachers, principals & vice principals, change of class schedule to avoid her bully during class time, calls to local law enforcement, we changed her phone # several times, limited her social media to ONLY an Instagram Acct(of which her dad & I both follow and monitor)pulled her out of her middle school AND the school district altogether, but we seem to hit a wall at every turn. We were and still are made to feel like we're bothering them with a petty issue and at one point I was even told by a school administrator that maybe my daughter is bullied because she's always front and center where school activities are concerned and seems to always get the "lead role" in plays, dances and programs and I should ask her teachers to NOT put her front and center anymore. Since when is being the best you can be a negative thing?
When she started her 7th grade year, we knew her bully would round up recruits and was not going to ease up her bullying tendencies so I made it my mission to volunteer at the school as much as I possibly could. Within the 1st few days of that year, I was asked if I wanted a job there so obviously I said "YES"! But even my presence didn't stop these girls from making my daughters life a miserable hell. Her bully even came up to me and said "wouldn't it be better if Alyssa was dead and I was your daughter instead"? When I told admin about my strange encounter with this girl they smirked and looked at me as if I WERE THE CRAZY ONE!
One day my daughter received a text message from a very good friend letting her know that her bully had plans to "jump her" at school the following day. She had even done the favor of attaching the original text the bully had written. My daughter came to my husband & I with this info and we advised her to take the text and her concerns to her VP the next morning. She did. My daughter was reprimanded for buying in to the drama and the VP told her she didn't feel like it was a "viable" threat and told my daughter to get back to class.
By this time, all 3 of us were reaching our boiling point and I could see that my daughter was ready to explode. Walking away was not working for her anymore. Ignoring these bullies was not working for her anymore. Crying was not working for her anymore.
We began to look into pulling our daughter out of school and research alternative options.
And then the inevitable happened. My daughter was attacked before her 1st period class. But instead of walking away, she chose to fight back. Thank goodness there were a couple of teachers who had witnessed the altercation because they vouched that she was not the instigator but rather was just defending herself. The bully admitted to her bullying, the text message threat, and that she started the fight but my daughter was still held responsible for fighting back and as a result, was suspended.
During our meeting with the Principal & VP we asked about the "not a viable threat" text message and the VP did everything in her power to back pedal saying she was never informed of the text...my daughter had actually forwarded that text to the VP the morning of the initial meeting...so my daughter pulled out her phone and showed the principal the record of her "sent" text to the VP. The VP decided this was a good time to say she misunderstood the text because she doesn't understand the "lingo" in which these youngsters speak. When we read the text aloud, there was no mistaking "i'm gonna kick her ass tomorrow at school"! Who knew THIS was considered "lingo"? It was 2 hours of getting nowhere with these administrators! They kept blaming my daughter and asking her "why did you fight back? Why didn't you just walk away? When is it going to stop?" I knew then it was time to pull her out of that school. I felt like every time we dropped her off at school, we were feeding her to the wolves and this just was not an option anymore! We withdrew her that very moment, I quit my job, and we chose to home school her for the remainder of the year.
She is now in 8th grade at a small charter school but she feels defeated, deflated, angry, and most disturbing of all, she feels she isn't good enough. We don't know where to go from here. I'm mad as hell but I put a smile on my face for her. As parents, all we want is for our children to be happy. I know she is not. She loves sports and music and dance and she was involved in all that when she was enrolled in public school. The charter school doesn't have the music and dance classes she desires and we cannot afford to put her in private classes so we are now looking in to transferring her to a completely different school district in the hopes that she can regain some of what it is she's lost through this ordeal.
Before all this, my daughter was confident, strong minded, strong willed, never second guessed herself. Now, when I look into her eyes, I see sadness, fear, anger. She doesn't trust people anymore and aside from me and her dad, she confides in no one.
We've thought about sending her to counseling, anger management, leadership classes and have even considered sending her away to programs for troubled youth. But all these things make her feel as though she is/was the problem and this was all her fault. How do we get her to understand it wasn't? She wasn't?
Just last week during a school assembly she was the recipient of the "Respect" award from her history teacher. She was terrified to walk on to the gym floor in front of her peers to accept the award, for fear of being bullied as a result of this award. How sad is that?
When will it end? Does it ever end? How do I recover that spunky, brave, happy-go-lucky girl she once was?
Worse yet, she wants answers as to Why. Why is it ok that her tormentors were never brought to any kind of justice? They lost nothing. They suffered nothing. They came out of this ordeal completely unscathed. Unfazed by the trauma they caused her. Who knows. Maybe it's best they don't know. Maybe them knowing what my daughter has suffered through would give them pleasure. As sick and twisted as that sounds, it's probably not far from the truth.
Where do we go from here? I don't have the answer but what I can tell you is, wherever we go, we will go together. Just as we have from the beginning.
Maybe this is where she rises above the rest. Maybe her knowing without a shadow of a doubt that we do, always have, always will, "have her back" is how we get her back.
Mom to a tormented little girl