- Posted October 20, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Bullying awareness: Your story
When Will Our Nightmare End
This was just the beginning of an almost two year battle we are still in with the school staff and administration. My son was bullied off the football and track team, he began isolating himself, depression set in and he was failing most of his classes. He was faking being sick and at school he would go to the nurse and have them call me, but they would intervene and say he wasn’t sick. Of course I knew he wasn’t sick, but there wasn’t any other option as my top priority was the safety of my son and he obviously was struggling from PTSD. He spoke up once about who was bullying him, but we quickly realized that games were being played by the staff and my son shut down. I asked for more supervision in the locker rooms where my son was assaulted and I was laughed at, right in front of my son. That too gave my son reason to believe there wasn’t any hope and he watched his Mom being bullied in that meeting.
Later on I had the school telling me that my son was getting poor grades because he was lazy. I told them it was because he was being bullied and if anyone was paying attention to his cries for help, they would know better. Even when a teacher sent an e-mail to me stating that she was concerned about my son’s emotional well-being, I still found myself being the only one who was listening to my son’s cry for help. So to give you an idea of what’s going on in the background . . . 85% of teens are not even telling parents what is happening. Nearly 70% of students think schools respond poorly to bullying, so why would they even go to a staff member for support. 33% of teenagers have been victims of cyberbullying and only 7% of U.S. parents are worried about it! Not many will open up to their parents, so it is our job to be engaged to know the warning signs of bullying and suicide so we can stay on top of this epidemic and stop the tragedy of bullycides.
I believe my son is being bullied because he has ADD. So I took it upon myself to get answers for all of them at the school, to prove to them that my son was suffering emotionally. I requested that the school do a psychoeducational evaluation which did show my son tested highest on the behavioral side, due to bullying. It was alarming to see the trauma that my son has endured from bullying, written out in black and white, yet I knew all along and no one was listening to me.
Towards the end of last year during the school day I received a text from my son saying one of his teachers had been bullying him. I immediately was in touch with the principal and had my son removed from the class that day. It wasn’t enough that he was being bullied from his classmates, but a teacher too!
For almost two years I have been fighting for my son and been a very active advocate with my anti-bullying FB Page and my Twitter page has converted over to my advocacy as well. Later this week I’ll have my second video out. I’ve spent a lot of time looking into the school district student social media pages and came across a student cyberbullying FB page last year. I took snapshots of the whole thing, saw there was a threat to a student on it, contacted the police so the parents could be informed and with the help of my advocacy resources, I was able to get FB to remove the page that same day. The police said it was a more advanced cyberbullying page they had seen. The principal was notified as well.
We as parents need to be engaged in our children’s lives so we know what is happening on social media. It doesn’t take long to know who the bullies are, take a few snapshots of the cyberbullying going on and you have a wealth of information that will help you or someone else out in the long run. I will warn you, it goes deep, one click takes you further and further into the cyberbullying sea and you will feel like you are drowning and cannot get out of it.
Right after my son was assaulted, I begged the school to be proactive instead of reactive about bullying. I had offered to bring in my friend Kirk Smalley from the movie Bully numerous times over the past year and a half and each time they turned it down. I offered to bring in other friends, all for free, who wanted to help the school district, but they turned down all of them. So I found a way to make it happen, just in another city and Kirk Smalley will be able to present this November. I also started a community FB page in hopes of bringing more awareness to the subject, but have discovered something more shocking! The parents are actually cyberbullies and of course they don’t want to get involved with bullying. We’ve always known that the bullies at school most likely learn the behavior from their parents; well in this case, it is absolutely true. In the school district, the parents have a couple FB pages where the cyberbullying is beyond horrible. I was introduced to a couple who have a teen that is being bullied and because I’m helping them out, the parents of the bully are now harassing and cyberbullying me. My journey now begins.
As for my son . . . the past month things were going fairly well until this couple started harassing me and I notified the school that they may have their son or others hurt my son in one way or another. Sure enough, this past Wednesday, I received an automated message from the school stating that my son was absent from a class. We’ve been down this road before, I know what it means when he is skipping classes . . . it’s because he can’t go to class because he is avoiding being bullied by someone. So it begins again and who knows how it will end this time! Bullying torments the victim and I can testify that it torments the mother of the victim as well, emotionally and physically.
Something to keep in mind when using the word bullying/bullied . . . there may not be laws to protect you at the school your child goes to for bullying, but there may be laws for harassment. Consider using the word harassment when reporting any incidents going forward and be sure to know your state laws for bullying, school harassment/bullying policy and code of conduct/violence policy. If your child has ADHD/ADD or any other disability and is being harassed, know that you can file a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights for violation of your (states) Human Rights Act and American Disability Act (most likely both), if your school is not helping you. Most of all, remember to document EVERYTHING from day one. This includes date, time, where, who was involved, witnesses, what happened, injuries, reported to, outcome and anything else related to the incident. Document all conversations with the school.
So, how can we stop the problem of bullying? I’ve had my fair share of experience in dealing with unwilling parties in dealing with the issue, dealing with adult bullies (which is where it starts) and lack of empathy. Bullying is not an easy fix and it is not something one person or one law can do . . . it is a group effort and something we all need to do that starts with learning and re-learning . . . empathy. Our society today is out of control with all the social media at our fingertips that makes it so easy to just type out whatever you want without thinking of the consequences of what you are saying and how it will affect someone else. It’s no big deal because you are not standing in front of them, looking into their eyes, so it’s so easy to say mean and hurtful things that you normally would never say. We as a society need to stop and retrain ourselves to learn EMPATHY, to teach our children empathy and to live by that. We as parents can tell our children to do something, but they watch and listen to what we do and that is how they learn, that is what they are picking up from us.