- Posted October 22, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Bullying awareness: Your story
help my child
Please help! My 4th grader who is 9 years old was attending Cramer Elementary School in Camden NJ. 3 weeks ago she was hit in the face by another student. I chalked it up to them just being kids and as an isolated incident. Today the school nurse called me and informed me that another student, this one being a boy, hit my daughter in her face and she was putting an ice pack on it for her. I was at work and immediately called the principal to speak with her about this issue. I relayed to the secretary what my concern was and the secretary put me on hold for 20 minutes. When she picked the phone back up she informed me that the principal would have to call me back. My response to this was that if they were going to ignore me that I would have to contact the news. I left work to go get my daughter and when I arrived at the school the secretary told me that the principal no longer wants my daughter there and she handed me paperwork that I would need to enroll my daughter elsewhere. I was stunned because my child did NOTHING wrong. It was quite the opposite because in fact she was hit in the face by another student. I asked again adamantly to speak to the principal but to no avail because the principal whose name is Andrea Surrat walked out of her office and right past me. I left the school and drove to the Camden Board of Education. By this time I am in tears crying because even though I did say I would call the news, I was confused as to why this was being taken out on my 9 year old who loves her teacher and her school. In the building before you can get on the elevator you must speak with security and as I was asking to speak to the superintendent a man in a suit approached me and said that he would help me. He introduced himself to me as just Curtis. Curtis, my daughter and I got on the elevator and followed Curtis to a cubicle on the 5th floor. I explained what happened to him and he asked me to write down my # and name as well as the name of my child and that he would try to arrange a meeting with the principal Andrea Surrat and he also said he was “hopeful” and that I should “have faith” making me feel as if he was going to help. He had me so convinced that he understood my concern he even said that he agreed with me. I left feeling a little reassured and waited for his phone call. This was until I was telling a friend of mine who used to work for the Camden Board of Education this story and he informed me that Curtis is really Mr. Surrat, as in the principal’s husband! Can you imagine all the thoughts in my head? Did he intercept me at the door for her? Even once I told him my story he never once intervened and said she is my wife so there is a conflict of interest. He watched me cry and ramble on about how it is not fair to uproot my daughter because of a comment I made about the news. I am allowed to use any public outlet I so choose and should not have to watch my child suffer because of it. She did nothing wrong and making her go to another school in this district or anywhere else for that matter will never change my reaction to my kid being hit in the face and then being ignored by the faculty. I love my daughter and care greatly about her education. She is comfortable with her teacher and what message are we sending her by kicking her out of school after someone assaulted her? My comment may have not been liked but even then, as a professional no one at that school took the time to say, “You know what it doesn’t have to go that far”. The immediate reaction was to get me and my child out of there for fear of negative publicity. At 3:05pm Curtis Surrat did call me and said that he attempted to reach Andrea Surrat but he could not contact her. I then said, “Sir you never told me that was your wife and it is unbelievable to me you were unable to contact her”. There was an awkward silence followed by stuttering words on his part and then he informed me he is ONLY in charge of security staff that work for the Board of Education. I am still lost as to why he took my complaint in the first place and let me leave the building without directing me to where I truly needed to be. As of this moment I am told my child is not allowed to go back to school at Cramer but I do not have a valid reason why. I even offered to apologize for saying I would contact the news even though it is something I would do to protect my kid. Mrs. Surrat has yet to give me the courtesy of hearing my concerns about my child’s safety. And also of this very moment I am calling off of work tomorrow because I do not know where to take my daughter to get an education. All I wanted was to be taken like a caring parent and as educators and people who are with my child 7 hours a day I really thought we all had a common ground of putting the children first. How can any principal send a child away for having a concerned parent? Please I do not know where to turn. My phone number is 856-379-7967 and I need assistance in this matter. Thank you so very much for your time.