Protecting Bullies, Not the Bullied, Seems to be the Rule in Our Schools

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In Mass, parents are reporting that their children are refusing to go to class, have dropped out of sports, stopped trying to socialize, refused to go to class and in some cases had to change schools – all because they are being bullied.

Allegedly girls with special needs are being photographed in the bathroom, then pictures posted on FB. Parents report kids are being attacked on the bus or beaten up at elementary school.

Even worse, some bullied children have attempted or threatened suicide. On Jan. 14, Phoebe Prince died of an apparent suicide after incessant bullying by classmates.

Who is investigating? It appears that the school system is investigating itself and… they “apologize for the delay.”

The school says, “There have been in our investigation some kids on their family’s – or family’s lawyer’s – recommendation that have not spoken to us,” Edward Boisselle, chairman of the South Hadley School Committee, told the Herald yesterday … But a determined Boisselle vowed that lawyers won’t keep school officials from completing their investigation by week’s end and meting out ‘severe’ punishment… I apologize for what appears to be delays, sweeping this under the rug. It’s a process. It’s not an easy investigation.”

“Separately, Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel is leading a criminal investigation into Prince’s death. Charges have not been brought.”

Last we heard, school officials aren’t law enforcement agents, nor are they trained investigators. Are chairmen of school districts and committees trained investigators?

The school did not protect this girl. The school is on notice about many other kids who are being bullied, yet they did nothing until news of the girl’s suicide broke.

“The state  Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester is “calling on every school to ‘be clear’ about the ‘conduct and consequences’ of  bullying …  “We encourage schools to take this on.”

“To be clear about the conduct and consequences of bullying?” Consequences? There are no consequences when schools don’t protect kids.

“We ENCOURAGE schools to take this on?” If they feel like it? The state Education Commissioner doesn’t ORDER them to change their ways?

Sickening. We hate to think what Phoebe Prince’s parents are going through now, and for the rest of their lives. We don’t have a sense that the Education commission, Chairman, or other administrators understand or care what this does to defenseless kids.

As of September 2009, HRSA reports that Massachusetts is one of ten states that has no laws on bullying.  Check to see if your state has laws on bullying here.

From Bullied Kids Helpless Against Attacks from the Boston Herald at http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20100204bullied_kids_helpless_against_attacks/srvc=home&position=also

Many parents also report that when they informed the school their children were being bullied, the school did nothing. “One struggling mother turned in her own son, a bully, hoping the school would do something. It didn’t.”  Read Parents’ Pleas Fall on Deaf Ears from the Boston Herald at http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/columnists/2010/02/parents%E2%80%99_pleas_fall_deaf_ears

Teen Suicide Prompts Look at Bullying from the Boston Globe at http://www.boston.com/community/moms/articles/2010/01/24/teens_suicide_prompts_a_look_at_bullying/

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52 Comments on "Protecting Bullies, Not the Bullied, Seems to be the Rule in Our Schools"

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When my daughter was bullied, she too was blamed for encouraging it. The school will ‘handle it’, but they don’t let the parents know what has happened. When I was growing up, you behaved at school because anything the school did to discipline you would pale in comparison to what happened ‘when your father got home’.

Schools and parents need to work together when it comes to disciplining bad behaviors. Consequences should hurt (not physically). Adults obey traffic laws because they don’t want to suffer the consequences. We need to come up with consequences that do the same for kids.

It is definitely happening here in Virginia. Many principals turn a blind eye to bullying, even blaming the victim for provoking the bullying or telling parents that we need to cut the bullies some slack, since they come from a dysfunctional home life. All sorts of excuses are made, and the bully is given permission to continue. No negative consequences except for the victim. I have been wondering if this is planned chaos in our schools. I know of several situations in which parents who tried to get the principal to intervene to stop bullying against their child (some were outright violent incidences) but were told the principal had no time to talk to them AND, subsequently, the bullying intensified. The situation became worse after the parents tried to get it resolved. Several had to move to private schools.

We feel like the school is bullying us-if they send you a notice of action that they are rejecting a option for the IEP–that the team decided–are the parents not a part of the team? We never got a copy of the plan they voted on or a invite to the meeting–what gives here?

This is happening in California as well. I think the conflict resolution they have been doing does not work and allows bullies to get away with it. They need to take a hard stance on this. It is time to change education. Parents need to stand up to the schools and tell them it is not working.

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