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

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

Teen Suicide Prompts Look at Bullying from the Boston Globe at

  1. I’m in middle school some group of people are bullying me calling me skibidi and sometimes kicking/hitting me and they bully each other yet somehow still friends and they don’t get in trouble but the moment I show them who’s boss I get suspended

    • Adrian, every campus should have a policy for reporting bullying. You or someone can report this to the district administrators if necessary. If this does not work, it can be reported to the state education agency.

  2. I read these messages and it reminds me of back in the 70’s when schools would also do nothing, no matter what.
    They would just threaten to put the victim in jail, if they didn’t keep going to school, and just fend for themselves.
    Back then, you couldn’t home-school, and of course there was no online schooling.
    Even going to private school didn’t stop the bullying, they would just blame the victim.
    Today you can homeschool, or go to school online, so that is the solution.

    • Hi Sarah, I remember those days too. Sadly, I don’t think homeschool or online school is a solution for most kids with special needs. These kids need special education and related services tailored to their unique needs. They need their school to test their knowledge and skills on objective tests to ensure that they are making adequate progress.

      During COVID, some special needs kids accessed online schools. But most could not attend school, even when schools reopened, so they did not benefit from their special education program and fell even further behind.

  3. A school wouldn’t punish a child in a wheelchair or with AIDS, Cancer they could get sued.. But if you have mental health issues that only seemes to make things worse because the system will just use that against you, instead of the bullies getting punished and the victim getting justice like a normal civilization is supposed to be, instead imagine having to pay thousands of dollars to the families responsible for the bullies while your already frightenened child is forced to go to jail completely traumatized thinking about how innocent they were and how their poor mom must be terrified… Imagine that pain and suffering on one’s mind…. The school system causes more harm to people than criminals commit crimes

  4. This definitely happened to me as well. I was bullied by 6 girls that I thought were my friends and the principal of the school knew I was being bullied, I was seeing a therapist but the school expelled me instead and forced me to go to juvenile hall and to pay the bullies families thousands of dollars because the girls quote ” felt unsafe” even though they were the ones physically beating me. The school system is disgusting and wrong… They’d never punish a kid in a wheelchair but because I have PTSD they treat me like garbage. Even until this day I have suffered mental damage from being wrongly accused and convinced all because of a disease in my brain that I never asked for

  5. Hello,
    My son is currently enrolled in a private school. He has Autism, dysgraphia, dycalcula, and emotional outburst. He has been excluded so much at school and now the other kids are making fun of him. Whats worse is the teachers are poking fun at him as well. Son does not want to go to school. Recently he got into a fight with another child and the teacher who witnessed the fight said my son started it which he denies. School is backing the teacher up and now he must do his work in a smaill room with no windows by himself. Please help me!

  6. Principles don’t like doing paperwork, they don’t like having the reputation of their school ruined and so they will actually punish bullied students who are reporting the bullying, I can confirm this from experience.

  7. Read “FREAK: a casualty of public education” by bonnie pierce, New Lumen Press, shocking case, a bullying fatality

  8. My son is being bullied at school and nothing is being done to help him. He is belittled by teachers and other students. My son has Asperger’s and learning difficulties and is on an IEP. One teacher flat out told me she was not going to follow his IEP. His teachers call him dumb and the other kids are following suite. I have tried speaking with teachers and principle and am getting nowhere. Recently he tried to sit with a group of boys at lunch but was rejected and forced to sit by himself. School administration is no help at all. Special Education director will not help either. What else can I do to help him?

    • Get him out of there! Homeschool him PLEASE! My son is an aspire and we went through the same thing.

  9. I think the school doesn’t do nothing because there mean to them and they don’t help children with soccer

  10. My daughter was being bullied by the basketball coach and the players. She tried to talk to the coach several times but he kept dismissing her claims. She made several appointments with the school counselors but they kept telling her that they were too busy to see her. It got to the point where she quit the team and left the school. The kids still harass her friends and boyfriend at her old school. She was also punished by the local basketball association and forced to sit out a year and 30 days. The school is covering up the bullying. They deleted all of her e-mails and will not respond to any of my letters. They are not accepting any responsibility for the coach or players actions. One coach touched a girl and is now in jail. They covered that up as well. Lucky we left.

  11. My son is the victim of bullying. He tried to be friends with a certain group of boys. They reject him and won’t let him join them at lunch. It even happens off of the school grounds. They do not invite him over to hangout with them. School is doing nothing saying the other boys have freedom of association and don’t have to include my son. I feel they should and my wife feels the same. What can we do to make sure that he is included with this group of boys both at school and outside of school.

    • What does the rejection look like? Is there more history to this story that would suggest the boys should be inviting him to hang out? This may or may not be bullying.

      Otherwise, I’m inclined to agree with the school about freedom of association. I don’t think there is much the school can do about it policy-wise. The most I could imagine was a no-rejection policy where the school rule was that if a person wants to join a school-related activity (such as lunch) other students cannot stop them, barring cruel/obnoxious behavior.

      Outside of school, the school simply has no power. You could come up with scripts for helping your son ask the other boys if he can join them. You might even go so far as communicating with the other boys’ parents.

    • You cannot force it to happen as such would send clear messages to your son that other students “have to be his friend” and you may set him up for some unintended experiences. My child was excluded at times (either intended or not intended). At a young age, I tapped into my child’s passions and my child participated in extracurriculars (sports, arts, theater), and my child excelled, socialized, achieved and still have long lasting friendships into the college years now.Talk to your son and get him into extracurriculars where he can meet other kids outside of school or meet other kids at school extracurriculars that excite him. Some schools have “buddy programs” to match students to help students socialize, attend activities together, eat lunch together and so much more.

      • Morning makes good points. Inquire about buddy programs. If they do not, maybe someone will see the need tor them. Also a parent can request an IEP meeting to address helping him build social skills. These fall under a school’s responsibility for students with disabilities.

    • What is it about this group of boys that interests your son in wanting to hang with them? It seems to me that he has targeted this group and won’t budge. It may be that they just don’t like him or maybe they have nothing in common with him. What is he like in class? Is he disruptive or does make fun of other kids? These are questions you have to ask and get answers for. Then you might have a clearer picture of what is going on. The other boys should not be made to feel that they are forced to be his friend. Outside of school the school can’t do anything about that which is why they took the position they took. You could maybe talk to the other parents but also get your son involved in extra curricular a great way to meet other kids and make friends.

  12. My son has been the victim of bullying that cause anger issues inside him. i have always taught to do his best to avoid it. But i will praise him for standing up for himself. we both have reported the bullies many times to the school but yet nothing has been done. But when my son finally gets fed up with it hes the one that gets punished and suspended. older kids on bus steal his things, push, pick, and throw rocks at him. 2 on one and both bigger than he is, he picked up some rocks and threw them at the kids. They put my son in a choke hold. We live about 500 yards from the bus stop. This happened in my front yard. between the video one of the bullies took, and the bus video it was evident my son was being bullied and defending himself. The school claims it was on school property and suspended my son. claims it wasn’t bullying or self defense. they offered another transportation alternative for my son, instead of moving the bullies. im on the verge of pulling my son from school and home schooling him. Tired of the schools victimizing or siding with the bullies.

  13. Wow what happens to students with disabilities is so sad. Its happening to my son as well. Son has Autism and misses a lot of social cues. He is in fifth grade and and is being bullied by the class and his teacher. He has been shoved inside of a locker, locked inside of the classroom closet. Another time the teacher mercilessly berated him in front of the entire class and called all sorts of names. I am heartbroken for him. Conversation with the principal and Sped director have done nothing to discipline everyone else. My son is the one that got detention and suspension!

  14. My son with Autism and ADHD is in a private school and recently the other kids have been picking fun at him. They call his names like Stupid and Retarded. I have tried complaining to the Principal and my sons teacher but they do nothing about it. They say my son needs to toughen up and deal with it. His teacher makes him cry and embarrasses him every chance she gets. When he does complain he gets punished and misses lunch and has recently been excluded from an end of school year party? I am seriously considering pulling him out. What can I do to make this school be held responsible? Its a private school.

    • Being a private school makes it tough to do that. They should have a board of directors. They could take action if they wanted to. The school may be certified by some state or national agency or association. A complaint to them might cause some change. Sorry to hear what your child is dealing with.

  15. My son goes to preschool he’s 4. Two days ago my sons teachers said he and his arch nemesis were at it. My son got in a wrestling stance. The kid screamed Teachers came in the room and saw my son. Believing he instigated it they said
    “it was agressive, it set the other kid off”. Nobody got hurt.My son just got in his stance.
    There was a incident before that a week ago. Teachers never saw anything just the tail end. And my son got scratched bad! So they sit the two together “kid is so and so your friend?” The kid replied yes
    It was asked to my son. My son said “no!”
    My son was corrected “yes he is” the teacher replied. “Because friends don’t hurt friends”
    Which pisses me off because my son got hurt and he’s sapposed to consider the bully his friend. Bad message!

  16. My autistic child is being bullied and it is affecting his right to a FAPE. I tried talking with the school but they don’t seem to care at all. This a private school. My son ended up punching a child in the face that was bullying him. Other kids jumped on my son and my son got suspended. He was accused of starting the fight and was suspended for ten days. This is a private school so what can I do? Can I appeal this at all?

    • If the school punishes the gang of other kids, they lose more money and reputation (not taking into account the donation rates). Basically, the school would rather remove 1 customer instead of >1 customer because they like money.

  17. Ha!! it’s not only with kids in school, Most recently we moved, mistakenly, into an apartment complex next door to a unit with 5 party girls living there and their thug boyfriends coming around all the time. The girls would park in front blasting their music after midnight on a week night even, annoying everyone. When I went out and yelled at one of them I ended up with her thug boyfriend, twice my size and half my age (I’m 52) threatening me.

    The kicker is that when I called the police, they actually admonished me for yelling at the party girl, and claimed that this goon repeatedly pounding on my door at 1 in the morning threatening me was nothing more than “knocking” on the door and it was all somehow my fault. We broke our lease and moved BTW. The police are a joke these days.

  18. Its not right,I am bullyed to and I was arrested for defending my self. But nothing happened to the bully’s. So will I sat in a concrete cell missing my family they were having the time of ther lives.

    • I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I had the exact same thing happen to me almost 9 years ago but the trauma never went away. It’s a shame that we live in a world where good is punished and bad is awarded

  19. In elementary school my son was being picked on my kids. But since he was so large for his age and all the other kids or much smaller the school did not believe that he was being bullied. He was afraid to go to school because of a certain group of kids were consistently slapping him and pushing him around. My son is a gentle, meek Giant. So he went his entire Elementary School career and constant torment. Now he is in junior high and this six foot tall and over 200 pounds and is still the largest kid in school. The same kids try to bully him and slap him around but now he has decided that he has had enough. So now he has been suspended three times for beating up the bullies. Nothing has happened to the bullies as far as punishment for their actions. Only my child.

  20. My daughter was recently bullied again. The ironic thing is that when I reported the situation for the first time to school counselor, I was told or made me believe that she was going to do something about it.. my daughter stood up and got hurt. I went to talk to the principal and counselor and said part of it was their fault for not doing anything. They did intervene after. Now, it’s happening again, different kids, same school. I requested all of my daughters teachers to be present. Some of them, didn’t show up. The ones present, said they didn’t know about the situation. When I asked the counselor the reason teachers were not informed, they said it was a matter of confidentiality. I didn’t believe it. We must stand up and speak up till something is done to stop bullying at schools.

  21. Our school is bullying our family out. My son is smart with a GIEP and when we ask to have a meeting with the teacher because we have questions. They have administration there to intimidate and only allow 1/2 hour. My son feels targeted and he is being treated differently because we advocated for more instruction as required by the GIEP in PA. I think it is Administration including the Superintendent.

    • Nancy,

      Reading your post I can definitely see they are bullying your family out. When parents advocate and know the law schools do anything to get rid of you. Hopefully we will see the day when parents no longer have to fight to make sure their children receiver proper education. How was situation handled? Did you end up doing a different placement? I am just curious.

  22. While bullying is considered a crime in Michigan, my school takes it just as seriously as the school aforementioned I’m a student who has depression set on from school bullying since kindergarten. Recently, the way bullying is treated here has made my blood boil. As a result, I formed a petition to bring this to the principal’s attention. I feel that saying “ignore them” is a cop out so don’t have to go deeper than telling the bullies “don’t do that”, and this is a HIGH SCHOOL principal, I might add. And these kids (they don’t deserve to even be called high schoolers) are constantly harassing others. I can’t even go a week without my friends or myself being harassed at least once. And I needed to call the crisis hotline twice, and could not get a safe,private place to call. It’s ridiculous

  23. When school officials are complicit or negligent when it comes to bullying, it serves them right to get sued and hopefully defeated in court. I hate it when school officials treat or appear to treat all bullies as the victims and all bullied victims as the villains or aggressors or instigators. Shame on these school officials!

    • This is exactly what I am going through. My son was physically assaulted 2 times by another boy. The boy harasses him and until it was caught on a bus camera and we call the sheriff the school was going to do nothing about it. Now we are to have a meeting today and I am at a loss as what to do except protect my son at all costs.

      • Parents have to be aware that some of the “bullies” are protected by case workers, court systems, social workers, advocates and may even be in foster care–so they have a whole CARE team. Principals will ACCOMMODATE those care teams quickly to make their jobs easier. I have seen this. One strategy is to document and call child care services in your state as abuse is abuse. It is not going to get any better unless the administrators know you will act. Otherwise they will ACCOMMODATE those other parties. You have to become one of those OTHER parties and involve others to protect your child. In some school districts where administrators are torn, that is what parents have to do to protect their kids, and start going to ALL the BOE meetings, that will make them listen as you are now INVOLVED.

      • I have discovered the same thing. It must be much easier on administration to blame the victim! They even turned the tables and tried to punish my child for a story the bullies concocted together, which was proven to be false. I won’t let this go anymore. I am so upset at how the school has treated my child! They should be ashamed.

  24. We learn that when a teacher bullies your child and you go to the school to talk to the principal to help your child, they will call child protective services on *you*. This is what happen to my son when his wife went to the school to talk to the principal about their daughter being bullied by a teacher. That same evening a social worker showed up at their home. The social worker spoke to the child alone and said “we can,t say who, but someone at the school called”. Nothing was done to about the was not investigated and Child Protective Services said that there was nothing that can be done about someone calling in and giving a false report out of retaliation.

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