|Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus - Personal Stories|
The stories around our nation about victims who are bullied are heart-wrenching. They serve as a call to action to all of us and a reminder that this issue affects everyone uniquely. The Caucus will be posting a new story about bullying and what we can do to stop it as it recieves them.
Parent of a Bully Victim
Our son just completed the third grade today; he has been bullied by the same boy since the second grade. We have documented and reported six bullying incidents to the school principal this year and she has refused to take it seriously. What started out as “name calling” has escalated to physical and psychological violence. Our son was a fun-loving kid who enjoyed going to school and playing with his friends. Now he feels that “no one cares” and has become quiet and angry. He dislikes school and has daily “tummy aches”. We have had to seek out professional help from doctors and therapists which is great financial burden on us. Our district does not have an “open door policy” where we can file a complaint above the principal, who in our opinion IS the problem. We are NOT allowed to report our concerns to the school superintendent without first reporting it to the school principal and waiting for the local review and opinion and then she must forward her investigation to the district for further review. Our son fears reporting the bullying because he has to face the bully—it is always “your son said he did, and the bully denies it and since no adult witnessed it…” it didn’t happen. After one incident, our son was hit in the mouth and had to have an emergency orthodontics visit which cost us $270.We are not alone, this boy bullies others boys and girls—we talk to other families who are dealing with the same issues and feel that the seriousness of the bullying is not being addressed in our school.
Proud Mom of 2
We moved from North Carolina to California for my husband’s job. My two children started at an elementary public school in the Campbell school district. After a couple of months in the new school, my older son, a fourth grader, started complaining about the kids in the school. He said, "I want to go back to North Carolina—in my old school, there were no bullies. Here, almost every boy and some girls [bully me].” I was in shock. I was trying to ask what happened to him. He explained that some people push and kick him. It happens when no adults are looking in his direction – during recess, lunch break and even PE or another school activity where supervision is at a minimum. I started to be more involved in their school life, trying to organize kids’ activities during lunch time. My son said, "It's better now, because the bullies are busy playing your games and bother me much less.” One day, my other son, who was starting kindergarten, declared that he don't want get good grades. Why? He says, "If I’m smart, I must do homework for others. If I refuse, they will beat me!" It just distorted the whole idea of education. You can teach your child to ignore verbal abuse, you can teach them to avoid physical abuse, but you can do nothing about the system that destroyed the learning process of your child.
We tried to convince ourselves these were just quirks. It got to the point he was coming home bullied at school by other kids and he wasn’t making any friends, and we thought, ‘Maybe this is a bigger problem.’ Later, a developmental pediatrician told us, Gabriel was autistic. As a parent you feel for your kid. It can be lonely for them and it can be lonely for you. A lot of times you’re almost ostracized. You’re out in public and your child has a meltdown and people automatically assume, ‘Oh this kid is ill-behaved, the parent’s aren’t disciplining him.’ When a lot of the times it’s autism. He [Gabriel] doesn’t quite get it. I’ve explained to him that the doctors think he might have autism and he looks at me and his questions are more basic for someone that age. It’s very heartbreaking; Gabriel will ask such questions as, “Kids call me weird. Is that why I don’t get invited to any parties?” We need more compassion from people. So when we see the mother struggling with that special needs child in the supermarket, instead of sneering or making rude comments, you can offer a compassionate word to just let her know that you understand.
On Behalf of Lawrence “Larry” King
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