Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Need your advice please.

I’m sitting at my desk…covered in hives. And I’d like to throw up but it’s not very professional so I’ll hold it in. I have enough adrenaline flowing through my system right now that I think I could run three marathons and kick Barney’s ass with one hand tied behind my back.


I am wound tight.

Here’s the scoop…and I could really use some insight from all of you out there.

There is a little girl in my 10 year old daughter’s class. Let’s call her Rose.

Now I am not without compassion for Rose’s circumstances BUT I’m done with those circumstances affecting my child’s education and day. You see Rose comes from a divorced family – a BAD divorce. Textbook nasty divorce where the only people really suffering are the kids.

This little girl is 10 and I’ve seen her miles from home on her pedal bike – alone. I know she is left alone a lot – and watches scary movies she shouldn’t. I don’t think she gets much attention. I’m sure she is lonely, sad and emotionally crippled. She has older step-brothers who are in jail or have lengthy criminal histories. Not a lot of role models to speak of.

So I get that being a bully is all about protecting herself. It’s about “I’ll get you before I let one more person get to me”. It’s a coping mechanism.

I get that. But it’s unacceptable.

She is constantly in my daughter’s face. Spewing words of venom. Making accusations. About stupid little girl things but you all know that as little girls – what happens with our friends during the day is our life and it is important.

I have told her to stay away from this girl. The girl follows her.

I have told her to tell Rose that she doesn’t want to talk to her. She did that and Rose told a teacher and the teacher told my daughter “if someone wants to talk to you – it’s nice to talk back”….so there goes my just don’t talk to her theory.

Yesterday, my daughter was crying in class over something Rose said. The teacher never noticed.

Every day for about two weeks – my daughter comes home visibly upset. She is asking to be home-schooled. She is asking me to switch schools.

Now yes – I know I can’t solve every problem for my child BUT this is enough. I mean yes – it is just words – but it is bullying. Rose doesn’t have to like my child but she can be told to stay away from my child. Just leave her alone.

I told my daughter there will be bullies everywhere and we can’t change Rose. As an adult – I get that. As a mother – is it wrong I want to wring this little girl’s neck?

Finally – after weeks of this, Rambo has had enough. We’ve been talking to more parents whose kids are also being bullied by Rose but they don’t have the balls to do anything about it. Rambo and I are meeting with the teacher, the counselor and the Superintendent.

My body is going to be a ball of nerves, hives and stomach upset. I will be shaking. And I’m so afraid I’ll cry. I’m so afraid they’ll all say this is no big deal. They have to find a way to get along without adult intervention. Your child is sensitive. Blah, blah, blah.

Maybe she is sensitive but we are dealing with a known bully here. No matter what a child’s personality is – don’t we work on solutions and try to make each child happy no matter the disabilities or personalities or situations at home?

Is this my fault? Have I not shown my daughter how to stand up for herself? Have I not taught her that what a bully says isn’t true? Could I have done anything to prevent this?

And no – it won’t matter if they tell Rose’s mother. If the mother cared in the first place, this wouldn’t be happening. Really – these girls are 10 – they know right and wrong. They should find a solution on their own but the adults do need to be aware and on watch.

Sensitive kids hurt more. Bad things can happy even from word bullying. I don’t want to over-react but I can’t do nothing anymore. I’ve given her advice for two weeks and it’s not working.

I know my daughter is not perfect and she makes mistakes. I’m not a naïve parent who thinks my kid can do no wrong but this sadness every day is real. When my child begs me to not send her to school every day – my heart nearly snaps in two. I’m at a loss.

And now I’m angry. Covered in hives and angry = not a good combo.

So tell me – what would you do?  Or say?  To make them believe I'm concerned, this matters and it's not okay!

32 comments:

Karen Butler Ogle said...

I would do exactly what you are doing. Going to the teacher and the administration is the best thing to do. There are too many young suicides happening today for ANYONE to ignore bullying. Take care of your daughter, no matter what that takes.

Joey said...

That is so lame. If only you would have let her have a cup of water for her flower then maybe she wouldn't have a bully ;)

You're plan is perfect. Write down all your main points in case you get upset you won't leave anything out. Mention that she bullies other kids too, not just yours.

It has nothing to do with you. I had a bully too and didn't feel like I could tell my parents. So the fact that she can tell you is great!

Stephanie said...

My Sarah is very sensitive and she was dealing with a bully (1st grade) and I told her she needed to stand up for herself and tell them to stop bullying her...she felt bad in huring their feelings, saying it was not right for her to be mean just because they were, so she continued to be miserable. The teachers in her grade tell the kids not to be "tattletales", so she never said anything.

let me tell you, MY ASS marched down to that school and had a little discussion with her teacher. My daughter should not be depressed and upset because some other child HURTS my child (be it one who the product of a dvorce, just plain white trash parents or who have their own psycological issues). I don't care what thier issue is but our tax dollars pay for those teachers and admins to intervene. Watermelon doesn't deerve to be miserable just because another child is. You NEED...Dare I say must...talk to the teacher AND the pinciple. You owe it to your daughter. You are a great mom...show her the courage needed to stand up for yourself when the chips are down and that is a lesson that will stick with her the rest of her life.

Pam Griffis said...

I think your plan is great! My 3rd child is in kindergarten this year. We seem to have had every problem in the book so far this year. The best thing I can tell you is to stay calm. They will not listen to a frantic mother any better than they will listen you your daughter (sad but true sometimes). If you stay calm, remind them that you are not calling your daughter perfect, but that there has to be a compromise in behavior that is tolerated, then I am sure right will prevail. It is so tough to help our kids when there are just so many things out to bring them down. Great job Mom! (and Dad)

LDswims said...

Yeah, I would do exactky the same thing - talk to the teacher, administrators, principal, etc. I would also stress to your daughter that she should not respond to this. Walk away, sit like a stone, go get the teacher if worse comes to worst. But do not say anything back to this girl. (I know sitting like a stone is unrealistic and shouldn't be expected - the point is just to do what it takes to not respond in the moment.)

Whatever you do, do not attempt to talk to Rose's parents yourself. Let the school staff handle that. I'd also talk to parents of other kids enduring this. If you are coming forward, they might be more willing to speak up themselves.

DiZneDiVa said...

Your heart must be wretching... Bullying is never ok! I understand that this little girl must be going through a horrible time but she needs to see a therapist or the school psychologist so you going to the teacher and admin will probably the best thing for her. I hope that they listen and take heart in what you say.

Jen said...

If the school doesn't take this seriously, I belive that you as a parent, may have a right to attend her classes with her and observe. It might get their attention.
There is no excuse for what's happening.
And, it's not your fault!

Justawallflower said...

I have no idea what I would say or do. I know exactly what you are going through though. The little girl next door to us is the exact same way, and her home life is just as bad. Like you, talking to the parents wouldn't do a dang bit of good. And my poor baby just wants to play with her, and they play fine until something doesn't go according to how the brat, i mean bully wants it. Then she is a little deamon to Gabby. Anyway, I think you definitely should stand your ground. Don't let them downplay it. Our school has a no bullying policy, and I know they would take it seriously. Unfortunately with us the bullying is at home, and they are the only two little kids around, so they are drawn together, but I try to limit it. I also try to welcome her in my home and show her how home life is suppose to be, but when the nastiness starts away I send her. I wish you the best of luck! (((hugs))) to you and Watermelon.

Dazee Dreamer said...

I think you are doing the right thing. And if she is miles from home riding her bike, CPS should be called. Be strong. And if you cry, so be it. They will know that you are pissed. I cry when I really get pissed at work telling off the boss, and then I'll always say, and no, I'm not on a period.

You can do it. Her mom needs to know what the hell is going on.

Amanda said...

I think you are doing the right thing by calling a meeting with teacher, principal, and the super. If that doesn't work go higher. This is far bigger an issue nowadays and needs to be addressed. Stand firm.

Angela said...

Let me give you some advice as an elementary school principal. First and foremost, I WANT to know when these kinds of things are happening on my campus. Often times parents feel like you do, and want to find ways to "let their kids take care of it" but when it comes to continued and repeated forms of harrassment and bullying our kids are not equipped to deal with it one their own. Bullying is one of the hardest behaviors to discipline and correct and unfortunately it is one of the most damaging to students. I will repeat, the administrator wants to know what is going on. You need to make sure that you and Rambo stay calm, state the facts, discuss how she has started changing feeling and attitudes about school. Be calm with your delivery, share your concerns and facts only. Tell the admin that you are looking for their help. How can ya'll solve this problem together. Go into the situation with a parternship mentality. Be ready to share the times that you addressed this issue with the teacher and what the outcomes were. And before you leave ask them what the follow up will look like. They won't be able to share what steps they will take with the bully but you need to know who to contact and what to do when and if this bullying continues. Please do not feel like you are putting the principal out or making them uncomfortable. This is what we do. I encourage parents to come to me at anytime for anything. Hopefully this will go smoothly. Let me know if you have any other questions that you can't blog about if you want to talk. Good luck!

Shannon said...

i dont have kids but I think you are on the right track. no kid should have to go through what rose is going through but that still doesn't give her the right to act that way toward your daughter.
I think your doing the right thing.

Band Groupie said...

Angela said it well (and others)...make sure you ask for their help (always start with this), tell them what you've already done (including times you've notified the teacher...in a calm way, without putting her on the defensive, just state the facts). Think about what you would suggest (not that you have to make the suggestion, but this will get you thinking before you go) as a plan (for your DD, not the kid), but get their thoughts and most importantly, don't leave there without a specific plan for what you and your DD should do if it continues...don't agree if you don't think it's a plan your DD won't be comfortable with. Work with them as a team and they should be eager to help you. As a former teacher, they'll appreciate your concern, trust me.

((hugs)) nothing like our kids hurting to bring out the mama bear!

Angela Pea said...

The Other Angela here....exactly what Angela said. Kids at that age are not equipped to deal with the emotional side of bullying. They're still kids! You and Rambo go, stay calm (tears are okay, they will emphatically relay the seriousness of the situation), state the facts and find out what the followup will be. Then encourage other parents to do the same!

Catherine55 said...

I love Angela's advice. Both Angelas, actually! Positioning this as a partnership will help you to advance your cause with the administration.

I get so mad at that teacher for not seeing what is happening. I remember being bullied in class in 6th grade .. this one horrible girl used to shoot spitwads in my hair. Finally, I told the teacher I needed to move up to "see the board better" (total BS.. I only wanted to escape the torture) and she was so freaking clueless that she announced to the WHOLE CLASS (who all knew why I was moving) that if anyone else needed to move to see the board, LIKE CATHERINE.. to let her know. OY. My heart goes out to your daughter and to you, too!

Hang in there, Draz. You and Rambo are doing exactly the right thing, and you will handle it fine, regardless of whether you cry or not. xoxoxo

Sandy Lee said...

First of all go here: http://www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/kids/default.aspx . I might not be from the US but I heard about the campaign called Stop Bullying Now. It has some good things to read. Then follow Stephanie's lead and step up for your baby. If you need to just sit, let Rambo do all the talking. Bullying is epidemic. There are things that can be done to stop it. Smile now. You've done the first step. Hope you can keep stepping.

Lee Ann said...

Yes I agree with Angela & BG. I used to teach 6th & 7th grade science before becoming an occupational therapist...anywho. Teachers take bullying *very* seriously, I don't know any that don't. Sometimes it can be difficult to notice it 100% of the time though, *especially* in girls of that age group, they can be really sly & slick. Boys--not so much. They are obvious with their posturing and punches. Girls bully by spreading rumors, excluding other girls, using social isolation, hurting each others feelings, etc. It's more insidious and harder to notice. You are doing the right thing by calling this meeting and bringing it to their attention. Do not worry---this will NOT be blamed on you, your child, your child being sensitive, etc. This is not the first bully the school has ever dealt with. Also, there may be a school psychologist (I don't know how big your district is). I worked for a large district and the school counselor & school psychologist would usually intervene with the bully (along with the rest of the team).

tessierose said...

I think you got some really good advice here, you're doing the right thing. And Joey made me snort with the flower comment!

Liz said...

Oh honey...I don't have anything to add because everyone has already given such great advice...but hugs to you and your family. I have no doubt that with strong parents like you and Rambo, the situation for Watermelon will get resolved eventually.

Laura Belle said...

First, let me say that your plan is a great one, and I love Joey's comment above about writing down your main points. I always get so worked up when it's something I'm passionate about and forget the main points I want to discuss.
I was bullied as a child, actually I was bullied from 5th grade through my freshman year in high school. And it was absolutely the worst time of my life; there are no words to describe how horrific it was for me. The teachers, principal, and superintendent were notified, however nothing was done to stop it. But, the best advice I can give you to help your daughter is to really pump up her confidence. Keep reminding her how amazing, talented, and beautiful she is. One thing I know about this situation is that you can never control the other person or the bullying, but you can control yourself and your own emotions/thoughts; if you have the self-confidence to not believe what is said, you’ll get through it. I hope that makes sense , good luck!

Ice Queen said...

I am responding without reading other comments.

First of all, Rose needs drastic intervention. That child is being neglected and she is in serious danger. He mother is taking no interest in her and allowing her to run wild is going to lead to disaster. Someone needs to call CPS and report this. If the child is seen so far from home on her bicycle, the police need to be called and she needs to be picked up and taken somewhere safe. And placed with people who will be sure that she is looked after. That kid needs help and she needs it now.

Rose bullying your daughter and other children is totally unacceptable. I think I know where it is coming from but that doesn't make it right. And it needs to be shut down. Fast. I am in agreement that you and Rambo need to take action, speak to the teacher, principal and superintendent. Other parents of children bullied by that girl must do the same. Tough family circumstances is no excuse for her behaviour and the other kids have a right to go to school and not be worried about being harassed.

You are Mama Bear, Draz. It is time to bare your teeth and claws in defense of your little girl and keep on coming at them and taking swipes until the problem is solved.

I hope it all works out. For little Rose and For your sweet Watermelon.

Laurie said...

You are ABSOLUTELY doing the right thing! Something similar happened at our school and the Ass. Princ said they take bullying very seriously, especially in light of the recent suicides by kids that have been bullied.

Cat said...

As has been mentioned several times, you ARE on the right track. Communicate with the school, if that doesn't work, go up the chain until you get whomever will listen. I was bullied at about that age, and the teacher didn't like me. (Not a joke, the teacher made it clear TO MY PARENTS that she didn't like only child girls, they were stuck up... But I digress) I asked Mom and Dad not to interfere, but they did. It was the best thing that could have happened.

That and the fact the kid cornered me and I managed to kick him in the nuts. However, I don't think that will apply in this situation...

Take an antihystamine for the hives, and you and Rambo work on a plan. It WILL help!

Cat

Jess said...

I think little miss Rose needs a good ass whoopin. Is that wrong???

No, I am just saying I think your plan sounds great. I think that someone needs to let Rose know that there is no excuse to treat other people like crap just because her life sucks at the moment. If her parents won't teach her that then the teachers should at least try to.

MandaPanda said...

So many good comments. Just wanted to add my input. I was bullied as a child...for YEARS and it seriously left permanent scars on me. Stand up for your child. Tech her to stand up fo rherself and don't let the school ignore the problem! I finally stood up for myself and I never looked back but there were so many times I hated my mom for not doing SOMETHING to stop it. Please don't be that mom. Stop it before it does permanent damage. That's my 2 cents. I'd be ready to kick that little kid's ass too!

Bonnie said...

You've already gotten so much good advice. Personally if this step doesn't work I'd pull up to Rose one time when she's on her bike and tell her that if she doesn't stop bullying your daughter you are going to take her bike. I know it's terrible but sometimes the only way to stop a bully is with another bully.

Joanna said...

First, let me start as a parent that has been through this. My daughter, who was in 4th grade, was TERRIBLY bullied by a little girl - who thought she was "Queen Shit".

I spoke to the principal, the counselor, even the child's mother - nothing helped. Then I spoke to the superintendant - and things got a little better. Then, my daughter started making friends with other kids who were victims of "Queen Shit". They kind of rallied up against her - and in the end, the girl switched schools because she found out that she no longer was the popular kid - and couldn't handle it. Not really the same situation - and not really any help - but I want you to know, I've been there.

Now, as a classroom teacher... I have a little boy in my classroom that was the WORST bully. He was mean, hateful...didn't care that he got into trouble or that his parents were contacted.

I didn't know what to do with the boy - until I invited him to eat lunch with me one day. He spilled his guts about not having any friends, an awful home life, and he told me he didn't know how to be nice *HEARTBREAK*

So, the next few days, I started doing group activities - to get him involved. I asked him to work with me - and I'd help him learn how to be nice and make friends.

4 months later, the boy is one of the most liked kids in the class. He's polite, does all of this work - and the other kids love him. They just needed to make the first move - be nice to him, not let the temper or meaness get in the way. Once he realized that they were trying to be his friend, and not his enemy, the whole situation changed.

Not sure what you can take from this... but maybe your daughter can have lunch with Rose or ask for help with an assignment....something that shows Rose she can have a friend if she actually works for it.

The Cozy (not crazy) Coconut said...

I think you're doing the right thing by going to the school. And if they don't do anything, you keep going back until they do. Teachers and staff are trained how to handle bullying - from how to handle the bully and help them as well as how to protect all of the bullied children. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. You just keep going back until they get so sick of you its easier for them to deal with the situation than keep hearing from you. You don't have to be a jerk about it - but they are accountable to you and to the kids involved!

Read said...

ok - first of all, I'm so sorry I didn't get on my computer till now just so I could read this. And 2nd of all I haven't read any of the comments as I would normally do - but...

In no particular order. I'm so very, very sorry you and your family is having to deal with this. Of course it's not your fault - you need to move on from that. Bullying is never okay. And if your daughter is sensitive - which of course I know she is - then all the more reason for their to be an intervention. Being sensitive isn't a bad thing, it's just a thing. You don't make the kid with a bum leg run, you don't make a kid who is sensitive listen to venom spewed in their direction. You deal with what and who you have.

We had an issue with our school and my sensitive son last year. I tried a variety of things to help Jackson cope to varying degrees of success until finally I'd had enough - like you guys. And I made an appointment with the principal and was prepared to go to the school board and the media and anywhere else I could think of.

In this particular case I was so mad it overwhelmed my fear of asking for what I want, but normally I would just have had Brad do all the talking. (as an aside - Brad does all the parent teacher conferences, I don't even go anymore).

But for this - of course you go and talk to someone. You start with the teacher (and Rambo can do this - you don't have to say a word - or even go if Rambo is up for that) and then you move on to all the other people you've talked about.

Our principal who before this meeting I didn't care for - absolutely wanted to know about the situation and immediately took steps to solve the problem. We ended up sitting down with the teacher and the principal and mapped out some specifics and we've been in contact with both of them throughout the year and Jack's having a great year!!

I only wish I'd involved her sooner - that's exactly what the administration is there for. She was ready, willing, and able to help me and my son.

So - to summarize my thoughts. You're doing the right thing - you're not to blame - and what about Rambo handling it - whether or not you even get out of the car?

Hang in there and I'll be sending good thoughts your way!!

Marie said...

Ask yourself this honest question:

Suppose this were happening to you at work?

And suppose you went to the boss and the EEOC and the other powers that be, and they did nothing?

Would you continue to go to work and be bullied?

I would not.

If those in power do not remove this disturbed girl, or, somehow put an end to her bullying...

Remove your child.

She can't remove herself. You have to do it.

MizFit said...

this was stuck in my head and heart all last night and Im still where you are/were.
Id do precisely what you are doing.

You are an amazing mom and you have to look out for your girl.

Jen said...

I just wanted to come back here and say: You ladies above are all wonderful! Great advice.