Friday, March 18, 2011

I stopped believing.....................(more bullying madness)

When it came to dealing with Watermelon and the bullying situation – I’ll admit I wanted the fairy tale ending. I wanted the “Made for Lifetime” movie script – word for word. I wanted to stay naïve and believe in people and their goodness.

I should have known better.

Here’s the latest.

A couple of times in the last week or so, Watermelon has said that Rose is being mean again BUT she lets it go and isn’t all consumed by it and she’s still a happy kid and her and I both know Rose is not going to instantly become a nice girl every day overnight. Watermelon is handling it and for the most part things were okay.

Until yesterday.

A lot of Watermelon’s problems come from sports – and being good at them. Many of the fights start with her winning or getting Rose out or beating a boy at something – and some kids, especially boys – don’t take losing well – especially to a girl. And Watermelon does not understand that. She plays to her ability and usually wins because she is good at it.

Yesterday, she was playing a game with 5 or 6 kids and she ended up getting a kid who is new to the school out. Right away the other boys start saying Watermelon shouldn’t have done that cuz the boy is new and she should be nicer….while Watermelon thinks “Um, isn’t the point of the game to get people out?”

They all start in on her I guess – including Rose at this point. She’s an athletic girl like Watermelon. Again – the cause of many of their problems.

It’s been a few days of this and when it became multiple people yelling at her - Watermelon said, “Mom, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I screamed – at the top of my lungs. I just screamed.”

The recess teacher of course, saw the whole game being played and them yelling at Watermelon (and did nothing) and saw the scream.

Let me tell you about this “teacher”. She is not a teacher. She used to drive the school bus and was FIRED….because she was so disrespectful, insubordinate and had so many complaints against her from parents. She is not a person who likes kids. She is generally a mean person – even to adults. So when they fired her from bus driving – the school gave her a job in the freaking library.


She can’t be nice to kids who walk by her for a moment and sit in a seat but you’re going to put her in a library filled with kids all day????

So yes – she has no training as a teacher. She is not a teacher. She abhors kids.

She was the person who saw Watermelon scream. She takes Watermelon inside.

Now – my first thought as a smart adult would be – hmmm…this child who is never loud or in trouble or disruptive felt the need to scream bloody murder out of nowhere – I wonder what would cause that?

Nope. When Watermelon said “I couldn’t take them picking on me” – the teacher asked her to point out who did it. Great – now you made my kid tattle to you which makes the 5 kids like Watermelon even less. She lightly told them to knock it off and sent them on their way.

Oh after of course, the teacher also told them they couldn’t play the game anymore….which then made the kids even more mad at Watermelon – because now it’s her fault they can’t play the game. Nice.

And for Watermelon? The teacher took her in a room and shut the door and proceeded to lecture her and even yell and tell her she has no self control, she isn’t showing any good character traits and on and on.

In a room alone. My 10 year old. A nasty lady. Yelling. I can barely type the words.

I am livid. I can’t even explain to you what Rambo is.

I want to know what character trait that teacher was using when she took it upon herself to take Watermelon in there and scare the shit out of my 10 year old?

I can agree Watermelon shouldn’t have screamed….but…Watermelon said this teacher saw all of this before she screamed and did NOTHING. When Watermelon came back to the classroom crying after being yelled at – her own classroom teacher – did nothing. Didn’t ask if she was alright. Nothing.

Mind you – I’ve told this actual teacher Watermelon is emotional and sensitive…events like this change and shape who she is. And I’m pissed.

The Principal wasn’t around when this all went down…I have no idea if that would have helped or hindered.

The main thing is I never ever want my child alone in a room with an adult who is raising their voice to her. Ever. Even if she’s in trouble – they can talk to her about it when I’m around. Period.

I forgot to mention that last year on a day when there wasn’t school – Rambo went there to grab Watermelon’s report card. The school was open for that. When Rambo went in he heard yelling – loud yelling. He realized it was coming from the Principal’s office and realized he could hear the yelling THROUGH the closed door. Later on – the door opened. Out walked the Superintendent of our school. Out walked the Principal.

And out walked a 6th grade student.

No parent.  No one on the kid's side.  He was all alone.

They had yelled at a kid so loudly you could hear them through doors – by himself – probably scared as hell. To this day – I have no idea if his parents know that happened because Rambo didn’t know the kid so we couldn’t tell the parents. Even if the kid had done something wrong – which he probably did – what gave them that right?

If that was my kid – I’d be outraged. That night Rambo went to the school board meeting and stood up and told everyone on the board what he saw and heard and told them if he ever heard that they took his kid alone in a room and raised their voices – there’d be hell to pay. The Superintendent said to Rambo, “My door is always open if you want to discuss this further.”

Rambo said, “The only way I’ll ever speak to you again is if a police officer is present.” And he walked out.

And now this? An authority figure – who isn’t even a damn teacher – took my child in a room and shut the door and told her she had no character….because she screamed when the teasing was too much.


Suffice it to say my heart is hurting. I can’t do anything without wondering if Watermelon is okay. I can’t get the thought of her fear in the moment that teacher shut the door out of my head. I can’t get that moment back and make her know everything is okay and she’s safe. I can’t change what it did to her.

I could barely hold in my tears as she cried telling me not to send her back there today. I could barely hold back Rambo from going back up to that school and getting his own justice with his own words.

I have scheduled a meeting on Tuesday to discuss this with the actual teacher and the Principal. We want assurances that the Principal will talk to the teacher who yelled at Watermelon. Beyond that – I don’t know what we want.

I want it over.

I want to believe in people’s goodness again. I want to hold Watermelon in my arms and erase the hurt.

I want to be strong enough to go in there Tuesday and not come unglued on everyone.

But I’m at my limit. And Rambo is well over his.

Rambo doesn’t get mad. In the 20 years I’ve known him…I’ve rarely seen it. The only times are when someone hurts me or his girls or when a prisoner goes too far. The last time someone tried to hurt me the guy ended up beaten to a pulp with other guys having to pull Rambo off of him….and that was high school. Obviously, Rambo isn’t going to physically harm anyone because he’s no longer in high school….but….

Suffice it to say I wouldn’t want to be the person on the receiving end of his anger.

So yah…I’m worried, scared, full of anxiety, angry and hurt.

Do you think I’m over-reacting? Please be honest.


Karen Butler Ogle said...

You might be overreacting just a bit but there is a problem is an employee at school hates children to the point where she handles difficult situations that badly. Teachers are supposed to be in control of themselves. Yelling is not going to get it done. There is no reason for that. The teacher handled things badly and there was no follow-up to check on watermelon. As far as the kids teasing. I'm afraid that this will happen no matter what you do. Kids can be cruel little human beings and Watermelon is going to have too develop some defenses. She needs a stronger self-esteem so that the things other kids say will roll off her back instead of crushing her. This is a lesson most kids have to learn. Not to give in to bullies, but to ignore a certain amount of childish teasing.

Stephanie said...

You're not overreaching. For one thing, in this day and age, there should never be a time where a teacher is alone with a student while disciplining them. Yes, kids do tease, but I don't think it is an issue of Watermelon needing to Man up and learn to take it. She is a lot like my daughter and she is sensitive, but she has shown the strenght to handle situations, but what person, even gown adults like us haven't had times where we just want to give up and scream? Just learn to ignore childish teasing? Sure and let those kids continue to think that their behavior is acceptable? So they grow up as bitchy, mean, snarky adults who make fun of or be little others? Their behavior as adults is learned as kids and if their parents are not doing their job in teaching their kids to act like civil beings to one another I'll be triple dog damned that I'm going to make MY child tolerate their crap.

Ronnie said...

I don't think you're overreacting at ALL. A woman working in the library who has a track record of being cruel to children has absolutely no fucking right to take any child into a room by herself. Period. Yelling or not.

Amanda said...

I don't think you're overreacting. You have to get this out of your system, and frankly the school has been idiotic moving a FIRED, hateful bus driver to a position where she is surrounded by children constantly.

What genius came up with that plan anyway?

Sadly, your daughter was caught in the crossfire.

No child should be treated like that by school personnel. Sure, kids misbehave and there are consequences for misbehavior, but this wasn't a case where Watermelon was misbehaving. She was responding to being picked on by a group of her peers, and when the adult in charge figured she'd just let the kids keep picking and picking and picking... she reacted. Not by hitting, or calling names, but by screaming.

Frankly, I think she held it together rather well. She's 10. It's an unfortunate life lesson that kids are mean (she's already got some groundwork in this), and that not all adults are there to help you.

I'd share that lesson at your meeting with her teacher and the administration, perhaps. I find that a logical, factual, pleasantly calm fury tends to work nicely.

Hugs, Draz... this sucks. I read somewhere that "the decision to have children means to walk around forever with your heart outside your body," and it's moments like this that bring it home to me.

Jen from Oregon said...

Grrr. I had a huge comment and the internet ate it!
I'm sorry Draz.
I fought the school/board/teachers on my oldest sons behalf for years (He has ADHD) they always suggested I drug him. I always suggested they adapt his education plan as he had a recognized disability that qualified him for an IEP.
Never happened! He graduated at 16 with his GED and he has done very well since then. I do know that some of the ridicule has had an impact on him when he really couldn't control some of his actions.
I'm a doormat unless it has to do with my kids. I hope you and your child receive an apology and a solution!

Laura Belle said...

First, let me say that this will come to end. Just not as soon as you would like. Watermelon will grow up, develop some defenses, as Karen said, and the kids will become less mean. I promise.

Second, that 'teacher' needs to be taken out back and bleep bleep, bleep bleepity bleep bleep. But seriously, I know violence isn't the answer, I just wish that in a perfect world, she gets her due. I understand that a 'teacher' doesn't want to call a parent every time they need to talk to a child, BUT there is NO situation when a 'teacher' should yell or 'put down' the character of a child. EVER. And if that teacher feels the need to pull that child aside to 'talk' about correcting their behavior, I at least think a parent should be notified.

Keep your chin up buttercup. It'll get better. Watermelon seems like she is a smart and wonderful girl, and she grow to be a smart wonderful woman, dispite these moments.

Pamela E. Williams said...

Ok, I don't even know what to say about this. First off you are NOT over-reacting. This is very serious. And believe me I know about this situation. I have had my fair share of run-ins with my son's teachers and with bullies (gang members) when he was in school. Middle school was the worst with one of the teachers in a parent meeting (including my son) telling me I was teaching my son to think he was better than others. In that same meeting a teacher got mad at what I was saying and decided to get in my face. I was sitting and she was standing.

I said all that to say this. You MUST do everything in your power to protect Watermelon. If that means going to the board an the superintendent then you do that. I have and it pays off. They will see that you are not playing when it comes to your child. That teacher must be reprimanded and there needs to be a change. The school needs to institute a anti-bullying program. Please when you get a chance look at this video.

There are 6 parts. It was very eye opening. This was broadcasted on NBC Dateline last week. Everyone needs to see this video.

I pray that Watermelon is ok and that she will be ok. This is never easy for the child but sometimes I think it is even more excruciating for the parents.

Read said...

Of coures you're not overreacting! I'm so sorry for Watermelon, for you, and for Rambo.

At our school those kinds of people are called "para-professionals" and I swear to God it must be a requirement that they suck with kids. We've had consistent problems with these women, with both my boys (and my kids couldn't be any more different).

I'm glad you have a meeting scheduled already, and if possible I'd get on the phone with the principal today just to give her a heads up that there are serious problems. It wouldn't hurt the principal to hear the emotion in your or Rambo's voice (though your's would probably be better).

I've had nothing but good experiences with the principals at our schools (this is not a true statement if I were talking about the vice principals) but in my experience they desparately don't want anything like this to happen at their school. They will be horrified that it did and want to take immediate steps to keep it from happening again.

In our situation with my 10 year old we had that initial sit down with the principal and then with her and his new teacher who was chosen with Jack's prior issues in mind - and throughout the year we've touched base with both of them to see what they see. I have wanted to make sure they know that I'm paying attention. I wasn't satisfied with that initial conversation - I will be satisfied in a year or so when I'm confident these grown up bullies aren't giving Jackson any more trouble. (nearly all of Jackson's issues came from a variety of different para-professionals who were enabled by some teachers who weren't assertive enough).

We worked closely with the principal to pick his teacher this year and that's made a world of difference for him.

I wish I had more things to say - but you are absolutely not overreacting and getting in front of the principal is the right thing to do. If you don't already have it, get her email address and in the future you can send her emails once a week or so, just to let her know what's going on - big or small.

Cuz maybe it'll get back to where it had been where watermelon and rose were getting along, but there will still be future bumps in the road and you can make sure she knows about every single one of them (no matter how trivial) - without having to talk to her face to face.

Good luck to all of you!!!

Theresa aka Tessie Rose said...

I hope everything works out okay. It's sucks when your kids are hurting!

MandaPanda said...

I don't think you're overreacting. Bullying today isn't like what it was when we were kids. It's so much nastier now. It's not so much the bullying from the kids that makes me angry though. It's that teacher. It is NEVER acceptable to discipline a child without another person present...EVER. Not in this day and age. And I"m sorry but yelling at her is completely unacceptable. Yelling at children, especially in a place of education, is unacceptable. I yell at my kids..they're MY kids. If someone else does it, watch out. I'm sitting here livid for you. I say release Rambo and let him have it. Seriously though, another meeting is necessary and as many meetings as it takes. I would even threaten to go to the media with the different stories of bullying not being handled appropriately and children being disciplined by screaming behind closed doors with no one else present. The media eats stories like this up due to recent problems with bullying. Maybe that would move them to take action. Remember the squeaky wheel gets the oil. It's your job to make sure your daughter is treated with least by the other adults in her life. Kids will be kids but adults should know better.

JourneyBeyondSurvival said...

Oh, Drazil.

I don't know. KNowing your background story, I can see exactly why you are where you are. Knowing your version you share here of Rambo, I can see it too. I would be there too.

But when I think about the school, I don't know what to say. I don't know how to get what WAtermelon needs without her becoming a further target of the teachers, admin and kids. I so wish I did.

At home, the best thing I can think of is to build up her confidence. The one thing that is working for me and missTHANG lately is cooking dinner together. She does it. All by herself. Just a simple recipe. Like quesadillas, or spagetti. My daughter watching the whole family enjoy her meal gives her a boost that lasts at least a couple of days. Besides, anything that helps us spend more positive time together helps.

DiZneDiVa said...

I can't imagine what it is like raising a child in this day and age, I was hurt and crying constantly as a child because of the teasing over my red hair... and it made it so that I remember almost nothing in grade school but that. And those kids were nice compared to the teasers of today. Bullies used to punch you and beat you up with fists, and now they are more likely to beat you down with words... Which heals much slower, if at all. I don't have any words of wisdom for you Draz, I will just pray that these children especially Rose, find peace in their homes and hearts, and I am so glad that Watermelon has a loving family to come home to everyday, so she can keep peace in her heart. XOXO *M*

Stacey said...

Coming from a place where I was bullied mercilessly, she needs someone to step into her corner. You are not over-reacting. I had no one and I will only say, I am lucky to be here today it got so bad at a few times in my life. Only one time in my life did my parents stick up for me with a teacher and it meant so much to me.

Side note, I recently emailed one of the vice-principals of my jr. high (he's still there). I finally told him of the terror I received from one of his teachers and a large number of her student minions. He was absolutely appalled and told me that I should have spoken up one of the many times she sent me to his office. I emailed him because, even though he doled out the paddlings, he did it from a place of respect and was never one to hold a grudge.

I hope Watermelon gets the help and support from the school she needs. I knew she will from you and Rambo. :)

Beth Ann said...

Drazil, you & Watermelon are in my heart. I am so far removed from this topic, that I have NO advice to give. But I want you to know we are all pulling for you & W!

Laurie said...

This is huge. I am sorry. I am also totally impressed that Watermelon is a good athlete, it will serve her well.
Hang in there.

Sandy Lee said...

Oh Sweetheart. What a horrible situation. But as Laurie said above, Watermelon should never not try her best when playing with the boys (or girls). That is so 70's when girls were expected to not show their true selves. The only advice I can give-tell her that she should never underperform just to make someone else feel better.

Do you think she might be interested in Karate. My kids went for years and the whole experience taught them about respect and how to deal with others. The message of karate (watch Karate Kid now on DVD) is to avoid "fighting" and teaching the skills to get out of a lot of situations and build self-esteem. Maybe look into a class since she is athletic.

We are all sending out strength vibes to you to help deal with this. Hope you feel the love.

Justawallflower said...

I can't believe you would ever question your parenting skills! You are obviously a GREAT mother, with a great parenting partner as well. Your daughter (both of them) are wonderful children because of that. Look at how well she is handling this whole situation! I do not think you are over reacting. Best of luck to all of you, and don't let Watermelon change who she is because of others. (((hugs))) to you and her!

Dazee Dreamer said...

You need to call your local news channel right now, and get them to come do a story on it. That's right, show them you are sick and tired of it. That lady had NO FREAKING RIGHT to yell at her. and her teacher is a bitch. Sorry, but if she didn't do anything about it, she is. I'm so freaking pissed off right now. OMG.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong here but as a mother we never want to put the blame onto our children . In our eyes they are never in the wrong and always seem to be perfect, to us. But others may see more clearly, maybe your watermelon is not so perfect after all, maybe she has been causing some of her own problems. But when it comes down to it a person that dislikes kids should never be able to take one aside and yell at them for whatever the reason, she has no qualifications and should have adressed watermelons teacher or headmaster to deal with it.And yes i do have 4 of my own kids who range in age from 6 to 17 so i do know what i am talking about.

Dizzy Girl said...

Sounds brutally tough girl- sorry I wish I could offer advice- but since I have no children- I don't feel like I should. The only thing I feel comfortable saying is stick with your husband and work together as a team. You can do this- I know you have anxiety and these types of situation always seem to make it a 100 times worse, but you also have a husband to support you and stand with you- and that means so much. You can do this!



Dinnerland said...

Draz, first thx for the support on my blog-- and second: OMG how horrid this whole thing is!!! Does your state have strong bullying laws? Mine does and your school may NEED to do more. Can you get in touch with state authorities??? This story made me SO mad for you, Watermelon, Rambo... ack.
Most important-- keep on being there for Watermelon... I think it is ok to explain how unfair things are right now but that you and your family love her. It is obvious how much you and Rambo love her, so share that with her.
There are no easy answer in this situation-- but I'd say if you can go over these assholes heads to a state official (even a senator!) I might do that. CHeck the state laws on bullying, there are some really, really tough and new ones out there.... xoxo DL

Joanna said...

You are most defintiely NOT over reacting. In fact, you're probably handling it MUCH better than I would have - or did, actually.

A very similar situation happened to my daughter - and I took the Rambo approach. I went straight to the school - ended up getting into a verbal altercation with the principal, then drove my butt straight to the superintendant and repeated the process with him.

Yeah, as parents, we're supposed to show more self control - but when our children are treated this way...but an ADULT nonetheless...we need to take action!!

My outburst ended with a full investigation of the situation. Counselors, teachers, school staff - they were all involved. The superintendant ended up getting fired (for something else) and the new superintendant also got a visit from me to see the whole thing through.

Now, the school has a very strict policy about no child being "interrogated" without a parent being given the option to attend.

The bullying situation has changed, also, and my daughter isn't very happy that her mom is the cause of it...but her life is much happier.

The school no longer allows any form of verbal jokes about other students, sneering, laughing at, etc. Students can loose recess for laughing at a child. Yes, it's over the top - but I think it's necessary. It stopped the attacks on my daughter...and other children are now appreciating the rules being harder.

I think it might not be a bad idea to let Rambo off his "leash" so to speak - the school needs to hear about this AND do something about it!!

Stephanie said...

I just love Anonymous posters who critizice and offer their thoughts but don't have the gumption to post under their real name. If you can't stand behind your opinion with your name, it doesn't matter in my eyes ff you have 1 kid or 4, quantity does not equal quality and she should not be calling you out, Draz.

Ms. Chunky Chick said...

I.WANT.TO.PUNCH.THE."AIDE".IN.THE.FACE. I don't think you are over reacting and I would file a formal complaint with the school district and keep copies. It is horrid and makes my heart hurt for Watermelon.

Mommyto3andahusky said...

Love your blog! I am your newest follower! :) Erin

LDswims said...

I'm sorry I'm just seeing this but no you are absolutely not over-reacting. That "librarian's
behavior is entirely inappropriate. I'd be livid, too! I'd have a hard time not reciprocating to the dumbass, as well. I will be thinking of you this afternoon as you go into this meeting. This should so be over. I just want to hug you both!!