Forget the sobering fact that our first lady has done absolutely nothing to address her promise to make bullying her cause during her time in office. (I wrote her and wasn’t even acknowledged; not surprised.) However, you can’t ignore the hard to read headlines that come our way far too often about children who have taken their lives due to bullying. It’s a story no one, no parent, no human being should ever have to read. Far too many questions remain when your stunned mind can formulate a response. Did the school know? If so, what did they do? Where were the bully’s parents through all this? Did they know? How can this still keep happening?
Regardless of who is at fault, bullying has been around forever and it’s not going away anytime soon. When my daughter came home on far too many occasions and told me about terrifying threats of physical harm, taunts about being ugly, stupid and suggestions to kill herself, she began to tell me that she wanted to die. I contacted the school, filled out “bullying and harassment forms” (for the absolute NOTHING they did), made phone calls, sent emails and nothing was ever done. Sure, I received a response that the issue was “being taken seriously and being looked into” and the next day, I would hear about it again.
Just before schools let out for the holidays, I came home from an errand to find my youngest daughter shaking, crying and terrified. She was on the verge of a panic attack. I found out that a group of girls had threatened to seriously harm her and that she was terrified, once again, of returning to the school. She was also afraid to tell me, wondering how I would react, even though she knew I’d been on her side. I had enough and told her that from that moment moving forward, she would no longer have to return to that school.
How are our children supposed to learn anything if they can’t even feel safe while going to and from school, being told they are going to be “pummeled”, “beaten” and “bloodied” by a gang of fellow 8th graders? The decision to pull her out of school may have been finalized by this last act of unacceptable terror, but I remember feeling powerless, unheard, alone and most of all, disgusted by the school and the district’s attention to any parts of what was happening to my daughter. I’d been down this road before with my son and knew that the only thing that saved him was his being moved to another educational institution that could better meet his needs.
Since that day when I told her she wouldn’t have to return to school, I have embarked on a challenging and difficult attempt at homeschooling her. Due to the school’s overcrowding and underfunded system, she has been socially promoted and now is completing math on a 2nd grade level, grammar at 3rd-4th and many other strong deficiencies. Her autism and LD in mathematics were basically being swept under the rug and despite my constant outcry for help, I was constantly told that she was doing fine. Only the best work that showed intense help from another aide was sent home and I was shown only what she could do if someone was there for her, helping her fill out and complete everyone. On her own, she couldn’t complete paperwork. My questions of why she had rock bottom scores on the nationwide assessments were always met with, “Well, some children just don’t test well.” For every question, every challenge, there was always a way to brush it off.
Recently, I wrote to my Governor, the Superintendents of both the County and State school systems and my local news stations. CRICKETS. These entities are getting away with severe under-education of many children, social promotion and excuses about bullying. Parents have no recourse, nowhere to turn and cries for help are left unanswered and swept under the rug.
I’m getting tired of so much time going by and my daughter now being so far behind with high school her destination. My state has NO help whatsoever for parents who decide to home school. They are basically removed from the school system, access to curriculum, help, resources are removed and are thrown out alone. It’s no surprise to me to be honest, but I know there are states out there who recognize the need for homeschooling and are working together to make the experience more vibrant and viable for many families. For now, I am on my own, doing the best I can to create a program for her that will help her succeed despite the abysmal education she’s received so far.
I have no intentions on giving up and letting the school system win. I have full intentions of continuing to write, call, email and let them know that I’m not going away and that I’m going to hold them accountable for what they have allowed to happen. I’d like to think that there will be a resolution and hope for her, but for now, I’m doing what I can to get her caught up.
In the meantime, I sleep well at night when I see the schools in my vicinity in the news when students bring guns to school, children are beaten by other children in the parking lot and overcrowding is reaching historic levels. Why are we not putting our children’s education and safety at the highest of our priority levels? I’m still waiting for an answer.