KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Friday, October 26, 2007

I Am Mother, Hear Me Roar

Don't bully this childOur 6-year-old first-grader, Jared, told us last night that he has been being bullied on his school bus for some time now.

A boy I'll call Joe, whom Jared says is a first-grader, has been tripping Jared, flicking him with his fingers, and hitting him in the chest. Jared has a lump near his temple because, he says, Joe grabbed Jared's legs on yesterday's ride home, which made Jared fall onto the bus floor between the seats and hit his head on the metal back of a bus seat. Jared says the leg-grabbing happens quite often. He says that occasionally, the bus driver sees what's going on and tells Joe to stop but that Joe just starts up again when the bus driver doesn't see him.

My husband, Ed, remembered that Mr. D., Jared's teacher, said at the school open house that he detests bullying and will do anything he has to to put a stop to it, and he wanted parents to let him know if their children are being bullied. So I e-mailed Mr. D. this morning and asked for his help. I mentioned that Ed and I would like to see two adults be paid to ride every full-size school bus to keep the children safe and to make driving safer for the bus drivers. He responded immediately:

I am on the case. Would you like me to inform the assistant principal? She will be right on top of this. She is wonderful with the bus situations.

I also e-mailed the chairperson of the safety committee of the school's PTA (Parent Teacher Association). She wrote back:

I am sorry to hear your son is having a hard time. I highly recommend that you immediately contact [the principal] or [the assistant principal] yourselves. I know that they take the matter of bullying very seriously, and would want to hear from you.

As far as your proposal for aides to ride the buses, I am sad to say that in our current budget climate, this is not at all likely to happen. Programs and instructional staff are being cut left and right. I do not think a PTA meeting is the right forum for your concerns. I urge you to call the principals about this, as it is really, really beyond the scope of the PTA's safety committee. We are asked only to provide support on school grounds for snow days, early dismissals, concerts, etc.

Not the right forum?! I'm sure that if it was her child having his head banged into the bus seat, she'd think that the PTA was the proper forum. I think I feel an urge to attend a school board meeting coming on.

Updated 31 October, 2007


Anonymous said...

Poor little guy. He's lucky to have a mom like you.
That safety committee "chairperson" doesn't seem very interested in safety! I don't get it...

Imperatrix said...

Yeah, this PTA liason is being riduculous. On the other hand,the school seems to be on the ball, and really, the school employees (administration and teachers) have much more power in a situation like this.

Go, Mr D!

Rebecca :-) said...

Hello! I am interested to hear how this turns out! I have just started a brand new project designed to inspire children and teens who have experienced bullying. If you are interested in becoming involved or learning more about the project, feel free to contact me through http://survivingbullying.blogspot.com/

Stephanie E. said...

"Poor little guy" is right. How awful!

What a great teacher. And what an absurd response from the PTA rep. Before I reached the end of the post and saw that you had already said it, I too said to myself, "Not the right forum? Then what is?" This is serious stuff. I'm glad that at least the teacher realizes this.

If I didn't live halfway across the country, I would be there to support you at the school board meeting in an instant.

To those who may not have yet realized this--if you click on that sweet smiling face, an "I Am Woman" audio clip comes up. Priceless. :)

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

And the post's title links to Helen Reddy's official web site. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's too funny! (The post title link, I mean--bullying is NOT funny.)

It does sound like he has a really great teacher.

Lisa S. said...

Yeah, you better believe that PTA lady would be ON the bus herself if it were her kid being bullied. But until then... it won't be her problem.

Your poor little boy, my worst fear is that my son will be bullied.

Keep following up w/the principal & ass't principal, maybe there will be a parent conference involved, but don't give up!

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