At wits end with bullying!!!

mom2emallNovember 5, 2008

I am at my witts end with bullying! My school district is small and has no bus service because we are all in walking distance from the schools. They do have crossing guards at the busy streets (which are only 2 lane streets anyways). Our school district has a primary center, intermediate center, jr high, and high school.

Last year at the primary center my son had a boy who would bother him on the way to school. Throw his hats in trees, push him, grab his book bag and toss it, etc. I kept telling my son to stay away from the kid and I went in and talked to the principal. Was told that it was off school property so they could do nothing but talk to the boy. Seemed to help and the rest of the year was fine.

This year it has started again with the same boy. My son came home with a welt on his head from being hit repeatedly by an umbrella. I went to the school (he is at the intermediate center now) and the principal seemed to care but said again that it was not school property so she could just talk to the kids. A few days after the talk the same kid started punching my son as they approached the busy street. My son punched back. The kid threw my sons book bag into the busy street. My sd was right there and told the kid to stop it. The kid began punching her in the back then.

They came home and told me and my husband went right up to the school to hear more of the same. I went to the kids house and the kid lied through his teeth the whole time and I even busted his lies. He first said he never touched either of my kids. Then he said he apologized. When I asked him why he would apologoize for not touching them he said maybe he accidentaly did it. I looked at him and his parents and said my son did not have a welt on his head from accidently being knocked into by an umbrella once! The parents said their son would walk the long way to school from now on to avoid any problems (but they still did not admit he was wrong).

Fastforward a few weeks and my son comes home the other day saying the kid was teasing him on the way to school. The kid is now walking the same way again. I said words do not hurt ignore him and walk away. Then yesterday my son comes home to say that the kid was walking behind him on the way to school and stepping on the back of his shoes and trying to push him forward right by the busy street. SD confirmed the story as well.

I tried going to talk to the parents again afterschool and they were not home. I went again this morning after walking my kids to school and they were not there.

I talked to all the crossing guards who have not seen the fighting. They have seen the exchanges of dirty looks and words. One crossing guard saw the kids all around eachother the one day when my son got hit with the umbrella, but she did not see the hit. She did tell the kids to all go home and stay away from eachother.

I do not know what to do!!! The school will not even call the kids parents because it is not happening on school property! The parents think their kid is telling the truth...even though I have heard 2 other parents have gone to their house telling the kids parents that their kids are getting bullied by him.

I have tried to contact the other 2 kids parents to see if we could all come together to stop this, but have not gotton a return call.

I do not know what to do anymore!!! HELP!! IDEAS???

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One time when my DD was in 4th grade, a boy punched her in the stomach and told her if she told her anyone she would do worse. He had been bullying others. I lost my temper, called the boys father and told him if it happened again, I would be filing a police report. That got his attention.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 10:00AM
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Bullying has to be cut off forcefully when it starts. You have tried the sensible thing, now I think it is time to inform the parents you will be filing for a restraining order and/or assault charges.

There is a good book I just read "Please Stop Laughing at Me" that explains bullying and the effects on children.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 10:09AM
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I agree with kkny that if the bully keeps it up and no one does anything about it, I'd go over the kid's parents' heads and the school officals' heads and talk directly to the cops. And maybe try to get the cops to either scare the crap out of the bully and/or to administer a psychiatric evaluation of the kid's sociopathic tendencies (any charge for which to be billed to the kid's parents, along with your kids' medical bills, when the results show the bully for what he is).

I might also consider equipping one or both of your kids with some kind of small tape recorder or cell phone with a recording feature (or even with video capacity) to catch the bully in the act. If it's your son who is usually the target, SD can be recording (as secretly as possible) while the bully is harassing your son. The bully can't control them both at one time. Then your kids should be prepared to run like hell immediately afterwards and scream at the top of their lungs so the bully can't catch up with them. Then present the evidence to his parents and say that this is grounds for your kids to carry pepper spray, and if they don't want it used on their son in self-defense, they need to either nip his bullying in the bud or figure out how to keep him away from your kids. (You can't threaten this *before* there is hard evidence, though, or your kids will be accused of being the aggressors.)

It also might not a bad idea to ---if you can--- enroll your kids in something like karate or just a good self-defense class.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 10:25AM
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At this point I would most definitely go to the police & insist on filing a official complaint along with obtaining a restraint/protective order. You have tried to do it the nice way, now its time to get their attention. Take your son to a counselor & send them the bill. I would also go directly to the school board superintendent since this has been going on for more than 1 school year.

Kids can really be creeps sometimes but I feel its learned or accepted behavior. My little sister had twin boys bully her all the time when she was 13, one day she got off the school bus and they started pushing her, she is very tiny. End result she got so angry she beat them BOTH up & their parents called the police on her! LOL. Those boys then got teased for years about getting beat by a girl.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 10:42AM
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I like the tape recorder idea. Ask SD to tuck the recorder into her pocket, and discreetly press record when the trouble starts. Then if the parents say "But our sweet and precious angel would never bully another child" they can hear it for themselves. BUT, check with the laws on voice recordings in your state.

Also, if it keeps up and the school says "Meh, not our problem" then go to the police. They can't do much to the under-12 set, but they sure can scare them!
Plus, if what's happening is on-record, the police are more likely to take it seriously if it continues or escalates.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 11:34AM
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Waste no time in calling the police. This type of thing must be stopped at once.

When my DD was 13 a boy would call her horrible names every time he saw her. Horrible names with sexual connotations. I knew the public school was not going to do anything about it. We had been in the office over issues before and I was never happy with their response. My daughter waited until this kid did it again. It was off of school property. As she walked by him and a group of his buddies he called her a "Filthy Wh_ _ _!" She turned around and walked up to him and stood in front of him. She asked him what he had just said and he gladly repeated it. She then doubled up her fist and decked him. She split his lip and all in front of his "buddies" From that day forward whenever he saw my DD in the hallway he would take the next turn. He made sure that he never was around her again. I knew he wouldn't turn her in, too many witnesses as to why it happened and it wasn't on school property. Sometimes that is what it takes. They need to get whats coming to them.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 11:52AM
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I'm right on board with calling the police, filing a report, possibly getting a restraining order, etc. Whatever you have to do--the most important thing is to document everything that's going on and by going through the authorities, you will be doing so.

I'm sorry! That is really crappy that the school won't get more involved. :(

Don't think twice about going over the parents' heads. You've tried to handle this "nicely" and it's not working--ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 12:35PM
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I would call the boys parents again and inform them that if there is so much as a scratch or any type of harassment towards your son EVER again that you will be filing charges. Hopefully that will put some fire under the parents butts... another thing I would definately be doing is physically walking my child to school..I know this is unfair that you should have to but it sounds like it has gotten to the point where your son is being tormented..i can only imagine that he dreads the walk to and from school every might also check into a self defense class for kids..that might give him a boost of selfconfidance to stand up to this bully...

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 1:43PM
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I have no doubt that my son could defend himself and hurt the other child. My son has been in tackle football for years as well as other sports. I have watched him throw kids across the football field that are bigger than he is.

But, I have always instilled in my son that fighting is not the answer. I am afraid that if he does begin to fight to solve this that he will use fighting to solve other disagreements in the future. Kind of letting the genie out of the bottle if you know what I mean!

So far my son has only pushed the kid away from him or hit him back one punch for one punch type of thing.

I think that today afterschool we will head to the police dept. and see what they can do to help.

I have offered to drive my son to school or walk with them and he always says that he likes to walk because many times other friends of his walk with them. And the bully is not picking on him every day, it is like once or twice a week (which is still wrong!)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 2:02PM
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I tell you what, Mom2emall, it seems like we have to strike a balance. I'm walking that line with my DD too. She's very nice and very outgoing, but also passive. If a kid hits her on the playground, she used to just sit there and cry. Wouldn't even get a teacher.

I didn't really know what to do either, in my experience it is a dog eat dog world so I was very tempted to say hit em back! But basically what I did was tell her you give them 3 chances. First time, tell them to stop. Second, get an authority figure. Third, all bets are off -- knock em one.

The bullying books I've read said that kids pick on other kids that will not fight back. Thats the key.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 4:29PM
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The suggestions to involve the police and courts seem appropriate, since you've already spoken the the school and the parents with no cure. Hopefully, that will end the bullying for once and for all.

But if not... As much as I detest fighting - and I do - sometimes 'playground justice' is just what's needed to solve the problem. If your son is big enough and strong enough that he is likely to win a fight, a fight might just end the bullying. Imagine your son doing an 'about-face' and telling the bully that he hasn't wanted to 'flatten him' before because he would get in trouble -- but that his parents have told him it's OK now given the ongoing difficulties. Then follow it up with a "make my day" challenge.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 4:33PM
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Just want to clarify that 3 chances are for physical bullying.

For verbal bullying we have practiced giving the finger :) Just kidding! We've come up with some insults that are really that bad, but enough to get her away from being a scapegoat. And now I forgot what they were, I'll have to ask her when I get home :)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 4:34PM
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You might consider also getting your son into some self defense classes or karate. The long term effects on a persons sense of well being and self esteem from being bullied is really something to consider. Your son could develop some major fear/anxiety problems as a result.

When I was a Senior in in high school I got the you know what beat out of me because of a brief exchange of words. It happened at school at an after school activity. There were teachers there and a lot of students. No one stepped into help me. I went to the hospital for a head x-ray. I went back to school 3 days later with 2 black eyes and was escorted to and from the bathrooms for fear of my safety. The 2 sisters that did it were black, I am white. This was in 1976. The school didn't want to expel the girls that beat me because it might cause problems. Needless to say it ruined my senior year in school. Everywhere I turned the sisters were in my face, on purpose. It was very difficult for me.

Think about giving your son some lesson's in self defense. He will feel safer when you are not around. My DH has taken karate and although he is not a big man, he is a tough man and I know he could take care of himself and do some harm if he had to.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 7:02PM
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why do you go to school if it does not happen in school. go to the police. File a police report. DD and my nephew were bullied by a neighbour girl (elementary and middle school age), most times not on school property but when they got off the bus and such.

I went to the police department, filed a report, two officers were in our subdivision in an hour. next time i just called, didn't even go there. Parents were pretty scared that there is a report filed. and evidence is right there. Like bruises, broken possessions, scrtaches, etc
It put the end to it. she didn't bother DD anymore.

that girl actually ended up in a jivenille eventually because she was doing more stuff later, it just started wiht bullying.

Just go to the police and file a report. describe what happened. that's it.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 1:00PM
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Well if you don't want your son fighting back I guess the cops are the only way to go. My father was a Marine. He taught me to defend myself and also made it clear to me that if a kid was repeatedly bullying me I was to tell the teacher. If that didn't stop the harrassing I was to whoop the kids @$$.

My parents went to a kids parent once to complain about bullying and they did the same "DUH, Not MY kid. MY kid is perfect." routine. I wound up planting a Trapper Keeper across that kids face mid seventh grade school year busting his lip. When that parent called to complain to my parents guess what they sid, "Duh. not MY kid. MY kid is perfect." When I got sent to the office for it my parents defended me saying they had contacted the school and the childs parent with no results and they told their daughter to do whatever necessary to stop the bullying. I got suspended off the bus for three days but mom happily brought me to school and dad told them I would bust his lip again if he didn't leave me alone.

That kid never messed with me again.

We tell our girls that if they are getting hit on by another child, tell the teacher. If the kid continues....bite the TAR out of him. We also tell them to have each others backs. Neither J or I want the girls being victims and when adults fail to remmedy bullying (teachers, bullies parents, crossing guards etc.) the child being bullied always winds up the victim.

P.S. I HATE a bully

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 1:35PM
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When I just threatened to go to the police over a 4th grader punching, it got the parents attention. Not saying -- your kid is hitting. Saying if this happens again, I am going to the cops. Apparently other parents had complained and I dont know what the communication in the family was, but the next day the father was in the principals office to get her view on it, and my DD told me later the kid was told never never to even get near DD.

I dont think hitting is a solution. What does that teach child? What if two years later, someone pulls a knive or a gun?

PS The kid punched my DD becuase the boys woouldnt let him sit with them, and he didnt want to sit with girls (more girls than boys in the class). In retrospect the aids (this was a lunch), should have figured out problem later and made each table half and half.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 1:47PM
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Hitting the a$$hole worked for me:) To each their own I suppose.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 3:40PM
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KKNY, I don't understand. A kid punched your daughter because...he didn't want to sit by her?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 3:46PM
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The instructions we give to our son are simple:
- The first time someone bullies you, ask him to stop.
- The second time, TELL him to stop.
- The third time, if there's a teacher or adult around, ask for help. If not, POUND him.

And this is what our son has done, with only one event ever escalating to the POUND stage. Since my son is in Special Ed., I've discussed this proactively with the school in our IEP meetings and told them that is our policy, and that if our son was ever disciplined for hitting another student that I would be investigating very closely how events had escalated to that point without their having intervened. (My son is not an aggressor and would be slow to even recognize all but the most egregious insults.)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 4:38PM
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I would contact the police, but I would contact the school district superintendant. I'm sure it varies by state, county & district, but I would be willing to put money on the school having liability once the children are enroute to school.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 4:44PM
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I tend to tell my children that it is never okay to fight unless you cant walk away.... I especially stress this because these days (in our school system at least) it doesnt matter who started the fight and it doesnt matter why it happened. If you get caught fighting, you are suspended if not worse. There is a zero toleration policy in school. Although I realize we are talking about on the way to school here, I just dont want to get them confused as to when and where you would be allowed to do it. For me, if you can walk away then you need to.

But, here is thought for you....

When I was younger (cant really remember how young elem/middle school age) there was this boy. He was bigger than most of the other kids and just plain mean. He pushed, he hit, he said mean things. No one wanted to go near this kid because he was such a bully. My mom was picking us up from school and saw the boy and said (outloud actually) "enough is enough" She told all of us kids (there are four of us) to follow her. She walked right up to the kid and asked him if it was fun for him to have no one to play with because he was so mean to people. I think he mumbled something to her along the lines of no or something. So she told him we are going to play a game and all of these kids are going to play with you... but there will be no name calling hitting etc... So very very begrudingly all of us kids started playing hide and seek I think it was. After a while we were all having fun and the bully wasnt being a bully any more. When we got home my mom told us that sometimes some kids just dont know how to play nice with other people until you show them how. And we should never assume a bully is being mean just because he can. She told us sometimes just being nice to someone can change them for the better so we should always try to be nice and make friends... maybe they are just desperately looking for someone to like them. After that day we never had a problem with the bully and I have to say it was one of the greatest lessens she ever taught me. It was amazing to me at the time to watch this mean hateful kid turn into someone who was laughing and playing with us with no problems.... and someone who would say hi and be nice from that day forward. ..... Ofcourse she also taught us how to defend ourselves if the time came for that as well.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 9:33PM
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Silver, I think the little boy was frustated, and she was in wrong place at wrong time. Which I suspect is not uncommon, as to treatment by bullies. He had hit other kids before, and i suspect the mother had the "not my little angel" atitude when confronted. Honestly, it was the "dont you dare tell anyone" I found more disconcerting.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 9:45PM
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"The instructions we give to our son are simple:
- The first time someone bullies you, ask him to stop.
- The second time, TELL him to stop.
- The third time, if there's a teacher or adult around, ask for help. If not, POUND him."

This is pretty much precisely what we told the girls except if you see someone beating on your sissy you BOTH pound him. I refuse to tell any of my kids step or bio to be a punching bag. Jesus turned the other cheek and all but let's face it...he was JESUS! Morals are great to have but so is self-esteem and an intact face:)

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 10:49AM
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Well after talking to all of the crossing guards one of them said she will talk to the police (they work for the police). They have also begun to make the other boy walk a different way for part of the route. The other day I had the kids leave for school and then I went and parked in a lot near where all the problems have been happening. I sat and watched (without my son or the bully knowing that I was there). I used the record feature on my digital cam and got on tape the boy walking very fast to catch up to my son and walk next to him. He did not do anything to him, but I think it will be pretty good evidence that this boy is looking for trouble. He has been told to stay away from my son and he clearly is not following that.

So I also compiled a little calendar of dates that things occured and dates I talked to the principal and parents. So as soon as something else happens I am going to the police.

And to answer the ? about why I started with the school I figured since this was happening on the way to and from school that they could do something.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 2:32PM
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Sounds like you're gathering good evidence and really the more interesting question is why would the authorities (or even the kid's parents for that matter) think you were making it up? I mean, I suppose there are Munchausen-type sickos that would actually make something like that up, but that's pretty rare...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 4:02PM
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kkny, do you think this child is a bully, or just acting out because he didn't know what to do? I agree with you that the school kind of set him up to be upset with the table arrangement.

My daughter was hit yesterday by a boy at school, he hit her and another child. She told me about it, and said that the playground supervisor had taken care of the problem. I didn't see any need to talk to the school as the little boy wasn't continuously doing it (bullying), she wasn't hurt. She seemed to think the issue was over as well.

Mom of 4, that was a beautiful story. I think you are so very right that many bullies just don't know how to be friends. Your mom is a special person to be able to see that and figure out a way to handle it effectively. She's a great role model!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 4:45PM
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Good for you Mom2emall! You might want to do it again on Monday and bring a newspaper so you can shoot the headline mid-way through and document the date.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 6:45PM
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