Disgusted.

After hanging out with our neighbors this evening, we came home and I picked up my phone.  A friend had texted me to let me know that she was informed by another parent with a 6th grade child that the boy who assaulted Nick was in the cafeteria eating lunch today.

power

 

#1– What happened to the out of school suspension?

#2– This happened TUESDAY. Today is Friday. The boy ASSAULTED my child in front of the principal, teachers, and students.

#3– The principal, with whom I spoke on the phone this afternoon DID NOT MENTION he lifted the suspension! I had to find out from someone else.

#4– I am disgusted.  Other parents are disgusted. This is WRONG. There is no justice for the victims of bullying in the West Irondequoit schools. What will it take?

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Thoughts on Karen Klein

When I started this blog, it was out of frustration for what my son had endured at school because of a boy who had been mean to him on and off since their days in preschool. This was about my frustration with schools in general turning a blind eye to bullying and the constant excuses of parents who like to just say that bullying will “toughen up” a sensitive child or “it’s just boys being boys.”

I did not know that a few months down the road I would be addressing a bullying incident a few miles away in Greece, another large Rochester suburb. I am sure by now you all have hear of Karen Klein, the 68 year old bus monitor for the Greece Central School District. Whether you want to call this bullying or elder abuse, this incident is clearly reprehensible and was done by CHILDREN without a moral compass.

I am not an expert on elder abuse by any stretch, but what Karen Klein endured would fall into the elder abuse criteria according to the New York State Office of Children & Family Services website:

Under the Emotional Abuse heading, they describe it as “Willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, intimidation or other abusive conduct. This includes, but is not limited to, isolating or frightening an adult.”

“Flicking” this woman’s head, as evident in the video, would be a form of physical abuse, I would say.


It is just sickening to hear and see what these SEVENTH grade students did to this bus monitor. I do not think anyone with a sense of compassion can watch without having a range of emotions from shock to sadness to anger and disbelief filling their hearts.


Here is the video, which has made headlines all over the world. As I type this, more than 1.6 million viewers have seen this:





I have to say that I am amazed at the courage and restraint that Karen Klein had when she rode the bus with these “children” on Monday afternoon. I do not know if you or I could have listened to such hurtful things without lashing out as a way to cope with our hurt and anger.

I have said it before and I will say it again–this goes back to the way children are raised.

Respect must be instilled early on. Lead by example. If your children hear you speaking with contempt or with disrespect for your spouse, you are telling them it is OK to speak that way to others.  If you are hostile toward your children and call them names or make them feel worthless, you have NO ONE to blame but yourself for bringing them up this way.

I remember that along with “please” and “thank you”, respect and compassion were ingrained in me as far back as I can remember. I went to school respecting my teachers and being kind to my peers because I was taught that it was the right thing to do.  I remember being a child at the Palmyra Elementary School walking by the Principal’s Office. Just walking by the office made you have this fear that you never wanted to be the “bad” kid sitting across from Mr. Caringi because he just commanded respect and kindness.

How the Greece Central School District handles this is crucial.  They have a choice to make and how they deal with this will send a message (positive or negative) across the globe.

Karen Klein has stated that she does not want to press charges against these children.  I would think she would be well within her right to do so.  Maybe if more people were held accountable for their actions (or their parents) other bullies might be discouraged from further acts of violence and intimidation.

People around the world, though, are wrapping their arms around Karen Klein virtually. More than 12,000 people have donated money since yesterday on the fundraising website, Indiegogo. Started by Max Sidorov, a Toronto nutritionist, as a way to raise $5000 for Karen to have a dream vacation, people around the globe have chipped in. As I type, the total is $260,181! Maybe Mrs. Klein can have that dream vacation and add the rest to her retirement so she never has to work another day.

I want to say to Karen Klein that I am so sorry that people were so cruel to you.  You are loved and cared about by millions around the globe.  No one should ever have to endure the abuse you took. You showed grace and integrity–a lesson so many can learn from.

What are your thoughts on this incident? I’d love to know.

Sharing Some Thoughts…

It has been quite some time since I posted and I do apologize. Day to day life has kind of gotten in the way of me updating this blog.

So, what is new these days? Nicholas is doing very well. He is a resilient, positive boy who sees the good in people and he has really done remarkably well since his October incident. Thankfully, the bully has not bothered him and Nick chooses to hang around with his supportive, caring friends, especially G. down the street and his Ninjago-loving pal E.

I guess you could say that we have returned to “normalcy.” Please do not read this as total acceptance. I am extremely disappointed in our school’s handling of things and I do not hesitate to share my thoughts with others.  And I am quite certain that if anything happens again and gets shoved under the rug, that I WILL pull him out of the district and let the world know why.

After this happened, I had a decision to make–I could use my voice to shout from the rooftops via the media outlets here about how our district didn’t address the matter the best way they could, or I could remain vigilant in other ways by engaging in ongoing discussions with other parents in our school and others.

While more would have been done if I had gone the route I mentioned first, this wouldn’t have been the best option for our son. Nick knows I fight for him and will always do so. He faced some flack from classmates about me sharing my voice. My blog posts were shared by some parents with their children, who teased Nick and picked on him for having a loud-mouthed mom who “talks about other children” on her blog. One peer told him that his father “hates” him because he was a “wuss”. This really affected my son and bothered me enough so that I have had to choose some other options for our son’s extracurricular activities because I do not want our son ending up in a group being led by that dad. It’s a shame that there are those who do not have empathy for others or who believe bullying is a rite of passage. I can shield my son from people like that and have done so. That is my job as his mother.

I have continued to read your emails.

Are you in Michigan?  Attention Shelby Public Schools — there is a bullying problem that is not being addressed. I’ve been contacted by a mother who says her son and others are being repeatedly bullied and that despite going to the superintendent on numerous occasions, no one has protected her child. This is unacceptable.

I was pleased to see a front page article today in our daily paper, the Democrat and Chronicle, about bullying and the new documentary called Bully.

Here is a trailer from Bully:

I would like to see school districts offering screenings of the documentary for parents, teachers, administrators, and students to watch together. It really takes a whole community for change to occur and I think that this could spark true action and dialogue.

Do you plan to see Bully?  Will you take your children?

Schools get an F at protecting our kids.

The subject of bullying is back center-stage in the Rochester area lately, as it should be.

Nearby in Wayne County, the Marion Central School District is being sued by the mother of a high school student because they say that the district didn’t do enough to stop the repeated bullying of their son.  Here’s a story by WHAM’s Rachel Barnhart about this: click here.  According to the story, the child has been tormented for more than two years and over 30 complaints to the school’s administration were made.


In Spencerport, a girl took her own life last week.  Cameron DeVeronica was just 14.  Friends set up a Facebook page now with over 10,000 followers in an effort to raise awareness for what they believe was a suicide caused by bullying. According to reports in both mainstream and social media, this young girl was being bullied by female classmates.  The Ogden Police Department and Spencerport schools held a news conference last week trying to debunk the bullying rumors despite the fact that students have said otherwise. This hasn’t been sitting well with their community.


Another child has died. Once again, it looks like another local school district wants to look the other way and say “not here” and pretend bullying isn’t a cause for concern.


I have to applaud the Spencerport community, though, as a protest involving approximately 300 students and parents was held outside the Spencerport School District to demand an end to bullying. Due to this increased pressure from students who are sick of bullying, it looks like the district and police department might be pulling their heads out of the sand to do something….one can hope, at least.


In our own situation, it has now been 2 months since the incident at our school. I’ve given two full months and have gone through the cycle of anger, disappointment, sadness, etc. 


My son is OK now. His concussion has healed. He smiles and laughs and plays like a normal 8 year old. He has friends and is a good boy.  The big egg on his head may be gone, but I can assure you that the scars of bullying remain. This has affected all of us–I think the grown ups have taken the situation even harder than our resilient son.


If you know me at all, you know I am a pretty calm and collected person.  Deep down, though, I am furious. I am pissed off at our school for allowing this to happen and DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT. I am pissed off that their solution would be to have my son and the BULLY (it is what it is, folks, he’s a bully) go to the school counselor together to try to become friends. You know, if an adult was attacked, would the judge say that the victim of the assault should make nice with the criminal? No. So why should that be the solution here? I pulled Nick out of that joint counseling because he wasn’t comfortable and to be frank, I do not want my child to be friends with a bully. Would you?


The bottom line is that bullying occurs in nice suburbs and at top-ranked schools. Not just “other schools.” Our districts are failing our children.