I am Every Bullied Child – Teachers Bully Children

No BulliesTonight, I am going to step out of the norm and address a very real problem that has become an issue in my household.

My child is in a center based gifted program in Chesterfield County, Virginia.  She earned that spot after numerous tests, and has made it from the 3rd grade to the 4th grade.  This is a critical year as she makes the leap to 5th grade.

At the beginning of this school year, the gifted teacher who was supposed to teach the class, became suddenly ill, and was forced to leave under the Federal Law, the Family Medical Leave Act.  It was very much a shame because she is an amazing teacher.  However, with her sudden departure, the Center Based Gifted Program was unable to find an accredited teacher to take the class. Under the Federal Law, they are not allowed to fill the position for 12 weeks.

There was one substitute after another assigned to the class.  No homework was coming home graded, tests were begin given on subject matter that hadn’t yet been taught, and there was no clear curriculum established.  They eventually assigned a substitute to the class who is not certified to teach gifted children, and does not have the necessary credentials to be a teacher.

We sent repeated emails to the Center Based Gifted Program, addressing concerns over the competence of this substitute and questioned their plans for the future until the certified gifted teacher returned.  These emails were forward on to this substitute, who took it as a personal affront.  These emails were meant to be kept in confidence, however, they were not.

As a result, the following sequence of events has occurred, events that have completely overshadowed our year, and taken the wind out of the sails of our holidays, and my child’s previous zeal for learning.

Incident #1

My wife attended a Parent/Teacher conference with the substitute.  To her horror, my child’s desk had been moved away from the rest of the class, barely able to see the front of the class, isolated from the rest of the children. The substitute was unable to provide any grades, or discuss my child’s performance.  But, the substitute did find the ability to berate my wife for questioning the curriculum and the path of the gifted program.  The substitute went so far as to say that my wife was “disruptive to your child’s education” by questioning the substitute’s methods.

My wife immediately went to the Principal. No corrective action was taken against the substitute, but my child’s desk was returned to the group.

Incident #2

A project grade came home. My child’s work exceeded the criteria for the project, and the substitute deducted points from my child’s grade with no explanation.  The principal was notified of this, and there has been no resolution or response since mid November.  Over the course of four months, only seven pieces of work have been graded out of the countless other assignments that have been turned in.

Incident #3

After the incident with the parent/teacher conference, and right before Thanksgiving break, the entire class was given a treat. The substitute announced to the rest of the class that my child did not deserve one and did not get one.

Incident #4

This past Tuesday my daughter, who had already had a cold, was forced to walk in 30 degree weather around the track of the school during recess for handing a ruler to another student.

Incident #5

Yesterday, my daughter wore a necklace to school.  By mid-morning it was causing irritation around her neck.  She was attempting to take the necklace off.  Rather than assist my child in doing so, they berated her until she got it off, then took it from her.

The substitute subsequently sent my child to the counselor’s office for further admonishment.

Incident #6 — The straw that broke the camel’s back.

Today my child and classmates were given snowflake ornaments they had made for Christmas trees.  The substitute accused my child of playing with hers.  The substitute summarily took if from my child, crumbled it up, and threw it in the trash.  When my child became upset and started crying, the substitute mocked her by saying, “Oh, did that upset you?”

My child has been a straight A student the entire year despite this malicious and odious person.  There still has been no response from the School District, Department of Human Resources or the Principal of this school other than numerous disingenuous emails and phone calls from the school principal.  But, as all of you know, I am a firm believer that it is our responsibility to fix these things.  While I understand the plight of teachers, who are overworked and underpaid, they are civil servants.  You pay for them, they work for you and you entrust your child’s future in them.

What I have learned is that one should not automatically believe a teacher when they say that your child is the problem.   You know your child better than anyone.  If you feel that your child is being mislabeled, it is your right to question the motives and methods of our school system.

I know that my child is not the problem because other teachers have expressed being upset my child would not longer be in their class.

This substitute is harassing and bullying my child because we questioned their ability to teach gifted children.  And any of you who are a parent of a gifted child know very well, they are aloof, inquisitive, opinionated, and prone to lose focus if the teacher is not challenging them.  And if they are not being challenged, it is not the child’s fault.  It is squarely on the shoulders of these teachers we trust our children to six hours a day.

Am I angry?  No.  I am disgusted with the lack of accountability in our educational system.  These children are our future.  And my child is being bullied by someone who is not qualified to be in the classroom.

This post will be beamed across the TwitterVerse and Facebook with an estimated audience of over 2 million people.  It is time to send a message that we as parents will no longer accept substandard values in our schools, the schools we pay our taxes to utilize.

Please share this if you agree.  If you do not, feel free to comment below.

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9 thoughts on “I am Every Bullied Child – Teachers Bully Children”

  1. Michael – I’ve had plenty of issues with education systems in the past, so I can relate. Incident #3 and #6 really pisses me off. If I were in your situation, I’d probably be in jail. Hope the situation resolves soon.

    1. FlyTrapMan,

      I’m lucky Im not in jail right now. I’ve had to really curtail my emotions with this. Thank you for your support. We have to be vigilant with these matters. And people always forget, teachers can be bullies just as much as a kid.

      Thank you again,
      Michael

  2. Some people should not be teachers and have no business in a classroom. That such people can no only get accredited but hired is a disgrace. This coming from someone who dealt with several such teachers in Jr. high and high school. One teacher I had, had an 83% fail rate for her classes and was fired the year after I graduated. Not only was she fired, she was barred from applying to any teaching position in the entire district.

    That being said. EVERYONE has people they answer to. If going to the principal doesn’t seem to be accomplishing anything. What about the local school board? If there is still nothing, check with your county or state’s board of education. If that even fails, you can also always fall back on public opinion. Call in to local news stations and ask if they would be willing to look into the story. Call enough attention to it, and eventually, they will have no choice but to respond.

    1. Thank you Shaun for your support. You are so very right. I am taking this to the extreme. The snowflake he destroyed was a gift from her to my wife. You can imagine how much resolve I’ve had to invoke not to be in jail right now.

  3. Oh man, that’s rough. Speaking in this paradigm and as a father of three, that’s would make me, um, unhappy.

    Speaking as knowing Myself, I am so vindictive and hurtful when I fail to admit and accept that I am the child, the substitute, the principal, and the parents all at the same time.

    Oh, to see the day when I no longer need to hate and hurt Myself – but help Myself and lift Myself up.

    Peace,
    Ik

    1. Ik,

      The entire affair was needless. I know that you share my sentiment. As a parent, we forget Ourselves, and become our children.

      My daughter spent all of last night, in tears, trying to recreate the snowflake that was summarily destroyed by the substitute. It was a present for my wife for Christmas.

      Thank you for your support

      Peace, my friend

  4. I would like to hear more about this, my son (2nd grade) has just tested gifted and we were asked if we wanted to send him to the Gifted Center, or leave him at his current school ( same school district ). We are in a quandary, as we know he is not being challenged enough at school, and we want to right by him, but I am seeing too many negatives about the school where the center is, and now your story has sent chills down my back.

    1. Dave, Thanks for commenting.

      The unfortunate aspect of this event was that the school’s hands were tied on hiring a full-time teacher due to the Family Medical Leave Act. After the time period for that expired, the school hired an amazing teacher and my child is thriving as a result.

      I definitely suggest the center based gifted program over the school based gifted because your child will be with other children like him, rather than singled out in the school based program. Plus, the other children will challenge him in addition to the curriculum.

      This tale was not just for the gifted program. It was more a cautionary tale to all parents that we should not immediately believe the teacher over the child. I am happy to report, the teacher I referred to in my post is no longer in a position where this would ever happen again. The system does work, just….very….slow.

      I hope this helps :)

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