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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Bullies are Untamed Animals

Doc Holliday: A man like Ringo has got a great big hole, right in the middle of himself. And he can never kill enough, or steal enough, or inflict enough pain to ever fill it.
Wyatt Earp: What does he want?
Doc Holliday: Revenge.
Wyatt Earp: For what?
Doc Holliday: Bein’ born.

I was on Facebook yesterday, as much as I hate that platform, and I noticed that someone had posted a link to this video.  First, I’m going to predicate all this by saying that I am not sure if it is a real or fake video, but I am posting it here because the message is a very real one, and it punctuates a growing problem in the world.

Now, before I was an awesome blogger, I too was a geeky, skinny kid in high school.  Yes I know its hard to imagine 😉  But I myself endured my own encounters with bullies, beginning when I was in the 6th grade.  It’s a horrible thing, but I survived, though I can’t help but wonder how my life would have been different today.  I am an introvert and very wary of people in the real world.  It took me many years after high school to realize that the bullying was done, and that I wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore.  Some people will say its a natural progression through adolescence, necessary to make the weak stronger.  But it doesn’t make anyone stronger, it breeds apathy and hatred.  It pushes us apart from one another.

I wish I had a short answer as to how to stop bullying, once and for all.  It is merely a residual instinct left from the time when we as a herd needed to weed out the weaker individuals.  The way animals do.  But have we not evolved beyond simple, instinct driven animals?  It appears we have not.  So many kids each year endure what Jonah, in the video below, have endured.  Some do not have the apparent resolve that Jonah has demonstrated, the willingness to endure and be a better person as a result.  Many kids kill themselves, turn to drugs, cut themselves or turn into bullies themselves.  We as adults must address this.

I’m not willing in giving anyone a free ride on this one.  Bullying begins at home.  If a child is a bully, the accountability falls squarely on the shoulders of the parent/parents.  It is not the responsibility of the society to raise your child — it is your responsibility.  I can say this because all of the bullies I have encountered throughout my life had horrible home lives.  Many of them were being raise by parents who were themselves bullies.  We must stop making excuses and start taking action.  If you’re child is a bully, the bullying isn’t the largest problem — the child is missing something and they are missing something because you have not given it to them.  It is the parents responsibility to fix the problem.  It is our responsibility to ensure that the parent is held accountable for lack of parental guidance.

Until next time.