Friday, September 23, 2011

Taking the Pledge - Day Four

This marks my fifth day of "The Mom Pledge:

Also my first week of participation in:


I invite anyone reading to join me in either of both groups, accessible by handy dandy links and/or buttons. :O)


I am a born care-taker, as evidenced by advocating for my children when they were in public school. Also the best 'outside of the home' job I ever had was assisting adults with mental retardation and/or developmental disabilities learn/improve ADL's (activities of daily living) and social skills that most of us take for granted.

Like so many people, I find it easier to stand up for the people about whom I care, rather than for myself...but I'm working on that one!

When my oldest son, now 14 was in public school, both he and his parents came up against bullying of one sort or another. DS1 had been suggested as having either ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or possibly Asperger's Syndrome. He spent most of his day in the 'regular' classroom, but some time in a smaller room with only 3-4 other children for certain subjects. In the main classroom, his teachers normally separated his desk from the other children and sometimes had dividers up ... to cut down on things that might distract him. That, coupled with his seeming inability to recognize the amount of personal space needed by other children, often made him a target for teasing or bullying.

The straw that broke the camel's back for us was in the week before the last week of school, four of his 8-year-old classmates surrounded him on a piece of playground equipment and pulled his pants down, showing...everything. He pulled his pants back up. These boys did the same thing two more times before there was any intervention. There were 3 teachers on the playground, who said none of them saw anything was wrong....but 3 classrooms of children apparently did.

Our son was removed from the classroom. The other boys (all of whom later admitted their actions) were not. We parents were not notified until several hours later, after the school had conducted an "investigation". Justifiably enraged, my husband went to school to collect our son and talk with the principal...who was "suddenly called away", and he spoke with the vice-principal.

The school was engaged in state-mandated testing that week, and so the other boys were not suspended, or even given detention of any sort. The school wanted the money and pats on the back from the government for having a greater percentage of their students taking the tests.

As relatively little action was taken by the school for what was, in my mind, a sexually-oriented assault on our son, we went to the FWISD (Fort Worth Indepndent School District), who apparently contacted the school ... because the next day, the principal was "available" to meet. I was working days at the time, so DH handled the meeting for us. When he entered the principal's office, she apparently said something to the effect of, "How dare you go over my head to the district." The nerve! Things went downhill from there. I remember saying to my husband when he called me at work that we had better watch ourselves, because I felt the school would take retaliatory action.

The next week, as President of the school's PTA, myself, my husband and our daughter (about 2 at the time) went to assist with the school's "Field Day", passing out popcorn and drinks to the students. We were there for hours and all had a good time, boys included (the son in this story and DS2, who was in 1st grade at the time).

About an hour after we got home from the school, there was a knock on the door. Who do you think it was? The (not-so) friendly CPS (Child Protective Services) agent, wanting to come into our apartment because she had received a report that DS1 had "exposed himself" on the playground. We gave her the facts, including our belief that the report was retaliatory on the part of the school, which she wrote down, in the middle of trying to threaten us to be allowed into the apartment. (As we had been investigating homeschooling for some time, and had talked on several occasions to the HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association - by the way, that organization ROCKS!), we knew that we were within our rights to deny her entrance. Not even the police could enter our home without just cause and/or a warrant.

We had actually been on our way out the door, but she refused to leave until she had spoken to each of the boys individually and without our presence. Well, DS1 was savvy enough even at that young age to understand the ramifications of what this woman's presence meant, and we had to peel him off my leg as he had sat down on the floor and wrapped himself around me. He did not want to talk to the woman, a sentiment which he came up with on his own. DH came up with a workable solution, that DS1 and the CPS agent would sit at the top of the stairs and we would be by the car, but our son would still be able to see us.

That summer we moved to Kentucky. How the CPS agent found my husband's grandmother's phone number I'll never know, but she called Mamaw, lied and said she was a friend of ours and wheedled our phone number out of the woman. But nothing ever came of it, because we were not in the wrong in that situation. It still burns the you-know-what out of me, though, and this has been six years ago.

So, I know a little about the effects of bullying and I will not stand for it.

Online, or cyber-bullying can be just as awful. While I have not (that I can remember) been a target yet, I have seen it go on and have seen what it can do to people. The news headlines have elaborated on how cyber-bullying can even be deadly.

So, if someone comes into my online "house" intent on being a troll, I will ask them, nicely, to leave. If they will not, I offer them some friendly and honestly well-meaning advice direcly from the Boy Scout motto ... be prepared.


  1. thanks for the follow following you back :)

  2. I'm sure glad you're taking a stand against bullying in all of it's forms. More parents and administrators need to have a zero tolerance rule where bullying is concerned.
    The Epic Adventures of a Modern Mom

  3. Thanks for the visit and follow, Michelle. Those are some cute little'uns in your picture!

  4. Thanks for your comment Char and for your stance on bullying. It's good to know there are folks out there like you!

  5. Good for you for standing up for what's right! There's so much bullying going on it's scary.

    Following from the blog hop, and would love a comment here or a follow!

  6. Thanks for the visit, comment, and follow Tiff. Always room for another "stander" on the back porch! :O)

  7. Mahalo for the follow ^_^ Now following you back :) I love the quote of the cyber bullying. I'll repost that today.

  8. Welcome, Jaz! As much as I'd like to take credit for that quote, it comes from the Mom Pledge site. Aloha!

  9. I'm horrified by the actions of the school district! I live close to Ft. Worth and our school shafted us for an entire year. I won't go into details but if I had money my child would be in private school. We could have sued the school but I was afraid of retaliation. When the district psychologist found out how our son was treated she went out of her way to help our son. She knew the law so things are better now.
    I just prayed that incident will not trouble your son's self esteem.