I was going to write about homework today. Memorial Day Weekend not withstanding my youngest had several tests to study for, reading and regents peparation. But I was sidelined by some questions on IVIllage that I thought I would talk about. That is bullying. It has got to be the most debilitating thing watching you child be bullied. The reality is that there are things that can be done.
Go to the school. Bullying is a form of assalt and the school is required to stop it and intervene. They may try to make excuses about it but you need to stand your ground. It is work for them expecially with the "No not my child" syndrome in this country. (Just as an aside, I have never experienced such denial in a society as to children and their problems. It’s like they all belong to this weird cult called "The Perfect Child Religion." As if their children being mean takes away from the child’s use as an ornament for the parent.) If it gets really bad go to your local police and talk to the youth officer. I had a girlfriend who tried that and was turned away because it was just "bullying", but then you need to go higher. Where I live, in the next town, the parents of a girl (not a special ed student, just a neurotypical teen) had to file a petition in family court aganst the bullies and their parents to get it to stop. The parents of the bullies would do nothing. But then the court had it stopped. The bullies were adjudicated PINS (persons in need of supervision and were monitored by the court) Hopefully for none of you it will get that bad.
In my own case, the school did not do what it should have. They did not call the parents. I was the only parent called. They did seperate out the bullies from each other and made sure that an aide was put in the room so noone could pick on my son. The bullies tried again in high school and were promptly told they woud be suspended and it would go on their permanent record (i.e. to the colleges) of course they left him alone, but also alienated him. He sat alone in high school. It made him think he doesn’t need friends. Now in college he is opening up to the idea that some people may be nice to him. Of course he got picked on in a class because he had a melt down about a bee, but the professor clamped down on those students and in fact my son came home with an understanding that he will be stood up for. Infact one of those that picked on him has aspergers too. He actually understood that and made an excuse for that boy.
He actually did not have any problems from the overwhelming majority of students in his college. He is even now open to trying to join some clubs and find people.
The director of the aspergers support program found on the Adelphi University campus actually talked about the fact that these kids have a Post Traumatic Stress SYndrome emanating from the bullying and need therapy to help get over it. I can actually see that. My son is defintely getting therapy for a myriad of issues, this being just one of them.
One thing that the schools could do is have lectures for the kids about aspergers or HFA. My youngest son actually created a powerpoint for the students in his 4th grade class. They also have a disability understanding program in the elementary school. Teachers are the ones who need to be given alot of the education about our kids. Sometimes I think that they do nothing about the bullying because they are uneducated about our kids as well. The interesting thing is that with some education things are not so bad. My younger son has never really experienced the torture that my older one did. He was always welcome and the children took care of him. No he was not invited to parties but they made a big effort to come to his bar mitzvah 45 out of 50, unlike my older one who only had 8 out of 50 attend. My younger one even has a best friend. Same town, just a different year and better parents.
There is a geat website from the governmentStop Bullying Now. It can give you ideas on what to do and even direct the school on how to help your child.
Remember one thing. Parenting is not a popularity contest. If you have to make a pain of yourself with the school do it. But don’t ever yell.(Some other advice from my cousin). At that point they will dismiss you as a crazy parent especially if its the mom yelling. Be there every day if necessary. Don’t forget education is a civil right. That could be your ace in the hole. The,Office of Civil Rights Enforcement at the Department of Education can also give you some relevant information.
This is not a Zen moment. This is a warrior moment. Go fight.
Until next time,