Below is my testimony to my city’s Board of Education regarding our experiences with bullying. It’s time to fix this nonsense.
“My name is XXXXXX. I am here to talk about bullying in our school district. And I’d like to share with you the story of my son, when he was twelve.
My son E has ADHD and Anxiety disorder. He has always had a 504 plan, until this summer when he received an IEP for anxiety. I will discuss that a bit later.
Upon entering Middle School, E was excited. He had a small group of friends with similar interests. The first quarter of seventh grade was great. He was receiving good grades and was involved socially.
Second quarter, things started to slide. E started struggling in math. He had accommodations on his 504 which were not being upheld by the math teacher. We sought counseling services, which we maintained through 7th grade. She began calling him out in class, saying things like “that was so easy E, you should be able to do that like the rest of the class…” He was embarrassed. He started finding KYS (Kill Your Self) written on his math notebook, every day. We spoke to the school staff. They asked for witnesses, we provided them. Students began calling E a faggot and a baby. He failed math.
We then asked that E be switched to a different math teacher, and the school accommodated our request. But the damage had been done. The students continued to berate E in school and on the bus, challenging the size of his genitals and continuing to call him a faggot. I began to drive E to and from school.
We reported every incident to the school.
In April, a student brought some sort of knife to school. It was a small knife. Regardless, E was nervous. He reported it to the principal. As he should have. He did this with two other students. These two other students told other kids that E ratted out the boy with the knife.
He went to school the next day and was taunted and humiliated by students in his grade.
That was the last day E attended Middle School.
My 12 year old wanted to kill himself. Every day he said he wished he were dead.
We sought emergency care from E’s psychiatrist who wrote a letter to the school indicating that the school was no longer an appropriate place for E to learn. I pulled him immediately and began home schooling. We convened an emergency meeting with the school staff and special education services to begin home bound schooling.
Over the summer we convened an IEP meeting to determine special education services and secured them as a result of E’s anxiety. As a special education advocate, I can say we have an excellent IEP. I was hopeful. The team agreed E could not return to Middle School. Thankfully, he was admitted to Another Public Middle School
E was nervous but hopeful about the new school year. APMS offered more classes he was interested in, like video game design, and allowed longer class periods for homework completion, which reduced his anxiety.
The first day of school, E was called a faggot and hip checked into a locker.
In the first weeks of school, there were assigned seats at lunch. Once assigned seats were removed, E sat alone at lunch.
We reported all of these incidents to the school.
He has been called a faggot, a retard or stupid almost every day. He has been shoved against lockers on numerous occasions.
This has all been reported.
I am here tonight because I’m done.
It is unacceptable to me that my son had to leave a school because he was bullied relentlessly, by a teacher and by students.
It is unacceptable to me that there is a school culture which tolerates both.
It is unacceptable to me that bullies go unpunished.
The district has a bullying policy which has clearly not been upheld. The policy says “Bullying behavior is prohibited in all schools, buildings, properties, educational environments as well as on any school grounds or school busses.”
All of the behavior I have described above would be defined by the district bullying policy, as bullying.
In it’s failure to address the bullying my son has faced, the district has done nothing but empower bullying. A message has been sent to the bullies that they will get away with it. A message has been sent to the victims, that they don’t matter.
I know we are better than this.
I have told you our story. In doing so, it cannot be said that the district is unaware of a bullying issue. I urge you to take what I have shared with you and let it sink in that a
12 year old boy wanted to commit suicide last year because of relentless bullying in this school district.
I assure you, he is not the only one.
I am begging you to address bullying in this school district immediately.
At this point, our experience has exceeded bullying, and has entered the realm of harassment.”