Thinking about taking on "the system"

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Posted 10/4/2012 by WingNut in NSBR Board
 

WingNut
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Posted: 10/4/2012 9:24:04 PM
I've shared a few times about my Aspie son and the bullying he's been subject to on varying levels since the 3rd grade. Recent events have made it clear to me that until SOMEONE stands up for these kids in a big way, nothing is going to change. I feel the many people at his school(s) have their hands tied often by rules that make little sense except when created in a vacuum.

My son was recently harassed, responded by flipping the harasser the bird, which angered the harasser so much that he attacked my son, grabbing him by throat, then throwing him to the ground and punching him in the face after my son kneed him in the groin.

My son was suspended one day. The "attacker" was suspended more days but I obviously am not allowed to know any of the details.

We have coached our son to ALWAYS SEEK ASSISTANCE OF A NEARBY ADULT. Yet, when he does that, he's either ignored or patronized. Recently, at lunch, another group of kids at an adjoining table started up with another round of harassment. My son did exactly what we (parents/counselors/doctors) and the school staff have told him to do and approached one of the VP's. His response? "I'll give them my evil eye."

Really?

In recent weeks, one student brought a gun to school in a neighboring district and one child was shot. Over and over, the other students interviewed on the various media outlets used the words "relentlessly bullied." Another case in another local district involves a bullied kid stabbing a known bully when he felt he was in danger, once again. The school police officer is testifying ON HIS BEHALF. I just now saw yet ANOTHER video of a kid being jumped in the locker area of a middle school (apparently in Indiana LINK). The school's response was abysmal.

I am DONE with this kind of response by the school system. How much more does the school officials in ANY school need to see happen before they finally stop acting to cover their a$$es?

I want to begin fighting the system. I'm just not sure where to start. Even if this takes me far beyond when my own son is in school, I want to change things for those who come behind him. I'm also going to investigate the path of bringing assault charges against any student who lays so much as one more finger on my child.

Has anyone here fought such a battle? Know someone who has? Works in "the system" and can offer good advice on where I should begin? I want to work my way through the channels so no one can point and say "Hey! You didn't do that the right way." Thanks in advance.


Joy


FlaMom
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Posted: 10/4/2012 9:31:59 PM
No advice, but just wanted to say that you will impact so many lives. Thank you.


Tammy

cmputerdazed
AncestralPea

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Posted: 10/4/2012 9:39:59 PM
good luck I hope you get some good advice. I can hardly imagine what our students have to go through.


Jan
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sunny 5
PeaFixture

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Posted: 10/4/2012 9:40:22 PM
if your child has an iep, you could call another meeting...and get written in there a training session for all adults he contacts during the day...so the entire staff is trained in an appropriate response when a child reports a problem...and it is not the evil eye. give the school a date the training may be held by... I had all teachers in 6th grade trained on aspergers and my kid and the teachers appreciated the information.

you could write up a behavior plan...so if your kid follows it, he can't get into trouble. also add social skills training as a formal part of an iep...michelle winner's approach (www.socialthinking.com) is excellent.

you could also get an observation by a behavioralist to see if your child is doing anything to make himself a target (my child has aspergers...so I have beendown this road).

good luck.

WingNut
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Posted: 10/4/2012 9:45:46 PM
sunny_5: That's good information. I'll talk to his counselor (who is also our adovcate) about how best to approach our school system. He has experience with this and can guide me with my son's needs as the basis of his direction. Thanks. He does have an IEP.

cmputerdazed: I've started comparing it to a work environment. NO ONE in most cases, would be asked to absorb the kind of harrassment kids like my son endure daily. And those that have? Many win big lawsuits in court, when proven to be victimized to this degree.

FlaMom: Thanks.


Joy


2peafaithful
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Posted: 10/4/2012 9:57:23 PM
I am so sorry. My heart knows your pain and it is a very, very hard place to be. Be strong.

Gynergy
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 10/4/2012 10:17:38 PM
http://www.napas.org/en/ndrn-member-agencies/maryland.html

I would suggest perhaps researching resources at the above link, if you haven't already.

I found this info online by google-ing the agency that provides advocacy services in Georgia (where I live) which has assisted clients I've worked with in the past, and this appears to be a similar agency in Maryland (assuming that your pea profile has your current state on it).

I really admire your desire to create change and advocate for your son and other children. Just remember that, in order to do that kind of work, self-care is vital. Also, it's OK to stop "in the middle" if what you are doing is too taxing on your, your family, etc. (I speak from a place of professional burn out, but I imagine it works similarly with parent advocates, too).

Good luck, and please keep the Peas posted on how things work out.


...............................
Laura

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sunny 5
PeaFixture

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Posted: 10/4/2012 10:19:40 PM
also research your state's education code. the school may have a legal duty to have a safe environment and protect your child...you could put them on notice that if they don't follow the law...you will sue...or whatever.

megmc
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Posted: 10/4/2012 11:00:39 PM
Forget the Principal, go to the Superintendent.

and start volunteering, let the bullies see that you stand behind your son.

GIPfunny

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Posted: 10/4/2012 11:13:04 PM
I understand your frustration. My dd hasn't had a lot of bullying, but she just started 6th grade. I have been denied an IEP and have to fight hard to keep a 504 plan. I tried doing the right thing. Go to the teacher, the principal, the district psychologist. Go up the chain of command. It took giving a letter to the principal, psychologist, special ed director, and superintendent to get a response.






scrappychick13
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Posted: 10/4/2012 11:13:51 PM
In light of all of the recent bullying-related tragedies, many districts are coming out with some serious anti bullying programs. There are even protocols being put in place at the state level. Start by googling anti bullying campaigns for your state, and learn about what other schools are doing. If your school and district are lacking in action, try going to your regional PTA council. Child advocacy is what they do! If you're willing to put in the time and effort, you can make a huge difference!

GIPfunny

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Posted: 10/4/2012 11:26:10 PM
I wanted to add I found this form letter and it was very helpful. I changed some of the information so it was more tailored to my dd.

I took it to every teacher at the beginning of the school year because the 504 plan revision I requested at the end of the previous school year was not set up on time. When your kid is high functioning you never know how they will react. Especially with all the changes once you leave elementary school. The teachers were nice and I stressed it was just information about Aspergers and possible ways to handle situations.

MrsGarzzzza
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Posted: 10/5/2012 12:47:18 AM
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AncestralPea

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Posted: 10/5/2012 7:37:26 AM
I am sorry that your son is being bullied. I can imagine as a parent how heavy that makes your heart. All we want is for our kids to be happy.

I don't have any experiences to draw from but I do have a suggestion. Is there a teacher or another parent you can talk to? Maybe someone else has noticed and something can be done such as a school assembly to address the issue of bullying.

I hear the frustration in your post. But if you go in looking to fight then you are going to get no where. I think you need to have a clear objective and offer suggestions on how to stop bullying. We've seen many threads about this on the pod and stories about it are in the national news all the time. I agree with you that ignoring the problem - which is what they are doing - is unacceptable.

Good luck to you !



Basket1lady
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Posted: 10/5/2012 8:24:22 AM
Our son was physically assaulted at the end of 6th grade. Another 6th grader picked up a chair and hit him with it repeatedly. The school told me that they were handling it, but we chose to file charges against the child.

That was a tough decision, to press charges against another 12 year old. But we did it based on his written statement, on going bullying throughout the school year, and the conversation at the time of the assault. This kid was convinced that he would be suspended for a day or two, that he would get a few days off of school, "and they couldn't do anything else."

By filing charges, we got the assault in the school statistics. We showed our son that the assault was unacceptable and that we backed him.

We also talked to teachers about what DS was doing to provoke the bullying and worked with him and with a counselor to curb those behaviors. And we switched middle schools.

He did extremely well in the other MS and now in HS. He's still nerdy, but has learned to channel that into something his classmates value. He tutors in Algebra, Chemistry and French and students ask for him specifically. I won't lie, 7th and 8th grade were rough, but so worth it. Part of that is some maturing with DS, some is the counseling with very specific adaptations, and some of it is just taking higher level classes and being with kids who want to be in school. And it didn't hurt that DS is now almost 6 feet tall, over 200 lbs, and a starting guard on the JV team. We've come a long way in 3 years.


Michelle
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S_cR_aP_Booker
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Posted: 10/5/2012 8:51:40 AM
I wish you luck and I commend your bravery. I hope something is done and soon.

cmpeter
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Posted: 10/5/2012 9:31:27 AM
Check out Rachel's Challenge. Our elementary school is starting this program this year. It was brought to our school by a mom who was also fed up with the bullying.


Cindi
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mikklynn
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Posted: 10/5/2012 10:16:40 AM
You go girl!


Lynn



knoxpea
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Posted: 10/5/2012 12:34:43 PM
I started homeschooling my 9 year old this year and I truly understand how you feel and what you are going through. We did not have an IEP, only a 504 plan that was ignored and considered a joke by the administration.

Things are better for us now, but I cannot let go how wrong it was the way my son was treated by not only his peers, but by the school system who refused to help. In my opinion, the school system was as big a bully as the children who taunted and physically assaulted my son.

I really hope you continue with your fight and I keep thinking I would like to be a part of something like this. An advocate always told us to use the word "bullying" and to be persistent. I believe that it may take individual families banding together and demanding answers and action to get anything done. I received results years ago when I advocated at the state level for my son to be included in a pre-k program he was denied for. Your post today, has got me fired up again and it may be time for me to start writing letters again!

Best of luck, hang in there.

Audreyhf
PeaNut

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Posted: 10/5/2012 12:54:12 PM
Wishing you lots of luck! I know how bad bullying can be & think it would be great if there was something that could be done.
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not2peased
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Posted: 10/5/2012 1:38:41 PM
I would check and see if your state has passed any bullying legislation

that would be a start


-Kerry


Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.

WingNut
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Posted: 10/6/2012 2:11:05 PM
Sorry for the delay in getting back to respond. Couple of busy days since I posted on Thursday night.

Thanks everyone for the additional information/suggestions/support. I see this as a pretty long term project but as I progress through the process, I'll be sure to update.

And for purposes of helping give a complete picture, my son is a freshman in high school. Academically, the IEP is being honored and then some. The school is doing a VERY good job in that regard. FAR better than the middle school did.


Joy

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