Not every situation between kids can be categorized as bullying. However, no matter the situation, that’s how school administration in our local St. Johns, County high school like to label it. Just so they can fill out some papers and file them away to make it look like they handled the situation. They band aid it. All while the issues escalate and never get resolved. I for one am fed up with the negligence and irresponsible actions of the administration at my daughter’s school.
My daughter has been harassed by another girl at her school since last school year. They “liked” each other I guess, but then my daughter either broke up with her or rejected her (story unclear from either side), and the girl became obsessed. To make matters worse, she lives in our neighborhood and they ride the same bus. It became worse earlier this year when this girl began creating duplicate and triplicate social media accounts in order to follow my daughter online and stalk and harass her. Each time she made her presence know, she was deleted/blocked. She even went as far as cyber stalking my other kids to get to my daughter. Police said it was a school matter, even after it flowed over into incidents after school and within our neighborhood. I was further told that I couldn’t get a restraining order against her because they were never in a domestic relationship, and because the girl has never actually acted on the threats and touched my daughter. Are you kidding me? Why in the world do we have to wait for actual physical harm before anyone will do anything to stop it?
The texts and online comments went from infatuated comments like, commenting on my daughter’s beauty, and all sorts of terms of endearment. Then they escalated to anger and craziness after the rejection set in. There have been repeated threats to beat my daughter up and “show (her) the Puerta Rican way”, whatever that means. As well as posts slandering my daughter, for all their classmates to see. There have even been multiple incidents where the girl has involved other girls on the bus, and they collaboratively threatened to jump my daughter once off the bus. They even went as far as chasing her home from the bus stop. Again, the school had the girls all sign yet another paper saying they wouldn’t have contact with each other, and yet that girl and her friends continuously ignored and violated that “contract”. In fact, as recent as this past week, there have been multiple threatening posts on my daughter’s social media from the girl. What did the school do? Have them sign another paper as usual. The same paper that says if they contact each other, they’ll be suspended, and then eventually expelled if the offenses continue. Yet, this girl never gets in trouble. In fact, the Assistant Principal had the audacity to tell me that she took the girl’s phone and couldn’t find the app on her phone for that site, so she thinks it’s a fake account and someone else messing with my daughter. Seriously! She’s that naïve to think that an app can’t be deleted and re-added? Especially, when the girl left the dean’s office and proceeded to mess with my daughter at lunch.
My daughter has experienced weight loss, anxiety, and even depression for the last year because of this girl and her antics. Earlier this year, when I first learned of the issues, I asked the Dean at the school to assist in getting her therapy there at school and was told that she had set it up. It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when my daughter embarked in self-harm, that I learned that the Dean “forgot” to process the paperwork. So, to my surprise, no one had been meeting with my daughter as I was led to believe. Of course the school went into panic mode and calls were made to me to profusely apologize on the school’s behalf, but it still didn’t change their process. I’ve since gotten her signed up for outside help and she is doing better, but the problem still continues with the school administration not protecting her from this girl. I’ve asked for a meeting with administration and the other parents, and was told that it is against district policy. I asked the police to go with me to the girls house so I could speak to the parents, and was told that me going over there could be construed as harassment by me towards them. What did the school do? They gave me a scholarship so my child, the victim, could uproot her life and move to another school in the district. All while I own a home in that school zone and pay taxes for my child to attend that school. Yet, this other girl’s family rents a home there and could more easily change their location and schooling. Not to mention…should have to!!! How can this system be so f’d up?
If this were a situation between a guy and a girl, they’d take this more seriously. But because it is two petite teenage girls, no one cares or sees a threat. They just call it bullying and teenage girl drama. This isn’t a clip from Mean Girls, it’s reality people. It is truly a situation of sexual orientation and gender discrimination by the administration. With all the awareness we have in our world today, why is this still going on? Why are these administrators still even employed? Oh, and the one that “forgot” to process the therapy paperwork and could’ve cost my daughter her life…still employed without any reprimand. I’ve reached out to all the news stations in our area, civil attorneys, and some human rights groups, and am awaiting calls back on what we can collaboratively do to stop this, but I want awareness brought on an even higher level.
Our schools have placed everything that kids negatively do to each other, into a tiny box and wrapped it with a bow called bullying. Bullying has become the title for every bad behavior and I think that schools are sick of dealing with it, so they don’t. The assistant principal even told us that she wrote out over 500 of those no contact contracts last school year. I don’t think that she realizes that that’s not a good thing. That’s a reflection on her administration and their inability to take care of these situations properly. 500 no contact contracts at one school is absolutely ridiculous. That proves my point that they are using this for every situation and calling any instance, bullying. Sign a paper and move on and forget it happened.
As much as I would like to blame the school entirely, the girl’s parents need to take some responsibility and blame too. They’ve supposedly been called about this repeatedly and she was suspended last school year once over this. So, why have they done nothing to stop their kid and her antics? Why does she still even have a phone and social media access?
I get it…kids will be kids. Absolutely nothing wrong with letting them be kids. But for crying out loud…don’t let your kids be shitheads! Parenting and discipline are key here. Plain and simple. I beg that parents start talking with their kids and get involved in their day to day. Not just asking them how their day was or checking their grades online and assuming you know your kids and the lives they’re living when you’re not around. None of us need to be helicopter parents, but we do need to know if our kids are growing up to be descent human beings and not just acting like one when we’re around. My kids are not perfect. Far from it. They’re sarcastic and witty, they argue with each other and occasionally act like every other teenager and talk back at me. I’m sure they even drop an occasional swear word (or twenty) while hanging with their friends. But, they are respectful to others and they know how to behave when outside my house and out of my sight. They also know that if they don’t, there are consequences and restrictions that will be in place. I will not ever be looked at as failing as a mom because one of my kids act like a total shithead to someone. Especially when it would have taken just as much effort for them to have helped our encouraged the other person.
On the other side of the spectrum, I believe if you run to your kid’s aid over every little thing, they’re going to grow up to never be able to fend for themselves in this world or problem solve. But when situations are concerning like with threats, harassment, cyber-stalking, etc., you should jump in and defend your kids to no end. Because that is our job as parents. I was raised that if someone messed with me, you handle it. If I was shoved, I was taught to shove back. If I was trash talked to, I was to talk trash back. If I was hit, I was to hit back. I’ve taught my kids however, to first try walking away and showing no emotion. That it is better to carry the power in letting them think they don’t phase you, rather than letting them know they’re getting to you. On the contrary, I have also told them that if someone puts their hands on them, they have full permission to fight back. Especially since the school clearly will not protect them. I am not naive and don’t think for a second that my daughter has never lashed back at this girl. In fact, I know in the very beginning of all this, my daughter defended herself and did go back and forth in texts and otherwise with this girl. I also know that another one of my kids did so when the girl started messaging and harassing them to get to my daughter. But they didn’t go looking for that, she came at them. When they blocked the girl and told her they’d had enough, it should have stopped. And the school administration should have truly put a stop to it when it escalated into the school at that point too.
So all that said, to circle back to where we are today with the school. The administration is still in their life long journey to “investigate” this situation and gather all the evidence they need. They are even coming up with ways to try to turn things on my daughter, now that I’ve threatened to lawyer up and bring media attention on it. They went from being so apologetic and focused on fixing the situation, to belittling the actual victim and causing more harm. They basically bully my child themselves and yet, they don’t pull out one of those contracts for themselves to sign. They have ignored my request for written communication, and for them to not speak with my child without me or an advocate present. They told me that my requests regarding my minor child, have no weight while she is on school property. One of the deans likes to call me with his condescending attitude, and thinks if he talks down to me or with that arrogant tone, he will put me in my place. When all he is really doing is showing that his abundance of arrogance is just trying to compensate for lack of other things.
Our county has centers/schools for kids like this girl, but yet they don’t require her to attend there and get help. Instead they allow her to walk the same halls as my kid, and with her obsessive rage fueling. I guess maybe they’ll finally get their heads out of their asses and do something when she finally puts her hands on my daughter, or perhaps does worse to her. Or maybe it will take this girl finally snapping and taking it out on the entire school, as we have already sadly seen happen in our nation by other unstable kids. All because behaviors as this girl has exhibited, were chocked up as bullying and not handled for what they really are. Get it together!
Please help me gain awareness. If you see my thread for this post on any of my social media, please repost/share. It truly takes a village.