Saturday, September 29, 2012
Bullying is something that I don't tolerate. At. All. Especially when my children are involved, whether they are the victim or the perpetrator. I've had several talks with Jackie about bullying, mostly because she became a victim of bullying early on.
Being a parent, especially to children who have special needs, has brought me out of my comfort zone. I don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing. I just hope that I don't embarrass my children too terribly. I just want the best for my children. And I don't want them to endure the pain of bullying that I experienced.
So yesterday, as I always do, I looked through Jackie's take-home folder from school. I noticed a note from one of Jackie's classmates. When I asked Jackie about it, she told me that this girl always calls her slow. I understand that Jackie can be slow-moving sometimes but why does she say that Jackie is nasty. Jackie told me that Mrs. L (her teacher) made this girl write the note a couple of weeks ago. And I'm just now finding out about it. I am not a fan of note-writing and I'll explain in a moment. Anyway, during my discussion with Jackie, she also informed me that this girl is not the worst one and that there is another student in her class who gives Jackie a hard time. Apparently, he tries to get Jackie into trouble by telling the teacher that Jackie isn't doing her work or hasn't finished her work during class. He calls her names, too. He is not nice, at all, to Jackie. From what I understand, both of these kids are troubled children who spend a lot of time in in-school suspension. Why do they continue to bully my daughter? Jackie seems to be easier target for them.
So, the reason I am not a fan of writing apology notes is because I really feel that most of the time, it is not done sincerely. I do, however, think a face-to-face apology is fine (even if not done sincerely) because it forces the perpetrator to face their victim. I also think taking privileges away (such as recess time or not being permitted to participate in any other fun activity with everyone else) is okay.
I also feel that the parents of these children should be made aware of what their children are doing. Perhaps their parents don't care but at least, they are being made aware that there is room for improvement for their children. If the problem continues, then I feel that a meeting with all the involved parents should be arranged. I don't appreciate that I didn't know what was going on with my daughter inside her classroom. Apparently, this stuff has been going on for awhile since school started. Jackie has another great teacher this year. Mrs. L has been very good about communicating with me on other matters. I will be emailing her to get her side of the story about this latest situation. I realize that I won't be able to protect my daughter from every bully out there but I am determined to put a stop to these episodes as quickly as I can. I am determined to do my part to put a stop to bullying altogether.
When I saw the apology note, I couldn't help but be reminded of Jackie's first week of Kindergarten. Twice within her first week of school, two different kids bullied my daughter. Those kids not only verbally assaulted my daughter, they also physically assaulted her. The reason? Because she was too slow. The first time, the kids were in line in the very long hallway to walk to the cafeteria. The school is a very long building and the cafeteria was a very long walk from the classroom with a couple of short flights of stairs between. The second time occurred on the playground during recess when Jackie wasn't moving quickly enough up the stairs to the slide. After this 2nd incident, I emailed Jackie's teacher and thankfully, that teacher was on top of taking care of it, even to the point of bringing in the school's social worker to talk to the class about the differences some of us were born with. I was very thankful for both the teacher and the social worker for taking me seriously and attending to the matter quickly. After the social worker's presentation, one of Jackie's perpetrators went to Jackie and apologized on his own accord. He was clearly touched by the social worker's presentation. This was in Kindergarten!
I do have to say that Jackie's teachers have shown a great deal of interest and have had compassion toward Jackie. They have made her feel safe. I hope this continues. Because I don't want to homeschool my kids. Homeschooling is great but it's just not for us right now.