**This post includes bad language – quoted from other kids at school – so please don't read in front of little ones.**
I've posted on Facebook several times about the issues I was having with my daughters' school this week. To make a very long story kind of short, my 5 year old, Sapphire, was called a “bitch” and a “whore” on her first day of school by another student at recess. She told the teacher, and the teacher basically said to ignore the child. So she did, but while they were lining up for the bus, she told her sister (Jenelle – who is in 5th grade) about it. Her sister saw the principal walking by, and tried to tell her what happened. The principal asked Saff if the teacher had addressed the issue, Saff said yes, so the principal told Jenelle she didn't want to hear her tattling stuff. My girls came home and told me what happened, and I was upset (understandably so, I think).
At this point, the issue was about the teacher and principal not taking Saff being called those names seriously. So, I called the school. They said the principal would call me in the morning because she was busy. The next day I didn't get a call, so I called up there. They took a message but said my best bet was to call back later and “not to count on getting a call back today”. I called back 4 times total over the course of the 8 hours, and spoke with someone different each time. The last time I called, the person who answered the phone was rude from the get-go. She said there were NO other messages from me, so I gave her all of my info. I tried to tell her what my call was in regards to and she said “I have a cold, I don't really want to hear all of this right now” and HUNG UP on me.
Day three rolls around and still no call from the principal. I called the school and was told, once again, that there were NO messages from me. At that point I had called 5 times. I asked if it'd be easier if I came up to the school, and I was told that the principal was busy so it'd be a waste of my time. The principal called me back at 3:45PM on the third day and I missed her call so she left a voicemail saying she'd call me at 7:15 the next morning.
She didn't call me. I was at an appointment at 9:30 and got a voicemail from her. She said she'd call at 3:30. She didn't call. I emailed the superintendent, and didn't get a response, but I did find out (from the visit with the principal this morning) that someone reported the incident to the Bully Hotline.
This morning, I went into the principal's office and discussed the entire issue with her. She told me she didn't even get any messages from me until yesterday. So EACH and every staff member I spoke with on the days prior did NOT give her any messages. They were rude to me, dismissed my concerns, and even laughed at me when I told them I was going to email the superintendent. My meeting with the principal was fine, though. She addressed all of my concerns and even let the girls come into her office to speak with her. Jenelle was called a “dyke” by two girls earlier in the week and she talked to her about that as well. These same girls did this last year so she already is familiar with the situation and said she's going to handle it immediately.
I think the problem with this entire ordeal is that the staff was clearly incompetent in taking and delivering messages. The secretary was out because of a death in the family, and those in her place did NOT step up to the plate at all. The principal listened to what I had to say, she responded very nicely, and she also talked to the kids about everything. I appreciate her taking the time – out of her obviously busy schedule – to talk to us. However, I'm still very upset that it had to come to the bully hotline being called, superintendent being emailed, etc just to get noticed. It shouldn't be that way, ya know?
What to Do When Your Child is Bullied and the School Ignores It
If your child is being bullied at school, the first step is to start documenting EVERYTHING! Document who said what, when and where it happened, etc. Start a notebook and make sure you date each entry.
Next, contact the school. If it's a minor incident, you can try to call – and hopefully get through to – the principal or counselor. Last year when we had bullying issues, the counselor was a godsend. She's an amazing resource for the children AND parents! If you aren't able to get through to the principal, send an email so you have a paper trail.
If you don't get a response within 24 hours, visit the school. Tell them you're waiting for the principal and he or she needs to make time to see you.
If the principal dismisses your concerns, find out if there is a bully hotline in your area!! I still don't know who called the hotline but whoever it was really fast-tracked my problems getting resolved! Don't know the bully hotline number? Find your news station on Facebook and ask them!
After calling the bully hotline, contact the media if nothing is done. Schools don't like bad press and if enough people stand with you on the issue, something WILL get done. You don't want to have to transfer or hide from these kids that are bullies. It's important to stand up to them and make your child's voice be heard.
YOU are your child's best advocate! Do not let bullying issues be swept under the rug.
Have you had any experiences with bullying? How did the adults in the situation handle it?