Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Maddie and the Bully: Is There an Answer?

My 8-year-old grandgirl Madeline got a black eye from a bully on her school bus a couple of weeks ago and her parents have been trying with considerable effort to make some sense of it. What they have run into is a school administration that apparently does not believe bullying is much of an issue.

School officials told my son and daughter-in-law that because the punch Maddie received wasn't on camera, there wasn't anything they could do about it. It was Maddie's word against the word of the bully. No effort was made to ask the other children on the bus. The bully, whose reputation precedes him among the kids, gets off scott free to bully another child and get off again. It's self-perpetuating because, first, the proof bar is set far too high and, second, school administrators are--as they've always been--terrified of their shadows. People of about equal amounts of cowardice and lack of ethics.

I've known school bureaucrats since I was a child and have never had a good feeling about them. They want to be left alone. They want conflict to go away without involving them. They don't want to make decisions, especially those that might upset a volatile parent with a litigious bent. They simply don't care about black eyes, scratched faces, broken arms, bruised self-confidence and children who go to school terrified and unable to learn. It's easier to give that kid an F than to expel his tormentor.

I honestly don't know what can be done, but I know Maddie's parents are very good at what they do, that they don't easily take "no" for an answer and that they're smarter than school bureaucrats. I would not be surprised to see some bureaucrats with red asses in the near future, red asses from the swift kicks they who thoroughly deserve.

My son said it best, I think: "If we weren't moving [to Spain] in a few weeks, Maddie would be going to Community School. We considered that before the school year started but thought we'd be gone long before now." Community School is private and protects its children. The public schools do not bother with that function.


No comments:

Post a Comment