My son was a victim of bullying. He doesn't deserve to be expelled or charged with assault
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My 11 year old son has been a victim of bullying since the first grade, not only inside the school, but outside. It started out being only verbal, before for it took a turn to physical.
Though he has always dealt with bullying, he had always been able to maintain his A/B honor roll status (until he began to struggle with math in 5th grade). He's very bright, loving, caring, and loves to give back to his community. At the age of 6, he made it his mission to get up on Christmas and Thanksgiving mornings so that we may go serve the homeless and less fortunate, before we ourselves enjoy time with our family. For his 7th birthday, instead of looking forward to birthday gifts he requested that his guests only bring canned goods and other non-perishable items to donate to food pantries, which is something he continues to practice.
He started middle school at Southwood Academy of the arts for the '16-'17 school year. He was so excited, because he loves to sing, dance, and act!..... The bullying automatically started during the first week of school. When asked what was taking place, he said some of the students were calling him names such as gay, ugly, stupid, etc. I had the same talk that I'd had in the past, telling him that as long as he knows that none of those thing are true, just ignore them and to inform an adult of the situations.
On into the 3rd week of school, things became physical. During their break time after lunch, 2 different students made it their business to come up to him and slap him in his face. A fight took place and all 3 students were suspended for 3 days and all warned that in the event they got in any more trouble, they would be forced to return to their zoned school. After the incident I had a conference with his teachers and had spoken with others from the admin staff explaining the fact that being bullied wasn't new to him. It was the first time it had gotten physical and that he had the right to defend himself.
The verbal bullying continued from several students, more so, from one of the individuals involved in the altercation. The name calling and picking on took place everyday. Fast forward to January 20 '17, the student decides to hit him again and they get into another fight. They both are suspended for 5 days, the resource officer charged my son with assault, but he was the only one removed from the school.
During the suspension, I was able to speak with other students and their parents from Southwood. I found out the student at Southwood had also came up to them and slapped them. One of the parents, voluntarily, pulled her child from the school because her child was being bullied by the same student. When one of the students was asked to describe the student who's doing the hitting the reply was, "Rude, mean, embarrasses people, bullies some people, hates ________!" (my son's name)
After I go to speak with the principal and try to register him at his zone school, Glenview Middle, I'm redirected to the district office. From there, I find out the principal doesn't want him at Glenview because of what had taken place at the previous school. I inquired about what happened to "innocent until proven guilty" and explained to them how that wasn't right and that the principal wasn't willing to give my son a fair chance.
As a "favor" to the assistant superintendent, another middle school across town, allowed me to register him. First week at this school, the name calling started. I explained to my son that he needed to make sure he lets a teacher or principal know of anything another student says or does to him. One morning as I was dropping my son off, a group of guys were walking pass the car and said something mean, rude, and disrespectful to him as he was getting out of the car. I, myself, informed the principal of what has taken place and was I told that he'd pull the security camera to find out who the students were. During the 2nd week I went to have lunch with my son and I addressed the issue with the "6th grade" assistant principal. I was told that my son had come to him about some students picking on him. My son didn't know there names, so I was told, by the principal, he would find out who it was and speak with them.
I'd gone to eat lunch with my son on Valentine's Day, which was the 3rd week at the new school. The day after, I received a call from the school saying that my son had been involved in an altercation and that he needed to be picked up. Upon arriving at the school, I was informed by the "7th grade" assistant principal of what had taken place. Per the principal, the class was returning from lunch heading into the classroom, my son was walking around to pass a student, the student yanks him by the hood of his jacket, and in the mist of attempting to brace his fall he steps on the student's foot and scratches the student by accident. Both students are suspended for three days. During those three days I never heard from anyone. The following Monday I drop my son off at school, and by the time I get home (20-25 minute drive), I received a voicemail stating that my son needed to be picked up and that they were recommending expulsion!
As a parent of a child who's never been in trouble, who's gone through years of dealing with bullying, and has attempted SUICIDE TWICE because of the bullying, I was completely thrown off at how the district was trying to railroad my son!
I'm asking everyone to please sign my petition to stop Anderson's school district five from protecting the bullies and punishing the victims.
The petition will be given to the school board and the super attendant to show them that people are willing to take a stand against bullying. To, also, let the schools know they should do more to protect students, like my son, so they will not be deprived of the education they deserve. As parents, we will not allow them to continue to railroad our children!
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