This is a photo of my son’s chin. The dark marks under his mouth are bruises. He received these while sitting in his school office trying to catch up on missing schoolwork.
The reason he was sitting in the office to catch up the schoolwork was because there was some question that he wasn’t actually recieving schoolwork from a few of his teachers but being given failed grades regardless.
He won’t say how the bruises happened. All we know is that they happened while he was in the school’s office. He came home from school that day and wouldn’t eat for the next two days. He hardly spoke… until I told him that I wasn’t sending him back to school. Then he cheered right up and became his normal chatty self. He still won’t say how the bruises happened, but they look like someone squeezed his chin hard. He says he hit his face on a desk outside the principal’s office. He won’t make eye contact when he says this.
At the same time he received these bruises he suddenly developed a fear and dread of one of the faculty members. He said he wanted to go back to school but not if he had to face this one woman. Thinking I was being a responsible parent I had a conference with the principal of the school and was promised for the school’s protection and my son’s the woman in question wouldn’t be near him. He went back to school and we thought the whole ordeal was over.
Then he received an in school suspension because “he decided to sit there and stare off into nowhere even after repeated redirection” (from the teacher’s email). Staring is now a suspension offence? When I asked my son what happened he said he was reading the assignment directions, but whether he was reading or staring isn’t the point. When did kids start having to sit in the office for a day for staring?
During this suspension my son started sending me panicked texts. Trying to be the responsible parent that supports their school I told him he had to serve the suspension, but I would email the principal. The panicked texts continued that morning and then a light bulb clicked on in my head. If he was up in the office was the woman in question around him again? I asked, and his answer was “Yes! In the cubbys plz pick me up”
I went to pick him up. The woman in question came out herself and told me how my son had refused to do any work for her that morning and I wasn’t to think he could get out of the suspension just because I picked him up. He’d serve the rest tomorrow. Shocked and confused, I went home and asked the principal via email why she oversaw his punishment.
The principal sent me a long email back explaining that this woman hadn’t had anything to do with my son as had been promised. I told him that she had come out herself and told me the situation and asked for an explanation. The principal never answered back.
Now the situation has escalated to the district level. My son can’t go to school anymore because his only choice is the school in question. He is suffering and being ostracized. Why is this allowed to continue?
I wish I could say that his story is unique, but it isn’t. I have other stories from other parents who have had similar situations at this same school with this same woman. I have documented all the emails and inconsistencies with photographs and notes. I am collecting these stories and information and have been trying to decide what to do with it.
My little boy has had enough trauma this year already. He lost his father last Christmas, feared for his life and now is bruised and unable to return to his school and friends. In speaking with a district level official this morning I was offered that my son could go to the school for juvenile delinquents instead. “Only a few of the kids there are really bad.” he told me*.
I agree, a large majority of them are probably in the same situation as my son – kids that have learned from the school that you are in trouble no matter what and that “staring” gets you a day of suspension from the wrong teacher. Regardless, I’ve decided to homeschool my son rather than let him go to “The Academy”.
Apparently returning to his own school won’t be an option. As the same district official told me this morning with a friendly smile, “In all honesty Ms. M— will still be working there next year. I don’t see her going anywhere.”
Sounds like bullying to me. Perhaps this time it’s the school that needs some discipline.
* My note: Personally I don’t agree that any children can be labeled as “bad”. They are all works in progress and some are being pushed in a negative direction. I thought that was a general view among educators.