It’s Time To Be Heard

Greetings my dear readers, and friends, and fellow moms and dads!

I have warred for a week now about how to proceed to be the best voice on behalf of my son, and other students, at our local public school. We have a bullying issue that is being ignored and swept under the rug. My student was expelled after being physically assaulted. His expulsion was based on what he wrote/drew in his journal in the process of coping with how he was being treated. We have our son in counseling to cope with his big feelings, but all I keep hearing from professionals is, “It’s okay Momma, this is normal.” “It’s okay Momma, middle school boys draw crazy stuff.”

In fact, our counselor asked him a series of questions to determine if he had a plan to go with the drawings. Guess what guys? No plan. Just some really big feelings because being treated poorly and pushed around creates really big feelings – especially when the adults that are supposed to be helping, aren’t.

I am going to continue the dialogue with the school. I’m going to call the principal for another meeting today. I want to see him learning how to deal with kids that may struggle with depression and/or suicidal thoughts. I want to see him learning how to deal with bullying.

Pretending that bullying is not happening at his school is not dealing with the problem. In fact, it gives the bullies the false notion that what they are doing is okay. It robs the victims of feeling safe, or being able to focus on school. It creates an unhealthy environment, that allows the power imbalance amongst peers to continue growing. It gives the bully the upper hand – because their actions are met with little to no consequence, while their victims are pushed aside.

I think we would have quietly gone back to homeschooling had I not learned that bullying has been a recurring problem at this school, under the current and former principal. Had I not learned that other kids are being picked on mercilessly by a particular kid and the gang assembled by said kid, I may have left well enough alone. If you know me, you know that going back to homeschooling isn’t a bad thing in my opinion. Sending the boys to public school was a hard decision, but they wanted it so bad, I decided to honor their wishes.

I need a favor, dear readers. I need help sending relevant, reputable, study based info to the principal and the school superintendent. I need help writing letters about how bullying affects the victim for years to come. I need help writing letters about how kids have suffered because bullying goes unaddressed. I need help sending letters about how to help someone struggling with depression and/or suicidal thoughts. I need help sending articles about effectively communicating with parents to build a good relationship so kids can flourish in school.

I know you all have some amazing things up your sleeves. You can email things to me, and I’ll send them. reginawalker86@gmail.com or you can send them directly:

Attn: Mr. Meek
Luther Middle School
320 SE 2nd St.
Luther, OK 73054
smeek@lutherlions.org

Attn: Mr. Gunn
Luther Public Schools
PO Box 430
Luther, OK 73054
bgunn@lutherlions.org

 

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Monday is Here

Monday is here, and my son is at home, where he didn’t want to be. He wanted to get on the bus and go back to school and continue his journey in the public education sector. I wanted him to make it a great year, and I was working hard to ensure that he was making the most of it. I desperately wish I had gotten involved sooner – I knew he was having trouble with a couple of the boys, but when I asked what he wanted me to do, he said it would get worse if he tattled, and to let him sort it out.

I know kids are cruel and even more so to a snitch, so instead of jumping to action, I tried to listen. I tried to be a strong shoulder and place of comfort while allowing my boy to navigate this new territory. I know now, I made the wrong choice.

We could hang our heads this morning, pout about the things that have gone wrong. We could hang our heads this morning and whine about the injustice we’ve been served. But what good would it do? It won’t change any minds, it won’t make things any better.

We will hold our heads high, and we will learn something new. We will hold our heads high, and we will learn to do better. We are going to dig our heels in and head to the library. I may even look for a casual home school group so he can fulfill his desire for social interaction. But I will not give in, or give up, or let the poor decision of one school, one man really, dictate how the rest of our year will go.

I will not teach my son that bad calls wreck our lives. Alter the course, maybe, but not wreck them. I will not teach him to lay down in defeat, or to wallow in how awful this stuff feels. I will teach him to own and acknowledge how it feels and then to take the next step, because it starts to feel better faster if you don’t just wallow in the yuck.

I’m sorry to the kids and the parents before me, who’ve dealt with a failing and faltering school system. This fight is new to me, but I know many of you have been warring against a broken system for a long, long time. I’m sorry the system is broken, and I realize now there is no easy answer. Keep warring, Mama’s and Papa’s, your babies need you. They need your strong voice, they need your defense. Don’t let this broken system define you, or them. Keep fighting and press on, and maybe one day we will see this system changed for the better.

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Dear School

Dear School,

You got it wrong today. You got it wrong when overnight a suspension turned into expelling a student – a student who was pantsed, shoved into a wall, and shoved over/into his desk. You sent home the victim – the kid being picked on.

You even patted yourself on the back with your list of solutions for his struggle in dealing with their cruel actions. But you failed a student today when you let bullies win, when you let bullies have the upper hand, and you let bullies run him out. You failed more than a student, you failed your school and your community.

You failed today when you sent a new-to-the-district student home indefinitely because it was easier than providing resources and being part of the solution for him. It was easier to take the side of students that aren’t new to the district- students that have grown up in your small town, students that everyone already knows and loves.

Yes, this student is angry, he is hurt, and the very tool his counselor gave him for expressing his big feelings without adding fuel to the fire was thrown in his face. The journal that should have been his companion as he sorted out the trouble he was having is now the betrayer. His secret is out – he is angry at those who have been bullying him. He is angry at those who have been mean to him.

We embarked on this journey with so much hope – so many good reviews, talking about how well you supported each student, but tonight, I don’t feel the love. I don’t see how sending us home with a list of phone numbers is supporting us or helping us walk through this.

I’m a keyboard warrior tonight because you stole my voice today. You made me feel as small as he did, helpless, and with no place to turn. I’m a keyboard warrior tonight because he wasn’t my only student at your school and I don’t want to make life difficult for my other son because I don’t know when to hold my tongue. I’m a keyboard warrior tonight because I, too, turn to writing to express my deepest feelings.

I want to roar about your injustice, but I don’t want to overshadow my son’s feelings about how you chose to handle this situation. I don’t want him to feel like more of a victim than he already does. I want him to own his actions, I want him to own his feelings, and I want him to roar. I want him to prove that he can do this without you, but you don’t really get how bad he wanted you on this journey.

When the bullies win and the victims of their torment are sent home, you are siding with the bad guy. You are showing the world that the bad guy wins. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to see the bad guy win. I want to see someone stand up to the bully and make them back down. I want someone to tell the bully to go home, or take a seat, or sit in the office. I want the bully to be the one being sent home indefinitely because they can’t figure out how to treat another person decently and with kindness.

Monday will come, as it always does, and education will happen without your broken system. We’ll learn how the earth turns and what gravity does. We’ll add and subtract, and make a pie chart. We’ll learn where the period goes in a sentence, we’ll spell words that are new to us and learn how to use them. Monday will come and lessons galore, and we’ll show up and do our best because that’s what we’re teaching our kids to do.

But you need to know, dear school, you failed today. You failed my son, your student, the student body you serve. You made a bad call, you made the wrong call, you sent the wrong boy home today. But home is where he belongs, home is his safe place to fall. We’ll help him up, brush him off, and move on along on our way. We’ll succeed and we’ll fail and we will own it all, but we won’t turn our back on each other when we need help the most.

Yours Truly,

The Mom of a Warrior

 

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