Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Saturday, September 18, 2004


  And WHO'S In Charge At School?

As many of you may have noticed, I have been around Blogdom considerably less in recent days than previously. Sometimes life spins you around, and right now I'm in a cyclone. Remember this scary teacher story? Well, in the last few weeks, there have been abuse charges filed against her, children dual-enrolled in homeschooling for their own protection, parents checking out new schools for their children, phone calls, e-mails, meetings with the principal, the asst. superintendent and others.

The teacher was put on Paid Administrative Leave pending further investigation almost two weeks ago, yet she continues to be allowed to claim "medical problems" and "Bereavement Leave" as her reasons for not being in the classroom. NOW, there is a rumor (rumors, of course, happen when the administration is so busy protecting an abusive teacher that they forget who they are supposed to be working with/for in the first place) that this abusive teacher will be returned to the classroom on Friday or Monday.

This is a teacher with a 14+ year history of lawsuits, disciplinary actions and official complaints--none of which ever resulted in the teacher's permanent removal from the classroom. And we wonder why the CHILDREN don't behave better at school? Which brings me to...

a similar but unrelated matter. Two days ago, my 2nd grader was disciplined at school for hitting the class bully and calling him "Stupid-head". He only had to write a "think sheet" to work out why he hit the kid and what he should have done instead. But the kicker? The child he hit hits my son almost every day and had walked across the playground to punch my son with his fist before my son struck back.

My husband and I have documented 14 incidences since February of this year when this little boy hit my son TOTALLY UNPROVOKED, it was witnessed by others, and he was not disciplined. He was also one of four boys who jumped my son several times on the playground last year and beat him up.

The little boy and the three other "bullies" were given a 1 Day In-School suspension which was supposed to be served the following day. However, the next day they arrived at school at 8:10, sat in another teacher's classroom to do their work, and at 10am were allowed to get on the bus and go on the field trip with the rest of the class!

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SYSTEM? What sort of responsible system would say that children are expected to keep their hands to themselves, but it's acceptable for teachers to shove children, hit them over the heads with heavy textbooks and throw them up against walls when they are angry. What sort of responsible system says to children"Be Kind To Your Classmates" but then punishes the bullied child when they are hurt over and over and over again, nobody does anything to protect them, and then disciplines the bullied child when they take matters into their own hands?

I am SOOOO confused by the messages that our schools and our society are feeding our poor children, how in the world can we expect our children to make sense of it all? Last year, I decided that I wasn't going to take it any more. And this year, I'm actually going to have to put my time, energy and perhaps $$ where my mouth is.

I am now going to get fully involved in this issue with the 3rd Grade teacher. Other than serving as a sounding board for a couple of this year's parents and providing documentation to the district, we have let this year's class carry the water. However, there are those times when every parent has to pull out all the stops to protect their child and others. I see this as a time to do like Oprah said in the quote at the top of my blog and do what we can with what we've been given. I feel that the school district is returning the teacher to the classroom at their own peril and that if she is not permanently removed this year, we will still be fighting the battle next year (for the third year in a row).

We already have one child who was so traumatized by the teacher's heckling of him last year that he is convinced he's no good at math, even though he won a state award for his math scores on his SAT's last May. He tested to go up a grade in math this year, but refuses to go to the other class (even though a neighborhood friend is the 5th grade teacher) because he says it would be "too hard". So as of today, I am in the fight full-throttle.

With regard to my youngest son's issue, I have put the school on notice that I am no longer going to cooperate with any disciplinary actions taken against my son involving that one little boy until there has been a 3-month period of time where my son has not been hit or kicked by him. I will not sign "think sheets" and I will not sign and return "notes home to parents" regarding any further confrontations between the two of them. I will not ground my son, I will not take away his Gameboy, I will no longer take away his bike privileges, or cancel playdates to discipline him for fighting back. Enough is Enough.


Am I going to tell my son that this is my new stance? OF COURSE NOT! I'm not totally brain dead! But I am going to support my son in his battles with this bully until the school or his parents (not likely) resolve the situation. Until someone in our school district decides that there should be REAL consequences for abuse by teachers AND students, they need not waste another moment of my time telling me how wrong my child was to strike back. After all, I've got a blog that I've been neglecting while I have been trying to do THEIR job for them....

Listed on 
BlogShares Listed on BlogShares My Bloginality is ENFP!!!

< ? Blogging Mommies # >