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October 11, 2010

More Regarding My Younger Daughter

She was the youngest of her siblings. Junior high school was difficult for her. Groups of girls disliked her and began teasing and name calling, which she ignored. Then the girls broke into her school locker and destroyed the project that was due that day. The principal became involved and when he questioned the three girls they admitted breaking off the lock, destroying the project, and ripping up her school books. The principal asked them over and over if there was anything that my daughter did to provoke this, and each girl said, no, they just didn't like her.

When she was in ninth grade she began a different school, the local high school. A couple months into the ninth grade, someone from the school office called me at work to tell me that my daughter had been in an altercation at school and I needed to come to the school to get her. I was not told she was hurt. Work and the school were close so I was at the school in a few minutes. My daughter was sitting in a chair at the school office. Her clothes were torn and bloody. She had trouble talking. At that moment I was only interested in how hurt she was and I could pretty well tell her nose was broken so I took her to the hospital. Other than some cuts and lots of bruising, including bruised kidneys, the broken nose was the only thing that needed to be repaired. She spent a couple days in the hospital and more pain than she wanted to endure, but the nose was finally back to normal and after a couple weeks she looked like she always did.

The day after the "altercation" I called the principal of the high school. He told me that whenever students are in any type of altercation, all the students involved are sent home from school for three days, and her position of freshman class student body president was taken away from her, permanently. I asked him if he had investigated this "altercation" enough to know that my daughter was attacked and not in any way part of a fight like he was saying. He said there was no need to investigate, that the girls told him that my daughter had been calling one of the girls a racial slur, and they got into a fight. He said "You need to teach your daughter not to call people names so they won't get into fights with her." I told him he just said the wrong thing to the wrong parent, and I hung up. Anyone who knew me or my kids would know it could not be true that one of my kids would call someone a name much less a racial slur.

I called the local police and asked them to meet me at my house where my daughter was and take a statement. The police took our statement and then they visited the school. The principal of the school called me to tell me they would not allow the police on the school grounds and that the security office of the high school would handle their own investigation. He was very upset I had involved the police. Too bad.

So I spent the next couple days at the school. Doing my own investigating. I spent time in the girls locker room in the gym. And I sat down on the bench over the blood stains in the concrete and looked up at the blood spurts in the ceiling tiles. And I cried for what I was finding out about what happened. A very big girl who was in the twelfth grade called me at home to tell me she was so sorry. She had been told that my daughter had been harassing a ninth grade girl she knew and she was asked to help them get my daughter back. She walked up behind my daughter and grabbed her arms and held her so that two girls could beat on her. She told me that she had since learned that my daughter really did not even know those girls. And she was willing to go to the principal.

It is tough being a single mother, working and not available for every school activity that are almost always held while daytime working parents have to be at their jobs. I was missing some days of work and invoking the wrath of my boss in order to do what the high school would not do. In order to save face, the principal had ordered the teachers of the classes held when my daughter was hurt to write statements and in the statements they were told to lie. All this came out later. You see, when I visited the girls locker room in the gym, the teachers lounge room in the locker room was pointed out to me. The window shades were down. There were no openings. Maybe there were curtains on the inside too, because I walked all around that room trying to see inside and I couldn't. That meant the teachers could not see out into the open area that they were supposed to be supervising. It frightened me to think that some other girl could be hurt possibly worse than my daughter and the teachers wouldn't see it happening either. Several girls stated that the teachers go into that room each class and they don't supervise the area. That is why the girls planned their attack in that room right after gym class. In the sworn statements by the teachers, they were instructed to say the blinds were up and one teacher was in the room.

To make a long story short, after I contacted the school board and I also found a lawyer to contact the school board, the principal was transferred to a different school, the blinds in the teachers room were removed, my daughters blood stains were removed as much as possible. The "altercation" took place right in front of the closed windows of the teachers room.

By that time my daughter did not want to be reinstated as freshman class president; she liked the girl who had been given the job and didn't think it was fair to just take it back. The girl who started the whole thing had been in trouble in school most of her life and was actually on probation. The principal kept that information from me but I could understand the right to privacy of other students and would not have expected him to tell me. I actually felt sorry for that little girl. She had a worse family situation than my daughter did and she didn't have anyone sticking up for her. I have to be honest, at first as the true story emerged, I despised that girl. I saw her once at a school football game because someone pointed her out to me. She walked down the bleacher steps and sat right behind my daughter. My son was varsity quarterback and we attended every home game and my daughter would sit with her friends in the front row of the bleachers. I overreacted. I practically climbed over the people in my row to get to the stairs and I ran down to get my daughter.

What did happen to my daughter was her dislike for school. She quit school within a year. She moved to her father and stepmother's place in a different state. She became a problem there and they told her to leave. She moved in with a woman and her daughter who none of us knew. It was a scary time for me as her mom but she was in contact with me by phone often. After a couple years living away from me my daughter moved back and got her GED and plenty of jobs. She is an interesting person and I know I will write more posts about her. There are many things I admire about her.

51 comments:

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

..... I feelsorry for your daughter. As a discipline teacher, I also do my own investigation first before deciding on a punishment. This will include asking a lot of students and the witnesses of the crime.

Life is rough when you are different. I experienced it too, but I am lucky because I was a resourceful boy.

I am glad that your daughter is successful now :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

It sounds as if your daughter has had a very rough time of it, not because you were a single mother but because of massive cruelty and stupidity among so-called adults who should have been protecting the kids in those schools. I'm very glad you got her back, and that things are going well for both of you now.

msprimadonna67 said...

As a teacher at a public high school, I am horrified by all that happened to your daughter. It's our job as educators to help protect these kids while they're with us, and I'm so sorry that this did not happen for you and your daughter.

LL Cool Joe said...

I bet your daughter is an amazing person. People who suffer always turn out to be extra special in my books.

You sound like a very special mother too. :)

blueviolet said...

I am so glad you didn't just accept the principal's version of the story and that you did your own investigation. Schools are terrible about just wanting to brush things under the rug, and I think it's wonderful that you involved the police.

I'm so terribly sorry that this happened to your daughter. I just don't know how someone can ever quite get over something like that.

Dave King said...

Seems to me there was a lot of denial on the Principal's part.

Opaque said...

I believe your daughter has become a very strong person now... and, that is what matters now...

Brian Miller said...

dang. sad tale but i am glad you did not give it up...i imagine you having her back made quite the impression...cant beleive the coverup, well i guess i can...sickening. i am glad we know the rest of the story on this one...

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Oh wow. Remarkable she landed on her feet isn't it? Geez.

Hilary said...

Outrageous behaviour.. by the students and infuriatingly so by the administration. I'm so sorry your daughter went through this horrible treatment. I'm glad for the girl who spoke up and apologized. She made a life decision that day and I'll bet she's done fine. I hope your daughter continues to as well.

savannah said...

I'm glad your daughter made it through all of that, despite the rough times and was able to finish her education. Thank you for highlighting a problem that continues to exist in our schools: bullying.
Peace to you and yours. xoxo

Jeanie said...

There is so much wrong with what happened to your daughter, but I am very bothered by the teachers being told to lie and that they did it.

DJan said...

What a story! I wonder how many kids this happens to, without anyone to back them up, as you did. Your daughter sounds like a very interesting person. I'd like to know more about her.

willow said...

I hate things like this. Life can be so cruel. Nice to know things turned out okay.

Badass Geek said...

What an incredible and horrifying story. Kids can be so cruel, but so can the adults picked to watch over them.

Betty said...

Your daughter is lucky to have you as her mother. You stuck up for her and protected her as much as you could. I´m sure she knows how much you love her!

Lori said...

This breaks my heart. I am so sorry to your daughter and to you that had to go through this with her. I can only imagine how all of this impacted her and affected her life. I have read so many posts recently of bullying and how it has affected their lives. Very sad. I am so thankful that your daughter has you and has succeded in moving on with her life.

ellen abbott said...

That just totally sucks. Good for you for pursuing it. I do believe though that if my daughter had been attacked and beat up at school and put in the hospital I would not only have called the police, I would have pressed charges for assault.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Every child needs an advocate and I'm glad you stuck up for your daughter. The principal was a complete idiot-- shame on him.

I am sorry your daughter had such a tough time. I've always thought the teenage years are the toughest years of your life because you don't have any life skills to draw from, and in this case your daughter was surrounded by so many judgmental liars at the school.

I will be watching for you stories about your daughter. she sounds like an amazing person.

Hope your garage sale went well. xo jj

TALON said...

I truly don't blame her for leaving school - what a horrific environment it had become for her. The cover-up, sadly, is not that surprising.

Your daughter is lucky to have a mother like you.

Kristina P. said...

Wow, this breaks my heart. I work with kids like your daughter, everyday. On both ends.

We often get the victims of fights into our facility. Even if they are defending themselves, the police will still charge them. It makes me really angry. I do understand that they need to investigate and can't just take their word for it, but then they should do that before charging anyone.

Have you read the book, or seen the movie Speak? Very powerful.

Robert the Skeptic said...

It sounds like you did all the right things, involving the police and hiring a lawyer. You probably could have sued the school district.

The important thing is that your daughter knew you would go to bat for her.

Eileen said...

Oh, I get so outraged reading the unfairness.
She was lucky to have a Mom that was so conscientious and thorough.

I'm so sorry your daughter got caught up in so much negative atmosphere, it's like a black cloud was following her, it definitely explains her actions. I guess she must have been on a journey, searching for herself.

I admire her spirit, and I hope things continue on a positive note for her.

All the best,
Eileen

gayle said...

Good for you for sticking up for your daughter. The teen years are so hard and some kids can be so mean!! I am glad my girls are grown up now but do worry for my grandson!!

So glad your daugher is doing well now!!

Sassy Pants Freckle Face said...

OMG !!!!!

I had a fight on my hands years ago,.. in 1st grade,. THANK GOD SHE HAD YOU AS AMOMMA,..Or Next a child could be killed,...

HOLY F!


Lucky to have so r all of us

Jillsy said...

It's hard to believe a principal would act so nonchalant about a serious attack like that. Blood splattered as high as the ceiling that sent the victim to the hospital for a few days! That's not just a small altercation. No school official should brush something so serious aside, no matter who's at fault. How disgusting. I can't believe the school system didn't fire him/her.

Kulio said...

So glad she has had you as her mother -- I look forward to hearing more about this very interesting person!! :-)

Kazzy said...

What nightmare, but you are a real bulldog and I respect you for what you tried to do to protect your daughter.

Jerry said...

Your daughter sounds pretty remarkable...and thank you for your tenaciousness.

I am appalled that not only were the teachers told to lie, but that they actually did it. This is horrifying.

otin said...

There is a whole lot of damage that can be done by bullying and lack of supervision. sometimes it takes a lifetime to heal!

English Rider said...

The Principal should have called an ambulance. What if your daughter had had internal injuries. He probably didn't in the hope there would be no report.
Good for you for involving the police. Both to prevent further abuses and to show your daughter you supported her.
My school days were hell as I was bullied for being the new kid in many different schools due to parental moves.
My daughter went to an International School (French/American/Chinese) which wasn't perfect but the thing I liked best was that they were so mixed culturally that "Different" was seen as a good thing.
I'm glad your daughter overcame her experiences. I'm sure they color her life to this day.

Stickup Artist said...

Bullying in schools is such a big problem and unless the adults in these environments act, it won't stop. It's great that you hung in there and pushed the point. More parents should get involved. It is a dreadful thing to ignore because things can get out of hand so easily.

I'm glad your daughter is doing well now. She is lucky to have your support!

lisleman said...

New schools are tough enough without dealing with awful stuff like that.
Good to know that both of you have been able to move on from that time.
all the best

The Absence of Alternatives said...

I don't know what to say because there are so many to say. I was really upset when I read the story. Boiling mad. Thank you for sharing this story because I am taking mental notes for the practical, right things to do so I can help our kids IT something like this happens (even thought I cannot believe something like this DID happen, not just in the movies! SRLY?! I am so mad!) We talked to a parent who happens to be a principal at a grade school about cyber bullying. His suggestion? For any bullying, call the police first. The school district is going to try to keep thing under cover so you want to get the police involved. And if there is any cyber bulling? Take a screenshot first so you'll have evidence later on.

Julie said...

I was also mad at the principal and teachers as I was reading this account. As a mother, it makes my heart break for you and your daughter. I am so sorry it happened.

But I was cheering as I read about all the things you did to not let it get swept under the rug. Often, people are afraid to speak out. Thank you for sharing. It will help many others who are experiencing similar school horrors.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

Incredible ... the principal should have been fired as well as the teachers who lied.

secret agent woman said...

Oh my God. It's like transferring a priest who has molested altar boys to another parish. That principal was unfit and should have lost his job. The teachers, too, should have had stiff penalties. It makes me crazy that that sort of violence and bullying is allowed to occur and that victims are punished.

anne h said...

Bullies - how sad - for everyone involved....
Here's to the hope of true healing - for everyone involved!

Mmm said...

Wow, thank you for sharing this. Waht an ordeal TB!1 I am so glad you were diligent enough to pursue it further. I like how real you are here too adn a good reminder:
"She had a worse family situation than my daughter did and she didn't have anyone sticking up for her. I have to be honest, at first as the true story emerged, I despised that girl."
It is so sad, isn;t it? I do hope your daughter is doign better. The one i feel most mad at is the principle who was obviously protecting his hide. So so so glad you conintued. Also, have to admit to feeling a bit cross at your boss. Sometimes bosses need to realise llife can;t be simply put away for 8 hours a day. your PRIMARy responsibility is and was to your daughter adn you excelled there.

I will come back to read more later.

Take care.

Shrinky said...

Oh Sweetie, my heart simply breaks reading this. Thank God for your strength and belief in what is right. That took a huge amount of guts to follow through on what you knew you had to. I am sure your daughter came through knowing how loved she is. ((Hugs))

Debbie said...

This was a hard story to read and I'm sure even harder to write and much more difficult to have lived through. How unfair that your daughter had such a tough adolescence. She is blessed to have you as a mother.

terri said...

My kids have endured hurt and pain at the hands of other kids, but nothing like you've described here. I think you handled it very well. I couldn't have been rational. I would have wanted to beat that other girl up myself!

It is so very difficult and painful to watch your kids suffering. As parents, we all know there are life lessons all kids will have to experience at one time or another, but that doesn't make it any easier when it happens.

I'm glad your daughter was able to rise above it and find success in life. It could have turned in such a different direction!

Unknown Mami said...

There are many things I admire about you and seeking justice for your daughter is at the top of the list. I am so sorry that any child should have to go through this. It is not right and I am so disappointed in the school.

Roxy said...

So sorry to read about what your daughter endured at school. I am disgusted by the stories of bullying at schools and the lack of administrative parole. I admire you for having the courage to stand up to the principal and follow through on the situation.

When my grandson was only 3 years old, he was beaten by a teacher in his pre-kindergarten class. She tried to hide it, saying that he fell but the physical signs were obvious that it was not a fall. His mother and I notified the appropriate authorities and charges were brought against the teacher. It took two years of investigation to bring her to justice, but we were determined to stay the course. She had her lisence to teach suspended.

It's sad when your children fear attending school.

I'm glad to read your daughter is doing well now :)

Marla said...

You are what every mother should be .... your child's best advocate. I liked you before. I love you now.

Cricket said...

Yikes. What a tale. I'm glad it sounds as if things worked out ok in the end, overall, that is.

They don't, always. But I'm sure you knew that.

deb said...

TB,
I can barely type.
love to you and your daughter.

Betsy said...

I'm so glad you shared this! Good for you for sticking up for the truth and doing the right thing. I hate it when bullies are allowed to be bullies!

Syd said...

It seems that justice wasn't really considered by the principal at the school. Assuming all parties are guilty is wrong. And asking others to lie is definitely wrong. What a terrible thing to happen to your daughter and for you.

CherylK said...

Well, you're a good mom and I'm proud of you. Life isn't always fair, unfortunately. So happy that your daughter is doing well.

Wandering Coyote said...

That school principal should have had his ass fired. Transferring him to another school is just plain insulting.