When Does Bullying Become Assault & Battery?


Read the following letter written by a parent to her child’s school Principle. Does it amaze you like it does me that this would occur and worse yet that it has been occurring? What would you do as a Parent if this was your child? My action in addition to contacting the school principal would have been to have called the State Police and an attorney. Not something I take lightly, but it seems evident that the school has been ineffective in dealing with the situation that has been occurring over the last couple of years AND two individuals of authority in the school were aware of it and did not pursue it NOR did they attempt to inform the Parent.

Here is the letter the child’s Parent sent five days after the incident to the School superintendent and BOE:

On Friday my son, XXX was the target of bullying and a physical attack at XXXX XXXX School.  This took place on the playground during recess and in the cafeteria during his lunch period.  He took several blows to the back, neck, stomach and when he fell to the floor kicks to his thighs.  This is not the first incident where this same child has bullied and physically assaulted my son.  This child has been observed by lunch monitors hitting my child before, but the only disciplinary action taken was to make the bully sit on a bench during recess while she threatened to make my son pay after when no adults were watching her.  Students who saw the assault on Friday in the lunch room have said that the lunch room monitor saw my son being attacked and did nothing more than tell the bully to stop–they NEVER reported the child and NEVER helped my son.
 
The school principal was very responsive to my initial report of this incident and he met with me first thing Monday; I know that he did question students who witnessed what happened on Friday.  However, I am very disappointed to see how our Schools claims they have a Zero Tolerance Policy on bullying to only come to find out that the districts policy is to give the offender no disciplinary action other than a basic reprimand for the violent behavior.  I am appalled that this child is still in class the week and not suspended according to the district policy!  For the record this child is a known bully and my son is not the first child to have been attack by her.  Also for the record this is not the first time the school administration has received a report of this child attacking a child other than my son.  How is it possible that the district allows this behavior to continue and does not follow through on the district policy of 5 day suspension.  This child will do as she did after the last time she was reported for physically assaulting; she will refrain for a short time then target another new victim…why…because the school is making it clear that it is no big deal!  The student isn’t being held accountable and the parents aren’t being forced to be had accountable.  The school has now sent the message, loud and clear to the students and the parents of  my son’s school that bullying is very much tolerated and it is better to sweep the problem under the rug than to stop it head on!
 
The other even more disturbing part of this is how the lunch monitors, appear to be serving no other purpose than to be nothing more than the token “adults” required to be visible in the cafeteria.  They are not there to providing a safe environment for my child or anyone elses; their only purpose seems to be to show up to collect a paycheck.  I am outraged that my son laid on the cafeteria floor being kicked and screamed at and the supervising lunch monitor did nothing more than tell the attacking child to stop!!!  What the hell is happening there?  What adult in there right mind would not see to it that the child get sent to the principal and what kind of adult would not make sure the child being attacked did not get checked over by the nurse?!
 
I want to hear from the district why a student is allowed to continue this type of behavior and I also want to hear what the school and district intend on doing to make sure the staff is ensuring our children are safe and that they are NOT ignoring any child who is being attacked, bullied or harassed!  How is the school and district policy helping my child and quite honestly and just as important how are you helping the bully.  Are you disciplining and providing a program to help reform this child, because if it’s not done now–it’s too late–the opportunity to make a difference for his/her and change how she manages her impulses will be lost.  This is a very teachable moment, what are you doing with it?
 
I was assured that the disciplinary action would be taken and I do not think that not allowing the child to join the other 5th graders at lunch, is adequate and it is a pretty easy out.  Is that Zero Tolerance?  Is this the district’s way of saying, “yes, we really don’t want to dirty our hands with bullying and it is better to let law enforcement handle it”?  Because I don’t think it is in the best interest of either child to take that route, and I think other steps should come first.  The school and district own those first steps, it is the school’s responsibility.
 
My XX year old daughter came through the XXXX School District and I never thought I’d feel this way, but my Pride in my school district has now been severely shaken.
 
Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Some notes: 1. The child never informed the parent of this occurring in school. Some of his friends and parents told the mother. 2. The child did see the nurse following the incident by their own rddequest and the nurse never informed anyone. 3. This message was only sent after the parent spoke to one of our educational consultants and confided that they were not satisfied with the measures being taken by the school. 4. We suggested that the Parent get professional counselling for their child and to make sure that the school is aware of it and pays for it!

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