So what happened today?I waited until 9AM this morning for a phone call from the school. The night before, I had decided that by 9, I'd be heading to the school to have an in-person chat with the vice principal. I was done. DONE! I wanted results. I wanted answers. While heading over there, the vice principal actually called me. I told her I was headed her way and would talk to her soon. Must have been a shocker. I can imagine the "Oh no" moment she must have had. But this needed to be settled. So I went in. And the talk we had, while friendly and professional, was most definitely laced with your classic customer service rhetoric. I should know. I worked retail for too many years.
Basically, I learned that the lead bully, the little girl I mentioned before, was still pouncing on my children on the school grounds. She was being "sneaky" about it according the vice principal. And even this morning, she had been called to the office for her misconduct. Suffice it to say, she is a known deviant that they have had to deal with quite a bit. So it was no surprise that the information I laid out led the vice principal to admit that she too thought the little girl was a ring leader for the bully team. She was instigating the problem.
In addition, while the buses have cameras on them, they are not all strategically placed. Some are on the front, some are in the backs above the doors, and some are in the middle and often obscured. What good does it do anyone if the cameras are not in a prime position?! Likewise, the vice principal does not have immediate access to the footage they record. Why it is her job, but she can't get the footage without going through a process, leaves me baffled. She has to contact the technology department of the transportation department to review and pull necessary footage and they have to then send her a copy of it. This is antiquated technology! It defeats the purpose of a speedy matter. While waiting for that, she has to make decisions that are required immediately. Its a sad thought. These kids are not all from the same class, same grade, same neighborhood. My son didn't even know his attackers name until I got on the bus after school yesterday and threatened every one of those kids to leave my kids alone! Yes, I told the vice principal that I did that. You know what response I got? A "Good for you!" *insert shocked look here* Wait, you are glad I got on that bus, confronted all those kids, and scared the pants off the boy who hurt my son?! Yes, yes she was. Why? According to her, those kids turn into animals when they get on the bus going home.And there is no one to stop them.
So what came to be the conclusions of our discussions? Well, for starters, the little girl will now be restricted to the seat directly behind the bus driver. She will be forbidden to threaten, touch or otherwise have ill-conceived dealings with any other student, but especially my own. Her parents were to receive a phone call and a warning. If anything else happens involving her, she will be expelled for a time from using the bus at all. The boy who attacked my son, would be given a stern talking to and a warning since this was his first offense. His parents would also receive a phone call of his actions and the disciplinary actions taken.
Hopefully that will clear up the bullying problems and all the kids can now rest a little easier when they board that bus to come home. I, however, still have a job to do. According the vice principal, she has been pushing the superintendents office to have an adult stationed on the buses to monitor and control the kids. The morning ride, they are docile creatures as they have not fully awakened or for most, even eaten yet. So that is typically not when an extra adult would be needed. But that ride home... that is when they are excited. They are awake. They go crazy. After all, they have been given freedom! They are going home. Time to play and be loose, right? Wrong. They are still under school supervision. There are no restraints. No seat belts. So what are they doing, besides picking on each other? How about jumping across the seats? How about throwing things? How about running up and down the aisle? And you cannot expect the bus driver to control them. They need to be focused on the street they are traversing. I'd rather they don't take their eyes from in front of them. Especially when we have drivers like this one in our own city!
So why don't we have that extra adult supervising their trip home? The funding was cut. And until parents band together and demand it be reinstated, they see no need for it. Not until someone is seriously injured and sues the school... Which will happen eventually if those kids aren't controlled.
So my task this weekend is to put together a petition. I plan to pass it around. To rally parents to this cause. We need safety that can only be afforded by someone keeping a watchful eye. Someone to keep dangerous acts from taking place. I understand that schools are strapped. But I can think of some things they don't need that could go to make money for what is truly needed. Especially for a school that has a serious bully issue running rampant.
My plea to all of you parents out there is this, don't sit idly by. Know what is happening. I'm not saying you have to attend all the events or be a part of the PTA. I won't even go that far. But truly take the time to talk to and listen to your child. Know what they are facing. And make sure they are not afraid to speak out against the one who might be harming them. I will never forget the fear that the little boy had in his eyes when he tried to tell me he was fine after being in a choke-hold. Fear of the bully or fear of speaking up and not knowing what would happen. We tell our kids not to be tattle-tales, but do they know the difference between speaking up and tattling? We need to make sure they know.