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Old 11-18-2009, 08:45 AM
 
3 posts, read 9,123 times
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Could someone please give me their opinion on this situation that took place in October/November? I offered to help the parents out as they aren't familar with blogging.

HEB-ISD has gone nuts on their punishment, or ‘reward’, policy. Here’s what happened to one 10 year old with a perfect academic and behavioral record. She was:
1. Repeatedly pushed down (along with a friend) on the playground by Crazy Girl (CG) whom she was neither friends nor enemies with. She did not fight back verbally or physically but reported it to a teacher. Statements are taken but no punishment issued. CG did not deny attack
2. CG threatens victim by saying she will ‘kick her a**’ a few weeks later. Statements are taken, no punishment given; school 'contract' enacted requiring CG to stay away from the girl she attacked
3. CG keeps flipping off her victim in the hallway where nobody could see, starts a hate campaign among the other students to make them shun the victim. Reportedly, she is angry she was turned in for above.
4. CG makes a death threat. Victim hears about this threat last week (11/12/09). CG admits to several people, including friends and school personnel. Because she 'didn't really mean it' and the threat was made a few weeks earlier her planned punishment of one day in school suspension (ISS) is cancelled. No punishment again

Is this nuts?! Because she is going through a ‘difficult’ time at home (parents divorcing) she gets away with all of it. CG’s mother has the attitude that her little baby is being targeted by the unfair teachers even though CG has a long history of classroom misbehavior. The victim of these attacks never once defended herself. She had seen lots of gets get in trouble unfairly and was genuinely afraid she would get in trouble if she took up for herself in any way. I tend to believe her.

What should parents do when kids can hit, threaten to beat up, bully, make a death threat and get away with it? The victim’s parents might complain if something else happens. I think they should have escalated this to the police or HEB administration.

But wait, there's more. Due to privacy laws similar to HIPAA, limited to no information can be given to the victim’s parents. They are not allowed to know the names of the attackers involved or the punishment given. How can they feel safe putting their child in school if they have no idea of the outcome?

If this happened when I was in school, we’d be paddled, suspended or even expelled for stuff like this.

Love to hear everyone's opinions to pass back to parents. Thanks in advance!

Last edited by MC43; 11-18-2009 at 08:50 AM.. Reason: Odd Font descriptions
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:26 AM
 
37 posts, read 255,756 times
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Well, my oldest is 9 and this is the type of stuff that I hope never happens to her. It sounds like the school administration is not taking this situation seriously. I think at the least she should have received a 3 day suspension for the death threat. It's these types of situation that can escalate out of control when they're not handled properly. If the administration wouldn't take me as a parent seriously then I would threaten to take this matter to the police and press charges, although I'm not sure if you could even do that against a 10 year old? It sounds like this bully girl is only a few steps away from the juvenile court system anyway if she keeps up this type of behavior. It's unfortunate that she's picked your child to be one of her targets. Please keep us posted on your situation and the outcome of it.
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:29 AM
 
37 posts, read 255,756 times
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Oh sorry, I just reread the OP and saw this was not her child she was speaking about. It still doesn't change my opinion about how I would handle it if were happening to my child.
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:49 AM
 
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Be happy to let you know if anything else happens. According to a recent police school visit about bullying, she could go to juvenile hall if convicted. Totally agree about the 3 day ISS.

We're trying to figure out what good filing a police report will really do. Maybe I should call the PD and see if any school records will be opened up by getting them involved. Like you said, she's a juvie. Maybe they aren't allowed to show us much either. I can't see them convicting her if this is her first violent act. We don't want that anyway, just want her kept away from the other students for a while.

Maybe the law would force counseling on CG. We did hear the mom was considering therapy. Hope it's true.

I'll let you know what the police say. Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:29 AM
 
3,087 posts, read 6,981,171 times
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First thing is the parents need to know and understand the district's code of conduct, which they can find on the website.

There are definitions on things that may apply to their situation including bullying, harassment, threats and the consequences of breaking the code of conduct.

There is also the protocol for dealing with complaints which explains the steps to be taken and in what order to get a complaint heard and resolved.

Having said all that, if the school has questioned the girl and others on each occasion and had a contract involved, then they actually have taken some action. There may also be other things that are happening that the parents wouldn't be privy to. For example the child in question may be getting counseling at school due to these behaviors, may be being closely monitored while on the playground and in the hallway, may have a written plan to follow regarding her behaviors or may be scheduled for further evaluations.

So, the playground and hallway issues might already be taken care of now. If not, then the parents could make a direct request that either the other girl or their daughter be monitored in some way in order to prevent further direct contact.

Regarding the death threat, I would imagine that the issue of the girl only hearing about it weeks after it was made isn't enough to bring immediate discipline because of both the time lapse and the girl not being directly threatened, though they'd have to ask that specific question of the school to find out the answer.

I have a daughter who teaches 4th grade, and believe me there are all kinds of things the teachers do to deal with behavior issues that they cannot discuss with anyone involved except for the child being dealt with and their parents. She recently had a student that had some severe issues. It took several weeks of documenting conversations/incidents, several discussions with her principal, the school counselor, the parents and evaluations done by the appropriate district personnel before they could do anything for the child. The child was finally removed from the classroom and given the appropriate educational setting and assistance they needed. It broke her heart that it took so long to get it dealt with, but they have certain steps that have to be taken and in the right order.

This child's issues were not usually directed at any other child, however if they had been most likely the parents of those other children would have been angry that nothing was being done.....when in reality all kinds of things were going on that they couldn't see or be aware of.
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Old 11-18-2009, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Grapevine, Texas
54 posts, read 133,957 times
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Hi MC43,

Can you tell us what school in HEB?

My wife teaches in that district and I'm wondering if this is in her school. Thanks.

J
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:38 PM
 
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All, good news! Found out today (via other Baker Street Irregular students) that they did decide after all to put the child in one day of in school suspension. Even one day might send a message of 'Don't do this again, we're serious'.

GrapevineTXOnline - It's in Bedford and I can PM you the info if you need it. Not sure why I feel odd putting the name of the school out there. Like Hypocore said, they may be doing other things I know nothing of.

Hypocore, I understand what you are saying but I'm wondering about how the privacy law is interpreted. Don't the involved parents have a right to know a little? I have kids there as well and it makes me worry. Nobody wanted to get the police involved just to find out this info. That's not really their purpose unless charges are pressed. BTW, this threat had a specific time frame involved - long story. That part gives me the chills.

We all read the school and penal code. It came down to a disputed interpretation of it being a Level I vs a Level II incident. Level II would have put the kid in a supervised SOS class for at least 90 days. We just have to hope she gets outside counseling as the school cannot force it and only has one very busy counselor on staff.

Thanks all for your advice and support!

MC
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Old 11-19-2009, 11:16 AM
 
3,087 posts, read 6,981,171 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MC43 View Post
All, good news! Found out today (via other Baker Street Irregular students) that they did decide after all to put the child in one day of in school suspension. Even one day might send a message of 'Don't do this again, we're serious'.

GrapevineTXOnline - It's in Bedford and I can PM you the info if you need it. Not sure why I feel odd putting the name of the school out there. Like Hypocore said, they may be doing other things I know nothing of.

Hypocore, I understand what you are saying but I'm wondering about how the privacy law is interpreted. Don't the involved parents have a right to know a little? I have kids there as well and it makes me worry. Nobody wanted to get the police involved just to find out this info. That's not really their purpose unless charges are pressed. BTW, this threat had a specific time frame involved - long story. That part gives me the chills.

We all read the school and penal code. It came down to a disputed interpretation of it being a Level I vs a Level II incident. Level II would have put the kid in a supervised SOS class for at least 90 days. We just have to hope she gets outside counseling as the school cannot force it and only has one very busy counselor on staff.

Thanks all for your advice and support!

MC
Regarding privacy issues, it's very clear through FERPA that information that can be used to 'personally identify' a student cannot be communicated to anyone other than the student, parent or specified select personnel such as counselor, health care provider etc. There really isn't much to interpret.

Any teacher, administrator or other school staff that would give out a name of a child involved in an altercation of any sort or disclose any discipline applied to a student to anyone other than the parent can be held accountable for that action by being fired, disciplined in other ways and be liable to the family of the child of whom they disclosed information about.

For what FERPA doesn't cover, HIPAA typically picks up coverage, including emotional/mental issues such as effects of a divorce.

So no matter where it goes or what has happened, no one is legally entitled to information about anyone but their own child.

The only thing the parents are going to do by discussing and analyzing it with other parents and other students is get themselves worked up over things they have no control over and likely place themselves in an antagonistic position with the school. Their focus would be much better on what they can do for their daughter and what they can ask the school to do for her.

Now, for a minute, step back and imagine yourself as the parent whose child is accused of doing such things. I imagine you wouldn't want your child vilified without investigation into the situation. I imagine that if your child happened to be going through very difficult times at home you would expect that to be considered when discipline was being decided. I also imagine that you wouldn't like it one bit if everyone in the school knew what your child had done and what had happened to her because of it. I'd expect you to be very angry that the teachers had told your personal business and that other parents and students were talking about it since it was your child and not theirs. Wouldn't you want your rights as a parent protected? Your child's rights protected?

That's what the school is doing and just because it doesn't feel good to be excluded doesn't mean it's wrong......
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Old 11-22-2009, 04:45 AM
 
32,612 posts, read 51,202,899 times
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first of all--I think the daughter has probably told her parents who the student harassing her is--
so her identity is not a mystery to them since I assume it is a classmate of their daughter vs some girl from another grade that she might not know...

whether they have first hand knowledge of her family, where they live and particular problems is less likely from the OP's info--
the school/admin staff in a situation like this are buffers on both sides--
THEY should not do anything to turn the two sides into more hostile parties but the fact is that in my experience from past teaching on secondary level--

now that this behavior has been deemed inappropriate teachers/admin should be aware of possibility that it might continue in more subdued way...IF it does, will subsequent incidents be judges as Level II cecause they are continuing pattern or judged on individual merits?

many parents refuse to admit their child can do wrong--whether it is something physically unaggressive like bringing/using phone inappropriately at school (in class during test even), wearing inappropriate clothing (jeans cut so low that her thong was visible), cheating (research paper copied totally off Internet site), to using profanity (much more difficult to prove beyond he-said/she-said, bullying/harassing/anti-gay behavior, (that is sort of sanctified by the Bible anyway, right? according to the parent), and other infractions == like tardy to class more than 3 times requiring office referral...
almost any parent I contacted because of a child's inappropriate/infraction behavior was defensive and apparently totally oblivious to the fact that their child was less than perfect...
so good luck with getting parents to see a child's persistant pattern of antagonistic behavior (bullying, lying, physical intimidation) as symptomatic of underlying issues...

many times this is not the first time such behavior has been brought to their attention--but frankly they might be ill-equipted to deal with issues like that because they could very well have issues of their own...if the parents are going through divorce, children often become part of the battle/spoils

it is not always true that bad parents have bad children nor is it always true that parents automatically defend their children against any/all reports of bad behavior -- even good parents can have children who cross the line of appropriate behavior at times--
sometimes parents can't separate their child's behavior problems from feeling personally attacked--
i.e. they are the ones at fault for the child's bad behavior...and because they feel threatened, they become defensive...often times this is because the child has history of bad behavior --sometimes to the point of causing parents to switch schools/neighborhoods
(and yes, it does happen that parents will move to new school zone or go from public to private school or vice versa because they feel their child is misunderstood/maligned by school officials and can't get fair treatment).

The parents of the girl being treated badly can't be told personal info about the other student beyond general info--BUT they do have a right to go to the local police if they feel the school is not taking strong enough action to address the other girl's behavior and stop it...
frankly a one-day in-school suspension IMO is not going to stop something that has already gotten out of hand with the bully enlisting other students in her campaign--she will lose a lot of face if she stops now and that might might way more with her than a one-day suspension...

apparently from the OP's statement the bully has tried to enlist other students in this behavior which can be difficult to counteract if the person has charisma and they often do...even very young students access the Internet and can use areas away from school to continue harassing behavior...school policy normally does not cover behavior like that for students that are not in special school-sponsored activities and someone in grade-school is probably not covered under that provision of "good behavior".
I would be concerned about any sign of Internet-based abuse--and don't discount the possibility of this or much more likely phone/texting inappropriate behavior by the bully to other students...

I think this type of behavior is becoming more and more visible from girls--teachers and admins are often very reluctant to take sides when children report incidents like this and frankly from my experience as a teacher, they are often more reluctant to become involved when one child who is the victim of harassment/bullying does report that behavior to the teacher/admin/counselor...

for some weird reason, they are usually in position of telling students not to be "tattle-tales" or "whiners" and don't take complaints that seriously because there are lots of them at times in a classroom situation...
students who exhibit frequent bullying behavior either pervasively--i.e. toward variety of students for variety of reasons, or toward one/two other students in particular--often are very sophisticated in how they accomplish this....often times the teacher becomes aware after the exchange is in progress and see the harassed child RE-acting (not initiating behavior)....when the teacher admonishes the child for "negative" action and child says "but so-and-so started it"...the teacher often views that as cover-my-ass activity and disregards it...or tells the student not to be a tattle-tale

often times children who are instigators are also adept at manipulating others and may have already ingratiated themselves with the teachers--who then lack objectivity ----
and teachers can and do lack objectivity when dealing with students and their behavior problems more often than they want to admit I think--(some over-react and some under-react just because of teachers' individual personalities)

some students are given basic 504 status for emotional problems stemming from situations like divorce or other family problems if they are struggling with schoolwork--making it more difficult to discuss situations like this one where other students/parents become involved...

a threat of violence from that student should be recognized for what it is--a threat of violence--something that should never be taken lightly or discounted just because of the age of the child making it...a child who says something in that tenor should be admonished just what is coming across and how it is perceived by others--and that violence is not the answer to problems--
ignoring outbursts like that until a child is "old enough" to make the threat more viable just allows that behavior to become more likely to occur in future--either with verbal threats or with reality of action

too often younger children making threats are ignored or discounted because of age--yet the news has become more forthcoming with stories of younger perpetrators of violence--often very violent acts of aggression/rage that are acted out with guns or other weapons...even stories of elementary age students bringing guns to school to carry out threats or conversely for protection against other students who have been harassing/bullying the gun-toting student...
a child is never TOO YOUNG to be told behavior is inappropriate/harmful/hurtful when it is just that...it is the telling that requires moderating to the age of the child...

at times when I was a teacher--I have had students who had been juvenile offenders and potentially very aggressive personalities who came into my class with ankle monitors directly after serving time in juvie--and did not know that until some problem arose--like being tardy to class because they were with their probation officer...or maybe I conferenced about grades or behavior with counselor or admin...I always thought the classroom teachers should be apprised of students who entered with record of violence as juvenile offender...and my experience has been that most of the time I did not have other problems with those students whether I knew or not--but I always felt more in control of knowing what might happen when I did have that knowledge...
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