Privacy laws shield bullies. Would public shame be a greater deterrent?

grabarart0920Tammy Simpson is an anti-bullying advocate and the founder of the Brandon Bitner Memorial Scholarship Fund. Glen Retief’s memoir about bullying, “The Jack Bank,” won a 2011 Lambda Literary Award.  Retief teaches creative nonfiction at Susquehanna University.

This is their first piece for the AJC:

By Tammy Simpson and Glen Retief

As our kids settle in for the second half of the school year, spare a thought for this number: 160,000. That’s the estimated number of American students who will stay at home every day this semester due to fear of being bullied.

Americans spent much of December transfixed by images of elementary school gun violence. However, the fact is that the average student is infinitely more likely to be bullied than shot by a lunatic. Bullying — which can, of course, include gun violence, especially in rough neighborhoods — is the routine risk that can shake loose the foundations of children’s security.

Once, parents typically reacted to a disclosure that their kid was being victimized with a pep talk. “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger,” they told their kids. They talked about defensive kicks and punches.

But today many parents know this isn’t enough. Both of this article’s authors have firsthand knowledge that leads us to advocate for stronger parental responses to schoolyard harassment. Tammy Simpson’s son, Brandon Bitner, stepped in front of a tractor-trailer in November 2010 because of brutal persecution at his Pennsylvania high school. Glen Retief’s parents waited too long to complain to the administration when he was being bullied in an apartheid boarding school.

When parents report bullying, however, they are likely to encounter an unexpected problem.

“We’ll take care of it,” principals often tell parents. If the bullying continues, and parents call to follow up, administrators frequently comment: “We certainly took action, ma’am, but unfortunately, we’re not at liberty to tell you, because of privacy laws.”

When children claim the school is “doing nothing” about bullying, these parents lack specific evidence to reassure their offspring. Even if a public community meeting gets called to assess whether the school is appropriately handling incidents of bullying and harassment, principals and superintendents can plead privacy considerations in declining to reveal their responses to specific incidents.

These problems were vividly dramatized in the recent, critically-acclaimed documentary “Bully,” which painted a portrait of parents and school administrators apparently separated by a gulf of mutual distrust. How did we get here?

The main federal law governing educational records is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act passed in 1974. This law also sets the tone local regulations. FERPA’s main role is to protect students from unfair discrimination based on inappropriate public revelation of their grades, IQ’s, disciplinary records, or other personal information.

FERPA is fairly unique. In much of the world — for example in Retief’s home country of South Africa — scores from the national high school graduation exam are published in newspapers. College grades grace bulletin boards. Likewise, disciplinary decisions are generally as public as sentences in an adult court case here in North America.

There are some powerful benefits to this approach. Public shame often motivates academic improvement: there is nothing like the dread of an F published in a national newspaper to spur a student in the direction of the calculus or social studies textbook. Likewise, the prospect of public exposure keeps many boys and girls from vicious sadism and harassment in the post-gym locker room.

Still, the humiliation of failing a test in front of one’s peers can also be demoralizing, especially if one studied hard and simply feels stupid. And FERPA’s secrecy does give young students an important second chance. In the age of Google and lawsuit-driven risk aversion, do we really want kids’ future employers to know forever about that joint they were caught smoking under the bleachers, at the tender, foolish age of 14?

Interestingly, FERPA regulations themselves recognize the need to let victims know about disciplinary outcomes, so that they can feel safer at school. Sub-part D, Section 99.31, permits schools to disclose, without the perpetrator’s consent, “the final result of the disciplinary proceeding” to “a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence.”

The problem, though, is the definition of “a crime of violence.” Does smacking someone on the back of the head qualify? How about founding a Facebook group dedicated to insulting a fellow student? If principals breach FERPA regulations, they can forfeit federal funding. By contrast, there is no legal penalty for withholding the results of disciplinary proceedings from bullying survivors.

We aren’t advocating FERPA be abolished or gutted wholesale. However, Congress should rewrite FERPA rewritten to explicitly redefine “crime of violence” to include bullying in all its forms, as we understand it today — physical, emotional, and cyber-bullying. State educational departments should encourage greater transparency.

We believe these relatively straightforward reforms could make a tremendous difference in securing safer schools and improving the quality of American education.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

44 comments Add your comment

Michael

January 23rd, 2013
1:48 am

Rewrite FERPA and put some serious teeth into it. Meanwhile we as parents must constantly press for that information from educators that we are entitled by law to receive. Schools like everyone else in society will try to do their best by withholding information that casts them in a negative light. Time we stand up and force them from the shadows!

Pride and Joy

January 23rd, 2013
3:11 am

Good points. We protect the bully and not the ones being bullied. Ironically, the kids who are bullied often turn against innocent students and mow them down with guns when they simply cannot take it anymore …just like Eric Klebold at Columbine. He was bullied and harassed by the “jocks” and when he couldn’t take it anymore, he got a gun and killed everyone he could but especially he looked for the “ones in the white hats,” the jocks, because they caused him so much pain.
Many of those who are bullied lash out at society. We need to protect the kids from the bullies.
A dose of common sense would allow the victims of bullies to know the actions taken against the bully. It doesn’t haev to be publicly disclosed, just disclosed to the victim’s family.
And again, most principals are cowards. They just want the funding to pour in and they want to cover up the bad PR. It is no wonder the frustrated parents are suing.

fjeremey

January 23rd, 2013
5:32 am

Public Shame is a technique used by most, if not all, traditional societies to raise their children. To be clear it is not the point and laugh, throw rotten tomatoes at the man in the pillory type of shame that we Americans tend to engage in. It is simply the public knowledge that the individual did something that was not acceptable. It is basic operant conditioning. If you don’t want to feel bad, don’t do the thing that brings the shame. Failing? Find out why and fix it. Bullying? Stop it. We place way too much emphasis on falsely elevating self-esteem because of some faulty notion that if we feel better about ourselves in failure, we will try harder to succeed. Well, if we feel pretty good in failure, or worse bullying, what motivation is there to change? We should feel bad/guilty/ashamed when we fail or abuse those weaker than ourselves and we should feel great when we succeed or stand up against a bully, for ourselves or someone else. It is the good feeling that we innately seek, whether it’s root is good or bad. Let’s root bad feelings in bad deeds, and good feelings in good deeds.

fjeremey

January 23rd, 2013
5:33 am

PS – regarding traditional child rearing practices, check out Jared Diamond’s new book, The World Until Yesterday.

GwinnettMom

January 23rd, 2013
5:51 am

Back in the olden days, when dinosaurs roamed the playgrounds…and shame was a part of life, choices were made/not made because of repercussions. For example, having a child without benefit of matrimony brought shame on you and your family. Now, when a child has a child, the classmates throw a baby shower. Students brag if their picture is on the local mug shot site. Nothing seems to shock, nothing is “wrong, bad, shameful.” So, what would public exposure do to changing bullying? Probably not a thing. While some parents would be mortified and would be the impetus to change little Junior’s behavior, many would just think their child is being singled out unfairly. Gone are the days of parents believing school staff when a call is made. Instead, the teachers and administrators must document and prove the accused has actually committed a transgression (and maybe, just maybe the parents will believe–but not likely).So no, public shame isn’t the answer…but I have no idea what is.

catlady

January 23rd, 2013
6:51 am

Like everything else, dealing with bullying is complex.First, you have kids who say they are bullied because someone looked at them wrong. Then, you have kids who are playing and suddenly one alleges it has crossed over into bullying. Most difficult are those who claim “defensive bullying”. That is, when called to account for their behavior, they (or, frequently, their parents), allege that they were bullied first. Sometimes that is true; othertimes it is pretty obvious that it is not. And it doesn’t help when kids are told by their parents to “stand up” for themselves, and then THEY get caught hurting someone.

It all seems so easy, UNTIL you are the one trying to sort it out.

South Georgia Retiree

January 23rd, 2013
7:35 am

Shows you the tough job teachers and principals have today. They try to protect kids within the limits of the law and sometimes skirt around the edges to make schools safer, but there are so many questionable allegations of bullying that they just do the best they can. Their aim always is having a safe school, and they try to err on the side of protecting students, but today they also have to contend with criticism from parents, taxpayers, etc, and general diminishing respect for public education. Some days it’s a no-win job.

bootney farnsworth

January 23rd, 2013
7:53 am

bullies bully for the simple reason they can. in school, the bully is rewarded by being regarded as cool and attention from the girls. in the workplace, they are rewarded with management positions or most favored status.

either way, the root causes are the same. a low sense of self esteem which compels them to prey on others, a code of silence that reporting it is somehow worse than the abuse, and a system which either ignores or rewards it. worse, it often punishes the victim who has the courage to report it.

and here’s the real problem. since schools and companies refuse to deal with it, it never stops.

waaaay back in HS some idiot took my being quiet for being weak. eventually I beat him silly and nearly got kicked out of school. in today’s world I probably would have been arrested. that was the extent it took to end it.

in the workplace I made the mistake of lodging a complaint with the powers that be. that’s when I learned firsthand the worst bullies are the HR people assigned to deal with these issues.

will public shame work? probably not. you can’t shame the shameless.

bootney farnsworth

January 23rd, 2013
8:01 am

and lets be honest. society REWARDS these people.

the most classic case ever. Chamberlain gives Hitler Chekslovakia on the promise -promise, mind you, of playing nice from now on. Hitler gives Chamberlain was and genocide on a world wide scale.

in school they get the girls, at work they get the promotions or plumb jobs. I’ve even seen it in church where the most abusive deacon gets what he wants since no one wants to be on his bad side.

bootney farnsworth

January 23rd, 2013
8:11 am

@ catlady

strongly disagree on one point. standing up for oneself is not a trigger to inflicting bullying on someone else, unless you are referring to the predator getting well earned just deserts. often standing up early will deflect the bully’s attention to an easier target.

bullying is about attempting to validate oneself, and if the bully encounters someone who is not intimidated, there are many other fish in the sea. but it has to happen early on in the “relationship”

I taught all my kids to walk if possible, win if not. and not just to stand up for themselves, but stand for others who can’t.

bootney farnsworth

January 23rd, 2013
8:14 am

while there isn’t much we can do in the workplace or the street, in school the answer is dead simple.
put the bullies out. and do not let them return until cleared by a qualified mental health person.

and the, on a very short leash.

indigo

January 23rd, 2013
8:48 am

From the first grade to my last year of college, I was hounded by bullies.

I now believe that many of them, maybe all of them, had sociopathic personalities.

You cannot “shame” sociopathics because they have no conscience and no understanding of shame.

Inman Parker

January 23rd, 2013
8:57 am

A good deal of this is a result of the passion of such groups as the ACLU, which work diligently to protect the “rights” of wrong-doers. We have become far more cocnerned for the well-being of the perpetrator than for the victim. Criminals (and other wrong-doers) need to be treated justly, but so do victims. The rest of us have rights too!

Parent Too

January 23rd, 2013
9:00 am

@catlday.. I too disagree with your assessment. My daughter was called “fat” daily and picked on relentlessly by a middle school neighbor daily on the school bus. She went on to develop and eating disorder, in part, because of this relentless harassment. Her parents are in denial and the school would not help. What do you suggest my daughter should have done? Her mom is the PTA president and her father is an assistant principal.

Paul

January 23rd, 2013
9:23 am

Perhaps parents should file assault charges against bullies and the schools that continue to do nothing of any consequence to stop it.

mom of 3

January 23rd, 2013
9:38 am

@bootney farnsworth-agree with all you said. My 14 yr old was bullied relentlessly in 4th/5th grade. The 3 bullies would not let up because they were unable to bring him down. They hurt his feelings everyday with their horrid comments but he just bounced right back. His teachers were well aware of the situation, but it is very difficult to catch bullies in the act. Finally, we gave our son permission to use physical force if necessary. I notified his homeroom teacher of this fact. She completely supported our decision. The next year all 3 left the school. I am aware that one continues to be a bully. Not sure about the other 2. Might find out next year when they meet again in high school.

Jake

January 23rd, 2013
9:47 am

First and foremost bullying is a serious issue and minority classes often are the brunt of that: gay kids, white kids in a school with a mostly black population where black on white bullying is practically acceptable these days, immigrant kids and so on. However, the word bully is a catch phrase and an ambulance chasing tool by lawyers. When “Real Housewives” claim they have been bullied, the word has no meaing in our society. Bully is systematic, targeted, and calculated. It is not a fight over crayons by 5 years olds (or grown black women on TV.) Teachers and administrators spend far to much of their time calming ignorant parents on what true bullying is. I don’t think public shame is the answer. These are children by law and both the victim and bully need privacy and counseling in order to deal with this.

williebkind

January 23rd, 2013
10:10 am

It must be a terrible thing to live in fear of someone who might bully you. It is incredible that parents cannot teach their kids how to protect themselves or stand up for themselves but find it necessary to ask the government to do more of their job. I guess this is the environment you get when you sissy down men and boys like the liberals have for decades. Now you have something else to hate America for. I really pity you educated scared people.

Catlady

January 23rd, 2013
10:14 am

Bootney and parent 2. I am not speaking on an individual basis, but from teaching over 1000 kids since 1973. These are my observations.

Bootney to your point, what frequently happens when a parent says that is that the bullied kid uses it as an excuse to avenge every wrong he even thinks is done to him. Someone bumps into him and he hits them, for example.

All 3 of my kids had instances of being bullied. With the two oldest I got help at school. My youngest,, tiring of the slowness of the adults in solving the problem, took things into her own hands and pulled out the bully’s rat tail. He never bothered her again, but she was not allowed to go to the after school program for a week. She never went back.
End

Mary Elizabeth

January 23rd, 2013
10:24 am

“The problem, though, is the definition of ‘a crime of violence.’ ”
======================================================

Bullying is abuse. The psychological effects of abuse and bullying can last a lifetime. I believe bullying should be considered a “crime of violence.” When soldiers return from wartorn situations, maimed physically, we see the horrors of war in their mutilated faces, lost limbs, and mental loss due to brain damage. However, the psychological trauma some of these soldiers have sustained is not seen as readily by the public because it is not visual or tangibly seen, but this psychological trauma can be even more severe in some soldiers than physical trauma through their recurring nightmares, loss of concentration, loss of jobs and marriages. Likewise, the psychological results of bullying, though often not overtly seen, can have cruel psychological effects on the victims of bullying for the victim’s lifetime. This problem is a very serious one and must be stopped.

The legal definition of “acts of violence” should include bullying. Victims of bullying should be allowed to know what steps have been taken by the school, in their specific cases, to stop the bully. That knowledge will not only make them more secure, it will take away their “victimized” status in their own minds and empower them, again, psychologically.

This being said, I do not believe publishing the names of bullies for public knowledge should permitted, just as I do not believe publishing the names of students’ grades (or their IQ’s, etc.) should be published for public knowledge. This publicly published information can last a lifetime. People often do change their ways over the course of their lives, and the young should not be penalized for a lifetime on who they were at 15.

However, school administrators can do a better job in stopping bullying. They can create school disciplinary rules that are more stringent toward bullies. They can make educating about bullying an educational and public policy priority. They can gather the support of students and parents to reject bullying and the bully. Most students and parents know who the bullies are, within their schools, without reading their names in published literature. Students can speak out against those who bully instead of remaining silent. Students can be educated to the fact that bullies are essentially small-minded people who are cowards. They can come to understand that bullies are insecure people who have low self-esteem and that bullies value power over kindness. Just as smoking cigarettes was once seen as “glamourous” and “sexy” because of the public’s perceptions through advertising in those years, today smoking is seen as the opposite of “sexy” because more recent advertising has educated the public to the fact that smoking ruins health. This change in the perceptions of smoking has occurred, over the decades, because of the priorities placed upon educational and advertising campaigns to expose the negative effects smoking has on the body. Likewise, bullying can come to be seen for the destructive psychological abuse that it is, as well as the long-term psychological harm it does to the bully as well as to the bully’s victims, through priority being placed on educational and advertising campaigns that expose bullying for what it is and bullies for the characteristics that they have.

Unfortunately, bullying also often occurs on public forums among adults, such as on public blogs. Although some adults may have the inner security and the strong self-autonomy to ignore or reject this bullying without permanent ill-effects upon them, other adults do not have these inner resources. Not only is this public bullying destructive and abusive (and it should be called out as such), it is a poor and destructive role model for our young to observe and even to emulate. The larger majority who post on public blogs, or who comment on Facebook, should call bullies for who and what they are when they recognize their comments as bullying. Silence will not change this abuse, exposing this darkness to the light of public exposure, will.

Batgirl

January 23rd, 2013
10:47 am

@ Parent Too, I don’t think that Catlady claimed that true bullying does not exist. It’s just that the examples she gave are quite often what teachers deal with. We actually had a parent call the assistant principal to report that someone had given his kid “the stink eye”.

Like Jake, I also don’t think public shaming is the answer. Does that action not then make bullies of the rest of us, and like the kid caught smoking pot, do we really need to tell future employers that a kid was a jerk at the tender age of fourteen?

My school system is one of those featured in the movie “Bully”. Several years ago a high school student with Asperger’s killed himself, and the parents tried to claim he was bullied. You see the boy’s family crying at his grave, the father declaring that he won’t rest until we end bullying in schools. You’ll see the father in an otherwise empty dance study watching his other two children dancing. You’ll hear how they tried and tried to get school officials to stop the bullying that their child suffered. What you won’t hear is that there had been no reports of bullying in the year that the boy died. You won’t see the brother and sister at a dance recital with their parents nowhere around or their late brother at his karate matches (he was about to get his black belt) with no one there to support him.

These people sued our school system, and over the course of 2-3 years we were forced to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees that we could not afford. Their lawsuit was thrown out, and afterwards their son’s suicide note was published. In it he blamed his family for his death. You won’t see his letter in the movie either.

Also, in an article in “Slate” magazine (I think; it’s been awhile since I read it), the director admits that he had no intention of showing a balanced view of any of the situations featured in the movie. So, please, if you see it, take it with a big old grain of salt.

Brasstown

January 23rd, 2013
11:02 am

Catlady,
Couldn’t agree more with your assessment. “Bullying” is frequently used by parents to excuse their child’s behavior. I find it most often is used when they should be pursueing professional mental health evaluation for their child. However, when counseling with students and they bring up bullying, I find it is almost always true. In these cases we go together to see an administrator and the help they get is excellent. Schools are very tuned-in to this issue. Students are reluctant to report this due to issues pertaining to how they percieve the world at their age. It is not because nothing is done about it. In fact, they don’t want the “adults” to do anything about it. That is what they fear most and that is the power that the bullies rely on.

archie

January 23rd, 2013
11:14 am

@Bootney: I quite agree with you. We live in a society that glamorizes hoodlums and, and as far as I know, always has. I have known one or two deacons that fit your description and it has sort of predjudiced me aginst all the others. I remember one explaining to the church that a deacon is a servant, but not an ordinary servant. I thought to myself: “Yep, an ordinary servant usually cleans up a mess!”

archie

January 23rd, 2013
11:21 am

I would also dare to say that the public shaming would actually give the bully what they want in the way of attention. Good attention or bad attention makes little difference to this kind of a person (I use that term loosely). Attention is attention. As a farmer in South Georgia once told me during my teaching days: “Don’t never get in a wrestling match with a pig, you’ll both get all dirty and the pig likes it!”

Prof

January 23rd, 2013
1:18 pm

Mary Elizabeth brings up the issue of cyber-bullying, extending it from the school-age level to the adult level of blogs. The effectiveness of both, or course, is due to their anonymous nature, for it seems as if what is being expressed is what EVERYONE thinks.

In the case of adult anonymous blogs, I think that one mental defense against such bullying is to recognize that the bullier is trying to coerce the other blogger’s thoughts by either ad hominem attacks or by introducing tangential, irrelevant considerations–red herrings, in other words. Analyze the bullier’s own logic and rational thought patterns, in other words. Bulliers lack both, which is why they are reduced to bullying.

bootney farnsworth

January 23rd, 2013
1:25 pm

@ catlady

understand your point, just felt you were being a bit to vague.

bootney farnsworth

January 23rd, 2013
1:33 pm

schools will never move (as a whole) to deal with bullies for a very simple reason.

parents.

take any step at all to slow down the worse offenders and their parents will be howling in the hallways about their precious baby -who is a complete angel and never, ever does anything wrong-
is the truly wronged party. and if the school doesn’t apologise to their wounded lamb, they’re gonna
sue everybody in sight.

game over, parents win.

bootney farnsworth

January 23rd, 2013
1:44 pm

true story:

a about 18 months I was harrassed by an ROTC macho type for having the gall to not defer to him in all things. and maybe breathing his air, never knew for sure. I got the full run of verbal abuse, veiled threats, name calling, rumor mongering, ect.

when I finally reached my limit and took him down hard, I was the one accused of being a bully. despite a bunch of people who stood for me, and clear evidence otherwise, the powers that be took his size because he was……popular and kissed up to administration.

I found myself invited to be elsewhere for two weeks, and told I was lucky it wasn’t worse.

they and I both knew what was what. so did everybody else. but he was …popular, and admin either liked him or were scared of him. somebody else had to take the fall, and it was me.

bootney farnsworth

January 23rd, 2013
1:50 pm

I know its not PC, socially acceptable, or even couth, but I do strongly advocate meeting bullies with force if and when civilized efforts fail.

despite their being pervasive in the language of intimidation, they actually are not very fluent in it.
most will back down when genuinely confronted, but you can’t do it half assed.

nct-who?

January 23rd, 2013
2:06 pm

Sandy Springs Parent

January 23rd, 2013
4:06 pm

My 12 year old daughter has been bullied first in 4th grade in Cobb County. A big part of it was the county school level, fault. When you put one low income all black apartment complex on the bus, then the only other bus stop you put on the bus is high end homes, where there are only 3 white kids. The houses were about one and a half miles away. It made absolutely no sense to ride the same bus. Every day the two white girls were called the B word, with some variation. Then, one day my daughter was called that and punched in the eye for no other reason than because we lived in a nice subdivision. There were other incidents at the school, but this was the last straw. I finally filled a police report and after I told the police where the offending child lived and where I lived, they were like are they nuts. We get so many calls to that complex and they put you on the same bus, I said yes. Finally Cobb gave us a transfer on no child left behind to a better elementary school, that was much closer to my own house. My child thrived we had a year of, no bullying. I knew my daughter would run back into the same bullies in middle school, plus she could not be in the 1% white minority of the middle school. Her father had stopped paying private school tuition in 3 rd grade. The judge just reduced any he had paid out of the $18k he owed in back child support. I had paid $100% of my older daughters private school tuition. he has paid zero child support in 4 years since the last time I spent $3k to take him to court.

So I sold my Cobb house and took a $300k loss and bought in the best Sandy Springs district in Fulton. I am not an exurb person. What happens my daughter starts not feeling well, head aches, stomach aches, I take her to the doctor and therapy. she finally admits that a black girl has been first putting her feet on the book rack of her desk. When she nicely asked her to stop. It only escalated the girl started to kick her and kick the desk. I took my daughter in to the principal and she even had a desk for demonstration purposes in the administration area. So it was clear that despite the BS from the Principal this was not an isolated incident, why else would they have a demonstration desk. my daughter missed 34 days last year for being physically sick, from being bullied. I am threatened that I could be charged for not sending my daughter to school. I took her to school and have them come get her out of the car crying. I take her to Scottish Rite where they diagnose her with a panic attack, severe depression, and school phobia , I constantly take her to the Peditrician where they diagnose migraines and stomaches, and diahrea. She goes to see a therapist.

We start out this year she makes the honor chorus she is thrilled. Then there are only two girls in her chorus class in the honors class, so the music teacher decides they should demonstrate the correct way to sing. In November she wins a Solo in the Holiday production. Then she starts skipping honor chorus practice coming home instead. Then she tells me the only other girl in her class in Honor chorus quit honor chorus. I find out it was too stressful having to get up in the chorus class by herself, they were picking on her. Some people have been taught by the culture they grow up in that only their race can sing not white girls. They didn’t like it that only a white girl was in the honor chorus ( her father has been trying to be a professional musician for 25 + years).

Suddenly, she is sick again. Then over Christmas she breaks her foot again wearing high heals on Christmas. She has had at least 4-5 breaks of feet, ankles, arms in middle school since her bones break easily. She had a brace and walking cast on her foot, but it was too much walking when she went back to school, so she used crutches. The day after she used her crutches she was catatonic and was refusing to go school. I told her I knew she was being bullied, she needed to write the principal a letter of who and how that she was being bullied. She wrote the letter in the third person, and signed it anonymous, but said she was being called faker for her broken bones, other names such as gum drop head ( about her cut bob hair cut) by Philia P. JaToria S, and the rest of their gang she did not know their names; then she was actually Having her crutches kicked out from her by a girl name Vizar A. And her gang but she didn’t know all of their names. I recognize JaToria’s name as the girl who was kicking her chair and her last year.

To day I had the 503 coordinator call me that my daughter was in her office saying that her heart hurts. I talked to my daughter, and then I asked to talk back to her.I told her my daughter has a broken heart that she has to come to school an d be bullied day after day. I told her she should check with Ms Hasty about the letter naming 3 of my daughters abusers and if nothing is done about it, I was going to the Sandy Springs Police to file charges against these 12-13 year olds. She responded don’t do that I am going to speak to the principal now.

Ole Guy

January 23rd, 2013
5:33 pm

This is precisely why the entire damn system is going down the tubes…SHAME…you gotta be _hittin’ me! Thes gd kids have no shame; the only way you are gonna make an “impression” on them is with a big boot applied on their sixes. When are you people gonna stop crapin’ around with these kids? They have more than demonstrated their inability to get with the program…and you think a little “public shame” is gonna do anything…incredulous…stupendous! THIS is where the education system is today…well (like Lt Dan says) God bless America!

bu2

January 23rd, 2013
6:56 pm

If its elementary & middle school bullies, its just what some kids do to test other kids, particularly boys. They have to realize they need to stand up to them. Not all bullies are pathological. Some are very nice after they’re done “testing.” If your kids can’t stand up to elementary bullies, they’re in real trouble in the real world.

There are certainly some pathological ones, but kids need to try to work things out themselves first. As catlady says, its real difficult in the real world to sort out the truth of these situations.

Dr. Monica Henson

January 23rd, 2013
10:13 pm

bootney farnsworth posted, “put the bullies out. and do not let them return until cleared by a qualified mental health person. and the, on a very short leash.”

indigo calls them sociopaths.

I agree with both sentiments when it comes to what I call “ringleader” bullies, the ones who lead the pack of wolves. Ringleader bullies are conscience-less. The only effective way to deal with the emotional havoc they wreak is to remove them from the general population and isolate them in alternative education settings. However, it is extremely difficult to do, primarily because of (1) the vehemence with which their parents invariably fight back against any suggestion that there is anything wrong with their child, and (2) the institutional apathy with which most educators treat bullying.

Sandy Springs Parent

January 23rd, 2013
10:23 pm

@bu2 you are freaking nuts, bullies are mean and insecure, they are never nice kids. Let us not seem to forget that you are one of the blog bullies. Clearly you are black, by your comments and positions. As they say black girls grow up being taught to fight, white girls grow up being taught to be a lady and walk away.

I have seen the Black female head of a government Agency physical try to strangle one of her male employees.

can't win

January 24th, 2013
1:07 am

Bootney wrote: “schools will never move (as a whole) to deal with bullies for a very simple reason.

parents.

take any step at all to slow down the worse offenders and their parents will be howling in the hallways about their precious baby -who is a complete angel and never, ever does anything wrong-
is the truly wronged party. and if the school doesn’t apologise to their wounded lamb, they’re gonna
sue everybody in sight.

game over, parents win.”

And what really stinks is when the parent is one of the administrators. Think about that. The parent screaming loudly that their ANGEL could not and would not do what your child claims…and that parent is an administrator in the school where this is happening. And that admin is employing bullying tactics to defend their child. Yeah…no win situation for the family on the receiving end.

can't win

January 24th, 2013
1:08 am

bootney…you ready to put the bullying admins and teachers out with the bullying students?

bu2

January 24th, 2013
11:29 am

@Sandy Springs
You’re giving me a good laugh today (not your daughter’s problems, but your other comments).
I faced bullies as a kid. You had to learn when to stand up to them and when to do your best to walk away. And yes, when you stood up to some of them, they were nice to you after that.
Sounds like you are letting yourself get bullied too. Send the school a certified letter. Document, document, document.

Once Again

January 24th, 2013
12:41 pm

Our government has NO shame for the way it bullies every other country on the planet, up to and including invading sovereign nations, dropping bombs on sovereign nations, and killing innocent people (basically because they can get away with it). Hard to see how shame will be a deterrent for kids when they see this kind of behavior from the country’s rulers on a daily basis.

bootney farnsworth

January 24th, 2013
6:56 pm

@ can’t

hell yes. without hesitation

20/20

January 25th, 2013
1:44 pm

Bullies are everywhere especially the school administrative suite. When will Tamara Cotman from Atlanta Public Schools former employee of Beverly Hall be prosecuted for bullying. She told the GBI to “go to Hell” so you can imagine how she treated employees.

Diane

January 28th, 2013
2:09 am

Thank you for this article. My child was bullied & had to fight after being punched in the nose (yes, broken). After reporting it to the school, filing a police report & talking to the counselor….I was told they couldn’t give me any info. They couldn’t even tell me IF the other student was still attending classes (same class as my child) due to the bully’s privacy and for the bully’s safety. WTF (excuse me). I pulled my child from that school & pushed to press charges. The result….my child had to wait 2 weeks for the swelling to go down before the nose could be set, suffered the loss of an entire semester of grades due to missing all final exams, had to work extra hard to make it up to get back up to speed, became withdrawn & started hanging with the wrong kids to prove something & counseling to get back on track. The bully…20 hrs. community service & an apology letter of 2, yes 2 sentences (high schooler). Sorry WE had a fight, hope you have a good life. REALLY!
The schools & the law do absolutely NOTHING!

Diane

January 28th, 2013
2:12 am

BOOTNEY FARNSWORTH….How in the hell do parents win when THEY are the ones who have to help their child pick up the pieces AND deal with the YEARS of after effects of the bullying?!?!? I’ve been there & kids either shut down or go overboard and it takes a lot of time and even expense in counseling to get your child back to being themselves after feeling like they have no control over their own life & that the world can just pick on them or hurt them whenever they choose. YOU sound like a TEACHER!

Shekaina

January 29th, 2013
12:51 pm

As technologies increasing rapidly so bullying does. And as a mom of two boys, more often than not I always received a report that my child was bullied from peers and they usually went home crying. And it does break my heart seeing your children in pain. But all I can do as a parent is to encourage and shows my love for them. Good thing I’ve searched a safety Application through the Android App Store that is useful in preventing and protecting children away from home. I have tested the app and it works great! Check it here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=skz.skz&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsInNrei5za3oiXQ..