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It’s been three years since my family sold our “perfect house” in a quiet little Pennsylvania town. We loved that house, more than we ever thought we would when we moved in in late 2013. But, two years later, when our son started kindergarten everything changed…
Here’s our story of how we dealt with a kindergarten bully and the lies the school administration told us, time after time…
I grew up in Western Maryland, in a town that is gorgeous in the summer and brutal in the winter. The schools here are probably some of the best in the state;I mean you can tell they get their funding. If you have a problem with the schools here, you can always go to a school board or someone higher.
So, when my husband and I searched for a house in my hometown, it didn’t surprise me that we couldn’t find anything that was remotely close to our budget. That’s how we ended up 8-miles out of my hometown into Pennsylvania.
The little town was exactly how you picture small towns. It was cute, sleepy, and could easily be missed if you blinked while driving through it. When we moved into our home, we weren’t sure how we would like having neighbors so close to us, but, to our surprise, we loved it there.
We all liked our privacy, but whenever we would see one of the neighbors outside, we would always exchange pleasantries. Of course, it wasn’t long before we got to know some of the neighbors a little better and we soon found out, our one neighbor was a school teacher at the school down the road. Every time we would see our neighbor out and about at town yard sales, Halloween, or just outside, we usually chatted for a bit. We liked her enough that we soon added each other on Facebook.
Fast-forward two years later, when we registered our oldest son for kindergarten in the late spring of 2015. That year, the school was going to have two kindergarten classes because they had over 20 kids and, for that town, it was a huge deal. (Most of the graduating classes in the town were only 18 or fewer kids)
That’s when our neighbor told us she got the job as the second kindergarten teacher and she would be teaching our son. We were so excited because she was such a nice lady and our son already kind of knew her, so we thought his school year would be great.
Little did we know, our nightmare was just getting ready to start and our lives would be changed forever…
Now onto, kindergarten orientation…
During my son’s first kindergarten orientation, a few days before the start of school, I noticed my son only had 7 people in his class, while the other kindergarten class had 20 students in. I expressed my feelings to my husband, but he thought I was just worrying too much and it was probably fine.
Little did I know, my mother’s intuition was just beginning to kick in.
During the first few weeks of school, everything seemed great with school. Then, one day, my son came home and told us one of the boys in his class was hitting him in the stomach and in the head. I immediately felt concerned.
The next day as I was standing at pickup, in front of the school, I confronted our neighbor (his teacher) and asked her about it. She basically told me, oh, I’m having a real problem with M…, if he says he’s doing it, he’s doing it. I just don’t know what to do with him.
My son never brought the issue up again, after that, so I thought everything was okay.
Little did I know, this would just be the beginning of our nightmare.
It Was Thanksgiving Break & Things Quickly Changed
Thanksgiving break had just ended and I can still remember that morning so well. I was getting my son ready to leave for school when he broke down and started bawling. I was confused. I had no idea why he was crying, so when I asked him, he told me, he was afraid of school. I had no idea why, but then he told me that the boy was still hitting him and had been for quite some time.
By then, I was mad and I was disappointed with myself. I hadn’t even known my son was being bullied until it was bad enough that he was scared.
This time, I knew things had to change, but I decided to give his teacher one more time. So, again that evening, at school pickup, I asked her, is M… hitting Cayden? Her response was basically the same, yeah, its happening, I don’t know what to do, that boy is mean, yadda yadda yadda…
By then, I knew she didn’t care, but I did, I was mad. That next morning, my husband stayed home from work, long enough to call the school, and spoke to the principal about our situation. The principal assured us, he never knew there was a problem, but he would take care of it. Since it was a small town, we believed the principal and we were on a first name basis with him, so we didn’t feel any need to worry. We were just happy to get the bullying problem solved.
Unfortunately, our neighbor (the teacher) wasn’t so happy. The next day, she sent home a nasty letter to my husband and me. Basically, she went on and on about how she didn’t know our son was getting bullied and she never saw it and Cayden never had marks on him, if it was happening.
The next few days, the principal stuck to his word. He put a helper in my son’s class, specifically to watch the bully, and for a few days, the hitting stopped. Then, the next week came and the school took the helper out of my son’s class.
It wasn’t but a few days later, my son got hit, again. This time, we were angry, so we called the school again. This time, things took a crazy turn and now even the principal was calling us liars and saying this wasn’t happening.
That week, I tried to find someone over the school to contact, but, much to my dismay, I couldn’t. I had tried schools in the same district, but no one could even point me to the right direction of who to contact. That’s when I decided that my son continue his education at that school, so I signed him up for PA Cyber School.
Unfortunately, I had to wait 3 days before we could go register him and it seemed like a lifetime. Every morning, my son cried about going to school and I worried that the school would take the ordeal out on him. By then, it seemed like everyone was against us, and they were looking at us just like we were the problem family. I didn’t know what they would do to my son at school and I worried that they would hurt him. Since Pennsylvania is very strict on truancy, I had no other choice. I just prayed, every day before school, that my son would be okay.
It was honestly, one of the worst things I have ever had to do as a mother.
One Last Chance…
The day my son went to register with PA Cyber School, we hadn’t been quiet about it. We told the school our plans and they acted as we would never do it, but we already knew we HAD to do it.
That same day, the principal called us and asked to set up a meeting with us. He said he didn’t want our son to miss out on school and we didn’t either. We wanted him to have a normal school education, so we agreed to talk with the school principal and my son’s teacher that evening.
That night, the principal brought myself, my husband, and my three kids into the office and we sat around the table with him and the kindergarten teacher.
What happened next, was so defile, that I don’t know how I didn’t end up in jail that evening. The things both of those people said, were horrendous and they didn’t even seem to care that my sweet boy was listening to all of it.
During that meeting, my son’s teacher looked at me and said, that my son was the dumbest kid in her class and that she hoped I could homeschool him. While the principal and she called our son a liar.
Meanwhile, the principal and she went back and forth denying any problems with that bully, but we kept catching them in lies. Needless to say, that meeting was the worst mistake we ever made. As I marched myself and my kids back to our car, I knew my child would NEVER EVER set foot on that school again.
Thankfully, Pennsylvania offers free cyber school for residents because if they didn’t, I don’t know what we would have done. My son started cyber school almost immediately and he never went back to that school. Unfortunately, though, after just a few weeks of homeschooling, we didn’t feel it was fair for him to be missing out on the school experience and I knew I didn’t want to have to homeschool three kids.
By late January 2016, we had made the decision to put our house up for sale and we moved back to Maryland and in with my parents, so my kids could go to my old elementary school.
Thankfully, my son’s new school was amazing. We had been very vocal about our situation in his old school and his new school assured us that things were much different there.
By the end of the first week in my son’s new school, he had already brought home bundles of papers on subjects that his old school didn’t even start doing (math, science). And, he even got the chance to go on his first field trip to learn how to swim.
By the time my son’s kindergarten school year ended, he was able to make friends and find out how a school is supposed to be. He is now in third grade and we now always make sure to ask him if anyone is mean to him. He has even told us, his new school has a bully room, so if anyone is bullied, they go to that class and tell the teacher. (How great is that?!)
Help Stop Bullying
It has been three years since that whole ordeal and it has completely changed our lives. Although we sacrificed our home for our children, I understand that not all parents can do that for their children. If your child is a victim of bullying, know that there are no federal laws in place to help stop bullying visit StopBullying.gov for more information.