Dear Dr. Archer,
I have four children, ages 19, 17, 16, & 12, three boys and a girl. We moved from one school district to another when my youngest was a year old. Ever since day one of registration, everything went downhill. My impression of the new school district began to change. I had heard of the reputation that the school board had, but it did not live up to that reputation. No one at the school had the background to support needy students or the inclination to educate themselves to be better. My two oldest sons, both achievers, attended the elementary school with grades from the previous school district with straight A's.
When going into the second and third grade, my boys found it difficult to make friends, and the bullying started. My second son's grades fell, and completely turned around. The only time I received notice from teachers was at conference time, and I was surprised, as I didn't know when the problem started. For ten years I have been dealing with bullying, which resulted in my children being harassed, my home being vandalized, eggs thrown at my car, rocks thrown at and through home windows, garbage in my mailbox and things I cannot even mention here.
I received no support, even from the police. My second son has gone through so much trauma that he has been diagnosed with Depression. He does not make friends easily, has been suspended five times for self defense because the school only sees things by "the book." The school takes no responsibility for the bullying, does not support families or recognize the trauma this causes. And my home continues to get trashed.
I know who is responsible for this most of the time, but since I do not have concrete evidence, everyone washes their hands of the issue. The school is more interested in preparing for the PSSA and other testing in order to be near the top of good schools. My son gets no help for his Language/English class, so he received a D. He is considered too smart for the individualized education program, but because of his depression, he needs help in reading and writing. He is a senior now, with only a few months to graduate.
I want to make my voice heard in this school district, not just for my son, but for everyone that is afraid to speak up. Thank you for your time. Hope to hear your thoughts.
I am sorry you had such a horrible experience with your children's school. When children are not getting what they need from a school, the chain of command should be followed. First, the teacher should be informed. If that doesn't solve the problem, the principal should be made aware of the situation. If that doesn't bring change, then the school board should be notified and then as a last resort talk to an attorney about filing charges. Also in today’s world you could consider going to the media when all else has failed.
If you had a problem with your son's education and bullying, chances are there were others who shared the same problem. I am just sorry you didn't get the help when you needed it the most. Even though your son is about to graduate, I still believe you should talk to those in charge so other children who follow in his stead do not have to go through what he did. If you know other parents whose children suffered, a united front is in order and you may want to ask around about that.
It is true that schools want the distinction of being high on the list of good schools academically, but they need to provide their students with a healthy environment, as well, where their students can grow into healthy young adults. Good luck!