Threats to my child

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2003 - 1:57am
Goldylocks's picture
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Joined: 04/24/2003 - 09:00

I wanted to write to tell my fellow parents of PA children my experience at my sons new public school.

My PA son started a new school in January. Since that time he has experienced extreme bullying from a few of his fellow 2nd graders. One in particular.

I have contacted the school 3 times and have gotton very negative and ignorant responses to food taken at lunch and eaten by other children, spitting on and throwing on the floor my childs lunch and then threats with peanuts. "I have peanuts in my pockets" whistle "that's the sound of peanuts" to having a peanut butter sandwhich shoved in his face (3 inches from) and this happened when the child was sitting across the table and at least one person over. The child who does this has told my child he is going to "kill him,sang a song about killing him, spit on him, calls him names frequently, encourages other children to "get him" and runs after him like he is going to hit him.

I have asked them to notify the boys parents of his behaviour and pattern of bullying and they have said that it isn't neccessary, My medical doctor asked them to notify his parents...and they haven't.

I have attempted to educate them giving them a article on "How much peanut is too much" and "anaphalaxis and schoolyard Violence" I asked the lunch room monitor to watch my son at lunch, gave her a picture of him with allergy info.and the three boys names taking his food and she replied "I don't need this" "I won't do anything unless they tell." The school has however, told me that it is against school policy for my child to protect himself if no one else will.

They also have a policy against bullying including name calling which is not something I wouldn't waste my time even talking about to them. I have taught my child to ignore that and that is entirely different than this situation.

Friday I turned in a complaint and had the receptionist sign it. That way our history is documented and they have recieved it. However, I still have not heard from them and have a feeling I won't be. I did qoute the 504,IDEA, and ADA as well as thier own district policies. My son does not have a 504 or IDEA. My husband gets extremely upset with those for my child. We have done well without them up until now. A few small incidents here and there, but always dealt with.

I'm thinking my next step would be to call the youth police to speak to the child if the school won't contact his parents/or his parents don't work with him to change his behaviour. But the police may shrug me off as well. Any suggestions would be helpful. I am really worried about his safety. I stay at home and could pick him up at lunch. But then he is still at risk the rest of the day.

What a horrible school!

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2003 - 2:20am
maggie0303's picture
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Joined: 04/14/2003 - 09:00

I am very upset to hear that this is going on. The recent teasing of my 9 year old daughter with PB at school is what brought me to this site and I'm glad it did. There is a lot of wonderful information/people/etc. here.
I know that you have talked to the school, but did you talk to the principal, district superiors, etc.? If you havent done that I would recommend going to them. This cannot go on and someone has to put a stop to it. Not only is your son's safety in jeopardy, but self esteem, etc.
If you have already done this than I would probably go ahead to the police if the school doesnt help you. They are liable for the safety and well being of your child.
I am enraged about this situation!! I wish you the best and will check back to see how things are going!
Hang in there!
Maggie

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2003 - 2:31am
LisaMcDowell's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2002 - 09:00

Hi Goldylocks,
All complaints of this nature should be directed only to the "School Principal".
Once the matter has been discussed, it should be followed up w/a letter to confirm the conversation, action that will be taken or to request a meeting to resolve the issue(s).
Documentation is very important including the calls made to the school regarding the incident(s): name of student(s) involved in the incident including all pertinent information, name of person(s) to whom you spoke w/at the school, time, date & end result of conversation (what action would or would not be taken). Copies distributed, & copies for your own personal files.
If the Principal is not willing to take the appropriate action to resolve the matter, the District Superintendent should be contacted w/a call (document it) followed by a letter to either meet to discuss the issue or thank him/her for their prompt service.
Good luck!

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2003 - 5:15am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Wow. This is major bullying. I would feel desperate if I were in your shoes. It's simply unacceptable that they continue to not respond to the situation.
Have you and your husband had an appointment w/ the principal yet? There's no doubt that a meeting is needed. I'd have all the information written out (review it point by point w/ the principal, including the lack of their response) and specifically ask [b]who else should be given this information about your child's harassment. [/b]
Do you have an emergency plan in place? Is the school making any accommodations for your child?
This is terrible,
Gail
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited April 28, 2003).]

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2003 - 5:29am
Sandra Y's picture
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Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

Frankly, I would keep the child out of school until this is dealt with. I'm sure your doctor or allergist will provide a medical excuse. I have found that many schools are very sensitive about absences because (at least in my area) they are tied to funding. If you keep the child out of school, it shows the school very clearly how serious the situation is. I don't think your child is safe there and you will be kicking yourself if he is harmed.
I wonder why your husband does not want a 504 plan. This is designed to protect your child and your child is entitled to it.
Good luck.

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2003 - 5:31am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by maggie0303:
[b]If you have already done this than I would probably go ahead to the police if the school doesnt help you. [/b]
As maggie said, I would defintiely always go to the principal first and give him/her the opportunity to correct the situation. But if they still don't respond, I'd consider this a very viable option.
Another/additional option to consider discussing w/ the principal is keeping your child home until the school adequately addresses the situation. You might say that until you are assured that your child will be safe at the school, that you have no alternative but to keep him home.
Best of luck. Please keep us posted. This is quite distressing...
Gail

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2003 - 10:51am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

How timely, though... heh heh heh.. an evil thought just occurred to me. (I have a lot of those- but this one might be worth exploring further...) [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
Since Food Allergy Awareness Week is coming up, maybe you could contact your local paper/tv news about doing a feature article about your family. (What a shame that bullying like this happens- but you'd have to mention it, wouldn't you?? Especially when the school just doesn't see this as a threat...)
Might give you some much-needed leverage with the school. (And maybe with the children involved.)
I *do* agree that your child shouldn't be placed back in this situation until it is resolved satisfactorily.
Good luck- this is just HORRIBLE.

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2003 - 1:45pm
redtruck's picture
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Joined: 01/23/2000 - 09:00

I hardly ever come into this forum. When i read your story, i have to say i'm outraged at this type of behaviour. It is tantamount to waving a gun in front of other kids faces. Unfortunately, police probably dont have enough understanding of pa to view it in the same light. I sincerely, wish you all the best in dealing with this situation, and what infuriates me most, is the fact that one cannot necessary control other children or their parents, but i would expect a higher standard from the educators. What a shame we must live with two allergies, the nuts, and the ignorance and stubborness of others which has potential to hurt us just as much!

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2003 - 10:12pm
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Corvallis Mom:
[b]How timely, though...
Since Food Allergy Awareness Week is coming up, maybe you could contact your local paper/tv news about doing a feature article about your family. (What a shame that bullying like this happens- but you'd have to mention it, wouldn't you?? Especially when the school just doesn't see this as a threat...)[/b]
WOW! Awesome idea! I love using the angle of the national week. Clever, Corvallis Mom!
I've always fantasized about doing something like this...but my DD would be mortified. Anything that brings added attention to her PA is uncomfortable for her. So the media is definitely off-limits for us...
Goldylocks, what would [i]your[/i] son think about this approach? Hope you will give us an update soon.
Gail

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2003 - 11:45pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Goldylocks, welcome! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] There are several other threads on this board re bullying/threats that you might find helpful in addition to this one.
There are a couple of things that really make my head explode re PA. Both of them really have to do with Schools. Schools that don't "get it" or specific people within the school that don't "get it" and the threatening of our PA children while at school.
My son has been threatened/bullied, but not as badly as your son has and it has always been either at school or going to school. His friends that he is with when he is at home don't do this (to my knowledge). It's at school.
I can't really add anything to the discussion, but will repeat some of the things that have been said to you already.
Have you spoken with your son's teacher? When my son had difficulties at the very beginning of this school year, I spoke with my son's teacher. She has not been the greatest of teachers as far as dealing with my son's PA (he's also in Grade 2) and she did try to sluff it off. When it happened again, I spoke with her again.
Then, I spoke with the principal. The child that was threatening my son has since been removed from the school all together. He is being homeschooled. I'm not clear why except he received a one week suspension for something he did at school and has never been ALLOWED to return. The principal seemed to deal with what I was saying *properly*.
However, if she hadn't, I would then contact her boss, the superintendent.
I was told by another PA.com member a couple of years ago that I needed to contact the superintendent and get a mess dealt with by him/her that the principal (at that time) was not dealing with effectively re PA. I didn't know that you could go to the superintendent. I don't like to make waves and it did take me a couple of months before I did go to the superintendent, but once I did, there was a complete turn-around.
If the school is not willing to deal with this issue effectively and also IMMEDIATELY, I would contact the youth police. Another member here had to contact the police when her son was being threatened/bullied.
I also think given the seriousness of the situation, especially with your doctor's back-up, I would remove your son from school until the school has dealt with this effectively.
I pulled my son out of school this year. Do you know, for the life of me, I can't even remember why? It had to have been something to do with PA and I went in, signed him out and told the principal that he would not be returning to school until the situation had been corrected. And I haven't faced anything as terrifying as what your son and you are facing.
I hear what you're saying in that your son has gone to school successfully without a 504 Plan in place but I also think that you need to sit down with your husband (unless you're of the same feeling) and discuss with him why he doesn't feel the need for a 504 Plan for your son. Quite frankly, I would want one in place, especially when this type of thing is going on.
As redtruck pointed out above, it's like having a gun waved in front of your child's face or pointed at his head, but the very big difference in that analogy is that the other child doesn't have to pull the gun trigger - your child can have a reaction regardless of the child doing anything other than waving the pb sandwich.
I also didn't like the attitude of the person that looks after the lunch room.
My son is 7 as well and very often I find that he doesn't speak up for himself in situations (not always to do with PA). It could be that your son has the same type of personality and he doesn't want to have to go running to an adult every time something happens.
I would definitely go up the food chain of the school system, starting with the teacher, then the principal, then the superintendent. If you don't get what you want/need in place to keep your son safe while he is at school, I would remove him from school until you do and yes, I would contact the police. I would also consider having a 504 Plan implemented for next year.
I do know that there is a link somewhere posted here about PA and bullying (probably in one of the other threads - they were all recently re-raised because another PA parent/child were having similar difficulties [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] ). I do know the information came from The Calgary Allergy Network but I can't remember their website address right now. FAAN may also have some information re bullying, I'm not sure.
Please let us know how it goes.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------

Posted on: Tue, 04/29/2003 - 5:39am
Goldylocks's picture
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Joined: 04/24/2003 - 09:00

I think my husband thinks it will make him a "target" by the administration. Or maybe he is scared of the word "disability". All I know is that he becomes very irate at the suggestion. And I can see that there is a barrier there I don't think I can break. Plus we really don't require any specifics like some parents of PA kids do. He doesn't react from the smell.
Quote:Originally posted by Sandra Y:
[b]Frankly, I would keep the child out of school until this is dealt with. I'm sure your doctor or allergist will provide a medical excuse. I have found that many schools are very sensitive about absences because (at least in my area) they are tied to funding. If you keep the child out of school, it shows the school very clearly how serious the situation is. I don't think your child is safe there and you will be kicking yourself if he is harmed.
I wonder why your husband does not want a 504 plan. This is designed to protect your child and your child is entitled to it.
Good luck.[/b]

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