Swine Flu and Bullies...Calgon Take Me Away!
Well what I feared would happen, did happen. Justin (15) finally caught wind of the news. Now last weekend when the Swine Flu reports started coming in I told Kyle (11) that we needed to try not to alert Justin about it all until we knew more. Kyle wholeheartedly agreed. Why did my little Kyle jump on that band wagon??...He knows what life is like living with someone who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
The last few days I was able to keep Justin calm and focused, but yesterday when the World Health Organization (WHO) had their press conference and raised the pandemic alert to a hearty 5, all hell broke free and the tornado of obsessive thoughts took control of Justin.
He walked around with a napkin over his mouth as he announced to me that as of TODAY he is under quarantine. There will be no one but us coming into our home, and he isn't going ANYWHERE until at least June. I am almost sure the next thing will be he will be him following Kyle around with a can of Lysol every chance he gets....and probably the dog too when he comes in from outside. You may chuckle at the thought of this.....but this is not an exaggeration...I can already hear the arguments as this is about to take place.
We go through waves with his OCD and he has learned to recognize his behaviors and work on breaking them when they do get to the point of out of control. However, when there is the fear of imminent doom, well, that trigger is one that blows all the cognitive behavior therapy out of the water. And...AND...when does this all take place???? During the start of the thunderstorm/tornado season.....the other trigger we've yet to get a grip on...........wish me luck on that one!
While Justin was rummaging through the house taking an inventory on disinfectants, canned goods, and medications Kyle was bursting at the seams to tell me about an incident that happened in school. He was truly upset, and also outraged that a good friend of his received an in-school suspension for defending himself while being hit by a gang of bullies.
"It's not fair Mom!"
"They had him cornered and no teachers were around to help!"
"They broke his eyeglasses too!"
"What was he suppose to do? Nothing?"
"I hate that school. There are too many bullies there!"
"Don't send me there next year!"
Evidently Kyle's friend tried to intervene when he saw another student being bullied, and in doing so turned into the new target of a bully in which Kyle refers to as a "cowboy wannabe." Kyle went on to say that this "cowboy wannabe" has a following of "wannabes."
Typical, this all happened while adults backs were turned. From what I was told, Kyle's friend was surrounded by this gang of bullies and was hit...to the point his eyeglasses fell and were broken.
According to my child when an adult finally made their way over to where this all occurred, they took the word of the bully's friends (who were involved) and decided both children were at fault...evidently you're not allowed to defend yourself when surrounded as you will be seen as an abuser.
Kyle's friend received an in-school suspension on top of broken glasses and the humiliation of having to tell his parents all of this.
Kyle also informed me that earlier he too was "pushed" and "bullied" by the same offender but is fearful of telling staff as he doesn't want to get in trouble like his friend did.
"It doesn't make sense Mom."
Now I know my child. He is not a fighter. He does not bully, nor instigate. I've always been proud of the way he would befriend children who were seen as outcasts because of a quiet demeanor....special needs...or some other physical trait that labels them as "nerds." Kyle has always been sensitive to this because he has witnessed what his brother has gone through being a special needs child, and how others have treated him. He has seen the "real pain" it causes. In addition to his brother, he has been surrounded by special needs children since he was a tiny baby because of the advocacy I've done.
So after listening to his report of what happened...NUMEROUS times...and after I told him I would need to contact the school about what he told me (and he didn't object)...there was no doubt in my mind he was telling me the truth. Besides it wasn't the first time this school year that I heard about this "cowboy wannabe."
In the wee hours last night an email went out documenting what my child reported to me, and how he was also bullied. I also informed the school that I had given my child permission to defend himself if he was ever in a situation where he couldn't get away and was being hit....I knew they wouldn't like that...but oh well! I am not raising a victim!
Just an FYI...this little rural school district in the middle of nowhere has always had problems with bullies. When Justin went there and was bullied...hit, punched, kicked, humiliated....and I reported it then I was told "WE DON'T HAVE BULLIES HERE!" ..guess it was my special needs child's imagination, huh?
Anyway back to the present situation.....this morning I did get a response from the Vice Principal (actually while I was writing this) and it pretty much contained language I had anticipated....including a nice way of denouncing the permission I have given my child to defend himself if in a situation where he can't get away and is being hit.
He went on to say that "due process" was given before punishments were issued. Something I questioned as soon as I read it...and pointed out in my response. If "due process" was given then why wasn't my child, a witness, questioned??? Hmm????? I pointed out that had they properly questioned him they would have found out he had been bullied too.
I was then asked if I wanted him to speak with Kyle.......
hmmmm...let's see...Gee..do ya think???? I JUST REPORTED MY CHILD WAS PHYSICALLY AND VERBALLY ASSAULTED ON SCHOOL GROUNDS!! HELLO!!!!!! Anyone there?
Due process...yeah right...sure ...whatever!
Ouch...I feel the Mama bear claws coming out.,,,,,,,UH-OH!
Don't worry...I responded nicely (this time)...firmly...but nicely.
I also pointed out that the child doing all this harm needs to be evaluated...in all essence I made a referral for special education pointing to behavioral and emotional concerns...now let's see if they follow through with the law on that one!
CALGON TAKE ME AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!