This morning I rediscovered an old method I used to use when I was upset about something. I have a 40 minute commute to/from work every day and that’s my thinking time, my quiet time. If there’s something going on in my world that is upsetting me, it’s also my time to stew. I am sick of worrying, even sick of plotting my revenge. So I did what I used to do, I cranked the music. I listened to my favorite station, but found every song to be annoying today. In goes Kid Rock and the volume went up higher. On a bad day I really appreciate a motha fucka that swears like that. I’m sure that everyone I passed wondered what an old lady like me was doing listening to Kid Rock at that volume. Thank God they really didn’t get the full view of the white girl chair dancing.
Since learning about the incidents at Sugar’s school, I have not been right in the head. I am so sad for my little girl, but sadder still because it’s reminding me of rough times I had around the same age. Oddly, I am more bothered now than I was then. Maybe it’s because I tried to make sure Sugar had all the items she’d need to be considered cool. If not cool, at least accepted. But this is not about me, it’s about my girl and fixing what has been bothering her.
On Sunday night, I had a long telephone conversation with Sugar’s teacher. I described what has been happening and she said, “This is a classic case of bullying.” I did NOT throw down the B word first. I considered that in my head, but I didn’t want to say it out loud. I wanted an educator within the school system to label it as such based on what we know of the situation. Even though I heard various accounts of the incidents from several people, I do not want to be the finger-pointing mom using the buzzword of the decade.
Monday morning, Sugar was to go straight to her classroom and not be in the vicinity where the others could find her. Sugar spoke with the guidance counselor, and I got an email from the counselor saying that she had spoken to Sugar and that the other girls would be spoken to either by her or the Dean of Students.
In two separate emails, I asked if the other girls’ parents would be contacted about this situation. I was never given an answer. I mentioned this to Fly Girl and she immediately looked up the policy online and forwarded everything to me. I looked at everything quickly on Sunday, but found exactly what I was looking for after actually printing everything out and stapling the pages together. I needed something to feel “orderly,” so I could make progress.
As I am still without a response today, I sent off another email. This time I let them know that I was now fully aware of the policy on bullying and that I knew they had 48 hours to contact everyone involved, including the parents. I’ve yet to receive a response from them and I can only hope that they’re too busy working their asses off to get to the bottom of this.
I cannot focus on much of anything. There’s a buzzing rage in my head. I’m flabbergasted that school districts brag about having these policies in place, then don’t bother to follow them. What the fuck is the point?
I wrote all of that this morning. I will post it anyway because it’s interesting (to me at least!) to see how angry I was. What a difference a phone call makes. I heard back from the Dean of Students and was told that I have a choice to make as to how we would like these allegations handled. We could have it handled “informally,” meaning that the girls will be called into the office and spoken to. They will be told that their behavior is not acceptable and needs to stop immediately. Their parents will be notified of their children’s actions. Information about these incidents will be placed in their academic records. In the event that any of these girls are accused of similar behavior again, formal investigations will begin immediately.
EN and I shied away from the formal investigation process at this time because we feel (hope, actually) that these 5th grade girls will be scared shitless just being called down to the school office. They will be spoken to by the Dean with the counselor in the room. They will find out then what the consequences will be if they ever breathe another unkind word to anyone: formal investigation, potential suspension, expulsion, police involvement. I’m way past the 5th grade and those consequences make me want to pee a little bit.
At this time, I can’t help but be grateful to the friends in my life. I thank each of your for listening to me rant… Skinny Bitch, Boo, Ultra, Fly Girl, Stepmommy, Soldier Girl, Michelle… your emails, texts, phone calls really helped me through it all. I especially thank all of you for offering advice always laced with humor. We are the grown up version of the gang of chicks that gathered around Sugar to try to keep her safe. When it’s your turn to be “girl down,” you bet your ass I’m there for you.