Sunday, April 01, 2012

When I came to work the Monday after breaking my nose, and repeatedly told my tale, I occasionally followed it up with, "and that was the second worst thing that happened to me this weekend."

Here's the first.

Daisy, who is in the 7th grade, has had a tough time at school this year. She has one good friend there, and a few other kids she likes, but there's always been a group of kids that gave her a hard time. This year things got stepped up a notch or two.

Daisy increasingly found herself the recipient of taunting.  She's got a few quirks and the other kids were pretty relentless about pushing her buttons. Any one incident could easily be regarded as kids-being-kids, but as a whole Daisy began to feel increasingly isolated at school.  Nighttime stomachaches became commonplace and she'd dread school days where she knew she'd have to interact with these kids.

Hank and I brought this to the attention of the principal, pointing out that Daisy was being bullied, and they dutifully called some kids into the principal's office and admonished them, but then things just seemed to get worse.  Although casual bullies laid off, the more serious ones were incensed that Daisy had told on them.  She began to routinely have her things stolen and was verbally confronted on a regular basis.

We continued to inform the school administration about these things, and the bullying just seemed to escalate.  The Friday before I broke my nose, Daisy came home with a note she had found in her locker (which she keeps locked with a typical combination lock).  The note said something to the effect of, "You're a bitch and everyone hates you.  If you tell on us again, we'll kill you!"


Although I was pretty damn sure that 7th graders weren't going to murder my daughter, this was an alarming development.  Given that every time we talked to the principal, the bullies stepped up their mistreatment of my daughter, what was the next level after a death threat?  Plus, now my daughter was scared to go to school.  Plus, Hank was pretty emphatic that we were not going to send her back to that school ever again.

So, we yanked her out of her school that weekend.  We had been eying a private school as a possible location for next year, but we fired off a bunch of emails that day, asking if Daisy could begin the following Monday.  Thankfully, they had space, and their admission policy seemed to center around accepting a tuition check.

Placing Daisy in a school we knew little about, in the middle of the school year, seemed pretty terrifying to me, but leaving her where she was seemed worse.  So we held our breath and pulled the trigger.

Daisy has been there for over a month now, and I have to say that it was a fantastic decision. The kids there accepted her literally with open arms, and the performing-arts based curriculum is right up Daisy's alley. She's made more friends there in a month than she had after 8 years at her previous school.  She gets dance class and choir multiple times a week and just kicked some butt in her first multi-school speech contest.

Having gone to public schools for my entire education, it was a little hard for me to swallow sending my kid to private school, but, man, this has been great.  Such a freaking relief.

(This has been just one of many things keeping me occupied and stressed while not blogging over the last several months.  Just catching up here.)


torrygirl said...

I just wanted to say (even though I'm sure the comments of a random stranger via the internet mean little) that I absolutely 100% think you made the right decision in moving her. I'm not sure if the things these kids were doing would have escalated further; but putting up with that kind of bullying endlessly for years can really mess a kid up. I speak from experience.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, moving her hasn't only made her happy in the short term - you can take it from me that moving her to a new school will absolutely have helped her in the long term.

patsy said...

wishing your daughter all the best.

tinyhands said...

I will not tolerate anyone bullying Daisy, and I've never met her. I can only imagine the rage you must have felt. Kudos to you & Hank for keeping it together and I'm glad it's worked out for the best. I hope the lesson she learned is not that it's OK to run away, but that asking for help and trusting you will take care of her is always the right answer.

Sue said...

Yay for not putting up with that crap. No allegiance to public schools is worth sacrificing your precious child. I'm so glad you moved her.

Mike said...

Torrygirl, well, you seem pretty awesome and well-adjusted, so maybe that bullying works out ok. :)

Patsy, thank you

Louie, I have no idea what she learned from this. It may be the right lesson or the wrong one, but we couldn't stomach any other decision.

Sue, thank you. Although public schools treated me well, this would have been a bad place for me to stubbornly stick with them. Hope all is well with you.

Eponymous Pseudonym said...

Mike, just catching up on some of your blog. I'm glad to see that you moved Daisy and that she is flourishing in her new environment. Good on both-a-yas. Plus, I imagine you may have also saved those bullies from having the crap beat out of them by readers of this blog.