Is the Elk Grove Unified School District doing enough to address bullying?

Is the Elk Grove Unified School District doing enough to address bullying?

 

 

That is a question many parents are asking. A few days ago Elk Grove Laguna Forums shared the story of one family that has had to deal with this issue. As a result, we asked our Facebook followers for their opinions and to share their stories of dealing with the district on the issue of bullying.  We received many stories from local parents and former students. Some of these are disturbing and heart wrenching. We also asked if there were any parents that had bullying issues that were happy with the response of the the EGUSD. One person said yes they did.  There were many comments on the Facebook post where people shared their stories.  Facebook post.  A few months ago, many residents saw the video of the student at Cosumnes Oaks being attacked. Shortly after that a student at Pleasant Grove High School made threats of violence against the school as a result of being bullied.

 

We understand that there are always two sides to every story. The stories below are from the families that have dealt with bullying. We have not attempted to verify the stories with the schools or other sources. Most of those responding have asked to remain anonymous for various reasons. Some were fearful of reprisals from other students or parents or the district itself. The stories are unedited, except for spelling errors. Bullying is a very real problem in the district, and more needs to be done to address this. The next meeting of the EGUSD School Board is Tuesday, January 17 at 6 pm. Parents are encouraged to attend in support of the issue and to speak if they feel comfortable doing so.

 

The story that our Facebook post was based on is from Lily Devaney regarding her son.

 

“My son was a 7th grader at Kerr Middle School in the 2016-2017 school year. At the end of term 2, we transferred him to Pinkerton Middle School, as he was systematically bullied during his time at Kerr, and the administration did nothing about it. In fact, they used my son’s elementary school disciplinary record as a way of saying he was bringing on the bullying himself. (For the record, my son’s elementary school record from 4-6th grade is spotless, with the exception of one item.) He had more than one boy bully him, which I brought to the attention of the VP, or the classroom teachers, on more than one occasion. But, the biggest aggressor was a young man whom was friends with my son first term. For whatever reason, he decided to start bullying my son 2nd term. He stabbed him in the stomach with a pencil in class, which left a puncture wound, and led to an altercation between the boys, in which my son defended himself. However, what remains on his school record is only what my son did to the bully, making my son look like he was the aggressor. This boy continually bullied my son at lunch, and in the class they had together. He called my son a faggot, loser, pussy, and loner. He said to my son “Everyone dismisses you, even your mom.” He told my son that he wasn’t allowed to hang out with their “squad” of mutual friends. Even when my son was with other friends, he harassed my son. However, the worst thing he said to my son was “Nobody likes you, so you should just go kill yourself.” And he said that on more than one occasion. The final incident that my son had with this boy was at lunch. They were playing basketball, and the bully threw an elbow into my son’s chest, and a basketball at my son’s face. My son defended himself, and got suspended for it. And even though my son had all this history with this boy, the VP still stated that the elbow could have been unintentional. All the “witnesses” to this event, and the ones prior with these two, are friends with the bully. They all sided with him, telling the story he told them to tell. Not one kid backed up my son. The report on my son’s record again, makes my son out to be the aggressor. When my son came back to school, this boy told him he purposely got my son suspended so he would be ineligible to try out for the school basketball team. My son now hated school, and his grades dropped dramatically from first term to second term. He felt very unsafe and scared to go to school. I received zero support from the administration at Kerr. I met with both the VP and Principal, to go over what plan they might have in place to keep my son safe. They not only had no plan, but they again brought up how my son brings this on himself, and again brought up his elementary school record. They didn’t even bat an eye when I told them this bully told my son to go kill himself. This is unacceptable. Every child deserves to feel safe at school, and the equal opportunity to an education. So while my son had to move schools, away from kids he’s gone to school with since kindergarten, this bully remains at Kerr. And the administration doesn’t seem to care.”

 

Story #2 Anonymous

 

“I always thought that I had taught my children to protect themselves from bullying, and that I would be involved enough to know what was happening with my children. I volunteered at school, and joined the PTA board. Elk Grove Elementary has banners all over the school, placards on the playground, and plenty of talk about how bullying is not tolerated. But all that is lip service, and I learned that the hard way.

 

Over the summer, my daughter began to be bothered by a girl on her soccer team, who also went to the same school. When that happened I contacted the school immediately, requesting that my child was no put in the same class, and so the school was aware. I got a very short, curt email from the principal that it was taken care of. That was the first deception by him towards my family. By the third day of school my child had been picked on and isolated. I emailed, then went to her teacher and had a discussion where I was told to “not to worry, the staff was on it.” That couldn’t have been further from the case. Daily my child dealt with mean looks, the bully saying mean things to my daughter, telling the other girls that my daughter was friends with the my daughter was a “tattle tale” and “a liar,” and to “not hang out with that baby.” My daughter is a quiet, cheerful child. She became withdrawn, faked sick to avoid school, and cried daily before and after school. It was affecting not only her, but my other children. It culminated with the mother of the bully (who is a sub that only works at EGE) substituted for PE and refused to let my daughter participate in the activity. So I tried to make an appointment to see the principal…I was cancelled on more than once, and the appointment was only made after I complained to the school district.

 

My husband went to the meeting. After an hour sitting with the principal he left furious. Both my daughter and I were labeled liars. The only positive out-come was that he was assured this women would NEVER sub for my kids again, and if she was that I would be notified. My daughter was terrified of the school. No one was protecting her, the staff seemed more interested in blaming my daughter for telling that there was a problem. The district policy is that the parent(s) be contacted. I rightfully assumed that the principal would tell both parents since the bully’s parents are divorced and don’t speak, something that the principal knows as he has been dragged into their divorce drama. I was shocked t hear that the principal chose to only tell the mother, the same one who excluded my daughter when she was working as an employee of the school district.

 

It became clear at that time that this was NOT going to be handled at all. The bullying continued, and my family was suffering. We made the decision to pull her, and our family out of the situation and moved across town so we could just be dine with it. But that was far from the end. Less than a month later, the lady subbed for my older son, not once but twice. I was not notified. In fact I only knew after my 6th grader broke down because he was so uncomfortable at school. I was not at all surprised that the school hadn’t called. When I called the director of elementary education I was told that the principal told her that he had NEVER said he would contact us. A complete LIE. Again the promise was made she wouldn’t be allowed near my child, and again she was. The response from the school district was a list of excuses of why I hadn’t been contacted: there was a substitute principal (who was never notified of the situation), the staff forgot, or wasn’t there. I emailed the superintendent, and called the school district. The only person who tried to help me was Donna Cherry. But even that was unsettling. The school kept changing their story, and saying I was lying or misunderstood. How is it possible to misunderstand ever single promise they made me?

 

Bottom line: The schools blame the victim first before believing it is happening. The schools are not following the policies and procedures that the school board has put forward. Then they lie about what is happening to protect themselves, their staff, or their favorite students. Every child has the right to go to school without being harassed, or made feel uncomfortable. In my experience this doesn’t matter to the school, or the district. Their response times are ridiculous. Numerous emails and phone calls went days or weeks before they responded if they ever did.”

Story #3 Anonymous

 

“This message is in response to the bullying in EGUSD and how school faculty have done nothing. I was a student at COHS class of 2012. I was bullied relentlessly on social media and in school. There were girls who were literally out to get me, I was assisted at school by one of them. And because I fought back in self defense – I was suspended. My father and I had the proof that this particular girl had been out to get me, we went directly to the principal and counselor – nothing was done. I suffered from severe anxiety and depression as a result of the fact that I did not feel safe at my high school. I went to numerous counselors on campus and they all did nothing making my high school experience a living hell. The lack of support I got from the COHS faculty just goes to show how little they actually care about the safeness of their students. I wish I could go back in time and fight for what I deserved, to let them know that it is indeed their job to make campus a safe place and to not tolerate bullying of any kind whether it be on campus or online. It has been 4 years since I graduated and I will never forget the lack of help and support I was faced with in my time of need.”

 

Story #4  Anonymous

 

“As a follow up to my son being attacked on video at COHS. The bully was allowed to return to the same school a month later. Their rational was that the boy had “done his time”. They were separating the boys lunches and classes but that didn’t mean the older brother, his friends, or the kid that was egging him on was limited. I spoke with the head of progressive discipline at the district and he was less than helpful. It was as if he was defending the bully. He said things like, “this incident shouldn’t hinder this young mans long term education” “he has done his time and has earned his right to return to school” “he didn’t have any prior offenses and this was a one time deal” “he has learned his lesson”. I told him he had NO OFFENSES before he attacked my kid so now he has an offense and NOW you believe he won’t do anything? You’re more concerned about this bully getting his education that my kid who had his hands in his pockets, being safe at school! That makes no sense.”

 

Story #5 Anonymous

 

“This is to reply to the Bully issue in our schools. My daughter goes to John Erhrheart and in the 5 th grade. Last year it was the worst. One girl in her class would single her out and confront her in the bathroom telling her she was not to be friends with her and that she couldn’t be friends with another girl. She would whisper mean things to her in class and push her around. The teacher brought to my attention some of this behavior and warned me to have my daughter stay away from this bully because she was bad. My daughter just wanted to be friends. This kept up and the bully also was in other confrontation with both boys and girls. The mother was talked to and yet nothing really changed until the other girl in this triangle stood up to the bully and told her she wasn’t going to be friends with her. My daughter finally felt vindicated. The girl this year went to another school. But the problem is really with these bully’s home life and their parents. This girl apparently had no mother and her grandmother was caring for her. It effects the daily class study and my daughter suffered from improving academically. I wonder why there is not a program to offer to families who have children that are problematic. We need counseling in every school!”

 

Story #6  Anonymous

 

“My daughter has been getting bullied by the same girl since last year. All principals do is talk to them the girl then starts to do it again. Now she is started to do stuff to my poor 1st grade nephew. I hear she bullies a lot of kids. I feel like she keeps doing it becauSe she has not been in trouble but just talked too. I am told to just keep calling the school if it keeps happening. I changed my daughter from her old school because she was getting bullied and her grades were dropping and she is an honor roll student. The teacher there nearly ruined my daughters mentality and told my daughter friends to not be her friend and continue to talk to the bully. I’m not going to have my daughter go through this again. I do want to thank my daughters teacher for keeping my daughters mind right and helping her succeed in school, I just get hurt when my daughter doesn’t want to go to reccess some days because she doesn’t want this girl to mess with her. I’m trying to teach my daughter to be stronger and stand up for her self. It’s so hard because she is excellent in school and I’m proud of her. I don’t want this to affect her ever. I’m praying that junior high will be so much better for her since these last 3 years have been rough for her”

 

Story #7 Anonymous

 

“My daughter was a victim of being bullied in the 7th grade. She went to Toby Johnson. 2 boys asked her for money and since she didn’t have any, one punched her in the head few times. They would walk up to her and say all kind of things to her. She was never the same. Boy was suspended from school for a couple days and was right back at it harassing her and getting other kids to do the same. My daughter was in and out of the hospital trying to commit suicide, self hurting, different mental health hospitals. What they did to her destroyed her. Never went to school because of fear. At the end of 8th grade she didn’t get to walk.. I got papers and documents. She’s doing better now, but is still not the same.”

 

Story #8

 

So, my daughter is very quiet and shy she basically had no friends and no one she hangs around with in 6th grade at pleasant grove she had a girl in her class there food at her through out the year it was brought to my attention and supposedly the girl was told not to do that.  It continued. The year ended and she went on to Albiani at Albiani a whole new group of bullies arrived mainly her math support class which I fought to get her out of but didn’t win had a bunch of kids in it that were all picking on her they would draw pictures on her desk and ask her which one of her body parts it was they would take things from her they would make fun of her laughing mocking making faces. They would stick rulers down there pants comparing there body parts.  My daughters was told to go end her life since no one cared about her. Up until one girl shoved her at lunch and then in math class did my child have enough to start crying. She refused to go to school we were miserable after her talking to me bajar the wonderful letter I attached came about.  With it several notes appeared apparently a video made by another student showed the things going on affecting my child but I was shown nothing the school year ended and she tried to attend summer school but some kids were taunting her for all that happened and we didn’t have the energy to deal with it.

This year bullying continues it’s happening on social media and in class because she’s not in others conversations etc… so far this year nothing has been physical and the years not over .  you can’t take back the time or way the words said have effected her. The school still claims to solve issues but I don’t see those kids being reprimanded.

Story # 9 Anonymous

My daughter was bullied for a couple years. Started with a boy repeatedly telling her to kill herself. After several conversations with the school they told the boy to stop. Just in time for a group of girls to begin bullying her. This went on thru 7th grade until two months into 8th grade. I made several trips to the school confronted the bullies in the office with the vp and the school still refused to do anything. I would say that before I pulled her out and decided to home school her I went to that school no less than 5 times begging them to do something. I also emailed the super intendant in hopes something could be done. I never received a response. I am now treating my daughter for depression and anxiety, for awhile she felt like people were right maybe she should just kill herself.

1 Comment

  1. Lydia Ajay says:

    This is heartbreaking to read. It will be interesting to see if EGUSD responds to any of it. I taught high school for many years, middle school too. I raised two boys and one was bullied. I myself was bullied in elementary school, and a little in junior high and high school. Martial arts won’t solve all of the problems, but it gave me the confidence to stick up for myself when I needed to. Parents need to be supportive of their children when they defend themselves because they too will be suspended.

    What gets me the most is when kids are being told to kill themselves. Who teaches these bullies to be so cruel? This is a whole other level. When I was bullied, and my son, nothing like this was ever said. I feel so bad for kids these days.

Leave a Reply