Retribution And Bullying By School District Administration And Staff Should Not Be Tolerated

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Retribution And Bullying By School District Administration And Staff Should Not Be Tolerated
(By a Pennsylvania parent, name withheld)

Retribution and bullying by school district administration and building personnel should not be tolerated. This is commonplace in our high school. It's dangerous, it's wrong and it should be illegal.

"I want you to stop breathing my oxygen", the principal told my child this so many times that there isn't a student in that senior class that hasn't seen and heard this first hand.

"These kids don't deserve to eat", the principal said this to the kitchen staff when they tried to serve drinks and snacks to the entire student body during a bomb scare. Every child in the building had nothing to eat that day simply because the principal didn't think they deserved it. There were children with health issues that did not get food or drinks. The district will say that students with medical needs were fed. My child was not.

"You are an idiot", the assistant principal told a student this before taking away cafeteria privileges. This student had to eat in the office with the asst. principal. This student forgot to pack a lunch that day and was not allowed to buy one, lunchtime meal was denied.

"You are a bunch of immature jerks", the principal spoke from the stage using a microphone to the entire class during an assembly.

"Well…he couldn't have possibly run the entire fitness class as it takes 7 minutes to get changed, three minutes to walk out to the field, reverse this and that only leaves about 20 minutes", the Superintendent wrote this letter to my son's doctor. My child had two notes from two doctors telling the school that this form of punishment is detrimental to his chronic illness and should not be practiced. The doctor dropped my child after this contact from the school district Superintendent. In my state it's extremely difficult to find a pediatric "specialist"; appointments are made months in advance. I found a specialist out of state, a three-hour drive. This contact made a direct impact on my child's healthcare. I was na├»ve to think the school would contact the doctor to ask sincere questions concerning my child's health, medicine and side effects of the 12 pills taken daily… They did not. My child ran the entire fitness class because the first lap was not run fast enough the fitness teacher often made students run as a punishment. The class went inside and locked my child out running alone without supervision. My child has three times the risk for sudden death and epilepsy resulting from a brain injury from an acute illness, and a small brain cyst. This child was fighting infections from a recent oral surgery, more susceptible to infection because of medicines taken. On top of his 12 daily pills he had painkillers and antibiotics to fight this infection. The school had all this information and yet this student was told to run. Medical Doctor's letters were ignored. If that child died of complications of seizures or sudden death it would have to be considered manslaughter. Ignoring those letters and instructions from two doctors would have to be attempted murder.

Bullied students are punished constantly. Accused without proof and punished. I have challenged many punishments only to be told that "another student said they saw…" and of course, "we can't talk about other students". The administrators lied to me so many times that this answer could never be ok. My child was recently accused of plagiarism and told he would be suspended for three days. The other student admitted to stealing the paper and handing it in as his own. My child was cleared only after this child stopped lying, the other student received and hour of detention. My child never had as much as one hour of detention, there is no history of bad behavior, why were the punishments so different? Last year an equally questionable accusation concerning plagiarism arose. The students were both suspended for three days. The parents were told the papers were identical. When the parents asked to see the papers they were told no. They both signed a release allowing these to be viewed and the papers were "lost and never found. These students have plagiarism on their perfect school records and a suspension. These are very serious marks on their records.

I received a letter from school pointing out that my child missed more than the allowed 10 days of school. The letter also stated that every absence would require a doctor's note or the absence would be considered unexcused. After three unexcused absences my child would be docked 2 points off his final grade per day and each unexcused day is a zero, cannot make up tests or any other work. If he was absent 12 days 9 were already excused with a Dr's note, I was told they still count against him. My child had a chronic illness, a 504 Agreement in place, and many doctor notes covering office visits and hospitalizations they still insisted we needed doctor notes and every absence still counted against him. Can you imagine how many children did not get into the college of their choice based solely on their GPA? The GPA was lowered because the administrators misinterpreted their own attendance policy and illegally lowered their grades, 2 points per day add up quickly with mono, influenza or any illness…. Some students had their final grades reduced by as many as 12-18 points. I wonder how many students went before the district magistrate and got fined in error. They no longer dock points and they now understand that doctor excused absences do not cumulate. Now if we can only get an accurate attendance taken not only in the morning but also at the beginning of each class.

I have been told many times by many friends and parents that there is nothing I can do about this. I thought of all the hours I volunteered in the district, the PTO offices I held for over 6 years, and the fundraisers I ran and raised thousands of dollars for the district. The district hired me and I've been employed there over six years now. I thought of all the good years my children enjoyed in this district and teacher's comments, "a pleasure to have in my classroom", "attitude exemplary." We have a history of good experiences with this district until high school. My children didn't change and they did nothing to warrant this treatment.

"There is nothing you can do".

Four years ago I spoke to the principal and realized that he wasn't interested in helping my child or resolving our issues, the abusive behavior continued. I went to the Superintendent only to find out that she has been a close family friend of this principal and often referred to him by his childhood nickname. Problems were mounting in school and my child's health issues became more apparent. I wrote letters to the school board. I was told that they do not discuss individual students I must deal with this in the high school. Since my children were not the only children being bullied by these adults I reached out to friends and community. I handed out flyers requesting parents and students to attend a school board meeting. A few parents and students showed up and spoke a little. Most people are very reluctant to do this because their children would also be mistreated.

The adults have hurt student records, attitudes, future, and made their education difficult because they are fearful and distracted in school. Teenagers are immature and need positive role models. They don't all come from perfect happy healthy homes. They are dealing with a lot of life's hard lessons. They should not come to school to learn "hey, life isn't fair". We have a wonderful community. Our school looks good on paper and the administration is very good at covering their backs. They have a lot of experience in that department. We pay a lot of taxes and I can tell you we should all demand more for our money.

The principal is gone, his brother is gone, and the assistant principal is now the principal so the attitude remains. The new asst. principal is already telling students "life isn't fair". The superintendent is retiring as soon as we find a replacement. We have a couple new board members. There is always hope. My hope would be to educate all school personnel in basic good ethics and insist that they practice this. I expect the professional adults to set a good example, to be respectful and honest. I work in an elementary school and I expect this from all the children and they can do it.

My advice to parents is to listen to your children and help them every day they really need it. No one else will.

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