The Final Letter: When the school fails to effectively discipline my son’s bully

I picked up the boys from school on Monday afternoon and just prior to them walking out, I was greeted by who I think is the interventionist. It hadn’t occurred to me that she would be a resource. She was quite upset and apologetic about what’s been happening to Elliott. 

Having just learned about it, she has assured me it will be dealt with swiftly on Tuesday morning. Why she’s just now hearing about this if just one of the many questions I have. 

It’s not that I don’t believe her. She’s very genuine and frankly, the reaction she had to this is what everyone’s reaction should have been all along.  

Having said that, I won’t let up until I know this has been put to bed.  In the spirit of trying to be a good Dad, while at the same time keeping my wits about me, I have to ensure the safety of my kids. This includes inside the school building. 
I was feeling a little better after our impromptu conversation in the parent pickup car lane of the school parking lot.  The feeling was short lived because of what happened immediately after.

Elliott came out to the car with Emmett. He was in tears as he climbed into the car and asked me to find him a new school. He explained what had happened today and that he couldn’t take it anymore.  God love Emmett because he’s so upset that this is happening to his brother, he wants to confront this kid. 

That was addressed and Emmett understands that he can’t do something like that. I’m not gonna lie though, I was pretty damn proud to hear that defensive brother talk.. ☺ 

Elliott explained that this kid had stabbed/scratched the back of his leg, behind his knee with a sharpened pencil. He said this kid dropped something on the floor in order to disguise this assault inside the process of retrieving his dropped item. 

It took quite awhile to settle Elliott down after school and it definitely set the tone for the rest of the day. 

I had to run to the bank and I took Elliott with me. We grabbed an ice cream cone on our way and talked about how he was feeling about all of this. He feels this kid should be suspended until he stops hurting people in school. 

When we arrived home, I composed another letter and sent it to his teacher and fully intend to follow up in the morning. Below is the letter and I’ve removed the names for obvious reasons.  

I want to share this because I’m unsure of how to handle something like this and I’m figuring it out as I go. I’m trying to handle this in a responsible manner, while still ensuring the best interests of Elliott.  That’s a very delicate balance because I don’t want to paint a target on Elliott or make anything worse by reacting to this purely on base instinct. Trust me, it’s not easy to do things this way. 

All I want to do is keep my kids safe and all I can hope is that I’m going about this in the right way. 

Mr. Xxxxxxx, 

I’m very quickly running out of patience with this xxxxxxxx situation. Xxxxxxx is physically assaulting Elliott and I won’t stand for that. Today it sounds like xxxxxxxxx stabbed/scratched the back of Elliott’s leg with a sharpened pencil. 

There’s verbal harassment that continues as well.  I know all about sticks and stones but the continued verbal abuse is impacting Elliott’s school day.  It’s a distraction and prevents him from devoting his full attention to his school work.  You should also know that Elliott left the school building in tears today, asking me to find him a new school.. 

This is unacceptable and I’m beyond disappointed that these things are continuing to happen. Ms. Xxxxxxx has assured me that this will be dealt with in the morning but xxxxxxxx is not to make any physical contact with Elliott.  

Any further instances will be taken much higher up the chain of command.  

Xxxxxxxx doesn’t have the right to physically and verbally assault or harass the students in your classroom. This is a pattern of problem behavior that needs to be dealt with immediately. Taking away points is not a deterrent for this type of behavior.  

This situation is continuing to escalate and as the person responsible for Elliott’s safety while in class, I hold you personally responsible for anything that happens from this point forward. 

My intent is not to come off threatening but instead convey the level seriousness this situation warrants.  I’m always willing to work together to help resolve these things but at this point, my child no longer feels safe in your classroom and that has me greatly concerned and frankly, very upset.  

Rob