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a day in the life

I'm sitting here literally crying over some of the emails I've received today. Not just the support and advice, but the stories you are telling me.

I don't mean to harp on the subject, but this is all my day has been about. I alternate between wanting to rip the eyes out of this kid and wanting to pull DJ out of school. Which is not an option, though I wish it was.

So many of you have told me about your kids or your own problems of this manner as children. It amazes me that so much of this goes on in our classrooms. I was one of those kids myself. I know the pain that comes with being bullied and I know all too well the fear of school that develops because of it.

DJ is a good student. He is one of those effortless A kids. He is a natural at math and science, a whiz in reading. I want him to love school. I want him to be proud of his skills. But for him, school has become a dungeon, a place of imprisonment. He has developed a nervous twitch in his eye. He has constant headaches and stomach aches. This is not how it's supposed to be. This is his childhood and he's hating it.

My son is not a kid with great self-confidence. He's small for his age. He speaks softly. He's shy. The only time he radiates confidence and is self assure is on the baseball field. It's winter. There are no home runs for him to hit, no strike outs for him to throw to make himself feel good.

My sister Lisa had a talk with DJ about this tonight. He told her - and this is something he never told me - that Big Bully pushes him. He physically touches my son. I am livid and I am sad and I want action.

All you want is for your kids to be happy, to have that carefree childhood that you read about in books. No ten year old should sit in his room at 3am, staring at the glow of the digital clock and counting the hours towards another day of torture. You do everything you can for them to keep them out of harm's way; they wear seat belts in cars and helmets when they are on their bikes and you keep the cleaning fluids out of reach. You give them vitamins and make them brush their teeth and tell them to look both ways when they cross the street and don't take candy from strangers.

But once they leave your house and enter the school building, you can't buckle them in for that. They are on their own for the most part. My son is ten. I cannot stand over him every minute of the day and guide him through life. He has to learn how to cope on his own and how to solve his own problems.

But what happens when the problems are bigger than they can handle? What happens when the problems aren't solveable at all because the agitating factor is out of your hands?

Unfortunately, they don't leave the situation behind at 3:15. It's not like when I walk out of work at 4:30 and I am no longer thinking about motions and mandate letters and attorneys. Kids are different. They drag every emotion they have around with them like a blanket. They don't let go as easily as we do. They want to know why. Why can't everyone like them? Why can't that kid just stop teasing him? Why can't you fix it, mom?

Being a parent is at once heartbreaking and wonderful. Sometimes more of one than the other. And it's a juggling act. With one hand I'm trying to deal with Natalie's fast-paced walk into puberty and with the other I'm dealing with DJ's withdrawal from his former light-hearted self. It leaves me shaking by the end of the day. Now I know why my parents always had the extra large bottle of Bayer Aspirin on hand when we were young.

I can teach my own kids manners and respect and morals, but what other children learn at home is out of my hands. It's like being on the road on New Year's Eve. You're not drunk, but you have to watch out for all the people that are.

Right now DJ is in his room playing video games with his stepfather. He's laughing and having a good time and I wish like hell that this is all his days could ever be. Unfortunately, there are people out there, bullies and bosses and backstabbers that will come for our children through every stage of life.

The question is, do we teach them to avoid these people, try to change these people or just beat them down?

Yea, I know what we would like to do, but we're not like that, are we?

Comments

Sometimes, you have to be. The trick is knowing when - and only then, when all else has failed. I guess it sort of falls in this order for me:

1) Try to reason
2) Seek outside assistance
3) Try reasoning one last time
4) Beat down
5) Try to help the person afterwards

Michele, we moved into the suburbs because of the school system in the city. Our boy started public school this year Kindergarten, and it is a great school.

Bullies? I was one when my parents got divorced. I have also been a victim of bullies when i was much younger. Honestly, the best thing he can do is stand up for himself and take a beating while "fighting" back/ Bullies don't like victims that stand up for themselves. Watching someone fight back during the injustice that you are serving up makes you realize how wrong you are. Whatever you do, don't do what my dad tried to do until my mother stopped him; Don't fight his fights for him. Sign him up for Judo or Karate for his own esteem (it won't prevent him from getting a whooping). Move away from Queens.

I know that watching your kids go through this stuff is hard. My son had his first major major crying fit yesterday regarding sports after the Giants loss. Genuine pain I was watching. I didn't even care about the game at that point. "It hurts" he was telling me. But it's all kosher, we went through the same stuff.

Harry, I'm not in Queens. I'm in the suburbs, on Long Island.

Kevin's last two points stick out for me. Beat them down perhaps as a last resort, but perhaps have the mercy to hold a hand out to help them back up. Maybe that might be too naive of me, but it's the only way I know how to be.

Dick, I agree. I have to admit, though, after many years it took kicking the fuck out of the last straw for ME to get results. THAT's when all the crap STOPPED. Suck.

I'm not a lawyer, and you'd want to check with a real one. But I think it this boy has touched your son "harmful and offensive touching" is the key phrase, then you can go down to the police station and get a restraining order. The order could be that said bully is not to come within 10 feet of your child, etc. You can give a copy of the restraining order to the school. I think that might shock people into doing the right thing.

The other thing is that most schools have a code of conduct that specifically states "no touching". In our school, parents are responsible for reading the code, and have to return a signed form saying they read it. IF you have that in your district, Big Bully's parents could be legally liable for not making their child follow the code of conduct. Not saying you have to take him to court, but I'm guessing you probably know some attorneys who might be willing to write you a letter on fancy letterhead to make it look like you are.

First, get someone with older kids to find BB and put the fear of God in him, (this worked for my sister who was being bullied and her bully was visited by two of my buddies), his gramma walked him to and from the bus stop which was where he was doing his bullying to my sis.
If this is not feasible or doesn't work, then go to his dad's place of business, talk to him politely about the situation. If this doesn't work, wait till his busiest time, and confront him, ending with the statement that you are going to call human services, (or protective services, whatever it is in your state that investigates child abuse), and turn his step MOTHER in for abuse because obviously he is learning this behavior from someone and didn't do this till his real mom died. Make it convincing, and , in front of as many patrons as possible, and tell him that not only will you do that, but you will also sue him for emotional distress to your child, and tell him that at 100 an hour for a shrink, your child is going to need about 5 years on the couch.
If this doesn't work, do the above, (calling human services) as well as suing the school district, naming the principal specifically, the school board specifically, and the teacher. They will put enough pressure on each other to the point that something will be done to the BB.
Also, while you are at it, sue the father and stepmom for not controlling the actions of their child.
Find an attorney that will take all these on contingency, and like someone else said, the school has deep pockets, and will settle out of court.
In the meantime, hire a photographer to take pictures of the kids on the playground or at the bus stop or wherever the abuse occurs. He will not have to go on school grounds if he has a decent lens, and if asked, have him tell them he is gathering evidence for your lawsuit. Whether he gets anything in the way of pictures is a moot point, the idea is to let them know it is under investigation.
Finally, go to the media, and let them know what the story is, but I advise you, that if it is legal in your state, tape record the conversations, and let the school know they are being taped. Make copies of the tapes, and use your recorder whenever you talk to anyone involved, let them know you too are gathering evidence for your lawsuit.
Keep us advised........good luck, and take the offensive. Keep the kids out of it if possible, if not, take care of your own.

Well as I stated in my post here: The Culture of Cluelessness and elsewhere on another thread...

Well let me just say this the problem is OBVIOUS, I never had any problems whatsoever understanding why the Columbine shooters did what they did. I looked at the guys who talked about "Oh why oh why did they do this" and wondered why I couldn't spot the lobotomy scar.

The problem is this:
1) The culture refuses to take responsibility for itself at any level.
2) The culture refuses any and all acts that can lead to actual reform.
3) The culture sees words as being more threatening than action. In other words it is worse to say something bad than it is to beat someone up.
and this:
4) The culture encourages high self-esteem.

Pride is a sin, ever wonder why? Look at a Bully, he is proud I can assure you, that is what Pride does to you.

I hate the way the word is being used to mean good things, it confuses the issue, but what can I do? Even I can't avoid that usage.

I know it's probably not practical, but have you considered other schools in your area which might have a more peaceful environment?

I read something once. It said, "Don't ever make a decision when you are emotional." That makes a lot of sense to me. Emotional decisions are rarely good decisions.

So. Take a deep breath. Relax. Get calm and think this through as rationally as you can.

I think your only workable choices are litigation, or threat of; a complaint to the police, or threat of; or DJ defends himself.

In any case, for any action on your part, be calm, cool, and collected, and make your point. Be relentless. Don't rely on "what's right," in the sense of what's decent or reasonable, push laws, statutes, actions, and regulations. That's the only thing that brings these nincompoops up short. It's like using a cross on a vampire. Sweet reason is beyond these flatulent pinheads, just like sweet reason won't hold sway with a vampire. You'd be wasting your breath (unless it's garlic-tinged, of course).

As Goose says in Top Gun, "Go get 'em, Mav!"

Michele,

To add to my comment on your earlier post (I try to read from bottom to top, as I get confused reading backwards), bring DJ in on the plan. Have him keep his eyes out for zero tolerance behavior.

Make sure he understands a few things.

1. Self defense is not being a tattletale.

2. Work smarter, not harder (win with your head, not your fists).

3. A Small Victory is much greater that any defeat. Allow him to join in the win.

Now some might say, "teach the boy to lie! How terrible. Review some of the other options:

Fight, find his own bully, find a scumbag lawyer (shower well after that one), talk to the father, talk to the teachers, talk to the principal, talk to the superintendent, talk to the press, talk, talk, talk.....

If you are going to say something, make it short, sweet and final. Check & mate.

I think DJ's attitude will be totally different after a triumph. His self esteem and assurance will grow with the knowledge that he used his brain to outwit and defeat the (defenseless) bully.

More power to you. I wish my mom stood up for me like you (about 30 years ago).

Ira

Kids can be so cruel. As much as I know parents would like to ease their children's pain, especially from outside sources, sometimes it's out of your hands. Chances are anything short of a restraining order will encourage this Bully to pick on DJ more.

My brother was bullied a lot when he was younger because he was overweight. My mom always taught him to turn the other cheek because we were better than them and fighting back was stooping to their level. Well, after weeks of enduring torture at the hands of other kids, my brother finally had enough. One good shove, not even a punch, was all it took. They never picked on him again after that.

I don't know what the right answer is in DJs situation. Good luck to you and DJ both.

I am so sorry your son is going through this. My oldest is in 2nd grade and he's been bullied ever since Pre-K. He too is very thin and is scared that if he fights back he'll get into trouble at school. It's a sad thing when kids are too scared to fight back but yet nothing happens to the bullies. I hope that this can be resolved for DJ. Not sure of a solution to it other than trying to have a talk with the parents of the bully.

You've probably had people tell you stories like this one, but here's one more...

I'm 37 and a take-no-shit type who used to be the most bullied kid in school. I was the youngest and smallest in my class, and due to health problems, I was absent a lot.

In third grade, a bully sent me to the emergency room having punched me so hard in the side of my head, my post earring went all the way into my ear lobe and had to be surgically removed. The school blamed me for "antagonizing" the girl by trying to save a swing for a friend rather than just letting her have it. I avoided the playground after that.

In fifth grade, some boys pushed me down in the snow, pulled my shirt up over my head and put snow down my pants. Then they left me there with my books buried in the snow around me.I was too embarrassed to tattle and I avoided walking to school alone after that.

By sixth grade, I guess I'd had enough of orchestrating my life around avoiding bullies.

One day, during lunch, I was minding my own business walking along outside, and the biggest girl (a softball player in fact) was walking behind me calling me "shrimp" and "midget." She started stepping on my heels and swatting my head. I kept walking. She kept after me, kicking me in the butt and yelling insults. There were tons of kids around and no one did anything to help me.

Out of nowhere, something rose up in me and I just LOST IT. I reeled around and grabbed her by the shirt and pushed her as hard as I could. She was so surprised that she sort of backpeddaled herself right into a thorn bush and then fell. That's when I finally let go of her shirt and just stood there laughing while she tried frantically to extricate herself from the brambles. She looked humiliated and scared and all the other kids just laughed at HER for a change. I felt ten feet tall--not because I'd hurt her, I barely noticed that, but because I saw the look in her eyes I'd seen in my own and I realized she had no real power over me at all.

Both of us were sent to see the Principal, and both of us were punished. My dad pretended to be upset with me in front of the Principal, but in the car he told me that he was proud of me for sticking up for myself.

After that, the softball player never bullied me again. I was bullied by others plenty, that year and for every subsequent year until I went to college. Even though I switched to private school in ninth grade, I was still the subject of ridicule, it just never bothered me quite as much as it had until that fight. Somehow I just knew that the bullies were full of shit losers who couldn't really hurt me.

I guess what I'm trying to say is,finding a way for DJ to feel powerful enough to either tell or show this kid to fuck off is the best way to go. If it were my kid, I'd want to personally knock Big-Bully's lights out, but I'd also know that this wouldn't do any good. It probably won't help to talk to Big-Bully's dad either. I'd like to be optimistic, but it's hard to be. Chances are he won't even believe you.

DJ is the only one who can deal with this. I know it's scary, believe me. I was scared to death when I took this girl on. I was under 4' tall and about 60 pounds and she was almost 6' tall and a moose. I guess I just figured I'd rather go down fighting than just take it day after day.

Truth?

I would start training my son to fight. Martial arts, maybe, or just a good, well-rounded street fighting technique.

I was bullied, I'm a big boy now, but a late bloomer. when I was 8, I played little league in Central NY with the bigger kids because I could hit, and I was hitting too hard and too far for the junior division.

This put me with kids who were much bigger. I got beat up a lot. Eventually my stepfather taught me how to throw a punch, how to read the other guy to predict what he was gonna do, and most importantly, that fighting was NOT an honorable activity when done on the street: it was survival. The only honor came AFTER you stopped the other guy...never hit someone more than you have to, never kick a guy when he's down, that kinda thing.

He taught me to punch someone right in the balls. He taught me parts of the body that hurt more than others. He taught me NEVER to punch a guy in the head unless it was in the ear or the jaw, because I would break my hand. He taught me that my elbow was 10 times harder than my hand. He taught me the grab&twist...

Get a handful of balls, twist 'em and hang on until that guy promises NEVER to touch you again.

When I just couldn't beat a guy, he taught me to pay someone bigger than that guy to do it for me.

I had a FANTASTIC year when I was 9. :)

I think I know what you'd like to do, but that's not practical.

The truth of the matter is that Bullies exist. They can't be avoided, they usually can't be changed, and they require adoration and/or fear to keep them propped up. right now, its the school principal, who is a chickenshit and does nothing about this kid. Right now, the kids fear him, and he thinks (understandably so) that the principal and the school fear him

THIS KID NEEDS TO HAVE HIS ASS KICKED. IN PUBLIC. BY THE KIDS HE TERRORIZES.

Preferably in his dad's pizza shop, but not necessarily.

When I was in school, we considered it shameful for a big kid to pick on a little kid. Nobody was respected for bullying a smaller student. And we had few bullies.

For the good of all students, including Big Bully, I'd like to see you bully the principal (with legal threats) into enforcing discipline. If you can't change the school, change schools.

I also think it's helpful for small kids to learn karate, or a similar discipline; it builds confidence and self-control, and it's good exercise if nothing else.

A Wall St. Journal reporter wrote a story in the last few months about the life of the bully who tormented him when they were kids. The bully had died after a short, unhappy life.

Boy, does this bring back memories. I sure took my share of this sort of nonsense when I was younger, but being 5' 0" and 100 lbs soaking wet as a high school freshman will do that to you. I don't think that litigating or threatening the principal/administration will solve the problem, and here's why: it's like asking the police to keep your house from getting robbed. Much more effective to protect your house yourself, because the police can only come when called, just as even a principal who absolutely agreed with your point of view couldn't intervene until after something happened. All that does is encourage a sneakier bully--bathrooms and around corners become the target areas instead of openly at recess. Even if you neutralize this bully, a back-end, reactive approach will not stop the next one. Or the one after that. Or (well, you get the idea.)...until your son can defend himself, or make himself an unattractive target, it will still happen. The faces and names will change, but it won't stop until he makes it stop.

I agree with the idea of enrolling him in martial arts classes. Not primarily for active self defense training, though. Rather because they help to train your mind to react positively under stressful situations, while simultaneously teaching you how to protect yourself from the violence of others. Ideally, you should talk to several martial arts instructors about what your son is going through, and enroll him with one whose responses strike a chord in you.

Making himself an unattractive target could happen one of a few ways. Either he decks the bully, or at least puts up a valiant enough battle that the bully decides it's not worth it; or he keeps a stiff upper lip long enough that the bully can't maintain his aggression (that's a long time, though); or he gets his own peer group together who won't tolerate the bully and band together when they are menaced; or (and this is not as uncommon as you think) something brings the bully and your son together and they come to some sort of terms. I recall that frequently people I got along with very poorly one year were my good friends the next.

I trained in Aikido for close to 20-years in Oakland, CA. I'd occasionally teach the kids classes and I've never seen a livelier and more confident bunch of little people in my life that didn't take crap from anyone.

I say send in the Marines. Seriously. A beach landing and slow march inland supported by armored cavalry, Apache gunships and limitless air support. Then have them secure a perimeter around the school, offer an ultimatum for the bully to disarm and cease all hostilities within an agreed period (with the UN's blessing otherwise you become an international pariah) and if he doesn't then reset the deadline. If he still doesn't disarm print a bunch of articles across the world about how you intend to beat him up if he doesn't cease and desist. If he still doesn't acquiesce then start to lump him in with the kid from North Korea...

wow, where did that come from?

That royaly sucks!

I was never picked on by other kids, and I don't have any of my own either. But I know it must be horrible. I was bullied by my 4th grade teacher though. Apparently my mom was very close to pulling me and home-schooling me that year.

I don't think it had a lasting effect on me, but I don't know. It's really hard to look back at one part of your life and say "This is how that affected me."

I'm kinda rambling on in your comments here. Good luck and know that I'm praying for both of you.

"The question is, do we teach them to avoid these people, try to change these people or just beat them down?"

All three..and in that order

I'm actually very impressed with a lot of the answers. I really thought you were going to have a lot of people here telling you what you want to here... backed with a lot of shit talking and bravado.

I'm going to give it to you straight: I think this kid is reaching out to dj to befriend him.

I make no excuses for why this kid is the eay he is, and will NEVER justify what he'as doing to your son. This kid has problems, no doubt about it. But it doesn't seem like "Bully Sr" is showing him any way to deal with his grief in a socially acceptable manner.

Right now, your son's brains and rationalization are his most powerful weapons.

If you want me to go into more detail, I'll gladly elaborate. But thank you Dick and Kevin for giving me the balls to actually say this to her.
Just my take...

My husband was tormented from 3rd grade through high school by the neighborhood bully. Things came to a head and were resolved only after both kids were out of HS. My husband ended up beating the snot out of his tormentor and humiliating him royally, to the extent that when the bully and my husband next crossed paths, the used-to-be-bully changed course to get away from my husband.
And as the voice of experience, my better half offered up the following:
1). the sooner DJ takes control of the situation and resolves it himself, the better off he will be. It still bothers my husband that he did not confront the bully sooner.
2). You and DJ should be prepared for DJ to be expelled from school. DJ should probably also be prepared to be physically roughed up some.
3). DJ's solution has to be one that he is comfortable with and he needs to know that you and Justin support him totally.
4). DJ should make sure that when the final confrontation arrives, he has some backup. He should not try to go mano y mano with Big Bully when there are no witnesses.
5). Since DJ is physically at a disadvantage, he needs an equalizer. A bookbag or backpack is good. It's also easier to make it look like an accident: "Oh, he startled me and I turned around and gee, I just don't know how my backpack connected with his head. It was an accident."

And from my own limited experience with bullying, I will say that taking matters in hand early on during that first (and as it turned out only) overt incident made a LOT of difference in my self-confidence.

Geez, get a clue, quickly. Get the kid into a Karate class. If that's too macho for you, find him and Aikido teacher.

What are you waiting for?

And, by the way, where is the boy's father? This is his job. Mom's are great, but not for every child-rearing chore.

Get off the freakin' internet and get your boy into some self-defense training that will dedicate itself to helping him build real self-esteem and confidence.

He is MALE. He HAS to learn to defend himself. Physically. He either does it now, or he'll have to teach it to himself later, when he'll have to overcome all that bile-infected resentment. And, guess whom he's going to blame for all of that?

Hey, Tractor Ass...you are twelve seconds away from the most embarassing moment of your life...

I dealt with a similar situation ten years ago. The school had a policy that both individuals involved in a fight got punished, so not only was my nephew getting the tar beat out of him, he was getting detention for it.

After attempting to be reasonable with the principal and her no-tolerance bullying policies, the next time I was called in to pick up my nephew for being "involved" in a fight I brought a cop. I told the cop, and the pricipal, and my nephew's teacher, that I was pressing assault charges against the bully. The cop saw the bruises on my nephew, and even took photos.

I got a restraining order and a good lawyer. I told the school that, as the guardians of both children during school hours, I would be holding them accountable for enforcing the restraining order and would name them as codefendants in any civil or legal action arising from the violation of that restrainint order.

The schools want you to believe that their authority exceeds your authority as a parent/legal guardian. It doesn't.

My nephew finished out the school year in peace.

As with others this post struck a chord with me since I was the target of bullies when I was young too.

I strongly recommend against moving your son to another school. That just sends him the message that he should run away from his problems and you have no guarentees that there won't be another bully at his new school. I do agree with the folks suggesting you enroll your son in some martial arts class. It won't keep him from getting beaten up by someone bigger than he is but it will help him build self-confidence and discipline and help him keep his wits about him if he does get into a fight which will certainly improve his odds. You might also look into signing him up for a self-defense class. These tend to be different from martial arts classes in that they tend to teach just a few techniques designed to incapacitate an attacker rather than a well-rounded fighting style along with strategies for avoiding confrontations to begin with. That will certainly improve your son's odds if he does get into a fight.

Obviously talking to the school isn't going to do any good. I doubt talking to BB's parents will help either. I had to deal with a lot of bullies when I was young and the only ones who ever left me alone were the ones I stood up to. At heart bullies are cowards, that's why they pick on kids they figure won't be able to fight back. When an intended victim stands up to them they generally take it as a sign that it's time to move on to someone else. If it does come down to a physical confrontation with BB, you might want to suggest that DJ and his friend, who's also picked on by the bully, gang up on BB. Two on one odds will help even up the size difference.

Talk about getting a clue, you ass. Got mother issues, yourself?

As for the "where's his father" comment... his biological father is a wimp and would probably only result to name-calling. not qute a lesson in self defense, hmmm? his step-father does all he can to make sure DJ is being raised to be the best little man he can be. however, matters in school are Michele's area. this situation included. I do not believe that only a MALE would be able to stop their child from getting bullied and i'm sure a macho attitude in the principal's office wouldn't get you too far either. to suggest that is assinine.

And, although Karate has its benefits, I do not see DJ going up to the BB and saying "Hey you, stop it or i'm gonna 'whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa' kick your ass!". He's too much of a good kid and he doesnt want to hurt anyone. He does, however, want to defend himself from unprovoked attacks from a little shit with no proper parenting or discipline. This, is where his step-father comes in and he is teaching DJ how - first with words then with his hands (in self-defense only - of course) to defend himself.

"He is MALE": does this mean that if a girl gets bullied she should just take it because she's FEMALE and therefore unable to defend herself?

Listen bud, DJ looks to his mom for support and seemingly unlike you, he gets it.

My emotional reaction to this situation is a deep desire to see Big Bully get his ass kicked by any means necessary. But as so many have pointed out, the blame-the-victim mentality at the school would result in repercussions for DJ, which is stupid and unfair. I vote for suing the school. DJ's civil rights are being violated by this little punk, and the school is letting it happen. I'd sue the school, the principal and teacher personally, Big Bully's parents, and anyone else I could think of. You may not even have to file an actual lawsuit; sometimes the threat of one is enough to get action. A threat from an attorney on letterhead would probably only cost you a couple hundred bucks and would be worth every penny.

Homeschooling really is the far better option, of course. I don't know why you think it's not an option for you, but if it gets bad enough, I bet you could think of a way to make it work.

Fight back! Fight back! Fight back!

There are worse things in life than school suspensions. One of them is being a victim. It doesn't matter if Big Bully wins the fight. All that matters is that he learns that he HAS to fight - each and every time.

And by the way, fair fighting is for the big and the strong - the small ones need to fight dirty.

1) I agree totally with Pearl, and that is why I am getting D.J., Natalie & my own son Tae Kwon Do lessons for their birthdays.
2) Paul A'barge is the one who should get a clue, or an ass kicking! Michele isnít just sitting on the internet guessing what to do. She is doing it and doing it the right way. Who said a father has to be the one to teach a male child self defense. Me, Michele & Lisa can all kick his fathers ass easily, which is a major part of why the spineless wimp isnít a part of this. Paul A needs to get the facts straight & read it all before he spews shit.

All you want is for your kids to be happy, to have that carefree childhood that you read about in books. No ten year old should sit in his room at 3am, staring at the glow of the digital clock and counting the hours towards another day of torture.

Oh boy, did that bring back bad memories. I remember being that kid. School was a nightmare I thoguht I'd never escape from.

DJ has a great mom, and I hope that things get better for both of you soon.

"But for him, school has become a dungeon, a place of imprisonment. He has developed a nervous twitch in his eye. He has constant headaches and stomach aches."

(1) A letter from a physician documenting this.
(2) A proposed course of treatment from a child psychologist, including estimated total cost.
(3) A "lawyer letter" to the local school board.

"I don't think that litigating or threatening the principal/administration will solve the problem, and here's why: it's like asking the police to keep your house from getting robbed."

The problem with this principal is that he's far worse than useless - he won't punish the bully, but he's made it quite clear that he will punish DJ if he dares defend himself. Kind of like when the police arrest a homeowner for shooting a burglar.

When you have an authority system that is actively on the side of the bullies, you have a real problem about which something really does need to be done.

Whoops - the above was me.

But let me reiterate - if you and the parents of other victims could somehow make sure that this principal never works in education again, you would be doing the world a great service