Bullying in Catholic School - should I tell the parents?

Our Catholic school has a major bullying and clicks problem which I have brought to the attention of the principal as a parent volunteer in recess among others. The teacher of my daughter who was bullied told me that these girls (10 yrs.old) have to settle it among themselves and the principal told me that my daughter has to thicken her skin (!!!). So we are left to our own devices.
One day while doing recess, I witnessed (and intervened) a bullying incident in 3rd grade where one girl was made to cry because of name-calling. The funny thing is, the bully’s mother was concerned (she confided in me) that her daughter was being alienated (clicks) by some girls. On another occasion, this same bully was the one alienating the same girl she made to cry by excluding her from a game. I also intervened and stopped it.
Because we have no support from the school which I believe has the responsibility to address the issue with the students involved (and if need be the parents of these kids), do I (a) tell the parent of the bully of what I witnessed and stopped and (b) tell the parent of the bullied girl?
Needless to say, we are leaving the school next year for public school which has a very pro-active anti-bullying campaign called Olweus.

I truly appreciate any sage advice.:confused:

Your child’s school is behind the times with regards to relational aggression. The bullies do not deserve to have their behavior protected, and this is even true in public schools.

Get together with any other concerned parents you know who have had similar problems and contact the superintendent of Catholic schools for your area about a “no tolerance” policy for bullies. Let him or her know what you were told when you reported bullying at your school. Before you do so, do your homework, as there is plenty of research out there to back you up. In this way, you can remain calm, substitute facts for your own sense of things, and make this about the total welfare of the school, rather than just that of your own child.

There are many resources online for this. You could start reading up at sites like nobully.com/.

that school sounds like pure hell for the kids that are being bullied especially if the teacher wants to leave them to sort it between themselves and the principal thinks they should just thicken their skin…i do think you should tell the bullys mother because that behaviour isnt right…and i do think you should tell the mother of the poor child being bullied…that poor girl could be lying awake at night worrying and dreading going to school but feel unable or too ashamed to tell her parents whats happening…you will be helping her big time by telling her mother!!!

if the school is that bad have you considered switching schools or maybe homeschooling?

[quote="cuqui, post:1, topic:231204"]
*The teacher of my daughter who was bullied told me that these girls (10 yrs.old) have to settle it among themselves and the principal told me that my daughter has to thicken her skin (!!!). *

[/quote]

WHAT?! This is in a Catholic School??? See, this is why I'm glad I don't have kids and don't know that I could handle it because this would send me over the edge.

It's this kind of attitude and ignorance towards the behavior of young people that leads to things much worse than bullying. Columbine... anyone? Seriously, I would sue to get whatever tuition you've paid for your child to attend that school and put them in public school... soon.

I only mention the lawsuit, not for the money but basically just to expose the injustice that's taking place there in hopes that they would either realize their error or at least be called out on it as I'm sure your daughter is not the only one :(

As a postscript, do I also tell the pastor of what’s going on in the school? I believe he already does, as one dad told me he spoke to him. Other parents just talk with their feet first. Enrollment is down not because of economic reasons (it’s an affluent community).
I would like to contact the superintendent of Catholic Schools but I feel that going behind his back is not good, especially because I am also an EM for the church.:shrug:
Thanks again.

Your school is truly behind the times on addressing bullying issues… I’m very sorry you’re dealing with this. It may be worth getting in contact with your Diocese Superintendent at this point.

Our parish school is quite proactive… not only is “zero tolerance for bullying” something that is *discussed *on a *regular *basis, but our principal has had speakers come in to address points with parents at evening talks.
This may be a good resource to bring up at any discussions with your principal or hopefully superintendent… bullycide.org/speaker.html

SPEAK OUT and don’t let this happen to others!

First off, bullying is a reality, sad but true. Even if a school has set policies in place it goes on.

Bullying must be caught by a person in authority and acted upon quickly. When the victim reports it it often gets worse.

School have to work harder in practicing Christ’s teachings and transmitting them to young children to try and prevent the bullying in the first place. In addition, children must be taught to understand why bullies bully and some tactics to help themselves.

Bullies are everywhere. They are in the workplace, the sports fields, in the schools, yes Catholic schools too.

Because it is part of the human condition it will never be eliminated. Best to coach you children on how to deal.

I think telling the parents is a good solution because you are an objective source (since it isn't your own child). It might be good to have someone else there who witnessed it to back up your story and add their own view.

Bullying is a serious issue among kids (and even adults) and it is important to deal with it or at least talk to kids about different strategies to deal with it.

I would be curious to hear if anyone on this forum was bullied growing up and how they handled it or would recommend handling it based on their own experiences.

Growing up when I was in my late teens I was involved in a lot of activities and would witness various forms of bullying behavior from kids younger than me (boys 10-14ish). I would usually interrupt the bullying with some sort of innocent diversionary tactic so as to not call out the bully and potentially embarass the kid being pushed around. Then I would talk to the person doing the bullying 1 on 1 later on and explain how their conduct was affecting the other person and the group as a whole. I made them try to see the other side of the coin as best as possible and it usually worked to curtail the behavior. I think the fact I was more or less a peer or someone a bit older caused them to listen more rather than an adult yelling at them. They technically never got in trouble for the bullying, but they got the message from me that what they were doing would not be tolerated. I rarely ever had to talk to anyone a second time.

This is a difficult problem, no matter what side you approach it from. However, your school’s attitude is not helpful, as you know.

Ideally, these things should be taken care of within the population of kids, but they rarely are. We want our kids to be able to defend themselves, or deflect a bully, but they almost never have the skill set to do that. Oh, sure, there will be a couple of kids here and there who can either physically defend themselves, or the quick-witted one who can come up with a quip that not only pulls the rug out from under the bully but entertains the bystanders. But most kids are not equipped in any way to deal with a bully. And, the rules against fighting back tie kids’ hands - it was not that way when I was in school back in the day. As long as we fought off school grounds, we could fight and every couple of weeks there would be some altercation (always between boys) and they’d end up as friends or at least in respect of each other. The older brothers of boys being picked on had a way of showing up when the bully didn’t expect it and suddenly … no more bullying. Now days, if a kid fought back, HE or SHE would be the one sent to A-school!

Parents don’t know what to do about bullying either. Our older son was verbally bullied by another boy in his class, for several years during elementary school. Since our son was more popular than the other boy, I expected his friends to stick up for him and tell the other boy to cut it out. They never did. I read a lot about this and bystanders to bullying as a rule DO NOT get involved. There are several reasons - one is a fear that the bully will then turn to them. Another is uncertainty and again, not knowing what to do. Peer pressure causes them to be afraid to speak up too.

Our son did not have any physical symptoms of anxiety. His grades did not go down. He did not want to stay home from school, and he maintained a decent sense of self-esteem, at least to all outward appearances. We did not want to intervene on his behalf if he was not being affected, since we were aware that it might actually do more harm (more bullying, more covert bullying) than good. We tried to let our son know that it was wrong and we tried to support him in standing up to the bully. He is a rather introverted person and at that time, he did not have the physical size or bulk to feel confident. And over time, the bullying did affect him. He really didn’t understand why his good friends didn’t stick up for him. That may have been the worst thing for him in the end, to feel all alone without allies.

If I could do it over, I would definitely talk to the school. I would insist that they intervene. I would NOT want my son to have to confront his bully, nor would I want the 2 families to confront or have any contact. I would urge that the school discuss bullying out in the open, especially to emphasize to ALL the kids that if they see or hear bullying, they should help intervene. That to me is the critical element, because teachers are not in eyesight of the students at all times. A bully can find an opportunity, especially if it’s a verbal bully. Nasty comments can be said under the breath so the teacher or other adult cannot hear. But other kids are usually around and can help by speaking up, “WHAT did you say to Tiffany? Did you call her a name?” in a loud voice. Bullies don’t like attention on their actions.

I think we did the best we could with the information we had, but I would go back now and do it differently. Unfortunately this boy was with our son right through elementary and then re-appeared in high school (our son went to a different high school). As is true with a lot of bullies (not all of them, some are VERY popular), he had few friends - most people saw him for an angry, ill-tempered, hostile little fellow and shunned him. And it took years, but we think our son is finally past the hit on his self-image that the bully did.

I would bring it up to the pastor, the school again (insist that they deal with this problem, you have seen it and heard it personally so you aren’t just carrying tales), and maybe even call a meeting of the PTA or PTO to discuss it. You could mention that the local TV stations might be interested in hearing about the bullying problem and the school’s uncaring attitude. Not as a threat, but as one way to bring attention to the very real problem.

What the heck!!

BULLYING IS A SERIOUS SIN AGAINST THE 5TH COMMANDMENT!

Of all places, you should be teaching this in a Catholic school. What don't you get about;
Starting and ending the day with class prayer
Prayer before dismissal for recess
Thorough Catholic catechesis in all subjects all day
Opportunity for monthly confession for students
Strict supervision in the classroom and on the playground
Swift punishment, including expulsion, for conduct unworty of a child of God

I saw that at my son’s Catholic school (k-8). The girls were really nasty, I think that the mothers knew and allowed it by somehow rationalizing the behaviors. You will notice that the girls will click together as the mothers click together while waiting outside. Sad but not unusual even for Catholic schools, I even saw that at the parish level. :frowning:

[quote="cuqui, post:5, topic:231204"]
As a postscript, do I also tell the pastor of what's going on in the school? I believe he already does, as one dad told me he spoke to him. Other parents just talk with their feet first. Enrollment is down not because of economic reasons (it's an affluent community).
I would like to contact the superintendent of Catholic Schools but I feel that going behind his back is not good, especially because I am also an EM for the church.:shrug:
Thanks again.

[/quote]

Talk to your pastor, letting him know that your daughter's experience is not an isolated incident, to ensure that he knows about the situation. If he will not listen or even if he will not act quickly and decisively, then enlist the aid of other parents who share your views, and try again. There may have been a day when such ignorance as you have encountered could be honestly held, but in this day and age, there is no excuse for letting this situation persist in any school. Heaven forbid that the right to entrenched patterns of uncharity be defended in a Catholic school, when even the pagans don't have the stomach to allow it any more. I would put it just that way, too. You are a extraordinary minister of the Eucharist? All the more reason that you are bound to act in the defense of the vulnerable, even when no one else will.

Going behind the principal's back is when you have never talked to him about the situation first. Although there is no excuse for a school in session in 2011 not to have measures to combat bullying in place already, I would talk to the pastor and school board if you have not done so. If they do nothing, then they leave you with no choice. Even if you are forced to pull your child from the school, keep going up the ladder until someone listens, all the way to the Bishop or Archbishop himself.

I know more than one priest who thinks that being pastor in a parish with a school is a huge burden, but they would say the same. The children must be protected, no matter who it inconveniences, period, end of discussion.

[quote="EasterJoy, post:12, topic:231204"]
Talk to your pastor, letting him know that your daughter's experience is not an isolated incident, to ensure that he knows about the situation. If he will not listen or even if he will not act quickly and decisively, then enlist the aid of other parents who share your views, and try again. There may have been a day when such ignorance as you have encountered could be honestly held, but in this day and age, there is no excuse for letting this situation persist in any school. Heaven forbid that the right to entrenched patterns of uncharity be defended in a Catholic school, when even the pagans don't have the stomach to allow it any more. I would put it just that way, too. You are a extraordinary minister of the Eucharist? All the more reason that you are bound to act in the defense of the vulnerable, even when no one else will.

Going behind the principal's back is when you have never talked to him about the situation first. Although there is no excuse for a school in session in 2011 not to have measures to combat bullying in place already, I would talk to the pastor and school board if you have not done so. If they do nothing, then they leave you with no choice. Even if you are forced to pull your child from the school, keep going up the ladder until someone listens, all the way to the Bishop or Archbishop himself.

I know more than one priest that think that being pastor in a parish with a school is a huge burden, but they would say the same. The children must be protected, no matter who it inconveniences, period, end of discussion.

[/quote]

:thumbsup::thumbsup:

The adults supervising recess need to be retrained. They are “police officers” for Christian behavior.

These young people need to take their social problem with each other to heart and to the Sacrament of Reconciliation with Jesus.

I agree as mentioned above, to get other parents aware of the situation and then to present the problem to the pastor and the superintendent.

When I spoke to the principal about this (oh, BTW, she is a nun!!!), the next few days when I volunteered, she was giving me dirty looks!

I am afraid of talking to the pastor in person bec. I will probably get emotional. Is writing a letter ok instead?:shrug:

[quote="cuqui, post:15, topic:231204"]
When I spoke to the principal about this (oh, BTW, she is a nun!!!), the next few days when I volunteered, she was giving me dirty looks!

[/quote]

KIll her with kindness. At the same time do not compromise monitoring like you know children must be monitored. Like the earlier poster said, you are the police for Christian behavior. Addressing the problem of bullies is a must for all schools today. Any teacher or administrator that does not realize this has outlived their usefulness at their job.

Fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I truly appreciate all your input and suggestions. Now I’m really scared if I write the pastor and the Superintendent of Schools of our Diocese because I don’t know the ramifications for the school.

As I said we are on our way out next year for public whose bullying prevention program is very pro-active.

Pray for me.

Yes, tell the parents, please. I would have liked to have had some adult input in the stuff that was going on. It gets worse in college. My parents love me, and I don't know if everyone knows that they are loved by their parents. Parental involvement, a dream situation.

[quote="cuqui, post:15, topic:231204"]
When I spoke to the principal about this (oh, BTW, she is a nun!!!), the next few days when I volunteered, she was giving me dirty looks!

I am afraid of talking to the pastor in person bec. I will probably get emotional. Is writing a letter ok instead?:shrug:

[/quote]

Oh my. She should be thanking you for bringing this out!!! :mad:

Yes, I think a letter would be fine. I know what you mean about getting emotional. I am one of those people who will start to cry when I get really angry, which is very frustrating. I hate it because people just feel sorry for you and they stop listening to the real problem.

Consider what the ramifications will be if you don’t talk to them. A school such as this will not fail to have its impact on the spiritual lives of its students. What will that be, if this spiritual fault at the school does not change?

You do not have to be blaming or confrontational. Rather, you can speak to people in person and work to convince them that doing better than the current status quo will be better for everyone. Keep gently at it, but be persistent; God chose that the Grand Canyon, unmatched in splendor, was to be formed in this way. You can also ask your pastor how to talk to the principal about your perception that she is acting differently towards you since you raised this question. She is a professional religious. Let us hope she is not beyond a desire for reconciliation when someone feels she is on the outs with them!

Anti-bullying programs do not only benefit those who would be bullied. They benefit those who would be bullies. Be willing to go out on a limb for all of those futures. You will not go without your reward. Remember, too, what St. Teresa of Calcutta was fond of saying: God did not call me to be successful. God called me to be faithful. What God means for you to do, God will give you the means to do. Otherwise, when you truly have done what you can, you can let go in good conscience. Have no anxiety about results, then. God takes care of that part.

If you are afraid, ask St. Joan for help, but in spite of the looks you feel to have gotten, I don’t think you’ll be martyred for this. Hang in there.

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