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Should School Districts Be Held Accountable For Bullying?

Public School Forced to Pay for Bullied Girl's Private Tuition

Posted by Jeanne Sager

schoolThe New York City school district may be the largest public school system in the US, but it could be forced to pay tuition for a 12-year-old bullying victim to go to private school. Confused? The girl's family says the public school did nothing to protect their child from relentless torture at the hands of bullies, and a judge agrees. 

I'm thinking this could be the best news we've gotten since bullying became the hot topic in education. Wait, let me be clear. It's bad news for school districts, but it's flat out awesome news for parents and kids.

Finally, we have some ammunition to use against the schools! Nobody likes to take a hit in the pocketbook, do they? Next time a principal wants to slap on their blinders when a bullying report comes in, they will have to think about what it could cost them.

I just wish this win for parents didn't have to come at a child's expense.

The stuff this poor girl (she's unnamed to protect her) went through at New York's PS 6 sounds pretty typical of school bullies. She has a learning disorder, and kids would mock her when she raised her hand. Kids called her "smelly" and "ugly." The methods of torture go on and on.

Kudos to her parents for pulling their daughter and putting her in private school to protect her. But they shouldn't have had to take it that far.

And yet, that's what happens all the time. I can't tell you how many parents I've talked to over the years who have found the school district's response to their kid being bullied is to pussyfoot around punishment. The bulk of stories I've heard center around passive-aggressive moves like sending a teacher in to talk to the "whole class" about bullying instead of punishing the specific kids. Some districts take their refusal to get involved to serious extremes -- punishing the parent who reports the bullies, for example. And then there's the ever-popular "blame the victim" for being bullied in the first place. 

But if the largest public school district in the United States now has to pay private school tuition for failure to address bullying, it should put all the rest of them on notice. Ignore our kids' needs, and it could cost you big time.

Do you think this school/district should be held accountable?

What do you think should be done with school districts that fail to come down on bullies?

by on Jul. 16, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Replies (21-23):
tydyco
by on Jul. 18, 2012 at 6:24 AM
I absolutely agree with this. If the school steps their game up, then punishments for bullying will be more severe and the bully's parents will definitely be held accountable by the school and so on. If the parents do not correct the child's behavior, I think they as well as their child should be sued for negligence and sentenced to community service (ie janitorial work at the school) and counseling for each violation. that would really motivate parents to make a change. I am very against bullying if you can't tell. I dont think that anyone has the right to treat another person like that.
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elkmomma
by on Jul. 18, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Great topic.

Our school district has had a similar issue only this girl had to go out of state to get the specialits school for her needs (dont agree with out of staate schooling) at taxpayers expense.  One would think that school districts country wide would be interested in how they can be of help instead of a hinderance for our kids (all kids).  My son hs been suspended several times for fighting back while the bullies get to stay at school and only get a talking to and maybe need to write a 2 sentance appology if that.  We have never recieved an actuall appology, but have been forced to appologize for his fighting back numberous times.

Our district has "NO TOLLERANCE" policy, but its ok for many students to refer to things/people as "gay" but they cant use a word like freaking in a sentance with out a call home to tattle on special needs kids because it sounds too much like cussing.  I think our country needs a whole new overhaul for the most paart and all puplic school teachers should have to increase their education of special needs kids.

I could go on and on and on.....but most of us have been there or will be there. 

logicgirl
by on Jul. 18, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Yes they should. I have heard many stories of kids trying to talk to teachers, their guidance counselor, their principal andnothing being done. At that point the school does play a role and parent should be held accountable as well. Bullies and disruptive behavior prohibit those that do care from learning. The behavior of students has also ran off many good teachers. I think that cell phones should be banned from the school (parents can call the school office) and other than for research and learning activities most websites such as Facebook should be blocked as well for students.

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