To homeschool or not? That was the question. Our decision was not made without careful thought and a lot of fighting. Fighting the schools, not fighting between C and me. Let me lay out the basics for you, my daughter is a new middle schooler and starting to “bloom”, shall we say? My son is in second grade and is a sweet and quiet child. Both were ripe for bullies to take over their whole school experience.
My school history was almost fairy tale like. My Mama taught at my K-8 school and we lived in a community where I could do everything from ride horses, to play at the park, to jump in the pool and if it was “Adult Swim”, we could just go jump in the lake. Which we frequently did. I had a few bullies, but none that really hurt more than just my pride or self esteem. C’s school was just about the same. He rode his bike to school and everyone congregated at his house afterschool to play in the neighborhood. He played baseball and his best friend’s Dad was the coach from T-Ball to fast pitch. Needless to say, when our children began having problems at school, it was hard for us to believe.
Doodle 1 is what I call my oldest, my sixth grade daughter and Doodle 2 is my second grade boy. Doodle 1 faired the best in her experience. Her biggest problem was that boys were yelling at her. That’s right. Yelling at her to get her attention. I guess that’s how boys flirt these days. My concern was for her safety, so one day I went all, To Catch a Predator, on their asses and took my 17 year old neighbor with me to pick her up from school. Complete with his Class of 2016 sweatshirt on. So, he’s either a senior in high school or a guy posing as a senior, right? With me in the truck, he walked all the way up to where the carpool kids were waiting. My daughter saw him and asked (in front of a staff member),”Where’s my Dad?” He told her that he was at the doctor and then they left. Yep. That staff member knew that C was supposed to pick her up and let her leave with a teenage boy with ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTIONS. I attempted to call the principal. I was told he was always busy. (4 times?) and when I finally got a call back from an assistant principal, he told me that something of this nature should be take up with the principal, as it is a serious safety issue. No shit! I tried going that route and it got me back to him. That was the straw that broke the camel’s proverbial back for Doodle 1’s time at that middle school.
Doodle 2’s experience was a hell of a lot worse. We moved to this school at the start of his first grade year. A pretty easy transition time, I thought. He had bullies. Not one, but a few. One day C went to pick him up early and his class was out at recess, so C said he’d go get him out there. Upon walking up to the playground he sees at least two kids pushing Doodle 2 up against a fence and punching him. With the teacher right the hell there! Not 10 yards away. C yells to break everything up, asks the teacher what the hell is going on and she just says she’s sorry and she’ll pay better attention. Had it not been for the fact that we had somewhere to be very soon, I’m scared of what C may have said. Doodle 2 complained a little more about bullies, but it seemed to taper off by the end of the year. Then second grade happened. I say happened because it was a full blown catastrophe. All was well the first few weeks. No problems, as the worst of the kids that bullied him in first grade was in another class. Then one day he came home and said a boy had pushed on the play ground. I asked him what he did and he said that he told the teacher. Mind you, I got no note home. I told him if it happened again to push the kid back and then tell the teacher. He has to learn to take care of himself, right? Well, a few weeks later he comes home with a note stating that “during a game of tag” Doodle 2 was pushed down and got a scrape on his side. A “scrape” to them was a six inch abrasion that they hadn’t cleaned and put a band aid over. A little one, too. You know, just where he was bleeding the most. The teachers note says, “The boy who did it is in another class and the other teacher is taking care of it. Sorry, but no one saw what happened.” Two damn teachers and no one saw a thing. AGAIN. This time I went to the school to speak with the assistant principal. He acknowledged the issue and said that maybe they shouldn’t have Doodle’s class going out with that class and they’d switch them. No shit. My child has a scar from this “scrape”. Another week passes and I’m feeling better knowing that he’s not outside with the kid that pushed him. But now he passes the kid in the hallway and every time Doodle 2 sees him the boy says, “I’m going to kill you, bitch”. What? Not 2 weeks later, the boy comes to school with a knife and says to his teacher that he brought it to hurt Doodle. I DIDN’T GET A NOTE HOME. Doodle told me this and than proceeded to tell me that the boy was suspended for 10 days. 10 damn days for threatening to kill someone. I’m not sure what counts as a weapon in this county, but I’m sure as hell that a knife sure is. Shouldn’t that be expulsion? Shouldn’t the child be put in an alternate school? Nope. Just 10 days vacation and a wonderful excuse to hurt my child again. At that moment I pulled both of my kids out of school. I feel much better knowing that the assistant principal who took care of this issue is no longer at that post. He’s now back in the classroom. Because of this incident, I’ll never know, but I like to think it was. The county we moved to is rough. I knew that. But didn’t expect it was that rough. And you’ll never guess why the kid hated Doddle 2 so much….Doodle was faster than him. Literally, a faster runner and the kid couldn’t take it and instead of say, working on running faster, he decides to eliminate the competition. What the hell? Is this the world we live in now? We can’t even send our kids to school without the threat of violence?
So, to homeschool or not to homeschool? It really wasn’t a question, was it?