20 answers

Bullying in CMS School

Hi -

My son has been continually picked on at this school year. His teachers seem to care about him, but I'm guessing they can only do so much. Although I've reported numerous incidents, it's still happening and something needs to be done.

I'm very proud of him for dealing with the situations as well as he has. Can always use new ideas for ways for a 10 yr old to deal with bullying, though, and for ways for me to help.

His teachers and the school social worker have been involved all along, and a meeting with the principal is planned. I'm waiting for a call from my area's "Learning Community" and from the Transportation Dept's supervisor, as many of the incidents occur on his bus.

I'm new to this area and so don't know the CMS system yet. Before I have another meeting at my son's school, can anyone share with me what has worked for them when advocating for their children within the school system?

Thanks in advance!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi everyone - thank you for all of your advice, suggestions, book titles, etc. I was interested to find that in most cases, we already have your suggestions in place. It helps to have people share that in the long run these things worked for them - we all know that's a good feeling. :-)

I purposely left many of the details vague "to protect the identity of the innocent"! I do apologize however that I've obviously touched on painful emotions about a subject that can do a lot of damage. Again, I appreciate the time and effort you've taken to share your experiences, and for those still trying to deal with the fall-out of bullying, I hope that you can find the help to heal. You've helped me to be more sensitive to what my son, and others are going through. Isn't it sad that in all of these years (I'm thinking of incidents in my own early education), we still struggle to get along with each other? Sigh. But I digress.

For those who've wondered, yes, my son does have some of the physical characteristics that make him a "target" for bullying - but the very fact that physical characteristics *are* a target for bullying is partially what I wanted the school to be more pro-active in addressing. My son, to his credit, has come tremendously far behaviorally-wise, and sometimes, part of what so upsets him is his frustration in trying to stand up for others who are being bullied. He's learning all of those difficult lessons - about self-confidence, about when to intervene, when to ignore, when to seek the help of an adult, when to use humor to diffuse a situation.....phew! Growing up is hard work! (I hope I get better at it myself one of these days, lol.)

Being new in town, I was trying to give the staff the benefit of the doubt, and yet I was too naive in assuming the administration would have in place lines of communication for its teachers. Seems a big part of the problem is that the incidents the teachers were trying to help my son and me with never got the attention of the admin. because they weren't being reported on a certain form. Bureaucracies! Now, I think this incident (and the "big stink" we made)has already started a renewed awareness in the school that there is a problem to be addressed, and here are the ways we can begin to deal with it.

That is what I wanted in the first place.....I'm just sorry it took so long to come to this point. Again, part of our frustration was that we knew if this was happening to my son, it surely was happening to other children who may not have a loud-mouthed family to draw attention to the problem, and that obviously, the children who are doing the bullying have some needs that aren't getting met as well.

It was very nice to hear my son's teachers exclaim to the administration about how much they enjoy working with him, how far he's come, how hard he tries. I already knew all of that....but it does "make a mom proud". :-) My son said that during the day's announcements, it was brought to the attention of the whole school that, "We have a problem with bullying, and it will stop.", or something like that. I hope you all can share in our relief that it is now at least being acknowledged.

Okay, I'll stop crowing about my son and get off my soapbox! Thanks again, very much. I look forward to reading more of your replies.

Featured Answers

Call TV News stations and let them know what's going. I promise you that the news stations will get results for you. Also, call the newspapers and report everything to them.

My son is 15 years old now. He does go to a charter school which is a lot better than CMS schools. It is a smaller school and has a lot more control over situations. Anyway, when he was in 4th grade he was very distant from others. Always friendly and happy but he was picked on mainly because he was an easy target. I actually put him into karate. He became more confidant and his self esteem was lifted dramatically. He realized who he was and how to handle different situations. I really hope you find the answers, I would look into a charter school as well. I love Union Academy

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Not sure where you live, but here in the county in NC I live in, there is a 0% bullying policy. That means an automatic suspension if it is ruled that it was a bullying incident. If your not sure, find out and then ask the school admin why these children are being allowed to stay in school when they continue to bully your son. He has just as much right, more, to be in school learning since he is doing nothing wrong. I went through this with my now 15 year old when he was in middle school. I have to say the staff was right on top of it and after the kids saw so many kids getting suspended, they kind of rethought whether it was a good idea or not. I am not saying that kids still don't pick on my son. A teacher once told me he was a "triple threat" to the other students. I said as far as I know, he has never threatened anyone. He said no, it is because he is small for his age, he wears glasses and is very smart. He said that just makes him a target. So I told my son not to worry about it, one day he will be the CEO of some company and they will still be working at a fast food chain making minimum wage. Tell your son that everyone grows up and for him to be determined that what they are doing to him is not going to define who he becomes. Only he can decide what his future holds.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is 15 years old now. He does go to a charter school which is a lot better than CMS schools. It is a smaller school and has a lot more control over situations. Anyway, when he was in 4th grade he was very distant from others. Always friendly and happy but he was picked on mainly because he was an easy target. I actually put him into karate. He became more confidant and his self esteem was lifted dramatically. He realized who he was and how to handle different situations. I really hope you find the answers, I would look into a charter school as well. I love Union Academy

Our best friends had the same problem. Their son was bullied in middle school. They met with teachers, met with Guidance, met with the principal--nothing worked. Eventually they switched to a private Christian school and no bullying. He is now on the football team, basketball team, baseball team, and one of the most popular teenagers in high school. My children are in magnet schools and there is zero tolerance for that behavior. In a magnet school they kick the bullies out of school and send them back to their zoned schools. I would encourage you to remove your child from that environment--move to switch schools or petition the school district to switch schools or apply for a magnet school or change to a private school. Your child deserves to be safe in school.

I teach in school and I know that children can be very cruel to one another and adults won't always catch it. I try to find out what is causing the bullying. How does your child respond to other children picking on him? Many times based on how a child reacts will dictate if it continues. If a bully can push buttons, they will. If a child who has been victimized by a bully can learn how to be humorous to diffuse the situation that is great. For instance, when someone insults him, have your child agree with them saying, "yeah, right" and basically blowing it off. If that approach does not work or ignoring it does not work, you might try identifying who the children are and having a discussion with their parents, maybe getting the kids together.
Bullying is a problem in school. The children want to be popular or thought of as "cool" by their peers. Otherwise, the parent who is at the school and talking gets attention. Keep your child's concerns in the focus of the teachers and administrators and remind them periodically. Good luck.

I don't know about NC but in TN there is a bullying law. If you bully they in school suspend you. Do it again and you are suspended. Again and you are out of school. PERIOD!

My little sister was bullied tremendously when she was little and in school. They were jealous kids and nobody would do anything or could do anything. It messed her up badly. She grew throughout the years with low self esteem and walked around like she had been kicked in the butt. As she approached teenage years it was still going on and I guess she couldn't deal with it anymore and she started drinking to ease the pain. Today she is 43 yrs old and can't get her life together for anything. She is an alcoholic and everytime the least little thing happens, she grabs a drink. My mother has always enabled her because she feels guilty because she never took her out of that school and she thinks that if she had, she would have turned out different as we were brought up in a christian home with no drinking anywhere near us. She still to this day can tell you stories that are so clear in her head....even details.... like it happened today.
Don't let it go on too long. Take care of it now. If the school won't and can't do anything about it then you ride the bus with him and sit with him and if someone says something to him then you turn around and threaten the living day lights out of those bullies. You don't want your son to grow up with a complex and low self esteem and afraid of everything. I am sorry this is happening to you and I don't want to scare you but nothing good can come out of that. After seeing what my sister went through, if it were my kids, I would find those kids when no one was looking and cover my face and put my hands around their tiny little necks and threaten the pants off them till they were too afriad to mess with him anymore. Then I would deny it to the bone.
This is serious business. Demand a meeting and something be done NOW or tell them you will sue. THat will get a fire lit under their butts.
Good luck.

Hi A.,

Don't know that I would be any help here, but I was a part of the CMS system myself - too many years ago. I attended a high school that was only a 5th the size when I attended as it is now. Whew! And I had trouble on the bus as well, when the school was so much smaller.

My sister has a child in Gaston Cty school system, and has learned the hard way that the only way to mitigate this mess is to take her daughter to school and pick her up. The school bus problems won't go away unless a parent actually moniters the bus, and that's probably never going to catch on. Is there any way you can drive your son?

I hope he'll be okay. CMS is such a big system that it's hard to get these things fixed.
All my best,

CMS has a 0 tolerance for bullying. If nothing is done about it after your meeting, take it directly to the superintendent.

My advice from someone that has been through it..my son was bullied for 2yrs appr when he finally snapped and threatened back.He then was the one that got charged,expelled from school then kicked out.We ended up having to move from the area because parents wouldnt let him back in.Even though it was other children that were the bullies.

Any way..yes talk to the teachers,principle,other parents,bus driver and their up line,anyone and everyone you can think of..police also..get a report of it all filed with them even if the school doesnt like it being reported with the police do it.If the school isnt doing anything to your satifaction go to the media.I have some letters I wrote to the media about bullying in schools and if you or anyone would like to read them please email me private I would be happy to pass them on..good luck..
S. B

Most schools these days have a 0% bullying policy. I know in the district I work in we do not tolerate bullies. Your son's bus should be equipped with a camera (sadly most are these days due to things like whats going on with your son). Request the school record the happenings on his bus for a week. With proof of the bullying the bulliers should suffer the consequences.

In helping your son, remind him how cruel middle school can be. As a middle school teacher I witness lots of teasing and such. Enroll him in an activity that will build his self-esteem and provide a chance to bond with his peers.

Hi A.,
My name is P.. It sounds like you are doing a lot of the right things already. Reporting it and staying in contact with school staff. The bus part is really difficult because there is little if any supervision because the driver is trying to drive and keep the kids physcially safe. Kids know this and try to get away with things. Does he have a friend he can sit with? Because there is strength in numbers. Also if he can sit near the driver within eyesight in her mirror. Not necessarily in the first seat, because that could be cause of more teasing. Other than that I am sure the social worker has worked with him on holding his head high and not giving the bullies the reaction they want. Good Luck and keep up the contact with the school.

Hi A.,

I don't know if you have read the book "The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander" by Barbara Coloroso, but this book is great. The director of our charter school here in Davidson, NC has made it required reading for all teachers and HIGHLY recommends it for all parents to read. For me it put into perspective the reasons bullying happens from all points. It not only opened up conversations for me and my daughters, but also talks about the most important person in this triad - the Bystander - the one who does nothing and how they are just as guilty as the one doing the bullying by act of omission. It also has great information on how to talk to the school and your child about what is going on.

Good luck, it is such a hard place to be in.

My son had the same problem with a bully earlier this year. I tried to encourrage him to ignore the bullly and not let them have that power over him. We also talked to the guidance councellor and principal and set up a meeting with the bully and my son. The meeting with both of them seemed to be the turning point. Another situation on the bus occurred and I had a meeting with the vice principal to let him know that I was concerned that with all the stress that this was causing, my son would eventually crack and end up punching someone himself. The vice principal suspended the bully on the bus that punched my son from riding the bus. My son daughter are targets because they don't just go along with the crowd if they know something isn't right. If this is the case with your son, just encourrage him to know that there is a reward for doing right even when it is harder to do right than it is to go along with the crowd. Read with him from bible about Job and David and Moses.

What do the parents of the bully say? I've had better results going straight to other parents about anything (bully issues or not) than relying on the overcrowded school system to intervene and take responsibility. Can the bus driver assign seats so that your son is not close to whoever picks on him? Could he ride another bus or carpool with a friend for a while? I was picked on a lot (verbally) as a scrawny little girl with glasses and too-short yard-sale pants, and I know fighting or arguing back only fuels the fire for a bully, so I can't recommend that route. Not giving the bully the satisfaction of an upset reaction seemed to work best for me and telling them how I really felt sorry for them usually sent them to find another victim. Good luck and I'll add your son to my prayer list.

Hi there,
I am in union co. but had the same prob. with my sons on the school bus. I told the bus driver and she moved his seat. It happened again. I had him moved again. Then it still continued so I just drive him now. I have the opp. to drive and can do it so I just removed him for the situation and he is much happier.

It is very difficult to offer advice not having more details about what kind of bullying is happening, if the bullies are the same aged, etc etc. I will say that I think one of the biggest roadblocks to bullying is when the victim of bullying learns not to act like a victim.

This doesn't necessarily mean that your son needs to become the aggresser, but it does mean that he needs to hold his head up, his shoulders back, make eye contact and speak with an even-tone, but forceful voice. Many times children who meet aggression with bold confidence, discourage it without the need for adult intervention or physical confrontation. Try role playing different scenerios with your son until he feels comfortable in different situations.

Yes, trying to avoid bullies by staying out of physical proximity and involving watchful adults is important, but since bullies tend to target those they preceive to be weaker, it is essential that your son learn to stop the cycle by not looking like a victim.

My 11 year old daughter suffered from bullying and other issues in public school, my advise is to try the correct thing and meet with the teachers and principal but keep in mind our children are in a totally different world at school than when we went to school. I tried the proper channel thing and came to the conclusion that I wasn't getting anywhere. I now homeschool my children and LOVE every minute with them without worrying about what's happening when they aren't home. It is the last idea for most but if you don't find satisfaction with your meetings, you may want to entertain the idea.

I may not be the best person to respond to this because I myself never really had to deal with it (when I was growing up girls just bullied by teasing and stopped when they realized it didn't bother you) however my husband was bullied horribly in school and it still affects him to this day. He was very scarred by it, and is now very concerned about my kids get bullied. I was speaking about this with someone I worked with and they shared with me what they had told their child about bullies. I thought it was a good idea and will pass it on. They said they do everything they can to stop the bullying, contact the school, the parents, explore all options and if the bullying persists he told his child to win and he would stand up for his child and not let him get in trouble. Sometimes showing them that you can defend yourself is all it takes. Again, I don't have personal experience with this but I did think that this seemed like good advice. I would much rather that if nothing I'm doing is working, that he just took the bully down himself and put and end to it than that the bullying lasted for years and not being able to do anything about it.
P.S. - oops, I thought you were referring to getting beat up bullied.

I never anwser these things, However I seen ADHD,and I am a parent living with the side affects the medication had on my son. He is 7. Never had one health problem. For the last 2 years my son has had ticks from the medication. I am going doctor to doctor for anwsers. It messed his nervous system up. I can tell you putting my son on medication was the worst mistake i EVER MADE. I would tell your doctor to fly. Your kid knows his body and that stuff will mess him up. God bless and best wishes. You can email me anytime for more info. Please take my advice from a mother to mother DONT FORCE THAT ON HIM!!

Call TV News stations and let them know what's going. I promise you that the news stations will get results for you. Also, call the newspapers and report everything to them.

Bullying is not acceptable and you need to consider pressing charges if it is the same person. If you are able to talk to the parents do so if not, let the police handle it. This is why my kids will not ride the school bus! Remind your son that bullies pick on others to camoflage their own insecurities. So tell him he should feel sorry for the person because they may not like how big they are or how they look or something may be going on at home that noone knows about. Don't let this continue though!

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