Bullying: Share the Blame


NOTE: This doesn’t go for all that work in the education system. There are many kick-ass teachers and administrators that do a great job and I appreciate them. 

Students today face so many challenges in school.

They must deal with decades old textbooks (if they have them at all), disgruntled teachers (some not all), peer pressure and the everyday ordeal of being a kid in 2018.

Now the biggest challenge they face is being bullied. Sometimes it’s whether to join in with the rest of the crowd or risk being the one getting the negative attention.

We’ve all seen what happens when it gets to be too much for these students. It’s become so the norm that children today practice active shooter drills like they would a fire or a tornado drill.

But what if someone had stepped up to the plate before then? Like a responsible adult should.

How is it that school systems can set aside time to train teachers to be human shields in an active shooter situation but can’t find the time to teach them skills to look for the signs of students being bullied, bullying on the playground or unhealthy peer interactions?

So, what do you say to the child that has been kicked and stomped in the locker room after those who did it don’t receive any real consequences?

What do you say to the kid being cyberbullied online and it continues into the classroom?

What do you say to the kid that is being talked about by other classmates, who tells the teacher and is told to “Just go play. Don’t worry about it” or “I’m not dealing with that today,”?

Eventually it boils over and that kid decides to strike first instead of being struck. Then what? Who do you really blame in this situation?  Punishing that child doesn’t help. It just shows that you as an administrator don’t care about their wellbeing but instead their actions.

Dare I compare it to punishing the victim of a crime for putting themselves in that situation.

I’m sure, as an administrator or teacher, if it were your child you’d feel a different way.

Perhaps alternatives can be reached.

Surely if you can come up with a plan for two unarmed teachers to rush a gunman, getting two elementary children to agree to disagree can’t be as hard, right?

I mean that was the purpose of going to school for how many ever years, right?

Let’s try something.

Imagine if that teacher helped students understand each other, their beliefs and viewpoints instead of dismissing them.

Imagine if that administrator stopped giving out suspensions and looked at the root of what caused the incidents that led to said suspensions or disciplinary actions.

Imagine if our academic leaders focused just as much on making holistically healthy, productive children instead of making the grade on standardized testing and keeping federal funding.

Or perhaps others should just replace those that can’t bring about results.

Just Imagine.

I’m Just Saying.


Chronicles of a Single Mom #17 – My Child the Teacher


Anyone who’s had the opportunity of parenthood in some way or another will tell you that it’s a learning experience.
Unlike schools and universities, however, there’s no manual and the life-long experiment that you signed up for doesn’t always go as planned. As a matter fact, 99 percent of the time it ends up the polar opposite than what you expected.
Fortunately, there are moments where little Crayola and Play-Doh covered nuggets are dropped in your path and they’re not as painful as stepping on a Lego at 1 a.m. in the morning.
I had one of those moments Saturday.
After coming back home from doing some work-related things, I’m surprised with the following scene. Picture it: There’s a beach towel in my hallway complete with an open umbrella, two twinning baby dolls and a beach bag. Throw in a 9-year-old girl with a sunhat, shades, scarf, sandals and a sundress.
So here’s the story: Apparently she was sick of the weather created by Hurricane Matthew so she decided to go to the beach. (I didn’t’ ask which one.) Instead of dealing with the all-day rain, flash flood warnings and brief power outage she decided she’d create the situation she wanted to be in.
After giving it some thought, the lesson she was teaching hit me. Who knows if it was meant for me specifically but here’s what I took from it.
We, as adults, are often placed in situations that we don’t necessarily want to be in but how often do we actually try to change our outlook? Do we wallow in our displeasure and unhappiness or do we take what we’re given and go to the beach? I don’t mean that we have to go on a physical trip but do we set up our metaphoric Tiki Bar and enjoy things in spite of whatever’s going on?
I’m guilty of letting some circumstances overpower my positive mindset but I’m deciding to not let that happen again. I won’t be spreading any towels out in the hallway but I’ll try and imagine a brighter outcome for anything that comes my way.
Who knew that the person I was tasked with teaching about life would turn right around and do the same thing for me?
Scary, right?
I do agree with her on one thing.
There’s nothing like a sunny getaway in the midst of a storm.
Especially when it promises fruity drinks and a beautiful view.
I’m Just Saying.

Chronicles of a Single Mom #15 – Dear New Teacher


A letter to my kid’s new teacher:

Dear New Teacher,

Welcome back to a school year that is destined to be filled with fun, appreciation and an overall awesome time.

Okay. Maybe I’m just describing the first day back to school for me after I dropped my fourth-grader off. I’m not sure.

What I am sure of is that my fourth-grader will talk at times she isn’t supposed to, that the social lives of fourth-graders may derail your lessons plans and that it may get even harder for you to motivate yourself to get to school in the mornings than it is for me to get her there.

With all that in mind, know early on that I appreciate you taking on the not-so-quiet storm that is my child for a few hours.

I appreciate you not taking it out on the kids that you don’t get paid for the many roles you may play during the school year, including mediator, secret keeper, counselor, superhero and, at times, the villain.

I hope that you’re just as invested in my child’s future as I am. I’ve got to tell you; the price is pretty high after all this time. I do hear the future payouts are worth it, though.

It is my goal to help you as much as I can. While I may not be able (or want) to commit to every field trip, I’m sure we can work something out when it comes to snacks, Kleenex and class parties. Maybe a couple dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts in exchange for skipping my name on the chaperone list a time or two. Or a nice Christmas gift for booking the free field trip instead of the $24 option.

Just something to think about.

For what it’s worth, I look forward to picking my kid up in the future and hearing about the awesome day she had and the many new things she learned. I look forward to hanging new art work around the house, posting academic achievement awards and covering up the calorie chart on the refrigerator with exemplary grades from tests and class assignments.

Most of all, I look forward to getting work done without being called every five minutes. Being able to accomplish more than half of my to-do list both effectively and efficiently.

I even look forward to taking some much-needed down time.

Or maybe even a nap.

Either way, I already appreciate all that you’ll do.


I’m Just Saying.

Chronicles of a Single Mom: Post #7 – Heli-parents


As parents, we often second guess ourselves when it comes to our children. We want to make sure they get the best, emotionally, socially and educationally. Lately, I started to wonder if I was taking too much of an interest in my child’s life.
We can pretty much surmise that I don’t have much of a life outside of my work schedule or events related to said schedule. Most of the super fun, carefree events are on the calendar because it’s part of her social schedule. (Mom’s a bit of a complicated extroverted introvert.) However, this school year I feel like I have to know every single detail of what’s going on, what’s she’s learning and how it’s taught.
I don’t know if it’s the transition from S, N, and I (Satisfactory, Needs Improvement, Improving) to letter grades on the report card or if it’s because she’s now in a testing grade but I’ve been hypervigilant when it comes to school.
From her coming home and saying someone’s bothering her to getting weekly reports about her grades through the school-wide Parent Portal. From sending emails on the weekends to popping up for an impromptu conference before school.
(To all my teacher friends- I know I should do none of the above but that didn’t stop me.)
So you can see why I was starting to question whether or not I was becoming a helicopter parent. However, in the evaluation I thought about the other things I do during the school year like attend PTA meetings, make sure I can attend award ceremonies, buy treats for the class and parties, lunch visits, Christmas presents for teachers, field trip chaperone, etc.
And I don’t like kids like that.
So after heavily weighing the bad against the good I’ve come to this conclusion.
I’m just a good parent.
Here’s the thing, I want to make sure my child succeeds in school but I also want to make sure that she’s given the proper tools and guidance to do so. That’s not a bad thing, is it? I LOVE the school my child attends and try to help out in any capacity I can. I want her teachers to know that they can call me just as much or more as I call/email them. I want her to see us a united front.
I also want my child to know that our expectations are the same and we expect her to give nothing but her best, at school or at home. While I know that I can’t fight every battle for her, I want her to be prepared to fight her own battles and to know when she should ask for help, whether it’s from home or school. I want her to understand that her independence begins with her and a lot of it’s rooted in her education.
In order for her to know and understand these things, I have to show her I have a committed interest in educational process as well.
Not just when she’s in trouble for talking or brings home a bad grade.
But when the school calls for volunteers, supplies or an encouraging word from an adult that doesn’t have a teaching certification.
If that makes me a helicopter parent, we can start spinning the blades now.
But we’re going to need some oil because she hasn’t even finished third grade yet.
I’m just saying.