Thursday, January 26, 2012

My OWN Witness Protection Program…

When my older daughter was in middle school I had to be her “witness protection program.” During the time my daughter attended that school, and maybe even before and after, there were a lot of fights between students. Apparently, they were getting worse in the spring and she would come home and tell me there was a fight at lunch and they called down several students to the office to tell them what happened. From the various versions, they would get an idea of who started it and how to best punish the parties involved. I know it began to irk me that they were taking my daughter out of her classes several times, where she was missing work, to report on what she saw happen that day. I told her I sent her to school to be a student and learn something, not to be a witness.

Not one of the girls, who was the primary aggressor in these fights, probably got tired of seeing my daughter called down to rat her out. One day she confronted her and pushed her in the hallway. My daughter came home to tell me what happened. Now I am livid because the school placed my daughter in this position. She never had anything to do with this girl before and now they may have made her a target, in addition to making her miss time from her classes. You all know how I love to write? Well I sat down and typed a two page letter to the assistant principal, who had been handling all the interrogations and problems concerning the fighting. I wish I had a copy to paste right here, but I am riled enough to give you the gist of what I said.

Dear Mr. So and So, I am writing to advise you that yesterday my daughter was pushed at school by a girl you had had my daughter testifying against. In addition to making her miss her own class work, she has now become the target of this bully. I send my daughter to school to learn, not to testify and not to worry about her safety. The school is supposed to keep her safe. I am writing to advise you that you need to take care of this problem as soon as possible. Please advise the parents of the bully that if she lays another hand on my daughter again, I will not hesitate to file a police report for assault and follow through. This letter documents the first incident, which occurred yesterday, of her pushing my daughter. I will not tolerate anyone putting their hands on her. The school is also on notice for placing my daughter in harms way. Please take care of this today and advise me on how you plan to proceed.

I sent my daughter to school, with my letter, to be delivered first thing in the morning. She went straight to his office as she was told, and handed it to him. When he was done reading it, it said to her, your mother writes some letter! When I felt enough time had passed, and that the letter was delivered and read, I called him on the phone. I introduced myself and asked if he had gotten my letter. He said yes he had, and planned to act on it today. He assured me that he would call me back and inform me of what he was doing to take care of it. I asked if my daughter was okay, and he said yes. He felt he could resolve the issue and there would be no more problems for my daughter. I said that’s fine because I am very serious about what I said in the letter about going to the police. He understood, but didn’t think that would be necessary. He was true to his word and called me two or three times that day, telling me what he had done, including meeting with the girl and her parents. Thankfully, that really was the end of it. My daughter had no further issues with the girl and was not called down to make any more witness statements.

The only reason I didn’t go up to the school in person was so as not to embarrass my daughter or bring additional attention to the situation. If I had gone there I’m sure everyone in the school would have heard about it. I was pretty angry and I guess the tone of my letter conveyed the message to the assistant principal. My daughter described his reaction after he read it as stunned, and I could tell from his conversation with me that he knew I was serious. I’m just glad I didn’t have to take matters further, but it’s times like these that I am glad I chose to be a stay-at-home mom. Like the minute men of the revolution, I am always ready, at a moment’s notice, to take any action necessary to protect and defend my girls!

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