Advocate for Middle school Parents & Children
I should have picked her up from school on after she filed a report of sexual harassment with school administration. This is my first time dealing with this. I was trusting the “process” as I was notified my daughter was writing a “statement”. The words “sexual harassment” don’t register when uncertainty sets in. Looking back I did not pick her up from school because I did not process exactly what was happening. I think I was in shock. I hate that. The feeling of failure is not a good one. For a split second, I did not advocate for my child, but it is never too late to take control.
I am learning, Senior Hija does not want to have difficult conversations with me one on one.
I picked her up at the regular dismissal time. But, she should not have gone back to class after expressing, that she was being sexually harassed by another student in her class. She did not use those words but actions described fit the definition of sexual harassment. Maybe adults and school administration do not think sexual harassment applies and is overlooked when the behavior is displayed amid children. From my experience, hormones are to blame but this is not all just hormonal.
You will experience rollercoasters, but continue to advocate
I remember asking, ” a teacher or a child”? Did I overlook the possibility of sexual harassment at the time? I neglected the entire source of my daughter’s embarrassment and frustration. It was not an adult, “Whew” is what I thought. But, that did not negate that she was so bothered by her experience. She could not talk to me about it. She could not tell me what she wrote in her statement. In my phone, she entered her thoughts into my notepad. Later on, when the assistant principal read to me the last sentence in Senior Hija’s statement – I was so shocked. I am still finding out bits of information as I write this. She has not even shared with her friends the experience of being sexually harassed.
I was shocked a twelve-year-old boy could think about inserting a metal object into a twelve-year-old girl vagina. So upset she tried to warn me last year but I did not listen and read in between the lines. We talk about everything is what I thought. But, I have learned I am going to have to be a better listener. It suddenly hit me, whatever she is going through, is a game changer in my book of parenting.
After pouring out my frustrations online in the first part of this series, a lot has changed but still are the same. That boy received a suspension for an entire week. His home room class was changed, and they no longer have any classes together. They and are passing each other by in the hallways. There is a “safety plan” setup where “need to know” adults are aware of the situation and are supposed to be watching out for any mishaps between these two going forward. Senior Hija has a safe space with the school counselor every week where they work through all types of middle school issues. Our family is grateful for this.
But, all is not well. My daughter is still being probed by children. They want to know why this boy, formerly known as Recess Bae, was suspended and why do they not speak anymore. Recently, one of his friends approached Senior Hija to ask what changes needed to occur in order for my daughter and the sexual offender to date. I am pissed. So, he gets suspended, classes changed, and is told to stay the whole entire fuck away from my child but is sending bird calls through his friends. This is not ok.
Working through problems to find solutions
Besides the messages being sent to my daughter by way of his friends, I have another issue with another boy. In this next situation, this young boy decided he would take the scissors off the teacher’s desk while the teacher was present and watched, as he cut Senior Hija’s tube of lip gloss. They were having a disagreement over a pencil.
Yep, that’s what 7th graders do. But, why in the hell did he think it was ok to damage her property? Why did the teacher not only stand there and watch but did not get the ball rolling to reprimand this kid? This child was punished by having $5.00 deductions taken away from his paycheck. This was not enough to make him sit on the sidelines for a football game that Friday. He did not feel bad on his own accord, and only apologized and refunded my child $7.00 because I made a fuss about it.
Just for clarification, the school used to use Dojo but now has a Paycheck system for behavior rewards, modification, and punishment. Children start with $100/week. An example of the benefits for the student is that a good paycheck week rewards a student with a day of “dress down attire”, attendance to a social, etc. $15 or more of deductions earns a seat in the fire station where they receive in-house detention and are excluded from activities.
Three strikes are more than enough
I reached out to administration to request a meeting. As a mother and an active member of this community, I am focusing on long-lasting solutions. Our children don’t need a life lesson in college or later, we have to teach them now. We need to have conversations starting at home, and administration needs to assist in mentorship for both boys and girls. As I told the administration, I will not be quiet about this. This will not continue to be my daughter’s struggle nor the struggle of another girl who is keeping quiet. I plan to bring positivity and recommendations to the conversation and I am simply looking for positive feedback.
I am also reaching out to others in the community to find out if they have had any of these experiences. So far, one mother has.