About Me

I am the proud mother of 6 children. 5 of our children have autism. We do not feel our world has ended, but just begun. We do not chelate, intervene biochemically, give shots of any kind, practice ABA, etc. We treat them as we treat any humanbeing. We treat them with kindness and respect and expect the same from them. They are exceptional children.

Friday, February 20, 2009

DEAR BULLY...

My 12-year old daughter, who is by far the sweetest soul on Earth, received
a very sexually explicit note in her locker this week. This small, torn piece of
paper...with words that no 6th grader should know..with acts that no 6th grader
can conceive (especially my very sheltered daughter)...has shaken my daughter
to the core. She is afraid to sleep, because "she doesn't want to dream". She
has stopped singing (which is all she used to do).
Because of this young man, who thought it would be funny to pick on the
"Autistic girl"...I would like to write him a letter...

Dear "cowardly" Bully,
Because you thought it would be funny to write my daughter a very inappropriate
letter and you and your buddies could get a little chuckle out of it.
Let me tell you what it has done to my daughter.
It has taken the "song" out of her voice.
It has made her smile leave her face.
It has made her afraid to sleep, in fear of dreaming about the horrible things
you describe in your "prank" note.
My daughter is 5 feet 10 inches tall. She used to walk tall and proud, but with
one small-minded swipe of your pen across a sheet of paper torn out of a notebook,
you have taken what was a carefree, unafraid to try anything child and made her
into a person afraid to walk into the classroom.
But fear not....you will not win this one. Picture me behind every corner, every
nook and every cranny. I will be there watching your every move. Know that
you will not get away with this, even though the school has done very little to
punish you. Know that this is very far from over.
Sincerely,
The Mother of the daughter you were so "stupid" to mess with.

UPDATE:
The school has decided not to do anything to the boy(s) who wrote the letter
to my daughter. Therefore, it is now up to me to pursue the matter.
I have called for a meeting with the principal and will decide after her decision
what we will do.
This is really far from over!!!

15 comments:

Fleecy said...

This makes me sad and angry. That's horrible. I want to do something about this if I can. So if I may I'd like to suggest some things that might be done (I hope this doesn't come off way overbearing and out of nowhere, but when I see things like this happen I want to try to do something to make things right again)

You said the school isn't doing much about this. I think that is probably, sadly, because at this time it is less work for them to sit on their hands. If we can call media attention to this matter, I think that will change.

I am looking online to see about organizations that might help you with this.

http://www.aauw.org/research/harassmentFreeHallways.cfm This might be a place to start.

You could also contact the http://www.autisticadvocacy.org/ Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN), I'm positive they would help.

http://www.wastatepta.org/programs/advocacy/EveryTeenCounts/pradet10.htm This page has information on this sort of problem too, and I don't know if the "State Resources" section would be relevant to you or not but might be something to look for in your area? Like if there is a "Women's Law Center" in your state.

Maybe you could contact your local news stations or something too. Sadly, often the only way to encourage people such as who work at a school to do the right thing in a matter like this, is to make a big "stink" about it. I don't know how much I can do to help, but I'd like to do what I can, so please let me know if there's something I can do.

The school should HAVE to do something about this. Nobody should have to live feeling unsafe and threatened like that. (That is another thing, perhaps someone should call attention to the school, this is a legal as well as ethical matter: depending on the content of that letter this is at the very least, sexual harassment, and may be a threat too. The school has a responsibility to do as much as they can about this.)

Anonymous said...

This is why I call it the "inclusion delusion". All it takes is one scum kid like this and there are many of them roaming around in public schools unfortunately. As for the school, there are strict sexual harrassment policies and I would make it clear that if they don't do something about this then you will sue them.

abfh said...

I suggest contacting the police. In many cities, they take such behavior much more seriously than they used to.

VAB said...

I would contact the kids parents directly and explain that, unless satisfactory measures are taken, you will be pressing charges. I would explain to the school, at the same time, that you will engage their financial liability. Sexual harassment and uttering threats comes with sanctions. It is the job of the school and the kids parents to make arrangements that would help them to avoid those sanctions.

Molly C said...

Wow. just wow.

I know you will handle things well.

Lindsay said...

Hi, Jeannette.

Depending on how your meeting with the principal goes, you may not need to take any other action, but if she keeps stonewalling you, you might tell your story on one of these fora:

The change.org autism blog --- Kristina Chew of Autism Vox blogs there, and much of her blogging calls attention to bullying and abuse of autistic students. You could send her a message, and she'd probably post your story on the site.

You could also post to the Feministing Community --- since this involves sexual harrassment, Internet feminists will quite likely go to bat for you, as well.

In a similar vein, you could email Melissa McEwan of Shakesville, which is another feminist site. To post at Feministing or change.org, you have to sign up, but you can just email Liss at melissa(dot)mcewan(at)hotmail(dot)com.

If you include contact information for the principal at your daughter's school, a post at any one of these sites should lead to a firestorm of angry emails being sent.

Good luck to you, whatever you end up doing. I feel for your daughter.

nathaniel said...

@hi jeanette,its nathaniel, i thiks that sux that this happened 2 ur daughter, it happened 2 me too wen i was about 11 her age, then i was touched in a bad way, i finalley sed something wen i was 16 year old, i was sared out of my mind.

Aspie Bird said...

I am sorry and shocked to read about what happened to your daughter. I am even more shocked by the decision by school not to do anything about this matter. In my opinion a school schould at least have a plan how to deal with things like this. Have all the actions taken for woman's rights have no effect?? This is a truly sad thing.

I wish you all the best. I think things can be changed with some media attention, but I wonder what that will do to your daughter...
What would Michelle Obama think of this?

Anonymous said...

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/01/21/supreme.court.student.harassment/

Please tell the district to refer to this decision and tell them it's FAR from over.

It is just unbelievable they are taking no action. The kind of message they are sending to these boys is horrifying.

Please also file a police report. That will also help and make it clear to the district that you are serious.

Anonymous said...

Sorry-the link didn't show up so here is the story.


Court: Parents can sue school district over harassment claimStory Highlights
Parents allege older boy sexually harassed daughter on school bus

Parents: School district ignored our concerns, refused to discipline the boy

U.S. Supreme Court: Parents can sue school district

Next Article in Crime »



By Bill Mears
CNN Supreme Court Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court has given a girl's parents the go-ahead to sue a Massachusetts school district over alleged sexual harassment by another student.


A U.S. Supreme Court ruling allows a couple two avenues to pursue claims against their daughter's school district.

The justices, in a unanimous ruling, allowed the plaintiffs two avenues to make their claims -- a 1972 law banning gender bias in education and a separate civil rights law enacted 138 years ago.

Lisa and Robert Fitzgerald said their then-kindergartner daughter was forced by an older male student to lift her skirt or pull down her underwear. The parents alleged school officials ignored their concerns and refused to discipline the boy.

Federal courts had been split over whether the newer law -- known as Title IX -- displaced any claims made under part of the 1871 civil rights law, called "Section 1983." The Fitzgeralds lost their initial Title IX claims and an appeals court blocked them from pursuing the other legal strategy.

The ruling from the justices now gives the Fitzgeralds the right to continue their lawsuit against school officials.

"We hold that Section 1983 suits based on the Equal Protection Clause remain available to plaintiffs alleging unconstitutional gender discrimination in schools," Justice Samuel Alito wrote.

The plaintiffs allege the incidents happened on a school bus in Barnstable, Massachusetts, in the 2000-01 academic year. The child had told her parents that whenever she wore a dress, a third-grader would make her do things she did not want to do.

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After the mother complained to school officials, the boy denied the allegations. The principal, after interviewing other students and the bus driver, concluded she could not corroborate the girl's version of events.

The principal suggested the girl be transferred to another bus as a possible solution. The Fitzgeralds said that amounted to punishing their daughter and said the boy was the one who should be transferred.

The local police department also looked into the case but concluded there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against the boy.

The parents began driving the girl to school and filed a lawsuit, claiming the schools system's response was inadequate.

School officials denied wrongdoing and tried to limit the case to Title IX, which applies to public or private schools receiving federal aid. The law is credited, among other things, with helping bring equality in sports participation and funding for college women.

"Our concern was that the school district just didn't take things as seriously as they should," said Charles Rothfeld, attorney for the Fitzgeralds. "They were frustrated by what they perceived as indifference by the school."

Rothfeld said the school's behavior was "pretty egregious."

Barnstable school officials did not respond to a request for comment.

The case is Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Cmte. (07-1125).

mommy~dearest said...

Unfortunately, I am not surprised by this. I am saddened, but not surprised. It seems like you have some good advice above, and I know you've done well going to bat for your beautiful children before, so you know what lies ahead. Good luck!

Claire Ridgway said...

That is such an awful situation and I can't believe that the school is being stupid enough to ignore it. If that happened in the workplace, it would be sexual harrassment, if you received that letter in the post then the police would take it seriously.

I used to be a teacher (in the UK) and I am shocked with the school's decision. It is quite plainly bullying and completely inappropriate behavior. Get other parents behind you, contact your state education authority (don't know how it works your side of the pond!), ask the police for advice. Don't rest!

I hope your daughter is soon able to sleep again and get her confidence back. So sad.

furious said...

Im sorry your daughter was treated so cruely. This boy needs to learn that what he did is not funny as he is probably doing this to other innocent girls. I would also encourage you to take it to the school board or the police if neccessary. Good luck!

Chun Wong said...

What a sad story and I can't believe that the school is doing nothing about the bullying. Did you contact the police or take any further action yourself?

Anonymous said...

That so sad and awful her school should really do something about it

Middle school boys are the WORST, when I was in
6th and 7th grade boys would put disgusting notes in to my locker and my school did absolutely nothing!

I am so sorry that happened to your daughter poor girl I hope everything turns out alright