Name Calling, Insults and Teasing

A Guide To Anger, Conflict and Respect

Archive for the category “Bullied”

Fourth Grader Sues Fellow Student For Bullying

On this blog, from time to time I provide some commentary on news stories involving bullying.  There was the case of students tormenting a 68-year-old bus monitor:

 

And another one in which a 12-year-old girl leaped to her death after more than a year of being cyberbullied:

Rebecca Sedwick

And several others as well.

The Latest Case

This week I learned about some parents who are trying a new approach to addressing the bullying problem.  According to a June 18, 2014 story by NBC Chicago, a fourth-grader is suing another fourth grader for bullying him.

Joaquin Del Core

Joaquin Del Core

Contending he has been the victim of bullying which spanned his entire third-grade year, Matthew and Deveri Del Core filed the suit Tuesday on behalf of their son Joaquin, naming a classmate identified only as “C.A.”, along with the boy’s parents, the school district, and Jeffrey Brusso, principal of Robert Frost Elementary.

The lawsuit alleges that Joaquin had been the victim of almost weekly attacks, ranging from hitting, punching, and kicking, to more violent threats.  He would wake up at night screaming and crying, terrified, and did not want to go to school.

Joaquin’s parents filed repeated police reports and met with the school, to no avail.  In one of those reports, an investigating officer notes that the alleged assailant’s parent said he had “anger issues.”

“The school said they were taking action and assured us it wouldn’t happen again, and it would just keep happening,” Joaquin’s father said.  “(They would say) ‘Yes, we’ll handle it, rest assured…’ and then it would happen again a week later!”

So far the case is not going too well from the perspective of Joaquin’s parents:

Robert Frost schoolWithin hours of filing the complaint in Cook County Circuit Court, Ms. Del Core said she was fired from her job in the Robert Frost Elementary cafeteria.  A termination letter from the school’s cafeteria contractor, said she was being fired ‘at the request of the client,’ because actions she had taken ‘have been detrimental to the physical and mental well-being of students and staff.’

The family’s attorney, Joel Handler, said he would now amend the complaint, to include a charge of retaliatory discharge against the school, for firing the boy’s mother.  For their part, the parents said they hoped the lawsuit sends a message.

“Kids, all kids, need to be in a safe and healthy environment to learn in, because learning fuels the rest of your life,” Matthew Del Core said.  His wife suggested that the suit might actually help the alleged assailant. “This isn’t just about our son any more,” she said.  “This is about the child that’s been bullying our son, that he gets the help that he needs, and that the school provides it for him.”

Commentary

In the above example, I am relying solely on the NBC Chicago story.  I have no first-hand knowledge about what has actually taken place.   And of course the story is still unfolding.  But I have no doubt that incidences such as the one I just described occur regularly in our schools.

Bullying stories have been in the news a couple of times this month alone. The Inquisitr, for example, reported on June 21, 2014 that 14-year-old Noel Estevez, who was bullied by the same kid for months, recently snapped and stabbed his tormentor to death.  In that case, witnesses stated that the boy who was stabbed was part of a group that bullied Noel so relentlessly that the eighth-grader even tried suicide, causing him to miss several months of school.
In a previous post, I made several suggestions for schools to address these types of problems.  But what can parents do if they see their child being treated in this awful manner after trying as hard as possible to work effectively with the school and police and the tormenting just continues?
Judging from the comments that have been coming in on the story about Joaquin filing his lawsuit, there is a great deal of support for this type of action.  For example, one person wrote:
Kudos to the family. My child attended a Catholic Jr. High and was subject to similar attacks by classmates. While the school acknowledged the issue, nothing was done until a lawyer friend of mine sent a letter to the school indicating one more occurrence and we would file suit. Low and behold, the administration addressed the matter with suspensions and other disciplinary actions immediately following. Hated to take such extreme measures but my child’s grades hit rock bottom, became extremely withdrawn and no longer wished to socialize with “real” friends. Good luck to the family and hopefully these actions will prevent another child from having to endure the same.
Another wrote:
Good for you – one of the few parents that are willing to ferociously advocate for your child and do what is necessary to protect your child. This happens more frequently than many people realize throughout the country. Brilliant bringing the media into it – now that this story is gaining national attention, perhaps many more parents with children subjected to this type of bullying while the district tries to brush it under the rug will now be willing to step in and confront those in authority who fail miserably in protecting their charges. It happened to my child, also, and I had to do the same thing before our school district caved and took care of the problem after almost two years of discounting/ignoring it.
Please join the discussion by leaving a comment in the reply box below.
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