This is the fifth post in a series about my son’s recent experience with bullying at school.
Last week, we went to see the school counselor.
We sat in his office and told him about how in addition to the kids who have bullied Sam for years, Sam has been harassed by an all new crop of kids recently. We said that our four years of requests for preventive anti-bullying curriculum—and offers of resources—have gone unheeded. We said the “radical kindness” the admissions director talked about on our school tour that was supposedly intrinsic to the school’s values is not radical at all; it’s retrograde.
We told him that we realize we now have three choices: leave the school, stay and tell Sam that’s he’s got to put up with it, or to stay and change the school.
And you know what our counselor said? He said it’s time to rally the troops. That we need to form an advisory counsel of parents to work with the school. That there is power in numbers. That this parent group can help look into best practices and find out what other schools are doing that’s really working to combat bullying. That he believes it’s essential that the school do this work.
Clearly, he said, the school needs something new, because whatever else has been tried is stagnant. Not just a program, he said, but something deeply and pervasively rooted in every aspect of the curriculum. He told us it’s time to find our allies among parents and on the faculty and staff, and to make something happen together.
He offered to let a group of parents meet in his office, and he offered to facilitate the meeting. We talked about letting the administration know, so we’re not doing anything behind their backs.
And then he added: “If this doesn’t resolve by next year, get the hell out.”
When a friend told us to start talking to other parents, I’d pictured some clandestine meeting of a few friends in our living room, to secretly organize some…I don’t even know what. Instead, the school counselor advised us to organize other parents, on a big scale, and to make our work public. And he said he’d host us.
A whole new world just opened up.