Families Against Bullying
Part of the Solution- Not the Problem
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Haltom Middle School
Birdville Independent School District
Submitted by Stacy Dorman, Parent
via Your Story Link

Wow!  Where to begin.  I have the stories of both of my children to share. 

One is 16 now, a sophmore in high school.  His middle school years at Haltom Middle School were terrible.  I made many many trips to the school, talking with teachers, vice principals, principals, etc.  He was stabbed on three different occassions by the same child, with a mechanical pencil.  The third time we filed at Haltom Police Department, only to have that dismissed.  He had his glasses broken, and received a black eye by a group of his known bullies.  He sought out the help of his school nurse when that happened.  He told her the story of what happened to him and asked if he could have some ice for his eye, and if she could help him repair his glasses. I was informed of what happened to him after school (not by anyone from the school, and I immediately called the school.  After their investigation, although my son did have broken glasses and a very visible black eye, no one was at fault.  What is worse is that the nurse had no recollection of my son going to her for help. By the end of the year I had had enough. 

I called the Superintendant's office once again and insisted to be told what was going to be done about these instances.  I was told by Dr. Kemp that his recommendation to me would be to move my son to a different district.  WHAT????  So you are NOT willing to fix the problem. We made it through middle school with him.  However, the damage is done.  He is not social at all.  He keeps to himself, is very withdrawn.  He doesn't feel worthy of attention or praise.  It hurts me, to see him hurting like this. His Freshman year one of his teachers called me to ask if she could ask a personal question about my son.  Just through her observation of him in her class, the way he doesn't draw attention to himself, the way he keeps quiet, never talks, never raises his hand, never participates, etc. she was curious if he had ever been bullied.  Wow!  A teacher that observes and calls to consult a parent!  Amazing!  During our discussion to told me that my son showed so many signs of a bullied child that she just had to call.  She couldn't just let it go.  There are teachers out there that care, that want to help.  We just need more of them!

On to my second son.  He is 12 and in the sixth grade at Haltom Middle School.  It has been an ongoing dilemma there with him being bullied.  Not only by students, but by teachers as well.  He started the school year his happy, helpful self, but by mid October the drama began.  Now, I felt we could easily and quickly fix this as I had been through this with my other child and knew the proper measures to take.  Goodness I was wrong.  One of the things that I learned with my oldest son was to not let things go, to address them immediately.  So, we did/do.  My son has filed 35 incident reports this year so far.  I have spent so many hours at the school or on the phone with someone from the school.  He is repeatedly called the same vulgar names, he has had pornographic material put in his face, he has been punched, choked, kicked, shoved, and even had a group of boys attempt to crush him with a piano. He was taking shelter behind that piano because they were throwing pencils and pens at him.  When my son tried to get the attention of the teacher, who was teaching another class, he was asked if he wanted to be removed from the class and sent to the library to do paperwork instead of practice.  WHAT????  Why remove the child that is not creating the problems?  Why not discipline the children that are breaking plenty of school policies?  Everytime I contact the school about a situation, I am told that because of privacy laws they cannot divulge information, but assure me that matters are being dealt with.  So, why does this continue to escalate? 

Things have been so constant and so bad that my son is now on immediate defense with everyone.  At home, he is still my boy, but when he is at school he is someone else.  I would be too if I had to face that on a daily basis.  As for the teachers, he has a group of teachers that band together and bully him as well.  One of his teachers, and english teacher, took it upon herself to put together some "reading material and quiz" for my son. It was an anger management assessment test and reading information about how you have anger problems and what you should do to deal with them.  WHAT????  Where are her certifications/qualifications to allow her to give him such material?  When did she call me and ask my permission to do such a thing???  It is not only a violation of school law, but of state and federal law too to do what she did!!!!!  Same teacher, different situation.  She had my son afterschool to catch up on some work.  He was not "pleasing" her with his work so she had him call me.  He forgot to tell me something she insisted he should have told me, so she told him to call back.  She didn't realize the call had gone through and when I picked up my end of the phone I heard her screaming at my son at the top of her lungs.  I am mad, frustrated, furious.  I could go on for hours with all kinds of stories just from this short school year alone.  I've filed grievances to have them dismissed.  Not because the teacher was not found at fault, but because I didn't file in a timely manner.  Is that not crazy?????? 

Well, I know it was long, and I assure you the stories I told are not complete.  Just little tid bits of the struggle my children and I face with this school district.  Thank you for reading, caring, and please, if you have a story, share it. 

Thank you, Christine, for giving us a place where we can be heard.  I know our stories are not falling on deaf ears here.  Thank you so much for that!
Birdville Independent School District
Submitted by Toni VanNoy, Parent & Former Employee
via Your Story Link

I have read the stories shared here and would like to say Thank you to all who have shared, and I am Sorry that you have experienced these hurtful things. 

I used to be employed by BISD and worked at two of the high schools and one middle school in the district about 3 years ago, for four years. 

My son attended BISD for his entire education, PreK through 12.  There were many times he complained, elementary through high school of things that happened at school, and many times I went to the school to take issue with his complaints only to be told it was being dealt with, or what did my son do to bring this on himself.  Really?  Bring it on himself.  I remember the first day of middle school, while he was waiting for me outside to be picked up, he said another boy had pulled a knife on another boy and my son had jumped in between them and knocked the knife away with his backpack.  Another boy who carpooled with us, confirmed the story.  I was horrified. 

I went into the school and reported what my son had told me.  Nothing was done.  Unbelievable!  My son was attacked in the locker room on several occassions.  I talked to coaches, teachers, assistant prinicipals, why I don't know because the issues were never addressed.  When he moved into high school, a boy on the football team, during a practice on the field, when my son tackled him, drop kneed my son in his chest, before running back to the line, because he was mad that my son had tackled him.  I was there, I witnessed it myself.  I waited until the practice ended, and the coach was walking back to the field house and asked him about that.  Of course he didn't see it, I said well I sure did, and I asked if that was appropriate for one team mate to do to another, I thought they were on the same team.  I was told by the coach that is just the way it goes in football.  Hey, I love football, and I know its a contact sport, duh? but that wasn't right.  We later discovered that my son's rib was broken, when I told the coach about it and reminded him of the dropped knee incident, he told me that my son wouldn't be practicing so he wouldn't be playing.  Still ignoring the problem, THE REAL PROBLEM! 

Anyway, the next year, my son was attacked coming into the locker room by a single boy, who by the way had also been the boy in middle school altercation, my son fought back.  The other boy did not fair as well this time, other team mates seperated them, and the coaches did not know this happened.  The following week I started getting phone calls at the same time everyday from my son asking me to come and get him that he was sick in the bathroom, I went two days straight and picked him up.  Then I started asking questions about him calling me at the same time everyday being sick. Something was up, because we would get home and he would miraculously feel fine.  Not typical behavior for him.  So I refused on the third day to leave the parking lot until he told me what was going
on.  He told me that he was being threatened by 4 friends of the boy from the field house (locker room) fight.  That they were making gestural threats and verbal threats to him.  I said well, we are going back inside and going directly to your assistant prinicipal right now, this is not going on any further. 

Upon talking with his assistant prinicipal, my campus supervisor as well,(I worked on that campus) he did nothing he said he was going to do.  The next day, same phone call from my son, I instructed him to leave the building immediately, and wait for me in the parking lot where I parked.  I picked him up, went straight to the AP's office again and was told that I should just wait that these things blow over and spring break was coming it would probably not be a problem after they had a week to cool off!  Oh my gosh!  I was furious, I said he will not be back to this school, and I withdrew him.  I was told I couldn't do that, where was he going to go to school?

I said I would homeschool if I had too, but he was not going to be someplace where no one cares about his safety, and only compounds the threat by telling him that if he is jumped he can't fight back or HE will get suspended.  Bullcrap!  Who ever tells someone that can't defend themselves from bodily harm is out of thier minds. 

I enrolled him in the BEST high school in the district.  They accepted him with open arms, looked after him, protected him, enriched his life, which is the way it should be for all children.  All schools have issues, and even the BEST, had issues, but they didn't ignore problems.  So to Birdville High School I say "THANK YOU," for caring and being responsive.  To the others, I say WAKE UP, our schools are a war zone and no one is safe.

Haltom High School
Birdville Independent School District
Submitted by Kenny Reed, Student
via Your Story Link

Hi my name is Kenny Reed, I have been bullied since about the 6th grade at haltom middle and high school. i am currently a sophmore at haltom high and its just horrible. ive been shoved into lockers, punched in the privates, and called gay repeatedly for years now, But the thing that really gets to me is the fact that ever since 7th grade when i went to iss for hitting a kid who was of all things bullying me, there has been an outragous rumor that I cannot fathom about me masturbating with Germ-EX (hand sanitizer) in my tech class. I am constantly bullied about it and dnt understand why people would make such remarks about me. it really saddens me when i seek help from staff and councelors and they are like screw it, its not my problem. what is it today that people have to pick on other people i
just dnt understand what peoples problem is i mean i never did anything to them so why pick on me can anyone answer this question???

Haltom Middle School
Birdville Independent School District
Submitted by Christine Jackson, Mother of Student
via Your Story Link

My son, Joe, has been harassed and bullied since the beginning of the school year.  This has included everything from name calling to punching, kicking, stepping on and shoving into lockers.  One kid, in particular, was a repeat offender.  In the beginning of the school year, I coached Joe on how best to handle these situations.  I encouraged him to stay strong, pray, defend himself when necessary, to walk away when he can and report incidents to teachers and administrators when teachers were non responsive. 

None of this deterred the other kid.  He kept at it.  When Joe continually complained of this, I began to call the assistant principal (and later on the principal).  At this point, I truly believed there was some misunderstanding and they would take care of things.  I was wrong. Four times, I called.  Four times, they ignored.

The most recent incident happened in the shower after athletics.  The other kid rubbed his penis on my son and told him "if you're not out of my way in ten seconds, I'm going to hump you as hard as I can."  Joe reported this to the coach immediately.  I did not know of the incident until I picked Joe up from school that day.

The next morning, Joe phoned me from athletics (on his own cel phone) to tell me the other kid was still participating and Joe did not feel comfortable participating- as that would mean re-entering the shower with the kid.  I instructed Joe to put the coach on the phone.  I questioned the coach as to what his intentions were to address the matter.  He plainly told me he had told the other kid that if he does this kind of thing again, he would be out of the athletics program.  That's all he did, that's all he intended to do.  I told the coach, I wanted to make sure we were on the same page because I intended to pursue the matter outside of the school.  I had planned to file a police report that morning.

Very soon after my phone conversation with the coach, I was contacted by the police.  They told me they had been informed I wished to press charges against the other kid.  I concurred, and charges were filed. 

I pulled Joe out of athletics permanently, his schedule was promptly changed.  This happened after I asked that the other child be removed, I was told he cannot be segregated because he is a minority. (Very relevant the circumstance, right?!)

A few days later the police department had informed me they could not serve the kid with his warrant because Haltom Middle School administration had reported (after their investigation) nothing happened. They told me I would need to file with the city prosecutor to proceed.  I was fed up at this point.  I went to the BISD Student Services to file grievance against the coach, assistant principal and principal.

That very day, I extracted all email addresses from Birdville Independent School District and sent an email sharing my story and frustration.  I also posted an ad on Craigslist under the local politics section.  I started a blog as well.  I also submitted the story to all areas of the press.  CBS 11 contacted me. 

Our story aired.  Another family came forward and aired the next day (also BISD).  As this continued, several other BISD families came forward and shared very similar stories.  All involved negligence of staff and administration in areas of student assault and harassment. 

Since then, we have formed our little grassroots group.  We are all working hard to bring accountability to Texas schools.  We have also attracted families from surrounding school districts, namely Joshua ISD and Lewisville ISD.  These families no longer have their children, as they were lost to suicide earlier this year- one 9 year old, one 13 year old.  Both were bullied, both asked repeatedly for help from staff and administration, both came from families who went to bat for them throughout, both hung themselves at school.

This is our story, it has been fast and furious- but it's not over yet!
***All stories submitted via the "Your Story Link" are submitted by individuals who are sharing their personal struggles with violence in public schools.  The information contained in these stories is for the purpose of individuals sharing their stories. The information is provided by FAB and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the stories or the information provided therein. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.