Public School Forced to Pay for Bullied Girl's Private Tuition

Rant 38

schoolThe New York City school district may be the largest public school system in the US, but it could be forced to pay tuition for a 12-year-old bullying victim to go to private school. Confused? The girl's family says the public school did nothing to protect their child from relentless torture at the hands of bullies, and a judge agrees. 

I'm thinking this could be the best news we've gotten since bullying became the hot topic in education. Wait, let me be clear. It's bad news for school districts, but it's flat out awesome news for parents and kids.

Finally, we have some ammunition to use against the schools! Nobody likes to take a hit in the pocketbook, do they? Next time a principal wants to slap on their blinders when a bullying report comes in, they will have to think about what it could cost them.

I just wish this win for parents didn't have to come at a child's expense.

The stuff this poor girl (she's unnamed to protect her) went through at New York's PS 6 sounds pretty typical of school bullies. She has a learning disorder, and kids would mock her when she raised her hand. Kids called her "smelly" and "ugly." The methods of torture go on and on.

Kudos to her parents for pulling their daughter and putting her in private school to protect her. But they shouldn't have had to take it that far.

And yet, that's what happens all the time. I can't tell you how many parents I've talked to over the years who have found the school district's response to their kid being bullied is to pussyfoot around punishment. The bulk of stories I've heard center around passive-aggressive moves like sending a teacher in to talk to the "whole class" about bullying instead of punishing the specific kids. Some districts take their refusal to get involved to serious extremes -- punishing the parent who reports the bullies, for example. And then there's the ever-popular "blame the victim" for being bullied in the first place. 

But if the largest public school district in the United States now has to pay private school tuition for failure to address bullying, it should put all the rest of them on notice. Ignore our kids' needs, and it could cost you big time.

What do you think should be done with school districts that fails to come down on bullies?

 

Image via shinealight/Flickr

bullies, education, back to school

38 Comments

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jagam... jagamama0710

Agreed. If the situation was so bad that a judge ordered them to pay tuition, oh well, sucks to be the school. Maybe they should have handled it better and they wouldn't have to pay. Hopefully that will make other schools think twice before they turn a blind eye. 

bills... billsfan1104

My daughter was bullied when she had seizures at a public school. She pushed back one time, and the principal had the audacity to threaten suspension for my daughter. I never ever will put my kids in a public school again. That was the first time she ever attended public school and never again.

nonmember avatar Lilac

I hope moving her to private school helps but I don't know it will. I was in private catholic school my whole life and was tortured just as bad and called alot worst the ugly and smelly though I was called those names too.

Todd Vrancic

I hate to be a cynic, but what happens if/when she is bullied in her new school?

nonmember avatar AMANDA

MY SON IS A BULLYING VICTIM. HIS VICE-PRINCIPLE TOLD HIM TO JUST IGNORE THEM. THIS BULLY RE-BROKE MY SON'S FINGER. I WAS FORCED TO BRING THE LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT IN TO CHAT WITH THE CHILD... WHICH DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I RESULTED IN HAVING TO THREATEN THE SCHOOL AND THE BULLY WITH CHARGES BEING BROUGHT UP AGAINST THEM IN ORDER FOR THE BULLY TO BE EVENTUALLY SUSPENDED FROM THE SCHOOL..... A YEAR LATER

nonmember avatar Kim

Not only was I bullied in a catholic school, but two of my kids were bullied in a public school, as well. It doesn't matter where you put your child, now a days. Bullying has to end, period. All you bullies out there, y'all need to stop!! Just because you're not happy with your life doesn't give you the right to put other people down. Think of how you would feel if it was done to you.

Laura Winsett

I think that parents need to educate there kids that you will be bullied no matter where you go to school. However if other parents taught thier children better then we wouldn't be having these issues to begin with. Just some basic respect would go a long way.kiss

nonmember avatar Amanda

Poor girl! I was bullied to so I started hanging out with the kids that everyone was afraid of! I hope this will finally knock some common scene into these school districts! I do how ever think that the parent of the child that was doing the bullying should have to pay up to

CPN322 CPN322

This is awesome!!! I hope this will make schools actually do something about bullying!

PinkB... PinkButterfly66

Bullying should not be tolerated -- period!!  If this went on in a work environment, the company would settle faster than you could say EEOC.  Children are guaranteed the right to an education in hostile-free environment under the same law that protects adults a hostile free work environment.  Educators need to be proactive and create an environment in their schools where bullying will not be tolerated by encouraging the 98% of students who are mearly bystanders to band together to tell the bullies that they cannot be bullies.  It is complacency by the educators that allow bullying to continue in a school.  

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