Friday, December 3, 2010

When Schools, Youth Organizations, and Community Youth Resources Bully

Parenting is supposed to be a precious gift to be treasured every moment of our family lives. We send our kids to school, to a youth organization, or community resource for youth in order to keep our children well educated, well socialized, and to teach them about how they can be a part of the community.

Just like the children of Mentor, Ohio and the 49 other states, our own children can become the victims of bullying and it sometimes takes on the saddest circumstance of all: Schools, Youth Organizations, and Community Youth Resources can become the bully.

This happens when one of these entities ignores bullying, takes some action but not the appropriate action rising to the level of neglect, or misuse of well meant intentions designed to protect our children. How many times have you or your child had to deal with a situation where your child was bullied so severely that they had real reason based in reality to fear for their immediate safety or for their life? Perhaps your child defended him/herself only to be the one on the receiving end of disciplinary / legal action?

How many times has a bully been found to be guilty by a school investigation or an investigation done by whatever other community agency they are a part of and the bully gets a slap on the wrist, or your child is made out to be at fault because of some politically correct line of thinking?

How about when a school or other community resource working with youth knowingly abuses or misuses laws and public policies designed to protect our children? All of these things happen more often than the public is aware of. As a matter of fact, our community leaders at all levels will defend these incidents on part of those who are charged with the care & protection of our children, even coming up with some very crafty statements & excuses.

All of these things are examples of how schools and other youth related community resources become bullies themselves. When families find themselves in these situations the first thing that will always happen will be a canned statement about how none of this is "personal" and that there are certain policies and protocols to be followed. Then they will always tell you about how they have to protect themselves from liability and how public laws & policies are written and interpreted.

Bullying started to become out of control back in the 80s when the political correctness movement was gaining steam. Back in that era, bullying not only became more violent, it became a part of the political correctness movement. Those of us who grew up in major metropolitan areas know first hand what it is like when the schools, youth organizations, and community youth resources become the bullies.

Imagine if you will, being the only child of a specific race & ethnicity in the school. Imagine that the majority of the students come from abusive, neglectful, chaotic homes from the most violent, gang infested parts of the city. Imagine being violently bullied because of your race, ethnicity, and social status. Imagine that bullying being so violent that you are in real life danger with absolutely no choice but to defend yourself because there is nowhere to run, hide, and no other way to get help because the school, youth organization or community youth resource staff is too scared to "get involved".

They state to be "scared" of lawsuits, criminal charges, and image problems. Now imagine being suspended and investigated by the police for doing what had to be done to stay alive. Imagine being flatly told that you aren't allowed to do anything and that you did "something" that no one can name to make yourself a victim.
They can't name anything you did because there is nothing, and the offender gets told what an emotionally fragile, confused creature he/she is and that it's "ok" because they themselves are a "victim".

The tables are turned in such a way that even with your serious injuries requiring emergency medical attention, you can't prove you were violently attacked and everyone is protecting the offender.

This scenario happened to this author on several occasions. The school, youth organization, or community youth resource protecting the bully and the bully's family are alleging that you injured yourself in order to pin it on their kid because you're of an opposite race and ethnicity, and that you're "racist", but forensic medical science definitively says otherwise.  The bully / offender has a juvenile rap sheet with "adjudications" (Convictions) longer than you can ever want to know about, is a State Ward of The Court as are many of the other kids in the school, and yet he/she is given every special consideration and is given an over-abundance of credibility.

This next scenario is hypothetical, but based on knowledge of real cases that have occurred in the lives of people once known by this author.

As the U.S. entered the 1990s, the children's rights movement partnered with law enforcement agencies nationwide, state child protection agencies, and legislators to create what we now know as the "Mandatory Reporter Act". Mandatory reporter laws enacted into law were written so broadly and vaguely that it promoted excessive questioning and paranoia about what constitutes child abuse, neglect, or dependency because the law did not define any of these things.

Schools, youth organizations, and community youth resources started calling the abuse & neglect hotline for every little scratch, bruise, bump, and family struggle. This practice has continued to this day, catching innocent parents and children in it's wide net. The courts have repeatedly been asked to define what abuse, neglect and dependency is and they have refused out of fear of not being able to properly protect children.

Mandatory reporters in many areas of the U.S. from higher educational and income brackets have been widely known to call the hotline out of their own opinionated prejudices and pre-conceptions. If parents and children are lucky, the call becomes "Unfounded" or is given a "No Action" status when a false call was really made. There are those times, however, when false calls result in an "open case" which sends the child and family through absolute hell! Sometimes, these cases get screened into the State Juvenile Court where the game become ass covering because now the state has to take responsibility for a huge mistake.

All of this has stressed the Child Protection System so badly that they are losing money on cases that should have never been brought into the system or even "indicated" to begin with. The truth is that most of the people in the system do not have children of their own and only have a one sided understanding of an academic text and professional practice, with no quality training and the person who called the hotline was not given enough training on abuse & neglect to even hold credibility.

These are good examples of when schools, youth organizations, or community youth resources become bullies. If you are a school teacher or administrator, a child care professional, a youth service agency worker, or an employee of a community youth resource agency, please talk to your administration about obtaining clinical forensic training given by licensed medical forensic professionals about child abuse/neglect, and more hours of training about proper use of the child abuse/neglect hotline. Improper use or misuse of this hotline is a crime in some states that can land you in jail for up to one year.

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