OPINION

School tragedy could be ticking time bomb right here

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What would you say if someone told you that children in our Lambton Kent district routinely disrespect teachers and principals, without consequences?  That kids in your child’s schools have threatened or actually committed violent acts against fellow students or teachers?  And in many cases, if not most cases, these same kids are back in class to do it again?

If you were to say “that’s crazy” I’d say you were right.  Welcome to schools in Lambton County.

The heartbreaking school shooting in Connecticut just before Christmas brought an outpouring of grief, support, and dismay from Canadians and Americans alike.  In the days that followed, many people were left doing a little soul searching, and although some social media comments showed that a few Canadian parents felt it was strictly an “American” problem that couldn’t happen here, other parents worried about what should be done to prevent something like that from ever happening here.

Even Dalton McGuinty announced $10 million to start locking doors in schools. (a good idea in the short run, by the way)

The tragedy was massive, and it was shocking.  And it moved me to do some “unofficial” research.  Over the Christmas holidays I talked to school kids, other parents, and a few teachers.  All off the record, and all without mentioning names.  I wanted it to be accurate, but I wasn’t looking to get anyone fired.

The results are shocking.  Maybe I’m still paranoid after Connecticut, but the comments I heard were stunning, and exposed a very broken school system that authorities apparently have no clue how to fix, and parents that are asleep and unaware of what is really going on.  Could Connecticut ever happen here?  Our school system is heading towards it at 100 km/h.

I prank you not.

So I started by asking about bad kids, violence, punishments, etc.  The kids I talked to first told me almost universally that the really bad kids get treated differently.  How exactly?  The worse behaved they are, the less they are punished, was the reply.  Apparently it is more of a policy of appeasement, almost as if our School Board has the attitude that we need to keep bad kids in school at all costs.

I was told about good kids being punished for calling someone a name for example, but bad kids telling the principal to F- off, and not even getting a detention.

That couldn’t be true, after all this isn’t south central LA.  We don’t have schools like that in our town do we?

Subsequent chats with other kids confirmed the insanity.  Now not all the kids witnessed such abuses, but several stories from more than one school were repeated about “bad kids” swearing at teachers or principals, or hitting other students, taking lunch items, etc. and getting no visible punishments.

In fact, according to one student, one such “bad kid” was simply permitted to wander the school or sit in the lobby whenever he became bored with the class. Any attempts at discipline apparently had been abandoned.  Meanwhile, “good kids” who talked to each other in class were verbally disciplined, or in the case of being too vigorous outside at recess, given indoor detentions in the hallway.

The fact is, every one of the kids I talked to knew and understood:  “good kids” get punished, “bad kids” get away with it.

I was shocked to say the least.

Now these are kids, and I’m sure they’re too young and imaginative to have gotten this info correct, so I ran it past a few parents and teachers—who not only confirmed everything but added to it.

One teacher told me of trying to send bad kids to the office.  They don’t bother trying to anymore.  Even if the kid goes, he/she is back in 5 minutes with no changes in attitude.

Another teacher calls home to talk to the parents of a “bad kid” only to get yelled at by the parents for calling.  This has happened many, many times over the course of her career she said.  With no support at home, and no discipline at school, what is she supposed to do?  Even scarier, what has that student learned?  He’s learned he’s untouchable: there are no consequences for his actions.

Swearing at a teacher is common place in some schools.  There is no real punishment for it anymore.

Worse was a teacher who told me of a student who threatened to ring the neck of another teacher—and was never even suspended or disciplined!

Kids have threatened violence to teachers, or their cars, etc and in the cases where they were actually punished, they almost always end up right back in the same teacher’s class!

Does no one else find this completely insane?  Does this not sound like the recipe for a school disaster?

Kids are being taught no respect for authority, and in fact they are being openly taught that they can disrespect their principal and teacher with no consequences whatsoever!

Is it so shocking to think that a kid who has done whatever he has wanted for the past couple of years, has no respect for his teacher or principal, tells them to F-off whenever he wants, with no repercussions whatever . . . is it such a stretch to see that kid come back one day with a gun and kill a bunch of people he was no respect for?

To say this is madness would be an understatement of the highest order.

We are at the very least creating a whole generation of bad kids who learn they are above the law, and at the same time teaching good kids that there are two classes in life, and the good kids will be the ones who are punished for the slightest mistakes.

How is it possible that no one in the school administration system knows about this?  Or if they know, how come no one is taking any action?

It’s alarmingly clear we need discipline in our schools immediately.  Oh wait, the good kids are already being disciplined, it’s just the bad kids and the severe behaviour that seems to be exempt.

Kids need to realize there are consequences for behaviour, and any swearing or violent behaviour is not allowed at school.   Our schools are not for babysitting, nor are they a place to hang out because there is nowhere else to go.  Schools are for learning.  It’s a privilege to go to school, and if you don’t like and can’t be good, you’re gone.

It’s time to suspend kids freely when it’s warranted.  Send them home and let their parents take care of them.

And if you threaten a teacher or the principal, then it’s expulsion and a visit with the police.  Kids who threaten the principal or teacher should never go back to that school, and especially not that same teacher’s class.

It’s not rocket science!!

It’s time we took a stand before something tragic happens here in our own backyard.   It’s time we stood on the side of the good kids, and stood on the side of raising our kids up right, not sacrificing our children in the name of catering to the worse school offenders.   I for one will not jeopardize the safety of my children or their teacher in the name of some idiotic left wing dogma that doesn’t believe in discipline.

If everyone would call their school board and demand a few answers we could actually change things around quite quickly.  Or we can just wait until the situation self-destructs and we find our school on the news one night.

Any teachers or school staff who have a story to add to the above, I would love to hear from you.  All emails will be kept confidential.  mmceachran@gmail.com

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  • wendy swanson

    Unfortunately the government only gives money for the students in the classroom. If the bad ones are suspended and not at school the school does not receive funding for that student. That’s the way it works and that’s why we have the problems that we have. That and the fact that respect for elders is no longer taught at home or at school.

  • Tara Mowatt

    No – It is not rocket science but it is science – psychology and psychiatry. These kids are often neglected, abused etc at home and have attachment disorders, personality disorders or perhaps the beginning or a chemcial psychiatric disorder like schizophrenia or bipolar. The tragedies in schools are caused by kids / adults with these disorders.

    “We are at the very least creating a whole generation of bad kids who learn they are above the law, and at the same time teaching good kids that there are two classes in life, and the good kids will be the ones who are punished for the slightest mistakes.” Kids want to be good – this statement makes zero sense. These kids need structure, acceptance, love and support and medical intervention as needed as well as investigations into the home environment. These are children who need intervention not punishment. Your article is so misleading. I can’t believe that teachers would support this. I can’t believe this garbage got published.

  • Scott

    One thing I’ve heard from some teachers, is that they don’t suspend kids because then the board office gets mad or something. It’s insane.

  • Karen

    This is oh so true and i have plenty of stories as I have worked in special classes as an EA. Did you know that the majority of EA’s within the LKDSB work with children who have behaviours. A few actually work in classes with developmentally delayed students who are taught life skills. I have worked with school aged children in both elementary and high school. I have be sworn at threatened hit and intimidated.
    Thanks for writing your article to enlighten the community. Our education system lately has been given such a bad rap and people do not know what educators have to deal with daily.

  • Shannon VanSelm-Stuart

    Well written Matt!!

  • A school worker

    Most “bad kids” are the result of home life. A child who has been passed around from abusive foster home to foster home has little to no self worth. He doesnt feel like he belongs anywhere. Everywhere he has tried to find unconditional love as turned their back on him. Now he must go to school. He has anger issues and feels like there is no point in trying because the school won’t want him there anyway. Why would they? He’s just a “bad kid” that no one wants. So he gets angry and swears at the teacher. You think he should be suspended instead of given an opportunity to learn/implement calming techniques. Often the “bad kid” will apologize when no one is around after the sitation is diffused. I think this kid should be given a little more understanding than the average kid who throws a temper tantrum. Don’t you? So we give this kid a years worth of detentions. That is harming more thn helping. This child doesnt learn the social skills he desperately needs to survive in todays world.

    Just a question, but where would you like all these “bad kids” to go? There’s no island where we ship them to. If we kick them out of one school, they must go to the next. Then we kick them out of that one. What are we teaching them? Nothing. They have no stability and no hope for success. They’re not just going to wake up one day and decide to be “good”.

    So we suspend them. We call home and tell the mother. She yells at us for not being able to “control her child”. She slams the phone down. An hour later she shows up, fuming, yelling profanities at the teacher, the secretary and the principal.

    You think I’m being dramatic I’m sure. I assure you, this s the case more ften then not when dealing with the families of “bad kids”. Are they all like this? Definitely not. Some are understanding and work with the school on ways to work together. More often than not, this is not the case. The old expression “the apple desn’t fall far from the tree” is bang on.

    In most cases to fix the child, we need to fix the family. Resources the school is not equipped with.

    While I agree that something needs to chnge to void tragic things from happening, i think we need to look a little farther than the schools.

    I write this without leaving my name or email address because i dont want my school to be specifically brought into this but i hope ive given you anther side of the story.

  • Trini

    That is just scary and so true. That is why i got out of the child care business. I went through school to be an early childhood educator. I think Parents need to start Parenting. Teach your children that there are consequences for their actions good and bad

  • Joyce Caudle (parent)

    My daughter was in public school, at Lansdowne Public School. One day they were outside at recess, and another girl deliberately ran into her, pushing her into the brick wall of the school. When she was younger she had weak bones and was always breaking one, somewhere on the legs or arms, sometimes both. I got a call from the school to take her to emergency to get her arm checked. Sure enough it was broke. I was upset about this situation and let the school know of my feelings. But to top if off when my daughter went to school the following day, she got called into the office and was informed that she had to serve six detentions. She came home for lunches. When she told me about the detentions, I asked if the other girl had to serve any and she said no. I phoned the school, talked with the principal and asked why. I was informed that when the girl ran into my daughter she called her a name and that was why she had to serve these. I spoke to my daughter about calling her a name. But in all reality, you cant blame her, when she wasnt expecting it and then the pain of the inpact of the wall. But I still spoke to her and told her that yes I could understand where she was coming from, but it was no excuse to be talking to anyone in that manner. I informed the school that until the other girl was being punished for her behaviour, my daughter would not be serving any detentions, which she did not. The other girl was in the wrong from the start of the situation and she did not get punished in any way shape or form. My daughter who was the victum was going to be punished. Were is the right in that. Then people can not understand why our younger generation now, has no respect for other people or other people’s property. They are let away with to much, and with the governments help not enough discpline when needed

  • L.

    I can’t believe you are shocked. First and foremost I find it very annoying that Canada has it’s nose up in the air esp. concerning the U.S. This country is going downhill and very quickly, I might add. The biggest problem is all the bleeding hearts that say “punishment is bad, we need to let kids express themselves…blah, blah, blah”…well look where it’s gotten us. I wasn’t beaten as a child, but I knew if I messed up there were going to be consequences and not nice ones. People let their children sit around with violent video games, eat a lot of junk food and no excercise to name a few things. I think many behaviours are because of boredom. I know several parents that used to plan so much of their kids day that the kids came up with nothing on their own. They lose their imagination and ambition and start to expect everything to be handed to them and when it’s not they rebel. They don’t need parents as friends, they need them as parents. I could ramble on for days but I won’t. I know every generation bitches about the next but I think that this time it is understandable.

  • Sarah H

    I completely agree with you! I have heard many stories from several friends and relatives who are teachers that confirm everything you’ve touched on here.
    I’m also a school bus driver and can tell you first hand that there are many students who act up, bully, yell, scream and just generally don’t follow the rules ALL THE TIME. IF the offending children are confronted they often become beligerant and aggressive. And if they’re reported to the school and/or parents there seems to be little or no punishement before they’re back on the bus causing the same problems day after day.

  • Jen

    Finally. You summarized it like it is. As a teacher and mother- I am scared for our future. Children do not know that there are real consequences for real behaviour.
    Another clear example of this injustice we are doing is that it is near impossible to fail a child anymore. I have had students hand in next to nothing and I have been made to pass them. This is after giving many opportunities/accommodations/exceptions etc. to succeed. They learn that they give little and still get by and we are setting them up to fail in the real world. We are doing them no favours. It breaks my heart. The sad thing is that teachers have to spend so many hours planning, accommodating for, calling, talking, meeting with, disciplining (and stressing about) for one child who has difficult behaviour and often there is little change in the behaviour because they are not truly being made accountable. The child most often moves onto the next year and gives the next teacher (classmates) the same problems and administration lets it happen.
    Thank you for exposing our sad reality.

  • michelle

    I agree.. our system has needed a overhaul for a long time. I have had years of dealing with and banging my head off countless walls with the bullying, the name calling, pushing, shoving, hitting, just total disrespect for anyone in the line of fire, from numerous students from different schools. I have 3 children, and at different times over the years I have had to deal with not only these other children but with the school authorities blind eying some behaviors. My oldest was slapped across the face and the school was NOT going to call me, I happen to be good friends with one of the workers at the school and they called me saying I should get there. 2 hrs after it happened my daughter still had the hand print on her face. And they werent going to call me!!! The principal said they had it under control but that other child was still in class with my daughter, then they proceeded to kick me outta the school, I call police, yeah ok now I thought I would get somewhere,].. think again … what I was told was the parents wouldnt talk to the school and they didnt think it would do any good…”let it go” yup that is what they told me. I took my kids outta that school but there are bullies and disrespectful kids at all schools in this town. There are lots of parents that cant or wont deal with their children. It is always in the back of my mind when i hear things like what happened the states if it will happen here. It is gettin bad in our system and I dont see an end unless we take out all this pollitical crap and institute good old fashion discipline.

  • Harry

    You can thank C.A.S for all of this ,pretty soon it will be illegal to even say the word discipline to a kid without being cuffed and led away. So what else do you expect kids to do? Listen ……well why should they when they suffer no consequences for their actions . If they are not being disciplined at home then they sure as hell will not accept it from else where. But wait maybe you can fail them and they can redo that school year again, well not in elementary school but they can lose their credit in high school but pretty soon they will stop doing that as well. I grew up where if you did act out, at home or at school you where punished verbally and physically and yes by the teacher as well. now did I like that? No it sucked ,did I learn from it? Well truthfully sometimes yes or I would get better at not getting caught but it usually ended in me being caught . It is getting really hard now a days to discipline teenagers simply because (a) both parents don’t care (b) some parents or parent have a tough time keeping up with work,bills, household chores and the big one taking on more hours @work to pay down the huge taxes that our great premier has left us in, but hey that’s another story by it self so this equals out to spending less time with their kids which I deem is a huge factor in kids acting out. Don’t the expert say this? That if you ignore you child/children they will indeed act out maybe for your attention. But now a days with technology like the iPhones and the Internet and things like YouTube and so on we get more ideas on how to research things like how to not get caught how to make bombs ,maybe look up some videos of people acting out maybe filming a teacher trying to discipline a kid(s) in school ?but what if that teacher goes to far while verbally disciplining a child and no not physically by any means ? Is it worth it for the teacher when s/he is possibly being video taped I would answer no I would probably just asked the kid to leave the classroom that’s all . Would the kid learn anything ? no maybe the only thing he would learn is that it was that easy to get out of class. So given the burden that the teachers are facing now with our premier and having to cope with acting out kids , i ask is it worth their time to straighten out kids that are in deed acting out ?I’m sure for some teachers they simply and understandably will not want to deal with them much like the parents of these kids that are acting out also. So in each classroom bring back the belt or spoon the dreadfull corner and cap , failing keeping kids back, suspension getting kicked out of school you know discipline the way it used to be maybe then kids will change gain some respect or we can do nothing because of C.A.S and just expect things to work out their way which I am sad to say will happen anyways so is there a way to fix them? Well I have given some ideas that would seem crazy and way out of this world for the average teenager but then again for a person that did go to a school with verbal and physical discipline I would say that now I have grown up to respect people as I did back when I went to school to treat people and carry myself in a respectable manner that I learned from home and school for if I did not I would remember what the consequences would be. I survived those days believe it or not and I am a better person for it and if you asked me if I deserved to be punished in this manner? I would answer you this “I’m a better man today and I’m still alive “

  • Tammy

    Hmm.. well it sure has changed since I went to school. The “bad” kids went to the office and got the strap. Everyone else was afraid of getting it so behaved. No one wondered around the halls for sure. I’m not sure if “getting the strap” is the right answer for today but definitely much stronger discipline is needed. What happened to that “Zero tolerance” policy the school started several years back? One thing I will say though is one of my children was being a problem in school,(not bullying but more misbehaving in class and being truant) he was eventually suspended and had to attend a class over at another place that had all the “bad/truant” kids in it. That was about 5 years ago.

  • Susan

    What about teachers? My son is in high school and there’s a teacher that literally picks on students. Calls them names and even turns a blind eye when other kids are picking on someone. A few parents even pulled their child outta this teachers class. I’ve written to the school board about him and he continues. Whatever happened to good days where teachers liked the students and students liked their teachers?? Lack of discipline from both teachers and parents.

  • Phoenixmom

    thanks for sharing this…i can say our kids and hub & i have witnessed and experienced what he speaks of first hand many many times over yrs there…exactly why we left LKDSB, the “bad kids” are a result of CAS, some home environments and principals/teachers also, the whole system is failing the kids so they act out with no fear of consquences and actly signs screaming for help…but who is truly listening? The good parents that do act on the children’s behalf are up against the failed system also…we need to look beyond the label of “bad kid” and look at what is first creating a “bad kid” then, what is allowing the problem to continue? This is wide spread in this school board, we know which schools in Chatham that are the worst for the abusive behaviour. Our children have seen teachers manhandling and drag other students by the wrists/ankles down the hallway in their original home school,and our son also was victim to teachers doing this to him as his older brother watched helplessly. Then separately he was encircled twice with one teacher in the middle grabbing at him while the others screamed at him (age 4 and 9). This is physical and emotional abuse. How do you expect a child to react to teachers doing this? Our son is officially diagnosed with “P.T.S.D. official cause: bullying by 6-8 gang member boys and abusive teachers/admin.” On an almost daily basis for 2yrs, each incident was reported to the principal, and we too asked where is the “zero tolerance”? The last attack, a recess teacher witnessed and did nothing to stop it or hold the older boys accountable. Both the recess teacher and our son’s home roomm teacher told him that he “had to dry off”, no phone call home for fresh dry clothes, I was home all day. He came home running and crying, when he arrived he begged me to get him out of that school. 30sec’s it took me to see he was still soaking wet, pants, underwear, socks, shoes. I went to the school immediately upon learning what had happened. The following school day I was pulling all 3 of our children from that school. In the process of doing that the pricipal and VP tried to stop us…they lied to the new principal at the second school to try and cover up yrs of abuse going on. They knew if our story and what we knew for years got out to the public, they were screwed. We were threatened by the new prinipal if our son acted up we would be sent back to the “home school”. I told her “you can kick us out of here but they will never go back to that home school ever. My son is not going to be the next Myles Neuts of Chatham” This got their attention! Our son was the repeated victim NOT the problem. We will not be silenced about what happened. Other families came forward to us and we compared experiences dealing with the schools. My hub and I had a meeting with the superintendent of ed. and informed her of what was happening and our joint intent with 50+ page document of incidences. Well they cleaned house of the “home school”. The gang was divided and sent to other schools. It didnt take long before incidences were reported at the new schools by other families experiencing that same attacks on their children by these transferred gang ones. 3 of them were transferred to our son’s new school, and it wasnt long before he was being bullied again. This is when his P.T.S.D. surfaced. Our arguements with the new principal and staff began. At recess the one day, he defended a girl classmate from being punched by a boy. A small disagreement occured between the boys. Recess teacher intervened. Our son was trying to explain what happened, only to be told to go the wall for punishment. He refused, as he felt he was doing the right thing in defending the girl by telling the boy to stop hitting her. The teacher chose not to listen, then called other teachers in and their encircling apprenhension practise occurred. He feared for his life. Triggering a flashback of what was done to him when he was 4 by teachers at the home school because he was playing in a mud puddle (both arm pits of his new spring coat were torn out as he tried to defend himself, this was reported and displayed to the VP the following day, i still have that coat as evidence 10yrs later!). This time he broke free of their circle and his flight (of fight or flight response) kicked in. They physically chased him off school grounds and around Chatham streets before i got a call 45 mins later. I arrived to the school in lock down, and hearing the principal screaming over walkie talkie to other teachers. I heard the vehciular assault happen over the walkie talkie as i stood in the office. Principal stated he had just jumped over the hood of the car (later we learned our son had seconds to jump over the hood as the car hit his hip or be pinned between a back yard fence and the car driven by another teacher). I ran with our toddler in my arms yelling at them to stop i know where he’s going. A gr. 8 teacher who not only taught hub & i and our own siblings, she also is good friends with both our parents. She ran beside me telling the principal to stop we knew where he was going, and that I was coming. They didnt listen though. They continued to chase him down the alley, through my mother’s property and up a main hwy/street in Chatham. This is where i found them. The same car was now in my way. I parked in the street behind the teacher’s car and ran to my son before he reached where I was. He collapsed in my arms on the front lawn/sidewalk, inches from traffic going 60 km/h and sometimes more. The principal was blaming him for everyone and didnt devulge the full truth we would later learn. This same principal who didnt want to listen to what had already happened to him at the home school, has now become another one of his attackers. When our son stood up she tried to grab his shoulder he pulled away from her and said “dont touch me” I looked at her and said “what have you done to him now?” Teachers need to stop CYAing and trying to cover the asses of other schools, turning a blind eye and denial isnt going to stop such abuse of their collegues when they also contribute to it! Our son who was the victim once again, was then suspended for days, then put through additonal suspensions when he returned as he quietly non violent withdrew in class not doing his work. By 10am they were calling home, telling me to pick him up because he isnt doing his work, and I was handed a suspension notice, they looked for any reason to sent him home. This went on for months, threatening us if we didnt get him diagnosed and drugged he couldnt come back to school. I cant just keep him home or the school will call CAS “with concerns”, which they did end up pulling that tactic. So now to cover their ass and try to point finger away from what they caused, they try to transfer blame to the home. So now added stress in the home from CAS threats. So we stood united against both school staff and CAS, we never backed down, our children were educated about CAS practises and their legal rights against them and what the school staff was enforcing. Our children learned of the adult world far sooner than they should have had to. We learned our rights and that of our children and we fought them symutaniously. Our son finally was seen by our regular pediatrician and a windsor child psychologist with her collegue and we hired private couselling. The school was given premission for access, only to stab us in the back for their own agenda. We fired the cousellor,switched to our own pediatrician not the one working with the school prinicpal in wanting to drug him before seeing the child psycologist…and we called the school out on their behaviour as we revoked the privacy release. All three of our dr’s agreed with me as i voiced of my own research into his behaviour. No drugs are to be given to a child until a child psycologist makes the formal dignosis…of which our son has never needed drugs (he is now 14yrs old). DONT give into the pressure from schools/teachers to drug a child out of convience before seeing a child psycologist, pediatricians are not to drug until that formal diagnosis is complete. The child psycologist needs to see/interview an un-medicated child. (I know first hand as I too live with PTSD from many sources of attackers over my 41yrs, I have been treated just like he has as a child and an adult with people thinking they have a right to assault/abuse/bully, it has to stop in this society. No drugs and educating myself with self coping skills and it doesnt consume my daily functions in life.) But in the mean time the school staff enforced a lock down on him as we waited for appt’s to approach. They ordered until he was “drugged” he wasnt allowed to eat with his classmates, no recess, no gym class and escorted to and from the washrm. He hated school and got so behind in his work. The reward system they placed on him, backfired when they renigged the recess reward as soon as he reached those alloted points. I told them he will not trust them anymore, and their reward system means nothing unless they honour it once the goal was met. They never honoured the goals so he stopped trying. They then allowed 2 recesses. After the second one though, his 2 bullies were allowed at school after i questioned the principal about their investigation results but our son was suspended for defending himself on the playground when he was attacked again. He was grabbed on the ground in his goin. So now it was a sexual assault. He fought back by punching the boys. When i picked him up he was withdrawn, non resposive and limping as he walked. I questioned this and went face to face with the principal and VP in the hallway. They both were hostile and defensive that i asked such questions, I remained calm but stern back, not being intimitated. The principal tried to accuse me of disrespecting her…hmm and she was the one yelling at me in front of additional teachers who came to see what the rucus was. I left after declaring they wouldnt get away with it and that they should have listened because they too are just like the ones at the home school. He was put into lock down again. 4 mnths this went on. Then finally after we proved PTSD, and knowledge of several meetings & phone calls behind our back that the school’s CYW slipped to me the one day. He was transferred to another school into a “behavioural, social program” supposedly “for his safety” as they admitted they do not have anyone trained to deal with PTSD in children within the school system. Our son graduated from the program and we agrued he go to another school across town, fresh start away from the teachers and students at the 2nd school and absolutely never returning to the home school for any of our children ever again. We argued for our daughter to also be transferred and our youngest was put into french immersion the following year to never have to deal with any of these other schools ever. My hub and i were driving to 4 different schools south and north ends of town mornings and afternoons just to make sure they were all in safe schools. Now how many parents have/would do that on a daily basis for 2.5 yrs? The school principal and VP lied to CAS in affidavits and it was caught in court. We won against both. We have no respect for the LKDSB and escaped it 1.5yrs ago. Where we are now, is totally amazing. Bullying is handled immediately, the children and parents involved are informed that day with later follow ups. The current principal is unlike any we have worked with, he too grew up in our old city and knows what we speak of about there. He has seen alot in his career with the worst of the worst and he has turned those schools around. We are so blessed to have met him here. The current teachers were shocked to hear of the student encircling apprehension practise in our old city and hear of the manhandling. I choked up with joy even now during the parent-teacher interviews in Nov. sharing the news of last year’s report cards. They expressed relief for us getting out of there, after getting to know/teaching our children here. Last year we had a teacher send home a personal apology letter, she as a teacher was so sorry that our 6yr old daughter had a small but very rude incident with a boy classmate. This (personal apology letter) never happened in our 12yrs with LK school board. The respectful commication and interaction with parents is impeccable where we are now. Not only are our 4 children continuing their generally B marks, they are very happy here, all pulling in several A’s in various subjects with repeated positive comments of their personal behaviour/achievements and contributions with mutli cultural diverse classmates. Something, we never saw before moving here.

    Oh and the gang of boys that were split up to other schools that year, went on to cause problems with other friends of ours’ children at a 4th school. Their son was stabbed in class with scissors and the teacher gave the victim hell for getting up from his desk to get a paper towel at least for his wound. His mother pulled him from the original home school also because after we pulled our son from being the daily target, her son was our son’s replacement. She witnessed the attacks on our son and hers later, as she was a parent volunteer for years at the school. They left it and rejoined us at the 2nd school, only to have the finger pointed at their son for ADHD also. They were put through the ringer too as our son was at the 3rd school in the behavioural class. Then 2 yrs later a third friend was being forced to put her son into the 4th school mentioned above. I told her what i knew of the stabbing already there and the gang boys history. Sure enough within weeks she too was having the principal calling and her son having problems with these others at recess. She had the police come in on an incident. The police backed her up and defended her son’s statement/actions and reported the principal’s behaviour with her to the board. The principal has since been removed from her position. She argued with the board a year ago and also won her right to have her 2 younger children in a safer school. They are currently at the french immersion school we had our youngest in for 2yrs. The following is all at the original home school: Another friend’s son was pushed up against an exterior wall by the group after we left, and a nail in the brick wall stabbed his head. His mother was threatened by the boys in the office that day with comments of “do you know who my parents are?” “i can do the same to you”. The staff at this original home school knew full well of the situation on the playground. Before we left though my hub and i went in to the office and asked to speak to the prinicpal. The secretary questioned us why and if we had an appt. We stated openly “because you have a gang bullying students on your playground and it needs to stop” The 4 teachers in the office with her, gasped and glared at us shocked like “oh no more parents know” look. I along with another mom have also witnessed the original principal at this home school scream and stomp his feet chasing 4 very young boys off a bus on the front lawn of the school. This principal also assaulted this same son of ours when he was 3.5yrs old in the office. His jk teacher was so upset with what happened she hinted at it as much as she could as her eyes teared up. We later found out the principal stood on his feet, made him stand up, and held his wrists with his hands above his head, screaming in his face. Our son was never the same again. He started “turtling” at any raised voice, he hated school and yelled back at his teacher and classmates at recess and became irriated during group play in the classroom. He was happy to play alone on the carpet with pocket cars. He was a very happy social baby and not what we were now seeing. The one day in JK i found him on the floor in the classroom at dismissal. As others got their children dressed around us, our son was unresponsive. I got down on the floor to look up into his face. As I lifted his chin, I saw the full bloody nose and eyes were dialated. The teacher and student helper brushed it off that a girl had hit him. I was furious that no one had checked if he was ok. He was non responsive for about 10mins. In SK, a student slammed the washrm door on his hand as he measured himself on the growth chart on the wall beside the door. His middle finger was torn off the tip with his finger nail fully torn out and sitting onto of his skin down to the first nuckle in the hinges as he screamed in terror trying to remove his hand. A gr. 4 student monitor came to his rescue…not a teacher! I had volunteered that day in the room and had just left him a half hour earlier, to have the phone ring with him screaming in pain in the background. He lost feeling in his finger in places and is still damaged by scarring/sensory today. When our son reached Gr. 1, his older brother came to me outside to tell me the teacher wasnt dismissing him. I went in to the class with his younger sister and older brother to find him unresponsive under the chalk ledge with the teacher in a full rage sitting with him against the wall beside him. She was refusing to let him go until he talks to her (now taking her rage out on me as she sat on the floor). I calmly pointed out to her that he has shut down now because of the way he is being treated here and he wouldnt she would be there all night if this doesnt stop. I also informed her of my 5 page complaint letter already filed in the office about teachers and observations I have seen here. She quickly changed her tune and released him. Also in Gr.1 he had 10 attacks by a D&D student that was left to wander the walls if he didnt want to be in class (which i witnessed the one day). The principal said “he is a very troubled little boy so we have to allow that.” I asked “well what about my son’s safety, where’s the zero tolerance?” Gr. 2 &3 the gang situation occured. Our older son & his friends in gr. 7 came to the rescue of our younger son when they witnessed his brother being attacked only to have the gang turn on them, resulting in them being punched and kicked also. Our younger son was on the ground and symutaniously kicked in the back of the head, stomach and back by many as he turtled to protect himself. The teachers did NOTHING. Even after we reported it, the gang boys were brought into the office and the principal told us later they deny they did it even with the older boys speaking up and teachers admitting seeing it occur. So it continued until I pulled our children out! Finally I said F*k your boundaries, my children’s safety(I feared every day is this the day our son was going to be stabbed? or shot? It was growing that bad with the bullying) & lives is more important then your invisible lines on a map. As i said i have 50+ pages of incidences to 3 of our 5 children and that of others’ children at this home school and other schools there who didnt help our/their children at all. They continued the abusive practises to cover their collegues asses and acted no differently in the end allowing the students to abuse other students. And CAS sits back waiting to pounce so they can get their funds from the government when they claim their numbers in custody care, as they dont advocate for the parents against the schools’ practises. The good parents are on their own fighting to keep their families safely together here. Parents have to advocate for their children on their own. And CAS waits for that to put stress on the marriages and cause other problems that they look for. You want to know about abuse there and this cycling in society, there is example upon example to share. It’s all connected, a viscious circle. Our children will never be returned to such an environment, ever again.

    Our son’s 1st report card a yr ago in our new city, both my hub and i cried, seeing the A’s and the positive repeated comments from the teachers. Each report card since has been like this now. The principal stopped me at dismissal last year and told me she was so pleased to see him mature over the Gr.8 yr. He went on to graduate with a silver medal given out for acheivement levels. It justified our fight against so many who wronged him, so many yrs ago. The PTSD will always be there now, the damage has been done. I’ve been told the problems still exist at those schools from parents still there. I hope one day things change there, but it still looks like that’s a day far off in the future. I’m glad we had the balls to fight and finally escape it for our children’s sake and sanity.

  • Matt Mc

    Thanks for all the comments everyone. I enjoy reading your take on the situation, and while it’s vindicating somewhat to hear many of you agree with what I have found, it shows the shocking level our schools have sunk to.

    I’m going to write a follw-up article in a week or two, but let me just comment here to Tara and “A School Worker” that your ideas aren’t bad, in fact they are “feel good” ideas that I wish would work. The fact is they have been tried now for probably close to 20 years and have ruined our school system. Schools are for educating kids. They aren’t rehabilitation centres, they aren’t psychology centres and as much as we’d love them to be able to teach bad parents how to love their kids, they can’t do that either.

    I’m tired of the ridiculous approach our education system takes of dragging 25 kids in a class down so the teacher and/or EA can spend all their free time with 1 or 2 “bad” kids who don’t want to be there. We are setting up the “bad” kids for failure in real life What do you think life will be like for these kids in 10 years at their job…. “Who Billy, oh he just threatens to slice the neck of all his coworkers. Don’t mind him, he had a bad childhood”.

    Rather than cave in, its time to raise the bar on school behaviour (to the level it was when many of us were in school) My guess is the kids will meet the challenge, even most of the “bad” kids once they realize there are consequences for their actions.

  • Nancy Andrews

    I am going to suggest that this article doesn’t talk about what the teachers and administration have tried in their attempt to discipline these children. I’m not sure that those children that have brought a gun to school and killed people, were the problem children in the school. What would stop the school administration from sending the child to another class or another school?? Is that a solution or passing the buck? I don’t think their classmates are the best reporters of the discipline of their poorly-behaved classmates. They can’t see what has gone on behind closed doors. If the children are out of control at school and have no support a home, is kicking them out of school, really solving the problem for anyone? Do we have enough counsellors in the school and in the community? Sometimes, Children’s Aid needs to be involved. Sometimes, it is programs like Rebound that can make a difference in these children’s lives. It is my experience that many teachers do an amazing job of trying to reach children, but there are no easy answers. As it is said, it takes a community to raise a child.

  • WerrydaleTed

    Nancy:
    I hate to say it but your liberal, politically-correct views are beyond the pale. Instead of making a lot of buck-passing statements, go and ask some teachers and get your information first hand, as did this reporter, though you seemed to have missed it. You wrote, “I am going to suggest that this article doesn’t talk about what the teachers and administration have tried in their attempt to discipline these children.” You find out. I think the answer is nothing, let the hired nanny, Ah I mean teacher, handle it. And yes, kicking the bad kid out of the class really does solve the problem, obviously. It is obvious to you too is it not?

    Not the answer for him of course but for all his classmates, his teacher, other teachers in the same school, the principal. etc. perhaps the school board and yes, the Teachers Union. His problem should not be (must not be) that of everyone else. Everyone is involved because there is no solution for just one bad kid and so many should not have to be so involved. It is expensive and we need to keep that in mind. Even Liberals will eventually have to deal with the run-away budget.

    Some kids are just plain lost causes because they are just not smart enough or have a mental problem that leads them to want to cause others pain. I know, because I am the father of a very experienced, empathetic teacher who, since she could not get help and could no longer cope with class room violence, had to take extended sick leave.