A Tale Of Two Lunchboxes

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… but mainly it was the most frustrating of times. 

If you have read past blog posts you know that we had an unfortunate incident with a lunchbox a month or so ago that involved someone taking his lunchbox, shoving it in the toilet, & trying to flush it down. Don’t worry… the school assured me it wasn’t bullying, it was an isolated incident that was a crime of opportunity not targeting my son. Okay, I’ll buy that. You can read that post here. I ordered him a metal Dr. Who lunchbox to smooth life out & all was kosher.

A few weeks ago I got a call from the school counselor letting me know that while he was using the restroom he sat his bag & new ($30) Dr Who lunchbox down in the breeze way only to find that it had been stomped in when he came back out. They school bent it back as best they could & he was okay. When I got the call from the counselor letting me know I was so relived to hear that the school is sure that this was an isolated incident that was a crime of opportunity not targeting my son.

Flash forward a week or so. I picked him up from school right before Thanksgiving break & on the ride home he told me about his horrible day. He was headed to the restroom & put his lunchbox on a desk by one of his teachers room that is next to the rest room. This is what the school had told him to do instead of leaving it where all the kids leave theirs to make sure no other “Crimes of opportunity” happened. So this time someone went to the teachers door, got the Dr Who lunchbox & gave it another good stomping. I didn’t get a call this time because I’m not even sure if he bothered telling anyone because they have proved that nothing will happen. So as I kept my cool while hearing him tell me about how his most prized possession would no longer hardly latch I realized that, much like my respect for the public school system, advocacy at Shawnee Middle School is dead & gone. I calmly called the school that day to speak with his principal to see what was going on & why this was happening without anyone stepping up to help. I got his voicemail, I left a voicemail, &…. yeah that’s about it & this was before thanksgiving break. I have called two other times with no luck of talking to anyone & I’m starting to feel like I’m the crazy girlfriend in this situation! Is the staff at the school trying to tell me they don’t want to be in a relationship anymore? I want it to work, we’ve had some great times together! I remember that time we all had an IEP meeting in the library & everyone told my wife & I that they just LOVED my son! I remember everyone saying they would look out for him since he is vulnerable & I said thanks & that I was so appreciative! Remember that public school system? Remember? I chaperoned the trip to the zoo & when someone didn’t load the lunches I raced 50 miles back to pick them up only to make it back just in time for them to eat & you were so appreciative of me? Remember that, public school system? Oh, & remember that time we were laying on the beach & I brushed your hair…wait that was my wife… you get what I’m saying’? In the words of Theodore Roosevelt: Why ya gotta do me like that boo?

I guess my issue is… they kinda suck. Isolated incidents, crimes of opportunity, & security cameras that are seemingly never pointed in the right direction all make for a bully friendly environment. I mentioned in my previous blog that the local news did a story about a girl bing bullied by several other kids while filming it on a cell phone & posting it on the internet. That was at my sons school & when they interviewed the parents of that girl you know what they said ChanceCardthe school told them… wait for it… wait for it… we are confident it was an isolated incident & not a situation where your child was bing targeted. It’s like they have a deck of cards with crappy excuses to tell parents. When a new one comes in with a problem they just draw a card from the deck!

The next move? Not sure! First move was ask nicely, second move was vent my frustrations to thousands of blog readers, third is to I guess go back to the drawing board. It’s just such a fine line because he says there is no one person bullying him but at the same time he is so oblivious to things like that we have seen situations like this before when someone is mean to him & he doesn’t even realize it. In rural Oklahoma there are not a lot of private school options (Ones that aren’t crazy religious or super expensive) & it upsets the hell out of me that we would even have to look at that option because he can’t get a fair shake at public school!

8 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Lunchboxes

  1. amy

    First off, I have to tell you that you have handled the situation quite well. Be proud of yourself for not losing your temper at the school officials! Secondly, my heart goes out to all of you, because no one deserves to be treated this way! Not you, not your handsome son, NO ONE.
    Have you considered “threatening” to go to your local news station with this? If they did a story once, they may be interested in your story as well, as a follow-up. It just might get the attention of school officials if their lack of attention to their students’ well-being is going public.
    Hang in there, life’s a bumpy ride… and there are some big ol’ potholes along the way. But you all can and will make it through whatever bumps and holes come along. Cause you’re strong, and loving, and intelligent. 😉

    Reply
    1. Jim Bluiey

      The news works remarkably well, as my Aspies bullies where asked to transfer to a different school in the district before I showed I was bluffing. But it was a dangerous game of chicken before it went down. I had the school calling and yelling at me. It peaked when my youngest son “accidently bumped the bully” at a skating party. (I don’t condone violence, but apparently in the mind of a six year old midget football offensive lineman the line that I draw is sometimes blurred) Let’s just say that the problem solved itself…

      Reply
  2. louisa

    I think you’re handling this really well. Your son deserves to feel safe in school. Whether the acts were the result of targeted bullying or not doesn’t really matter. Random acts of violence are wrong, too. The school has an obligation to make sure no student has their property destroyed or feels intimidated.
    My husband and I had a really hard time with our local school district. I wrote about it in the blog I just started. We just couldn’t get through to the administration, and we ended up homeschooling our son. It’s not the ideal solution, but it has lifted a huge burden off of us and especially off our son. We are all happier, but I wish school could have worked.
    Please keep us posted on how things unfold. I am rooting for you and your son. The school needs to make sure everyone feels like school is a safe place and a good place.

    Reply
  3. Amanda

    The fact that the district continues to claim this is not bullying is very disturbing. I’d say it’s time to take some serious action. Here are some resources that might help. Make sure that you are fully educated on your rights. Schools will sometimes try to mislead parents about what they’re entitled to. Do you know any lawyers who might be able to help? Unfortunately, it often takes the threat of legal action to get the district to take the situation seriously. Going public as the other commenter suggested is also a possibility but I’d worry it’d make him more of a target.

    http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/harassment.index.htm
    http://www.disabilityadvocateok.com/children-diabilities-special-needs.htm
    http://oklahomaparentscenter.org/
    http://advocatesforspecialeducation.com/

    Reply
  4. Gene

    It’s a good thing you can read between the lines and see things coming. Seems as if the school is going to cover up whatever they need to and ignore the fact that they have bullies instead of punishing these bullies! An incident happen with my son where his Book fair money was stolen. At first I thought he was just being careless then I said no more!! I told his teacher and it did make me a bit sad but they took care of the situation. I wish I could say that for all of my sons situations but I can’t. You are a great father and you have that sixth sense for your son. I can tell.

    Reply
  5. Dawn

    First I would like your son to know I am totally wanting a Dr.Who lunch box! I didn’t know they made them!
    Secondly, I don’t know how you’ve kept your cool. I agree with telling them you will go to the press about all of these “isolated incidences”. Perhaps that will spur them into behaving the way they are supposed to, which is protecting your son, and that includes his feelings when jerks ruin his stuff on purpose. It IS bullying and it shouldn’t be allowed in school.

    Reply
  6. Louisalou

    Going to the press as other readers suggested may be rushing to the nuclear option. I would start with meeting with administrators. My experience has been that probably won’t lead to results, but it’s worth a try. What about homeschooling for just the middle school years? Those seem to be the worst years for bullying.

    Reply
  7. Charlotte Gilbert

    I have had recent similar experiences with my 9 yr old and his new school. He’s an aspie and his fellow classmates haven’t been accepting of him. I was told the first time it was taken out of context. By the third incident i had enough and went the principal. I have also learned to keep detail logs of who and when I call and cc emails I sent to myself and keep all of their correspondence. Make sure you have a paper trail

    Reply

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