Autism and the Long-Awaited Bullying at SchoolAutism and the Long-Awaited Bullying at School

Why did I create that particular title?

Well, because I was convinced that something like this was going to happen to my child when he was in middle school. It didn’t.

He’s now a freshman in high school.

And, my son is being bullied.

What is happening?

This bullying has apparently been going on since October, according to my son. We didn’t find out about, however, until a week ago.

Why not? Two reasons:

First, our son was trying to handle this situation on his own. He told us that the things these kids were doing didn’t really bother him all that much. For the most part, he knew these kids were not his friends, he understood that he was being picked on, and he almost always just shrugged it off.

Second, the school failed to tell us.

How would it “go down?”

A group of bullies in one of my son’s classes are being led by a Head Bully.

Apparently, Head Bully approaches my son to try to humiliate. This kid, and the others, try to creatively pick on my sons in various ways. Some of the examples are…

*He’ll say, “I love you.” Then, the others will follow suit.

*He’ll try to hand my son a nickel, dime, or quarter. When my son refuses, the Head Bully will call him ungrateful. So will the others.

*Head Bully once handed my son an empty Doritos bag and tried to convince him the trash was worth a million dollars. My son didn’t buy it, of course. Head Bully and the others went on to criticize my son for not believing him (them).

Then, things changed, and these bullies crossed a line.

How did they change?

Head Bully (and one or two of the other bullies) obtained our home address. My son was giving his address to a real friend that’s in his class. The bullies intercepted it.

They told my son that they were coming to our house on the following Sunday for his birthday party.

My son told them that they weren’t invited. But, they said they were coming anyway.

What did my son do?

He began to worry about these kids showing up at our house.

After I picked him up from school, he immediately admitted to me about the bullying. He said he was extremely worried that these non-friends were going to come to our house. He was upset, but spoke calmly and was very articulate. We slowly talked over everything together.

At some point, I explained to him that the bullies were just trying to get him to worry that they would come over, but that they weren’t actually going to do it.

My husband and I told him that it was very unlikely that any of these kids were actually going to show up at our house (and, it turned out, the kids did not come to our house).

I explained that the point of what they did was to make him think that they would come. They wanted to make him worry, yet they weren’t going to actually come.

We talked to our son about all of this. He explained why he had kept it to himself for so long, and he did a very credible job of discussing the issue as a whole. He had confirmed with other friends (real ones) that these bullies were simply doing what bullies do, they were bullying.

We told him that even though he could have told us about the bullying much sooner, still it appeared to us that he seemed to be doing a decent job of handling it. He said that he wasn’t getting upset by these kids, he wasn’t having meltdowns, and he definitely wasn’t going out of his way to further provoke them. He reported that when he sees them or they see him in the hallways, they don’t bother him.

However, the bullying had progressed. Now that these kids obtained our address without the permission of my son, they crossed a line.

We informed our son that because the bullies had overstepped a line by obtaining our home address, and he was concerned enough to tell us about the bullying, then we were going to have to talk to the school about the situation. The time had come.

We wrote an email to the school that afternoon. Since it was a Friday, the school did not respond until the following Monday.

By this time, we had already had the birthday event at our house, and the kids had not showed up.

No harm, no foul, right?

Wrong.

What about the teacher and the school?

In my opinion, this is another topic altogether.

First of all, my son is (apparently) one of two kids in the class who is being bullied by this group.

Second, this has been going on since October, and the teacher had been aware of it. My son reported to us that when the teacher sees the bullying, he stops it.

My son also explained that earlier in the year he was seated right next to one of the bullies. This bully was constantly badgering him. So, my son asked the teacher to change his seat. The teacher complied, and the bullying-during-class stopped. My son was then able to concentrate without that distraction.

Third, why had this been going on for five months and were just hearing about it now?

Hmmm. What took the school so long to inform us that this was happening?

Yes, our son didn’t tell us, but the school (and especially the teacher) knew about it. The teacher had to switch my son’s seat because of a bully.

That’s not worth mentioning?

One question we had was how exactly have they been handling this bullying situation? Apparently, the “when the teacher sees it, he stops it” approach wasn’t exactly working.

And, now the parents know. Because our son told us. And, that’s just not right.

So, what happens now?

I’ll get back to you on that one…Because we know now, and we are not going to allow our son to be bullied. Our son is doing an admirable job of dealing with this horrible issue on his own, but now that we know, the school is on notice. It’s not completely up to the kids to handle these things. They have a responsibility that better not end with one or two meetings.

A group of bullies being allowed to “do their thing” in one class for months should not tolerated.

Autism parents are on it, now. Autism and the Long-Awaited Bullying at School

Here’s a great article about Bullying and Students on the Autism Spectrum:

https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/bullying-and-students-on-the-autism-spectrum

 

More on Kimberly Kaplan:

To purchase “Two Years Autism Blogs Featured on ModernMom.com”

or “A Parentsʼ Guide to Early Autism Intervention” visit Amazon (print or digital) or Smashwords   

Twitter: tipsautismmom          

LinkedIn: Kimberly Kaplan

You can also find this autism blog on ModernMom.com

 

 

 

 

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