Our Child's Teacher Was a Bully: Parents

Nine families complained about the teacher but the district said it was just his teaching style

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    NEWSLETTERS

    There has been a lot of attention focused on kids bullying other kids. Now, some parents want to shift the focus to a problem they also see as pervasive - teachers bullying kids.

    A former public school teacher, Judy now homeschools -- pulling her son out of his elementary school -- after she and her husband say he was bullied.

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    An 83 page complaint filed with a San Diego area school includes allegations against the same teacher made by nine families. The family says it would like to see the district actually champion that as a priority, and include bullying by adults in its anti-bullying policy. Rory Devine reports. (Published Friday, Oct 14, 2011)

    We are not using the last name of the family in order to protect their son who they say is the victim of bullying.

    They say they were alerted to the alleged problem by concerned teachers.

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    “When staff calls you up and says there' s something going on and you need to take a stand well we did," said father Rafael.

    After trying to work it out with the teacher, principal and district to no avail, the family says it realized their experience was not unique.

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    As a result, an 83-page complaint was filed with the district that includes allegations against the same teacher made by nine families.

    “[Students] don't know when a book is going to be snatched out of their hands and thrown across the classroom,” said Judy. “They don't know if teacher is going to scream at them.”

    Rafael and Judy would like to see anti-bullying policies expanded to include not just child to child bullying, but adult to child bullying as well.

    They would like more training so adults know if there is bullying by teachers, coaches, any adult staff, they have an obligation to report it.

    “I think it expands beyond the school we were at, I think it expands beyond the district we're at, I think it's something that occurs nationwide,” said Judy.

    The family says states like Florida have policies regarding teacher bullying that encourage those who witness it to report it.

    While San Diego Unified does have its own administrative rules and regulations about professional misconduct, the family says it would like to see the district actually champion that as a priority, and include bullying by adults in its anti-bullying policy.

    “It needs to be expanded to include adults on campus including staff including parents anyone on campus because bullies exist in all forms shapes and sizes and ages,”

    The area superintendent said there was an investigation.
    He said the allegations were not accurate and the actions of the teacher did not rise to the level of bullying harassment or intimidation.

    The teacher, he says, has high expectation and this was his style of teaching.

    At one time, the district included the adult-to-child bullying guidelines in its safe school policy, but was advised legally to remove them because any complaints would be considered employee conduct and would fall under a personnel issue.