More nonsense in the MMS hallways

I brought this up before and was flamed for it by people for reasons I still don't understand. My 8th grade daughter and her friends are still being inappropriately touched and spoken to in the hallways at MMS. She reports packs of boys following them, trying to touch them and saying things like "let me get in that a**" and so forth. She reports that teachers do nothing about this. My kid can take care of herself having lived most of her life in Philly she is street tough. But she should not have to deal with this in the school. We have brought it up with the administration and they responded by asking us to join a parent group. No, do your job and make the hallways safe for our girls. This is ridiculous.

Please - don't yell at me about over reacting or this having never happened to your daughter or whatever else. This is happening to my daughter and some of her friends...that should be enough. I don't know what to do anymore other than be upset and wait till she moves on to high school where the administration seems to give a crap about parents concerns.


You should get an attorney and meet with the school district's anti-bullying attorney. My observation over the years has been that if you raise your concerns with this level of seriousness, people pay attention.

That is sexual harassment. Do you have the names of the boys who are doing this. I would get the names and report those names to the school. If the school takes no action then report it to the police.

I'd have a lawyer involved so quickly it would make their heads spin. Join a parent group? Seriously???

If there is physical contact it is criminal sexual contact, a crime in the 4th degree, and a reportable offense by school personnel under the laws of the state of nj.

If it's ongoing, verbal sexual commentary, it is harassment.

It is not the right of school employees to decide whether or not an assault occurred. If an accusation is raised, it must be reported to law enforcement for investigation, period. The penalties for not doing so are criminal, not administrative or civil (though those may come into play as well).

No wiggle room, no excuses. There have been cases where the accusation has been found to be baseless and the school employee is still charged. Teachers and administrators are not criminal investigators or members of the justice system and must not act as such.

You may want to remind the people you are talking to of this fact, and you are going to want to be super sure of your accusations because they have serious repercussions for people who don't take them seriously.

Good luck.

Edit to add: on a personal level I find this infuriating, as I am sure do most people reading it. Understand this: if you have reported a sexual assault of any character to teachers and administrators and they have not contacted law enforcement a crime has been committed, whether the accusations are true or not.

If they are confused about their responsibilities have them Google "a uniform memorandum of agreement between education and law enforcement officials" and go from there. Specifically 4.12 of the memorandum.



I don't think that you need an attorney at this point, but would encourage you to put the complaint in writing and send to principal while cc'ing everyone up the chain (MS anti-bullying person, acting superintendent, district's attorney.) I think it would help to quote exactly what is being said to your daughter and friends, include the frequency of the harassment, be clear to label this behavior as harassment based on gender that creates a hostile school environment, and absolutely include that you have reported this behavior before and nothing was done to address it. State and federal laws are clear on the school's obligation to address this. There are good resources here: http://www.state.nj.us/education/students/safety/behavior/hib/ and also here: http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/new-jersey.html See especially the Guidance for Parents at the first link. Good luck. Your daughter should not have to put up with this.

Tell the administration you are getting the police involved if they don't do something concrete about this problem. If they don't respond appropriately, go file a report

Get video or audio evidence. Then present it to admin, give it to media, post it online, etc. That should get things moving swiftly.

ctrzaska said:

I'd have a lawyer involved so quickly it would make their heads spin. Join a parent group? Seriously???


Fer sure! The administration has had their chances to address this and haven't. Time's up folks!

finnegan said:

I don't think that you need an attorney at this point, but would encourage you to put the complaint in writing and send to principal while cc'ing everyone up the chain (MS anti-bullying person, acting superintendent, district's attorney.) I think it would help to quote exactly what is being said to your daughter and friends, include the frequency of the harassment, be clear to label this behavior as harassment based on gender that creates a hostile school environment, and absolutely include that you have reported this behavior before and nothing was done to address it. State and federal laws are clear on the school's obligation to address this. There are good resources here: http://www.state.nj.us/education/students/safety/behavior/hib/ and also here: http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/new-jersey.html See especially the Guidance for Parents at the first link. Good luck. Your daughter should not have to put up with this.


The advantage of hiring an attorney is that:
1. It demonstrates that you are very serious.
2. Any attorney can help you distinguish between the law and your personal outrage.

My personal observation of some situations in the district is that when parents engage an attorney, complaints are taken rather more seriously.

Anyway, if you hire an attorney, it does not mean you are going to sue. I does mean that you are very serious about your complaint.

The suggested solution of joining a parents' group is a pretty clear indication that the administration believes the victims and their families are most responsible for ending the harassment. Parents' groups are great for a lot of things, but controlling misbehavior depends on the adults in authority at the school. No one's going to be scared straight by the fact that six adults you don't know got together last Thursday night with a Box of Joe to talk about hallway problems.

tjohn said:

finnegan said:

I don't think that you need an attorney at this point, but would encourage you to put the complaint in writing and send to principal while cc'ing everyone up the chain (MS anti-bullying person, acting superintendent, district's attorney.) I think it would help to quote exactly what is being said to your daughter and friends, include the frequency of the harassment, be clear to label this behavior as harassment based on gender that creates a hostile school environment, and absolutely include that you have reported this behavior before and nothing was done to address it. State and federal laws are clear on the school's obligation to address this. There are good resources here: http://www.state.nj.us/education/students/safety/behavior/hib/ and also here: http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/new-jersey.html See especially the Guidance for Parents at the first link. Good luck. Your daughter should not have to put up with this.


The advantage of hiring an attorney is that:
1. It demonstrates that you are very serious.
2. Any attorney can help you distinguish between the law and your personal outrage.

My personal observation of some situations in the district is that when parents engage an attorney, complaints are taken rather more seriously.

Anyway, if you hire an attorney, it does not mean you are going to sue. I does mean that you are very serious about your complaint.


With or without an attorney - I think there is some very good advice here about not giving up and escalating the strength of your complaint. What your daughter is dealing with is outrageous, as is the lack of response to your concerns. In addition to the above actions I would involve the HSA and have them use their influence to address the concerns. There is a facebook group where you can reach out to see if anyone else has similar concerns https://www.facebook.com/groups/mmshsa/ or https://www.facebook.com/MaplewoodMiddleHSA and you can reach Wendy or Sharon (the co-presidents) to bring it to the Presidents' Council meeting.


Clearly the new discipline plan is not being carried out. You need to escalate this now. Sorry your daughter is having to deal with this.

cleg said:

Please - don't yell at me about over reacting or this having never happened to your daughter or whatever else. This is happening to my daughter and some of her friends...that should be enough. I don't know what to do anymore other than be upset and wait till she moves on to high school where the administration seems to give a crap about parents concerns.


If anyone tells you that you're over-reacting, they are insane. This is wrong and it must stop. I hope you get a solution very soon.

I think all the suggestions are very helpful but I don't think you should have to spend your money to hire an attorney to induce the school authorities to enforce discipline ( and the law). I would not waste time with the HSA. They are a wonderful organization but this is out of their purview. Your daughter is being assaulted and sexually harassed. I would speak to the principal immediately. I would inform him that you are reporting the assault and his lack of appropriate action to the police and the superintendent and letting him know as a courtesy.

Have you used the word "bullying" with the school? There is a very specific procedure, backed by force of NJ law, when you invoke that term. It requires higher levels of documentation and process. The school will try to talk you out of it, but they must start the process if you insist. The documentation will also help with the legal case. But you must use the specific term.

There is a wonderful resource in Montclair -- Garden State Equality. They take on bullying in schools, regardless of whether its LGBTQ related or not.

They were a tremendous help to my young nephew who was being bullied and harassed in school (not related to sexual orientation).

http://www.gardenstateequality.org/issues/bullying/

Call Garden State Equality’s Anti-Bullying Helpline at 1 (877) NJ-BULLY anytime between 10am – 7pm Monday- Friday whether you are a bullied student or the parent or concerned friend of a bullied student.

You are being a wonderful advocate for your daughter and her friends -- get more support!

Call the boys' parents

With all respect to fellow posters, let me re-iterate.

http://www.state.nj.us/education/schools/security/regs/agree.pdf

4.12 for the boil down.

https://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/criminal/charges/sexual014.pdf

The criminal sexual contact statute, which would apply in the scenario described by the OP.

Bullying, calling a lawyer- fine. But if a complaint was made and ignored or deflected without involving law enforcement the law was broken. You do not need to go hat in hand asking them to reconsider, or use special words.

If I was the principle or super I'd be very interested in this thread, if for no other reason than self preservation.

Got to have a video

knowlton said:

Call the boys' parents


Absolutely not.


Another resource

New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention
http://www.njbullying.org

dg64
Curious why you don't think parents should be called?

knowlton said:

dg64
Curious why you don't think parents should be called?


That's a role for the school, not the parent of the bullied child.

If I knew the parents and knew the kids, I might discuss with the parents. Otherwise, I would not.

I'm say call the parent of the kids who are doing the bullying. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

My daughter has complained about similar problems in the hallways at MMS and on school grounds. Her complaints were not effective because she didn't have the names of the kids. The parent/teacher group was created as a way to change the inappropriate behavior that is going on at the school and to reduce the suspension rate in the school(as mandated by the state). It's obviously going to take a long time to change the inappropriate behaviors. Please complain to the principal and have your daughter be able to identify the individuals. Have her tell her friends to complain to a teacher or administrator as soon as it happens and let them know exactly who is responsible. I was told that was the only way the administration could do anything about the problem.

suzyc said:

My daughter has complained about similar problems in the hallways at MMS and on school grounds. Her complaints were not effective because she didn't have the names of the kids. The parent/teacher group was created as a way to change the inappropriate behavior that is going on at the school and to reduce the suspension rate in the school(as mandated by the state). It's obviously going to take a long time to change the inappropriate behaviors. Please complain to the principal and have your daughter be able to identify the individuals. Have her tell her friends to complain to a teacher or administrator as soon as it happens and let them know exactly who is responsible. I was told that was the only way the administration could do anything about the problem.



This is outrageous. "We can't do anything about it unless you know the name of the people assaulting you". No cameras in the school? No witnesses? No teachers or employees see this going on?

You're responsible for conducting your own investigation if you want anything done. Is that about right?

Who are these people? The "cut down on suspensions" mandate is now something that must rest upon the shoulders of our daughters? Just take it, we want to make the administration look better?

Outrageous. Outrageous.

There are cameras in the school.

like many have mentioned get a lawyer involved, this is a serious matter and if the school is treating it as a petty one then let them face the law.. this is THEIR problem..


In order to add a comment – you must Join this community – Click here to do so.