Mother Helps Daughter Fight Long Battle Against Bullying

February 13th, 2012 | Posted by Jessica in Parents | Thoughts | Your Voices - (0 Comments)

Karrie, a mother of a young girl named Elise, and I connected over Twitter. Karrie was actually one of the very first people to help promote the Twitter, Facebook, and website for MyKindnessCounts. Karrie has encouraged and inspired me through her encouraging tweets, kind words, and her courageous battle against bullying for her daughter. With all that she and her daughter have been through, I thought her story might really resonate with other parents who are going through a similar situation with their own children. Thankfully, Karrie and Elise agreed to share there story with us. Before you read her story below, please watch the clip of Karrie and Elise being feature on a local news station:

In November of 2010, my daughter Elise started a long journey no child should ever have to take. It all started on the bus when a few older kids began teasing her. The teasing then led to one of the boys punching my daughter in the face, giving her a black eye. While we are still not sure why this happened, one theory is that this boy liked my daughter and was upset when she didn’t like him back.

Over the course of the next five months, Elise continued to be tormented on the bus. She was tripped, kicked, punched and shoved, and for each incident, I called the school to report what had happened. I was told by the school that these kids would have to sit in the front of the bus and if they tormented my daughter again, they would be kicked off the bus. This promise was not kept. Later in the school year, Elise’s chin was split open from being hit with a seat belt. The school nurse reported this incident to be an accident and told my daughter it was an accident as well. My daughter, terrified by what had happened, just went along with what the adult told her. Elise never rode the bus again that year and nothing was ever done to address the bullying behavior my daughter experienced.

When Elise stopped riding the bus, the kids then took the torment into school and online. At school, she was tripped in the hallways and pushed into lockers. She was attacked in gym glass on two separate occasions, one time with a bruised thumb and the other with a black eye and visual disturbances. The nurse recorded these incidents as accidents. In class, Elise was stabbed with pencils, had fingernails gouged into her arm, and had things thrown at her. On another occasion, Elise was shoved to the ground by a group of boys outside the high school (which the school refused to look into). And during the last ten days of school, my daughter was punched, kicked, and screamed at by six girls during her home base class (the teacher then sent Elise to see the vice principal to get her out of the room). Believe it or not, I was never called by the school and those girls were never punished. My daughter never returned to school after that day, except once to take her finals.

Online, Facebook pages were made and hate filled text messages were sent. Some kids made up a fake Yahoo! e-mail account for her, which they then used to make a fake Facebook for one of her friends. They sent out threatening and hateful e-mails claiming she was the one doing it.

As a result of all that harassment and bullying my daughter endured, she she couldn’t eat and ultimately lost a lot of weight. She was put on medication to help her sleep, but even then could only rest after crying herself to sleep. My daughter wouldn’t talk to anyone because she lost sight of who she could trust, which only made the problem worse. And after being told she could die and because no one liked her, she would not be missed, she often would just sit in her room crying feeling alone and helpless.

I knew I had to help my daughter fight back. I couldn’t get the school to respond, so we went to the media. At first only one person got back to us. He did a Sunday Edition front page story that ran three months after we first contacted him. My daughter told him everything about the bullying and the schools lack of action. From there, she then went on the Anderson Cooper Show to share her story, and have also since done five local news stories.

Believe it or not, as a result of the media coverage, Elise continued to be bullied at school. While there were less kids doing the bullying, rumors continued to swirl around my daughter about alleged substance abuse, physical attacks on younger students, and mean-spirited remarks about her appearance. When my daughter would tell on these kids, she was called a drama queen.

Once again, I took matters into my own hands. I contacted the Board of Education in our state and was told that I could file a complaint against my daughter’s treatment by the administration and staff. Unfortunately, this had to be done within 30 days of the complaint and by that time, I had already taken my daughter out of the school district.

Elise is now in an alternative school and is doing great. She has many friends, her self-confidence is coming back, and she is slowly beginning to trust the teachers and administrators at her new school. Elise has been able to recognize that mean things said to her in the past really don’t matter and were purely driven by hate. She has also vowed to continue to use the media as a tool to combat bullying. She says that she won’t stop until bullying stops and no other child takes their life because of other people’s hate. I’m very proud of my twelve year old little girl. She is an inspiration and her courage has already given many others hope.

Thank you so much, Karrie for sharing your daughter’s story.  Truly admirable!