More accommodating of bullies than kids with ADHD

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    • #127309

      Does anyone else feel like their school is more accommodating of bullies than kids with ADHD? The bullies seem to get away with murder at my child’s school and yet, if my ADHD child does the slightest thing, he is called into the principal’s office. Why the double standard?

    • #127312

      I was sitting here really upset with our school system and read your post. I really don’t get what or where they get some of their “rules” from. I do know how you feel, all 3 of my boys are ADHD. I knew when I got a call from the school one of them did something to get in trouble. The older they got the less calls I received. I honestly feel that once they are labeled a troubled child. If something happens your child is the first one they look at. My youngest son is 16 years old. When he was in elementary school he was in the principal’s office, it seemed like weekly. There were times when my son got blamed for things he didn’t do. I know this because my son wasn’t afraid to say, how it was. He went to middle school and I never received a call. He is now a sophomore in high school and I still haven’t gotten a call. I ran into his elementary principal a few years ago. He asked me how my son was doing and I said to him, he is doing great and I haven’t gotten any calls from the principal. His comment to me was good, it must be the teachers. The teachers made all the difference. He walked away and I just stood there, thinking about what he said. About the bullies in school. My son has told me and even some of my son’s friends. They are afraid of telling on a bully. They have seen a student tell on a bully and the bully bullies that student even more. Now that they are in high school, it is not uncommon for a bully to hit another student for telling. My son has said to me if he gets hit, he isn’t going to just let the kid keep hitting him, he will fight back. Our school system rules are if you get into fight doesn’t matter who started it or what it is about. Both students are expelled from school. Another one of their wonderful rules I don’t get is a student is only allowed 10 absent days a year. Doesn’t matter if they are excused with a doctor’s note or unexcused. After that CPS, police, prosecutors office are called. I could see a problem if the student is skipping school but if they are really sick. Doesn’t make any sense to me.

    • #127392


      I had this one kid who kept picking on my child. When I mentioned it the PRINCIPAL called and said “He is such a good kid. That doesn’t sound like him at all.”

    • #127594
      Dr. Eric

      There are a bunch of reasons for this.

      First, impulsive- ADHD behaviors are not calculated to be done when and where staff is least likely to witness, like the behaviors of most bullies 5th grade or above. I literally had a school psychologist in a high school teach kids with IEPs how not to get caught for behaviors that all high school kids engage in… his justification was, “It is not their behavior that is special ed, it is how they get caught.”

      Second, from the administrator’s point of view, being able to have a clean investigation with adequate evidence against a bully is EXTREMELY difficult. Unless staff witnesses directly, the students don’t report until they are already at breaking point. Unfortunately, without a clean case, we generally have to build a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” case.

      The most common scenarios when I have been able to be aggressive with a bully’s discipline are:

      1 – Online bullying. Although this can be some of the most aggressive/worst bullying, the silver lining is that it leaves an evidence trail. In California, we are allowed to discipline online bullying even if it occurs after-hours or at home. This is not the case for live bullying. (Practice pointer – if you are aware of of online bullying print both the offending evidence AND identifying evidence immediately. I have to be able to prove who “FortnightFan17” is before I can discipline them.

      2 – The bully has a predictable pattern, and we are tipped off early enough. Example, the bully found a gap on the grounds in our dismissal supervision. After the tip, we “happened” to have a teacher observing from a tinted window with a radio where the bully has been getting away with it.

      3 – After an incident or two of incidents where we cannot meet the evidence threshold for more aggressive action, they sign a restrictive behavior plan that restricts contact with certain students or certain areas of campus. We cannot get them cleanly for bullying, but we can get the contract violation. This is the school equivalent of sending Al Capone to jail for tax evasion.

      Most of these policies are not really based on the school, they all come from our State Education code. If we don’t follow them. The offender gets off on a technicality and can potentially sue us for damages. A lot of the legal pressure making it harder to suspend and expel is based on the disproportionality that student with disabilities and poor students get disciplined.

      This is the same with the rules for mutual combat. The law is written as all or nothing. You are either 100% the victim with no actions that show a refusal to disengage or escalate (said something back, didn’t walk away when reasonably able to do so, etc), or it is considered 50/50 mutual combat. I have literally witnessed only 5-6 cases in 20 years where I felt confident that I could justify calling one party 100% victim. In half of them, the victim had lost their cool and got in a final cheap shot when I was restraining the bully. At that point, my hands were tied.

    • #141550

      That was my experience as a kid with ADHD. I was constantly blamed and punished for the most minor things and bullies would get away scott free. I had one particularly nasty vice principal from Texas (I lived in Rhode Island) who had a very biased attitude against special needs kids (she actually told me once “you have no purpose at this school and nobody wants you here. Special Ed Kids have no place in normal schools.”) She would invent reasons for me to get in trouble, even when logic dictated otherwise. She was once asked to inform my mother of a minor incident involving me verbally bullying someone, an incident that was resolved and taken care of. Instead of simply notifying mom of the incident and its resolution she called and threatened to have me arrested and taken to jail for making threats. I was 16 at the time and have never been a discipline problem before; I had never even gotten in trouble before. I was a solid A and B student. She made the mistake of not understanding my mom was an educational advocate and had strong friendships with the state attorney’s, special education director and the principal. She got her butt handed to her. Turns out she was doing this sort of thing to many special education students and was trying to get us to dropout of school or get expelled because she didn’t like us. Her contract was eventually terminated and she was forced out of our school district.

      I had problems with teachers too, they would most often sympathize with the bully and would tell me to stop being “dramatic” or “seeking attention.” It always felt weird to me because the last thing I wanted was attention, I just wanted to get through a day without being verbally abused, physically attacked, sexually harassed or tortured by other students or teachers.

      The worst feeling I ever had in school was going to an adult and knowing they weren’t going to believe me or do anything to help me. Getting told to “just ignore it” was always the worst feeling. How can I ignore somebody bullying me all day?

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