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Harassment at school

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KristineIowa

Junior Member
Hello -

This is the male of the couple typing this, despite the username.

Our daughter, let's call her "Ginny," has been harassed for months at her school. She is 14 and in 9th grade. It began with her first boyfriend (dubbed, Squirrel-boy for now, also 14) who got a little extra handsy a few times, so she got uncomfortable and broke it off and reported it.

The boy has done nothing but escalate his behavior ever since. He followed her around after she told him she wanted nothing to do with him and to please stay away. He would use lots of attention getting behavior like approaching her when with friends, taking over conversations, running in front of her in gym class, spreading rumors about her online, threaten suicide, blame her for his mental health issues, etc..

Then last month, he wrote her a note threatening her. She watched him writing it and after we submitted it to the police, he admitted to writing it. No punishment has been handed down for this beyond an initial 2-day suspension for another unrelated matter he was involved in. We filed a harassment complaint after the note and Ginny stayed away from school because she didn't feel safe in the same building with Sq.B.

We already have an attorney but I am asking these questions to help determine what questions I should ask the attorney, police, etc..

The school principal defends this boy every chance he gets. Ginny is being threatened for truancy because she can't be near her assailant (threats count as assault in our state - Iowa). Sq.B is also guilty by definition of stalking and harassment. We FINALLY got her go to back to school to try and get back to normal (even though SqB still sits there, smug in his vindication) and then the dance came. Ginny went with another boy.

SqB was warned about harassment and in this state that includes physical and even visual proximity without cause. He approached her at least 5 times that night of the dance. My wife was there and watched them. She counted some of them as possibly incidental (we know better but to convince someone its is deliberate is harder). The last two were obviously intentional and we had witnesses watching for him to approach so we can have him formally charged with harassment.

The principal defended him, again, in front of witnesses and parents who were complaining about Sq.B. The resource officer at the school is also defending him, despite the witnesses saying they watched him spying Ginny all night long and waiting to approach her when no one was looking each time. They even had the ability to determine his intent on the last incident because they pulled Ginny away and others stepped between him and her. The SRO is trying to manipulate everyone's testimony to make it seem like they are saying they weren't sure or that he was near them accidentally or because the wastebasket was there, which is all a load of crap. The SRO is saying that if he didn't speak to her or touch her it doesn't count.

It reminds me of the older brother who waves his hands one inch from your face saying, "not touching, can't get mad!"

I am looking online and cannot find any script of what a juvenile harassment warning has on it, if there is one. Does anyone know? It almost HAS to include something about proximity since it is in the law. Sq.B violated that law. IF the warning included "stay away from her," he is guilty. If it didn't, the person reading him the the warning didn't do his or her job and Sq.B is STILL guilty (ignorance not being a defense). He didn't need to be in that place at that time, period.

I don't know why they are defending this kid. We have a well-documented (I mean a ream of paper in printouts of evidence, transcripts, phone records, screenshots, testimony, etc.) over 5 months of this boy bothering her. We have launched Title IX, State and Federal Civil Rights complaints, local investigation and will soon be filing suit against the school district if they do not get this kid away from my daughter. I realize we cannot dictate what a school does or what law enforcement does. Ginny constantly cries and says things like, "my school doesn't care about me," and, "I should have never come forward."

Even in the middle of #metoo we have people who ignore a girl's cries for help and dismiss her claims so we can defend the boy.

I am open to people "tearing this apart" as I am certain I left things out, need better organization, whatever. Any advice is appreciated.
 


quincy

Senior Member
Because you have a lawyer working with you on handling the boy's harassment of your daughter, you should rely on his advice and direction. The attorney is in the best position to know what is going on, and why.

Here for informational purposes is a link to Iowa's laws on school bullying and harassment (which includes threats), with some ways to address incidents of bullying and harassment:
 
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KristineIowa

Junior Member
No, our dealings have been with the school, the police and our attorney. We meet with the latter again next week so I will ask that question.
 

not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
No, our dealings have been with the school, the police and our attorney. We meet with the latter again next week so I will ask that question.
Well, you know you're getting nothing from the principal. Do continue to report violations of the student code of conduct in accordance with your district's policies. After a suitable time (of non-response or inadequate response), reiterate the complaints against the students, the actions you've taken, and your dissatisfaction with the school's responses to the superintendent of schools (or whatever the administrative head of your school district is called) and the Board of Education. Keep well documented paper trail of everything.

Additionally, make a police report of anything you believe to be assault or harassment or violation of the SRO. Schools tend to avoid the police - schools like the idea of sweeping such things under the rug, perhaps in some cases to improve their statistics - things that, if they went on between adults, would result in an arrest. It does not matter at this time whether the police follow up - you need the documentation that at this point in time, this is what Ginny is alleging.

Get Ginny into therapy or counselling with a qualified professional not employed by the school district. If she is terrified of school, she needs the help. It will also help any legal case if an unbiased party can attest to how this has affected Ginny.

In addition to discussing with your lawyer the possibility of pursuing a complaint with juvenile court, look into nearby educational options for Ginny. While it may seem like "running away" from the problem, your first and foremost goal is for Ginny to get a high school education, and where she currently is, her educational needs are not being met, because she is not in a safe environment. If the school district cannot provide Ginny with a safe learning environment, then perhaps they should foot the bill for her to go to school out of district. Seriously. It happens.

I am sorry to hear that Ginny is going through this, but I am glad that she has been brave enough to let the adults in her life know some of what has been going on. I have no special insight into the principal's inaction. He could be friends with the parents, or feel sorry for the rejected boy, or just naively believe that at his heart, the boy is good. Alternatively, he could have issues of his own, which will someday come to light. Whatever the reason it does not matter.

What matters is that Ginny is protected, gets help, and is allowed the opportunity to go to school in a supportive climate where she can learn and focus, rather than fear being discriminated against and/or verbally and/ or physically harassed.
 

justalayman

Senior Member
It also depends on which state. Some states have more robust protections against bullying than others.
Given the username I suspect it’s iowa




Mr. KristineIowa, I would ask the attorney if they advise seeking a restraining order or order of protection or whatever your state calls such things.
 

KristineIowa

Junior Member
Yes, Iowa :)

We have done everything not2clever suggested, in addition to filing a Title IX investigation (which I think will be useless as the Title IX coordinator is a school employee, and given that teachers have no due process in Iowa anymore, she will ultimately choose her own job over my daughter) and the OCR complaints listed above.

We have looked into three alternate high schools for next year, 2 public, 1 private. Ginny has been seeing a counselor for a few years now so that is already taken care of, and this counselor has already agreed to testify/deposition, should it be needed.

It comes down to this -- the compulsory education law trumps the harassment warning so he has a right to be in the building, even within arm's reach of her every day. Head of Investigations (PD) and Superintendent have told me this. Even if charged with harassment again and arrested, he will be immediately released to his parents and be back the following school day. The school and police have essentially said, "we are following the law and doing the minimum necessary for this, so go pound sand."

So now in the chains of command, I am up to Senator in the state legislature and one who happened to serve in the School Board until elected Senator, and who is on the Education committee. I am asking them to draft a clarification or addendum to the law concerning accused harassers and public property. Likely a long process, but we will keep Ginny safe in the mean time.

And, I have a couple (free) ways to keep the attention of the parents on the school district, without being sued.

We are making sure all of the paperwork on all incidents is filed correctly and with the police, not the school (since they don't care) while we wait.
 

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