Not my typical storytelling blog, I’m updating people about the continuing saga
Here are excerpts from two emails from the head of the school. I haven’t heard anything about what specifically is going to happen at school. I did call the mom of Ellie, who was entirely appropriate and decent. They asked that I send them copies of what was posted to Jasper, which I did. Here are the letters from the school:
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We were not aware of the depth of the problem as you have described it in your email, and I appreciate being made aware of it. We will follow-up in more detail as we look into the matter. I would say, however, that I do not agree with your assertion that we don’t take bullying seriously. We do, and we are active in working with students and parents if this is an issue. I don’t think that whispering, elbowing and pointing are part of the our school experience for the vast majority of students. Unfortunately, as evident by your email, it has happened to Jasper, and we will look into this and take action as we need to. I will again reiterate that it is the exception at our school when this happens; it is not part and parcel of the experience.
I should also say that I believe that some of Jasper’s relationships are much more complex than perhaps the way you described them in your email. I am sorry that you and Jasper feel that teachers and administrators here have been unresponsive. Over the course of this year, Jasper’s teachers and I have spent a great deal of time with Jasper and with other students involving relationships and behavior. I feel like we have been very responsive when we have been notified of a situation. There are always two sides of every situation, and it will be important to understand the other side as well.
Again, we appreciate you providing us with your input. We are concerned with some of the behavior—both here and through the use of technology at home–as you have reported it to us, and we will follow up with you as we look into this matter some more.
He’s right. I was a little vitriolic towards the school. I could have done that better. Then later in the day:
I’ve been thinking a great deal about the email you sent this morning. We will be working with the students at school, but I also think it’s important that you share the emails that you received from Ellie with her parents. I know that if my child was sending this type of email, I would want to hear from the parent of the child receiving the emails. Would you be willing to share the emails that were sent to Jasper with Ellie’s mom? I think we will have better luck changing behavior if we approach this from multiple angles.
I will also be sending a letter to all parents asking for their help in controlling technology at home. We also are in discussions with the St. Louis Park Police Department to have a police officer come in to discuss cyber bullying and the risks of becoming too involved with technology. I think it’s important for you to know that we contacted the police department last week about this, so it is not the result of your email. It is something that we feel is a potential threat to our students.
I’ll update the blog with new information if there is any. I’m not sure how I feel about the response I’m getting from the school, but it does seem to be evolving in the right direction, so I’ll wait.