I am deviating from my usual political commentary to share a very personal story. My 12 year old daughter was viciously attacked by a 14 year old girl on May 15, 2010 while she was at Lake Ronkonkoma with one of her friends. My daughter was knocked unconscious and sustained multiple facial contusions and suffered a concussion. The police were called and we took my daughter to Stony Brook Emergency Room.
The police took over an hour to respond. When the officer arrived, he really didn’t want to be bothered writing up a report. I said I wanted the girl arrested. I asked him to interview all the witnesses to the attack. He said he would turn it over to PCS Team 2 who would call me and it would be their responsibility to track down and talk to witnesses. Needless to say I was furious that an on scene investigation would not be conducted. On Monday, May 17, a detective from the 4th precinct contacted us and interviewed my daughter. The girl is going to be arrested and charged with assault in the 3rd degree. However, the detective informed us that since she is a minor she will probably only get a slap on the wrist.
This girl who attacked my daughter originally started bullying her on facebook in February of this year. She has posted horrendous stuff on facebook about my daughter and had continually harassed and threatened her. She was afraid to go to school because of this girl and her posse of thugs. I printed out the facebook postings and had my daughter bring them to her assistant principal. The principal assured me that the girls would be called into his office and warned to leave my daughter alone. Within a few weeks, a girl associated with this group continued to threaten my daughter. Word was out around the school that she wanted to beat up my daughter. My daughter decided to meet the girl and fight, hoping the other kids would see she wasn’t afraid of them and finally leave her alone. Well my daughter got her butt whooped and someone at the fight filmed it and posted it on you tube.
Fast forward to May 15 and the attack on my daughter described above. My daughter didn’t want to go to school on Monday May 17. I told her she had to go and if anyone started anything with her to go to the assistant principal. Within a few hours, the school nurse called and said my daughter was sick and wanted to come home. I told my daughter I would come get her, but I wanted to know if she was sick because she was feeling threatened. She said the best friend of the girl who attacked her told people she was going to fight my daughter. Later that day it was even posted on facebook. I immediately took my daughter into the assistant principal’s office to tell him of this latest threat. He asked my daughter if she wanted him to call the girl in and tell her to stay away from her. My daughter was reluctant because of the “snitch” stigma, but finally agreed. On Tuesday, my daughter refused to go to school because she was too scared because of all the facebook postings about her and the threats. I told her my husband and I would take her to school and demand the assistant principal do something to protect her. I told the assistant principal that we were sick of this and we want something done. I informed him that we were well aware of this group of kids and how they are terrorizing the school. Four out of five girls in my religion class were beaten up by members of this group. In fact one of the girls refused to go school any longer, and is home tutored. She was so terrified of these kids and in now on medication for depression and anxiety. He said he would call the kids in and tell them to stay away from my daughter. I said this wasn’t good enough since these kids obviously haven’t listened to him in the past. The assistant principal then asked my daughter if she would feel better if he had a security guard near my daughter after every class to make sure no one attacked her. My daughter accepted the offer and was escorted around the school yesterday by a security guard.
After the meeting with the assistant principal, I called the detective to tell him that the address I gave him for my daughter’s attacker was not correct. I told him the school had her address and to ask him. He told me the schools would not cooperate and was there some other way to find out her address. I told him I would have my 18 year old daughter ask around school to see if anyone had the address. I immediately went back to the assistant principal and asked why they could not give the police the girl’s address. He said the school is not allowed to give out this information. I said this was outrageous and asked him if my daughter walks off school property and gets killed by this girl is the school responsible? He said no, they are not responsible and they can’t give out the information. I am just appalled that the school can not even give the girls information to the detective who is going to arrest her!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As you can probably surmise, I am fed up with this whole situation. The girl who attacked my daughter and her group of friends have been terrorizing the kids in their middle school. These kids are constantly given in school suspensions and out of school suspensions, which they enjoy. These so called disciplinary actions have done nothing to deter the behavior of these kids. Why do innocent kids have to stay home from school because of fear, while the thugs roam the halls wreaking their terror? The school system protects the rights of the victimizers rather than the rights of the victims, in my opinion. I also ask myself where are the parents of these kids? If my child were constantly suspended, they would be grounded for life. They wouldn’t be bragging about it all over facebook and roaming the streets looking for trouble. If the criminal justice system or the school system can’t get these parents to take responsibility for their child, then maybe a civil action would. Maybe the parents would get their little thugs under control if they were sued for monetary damages.
I urge all concerned citizens to show their support for Legislator Jon Cooper’s bill to criminalize cyber bullying http://www.legislatorcooper.com/pressrelease_267.html . In addition it’s time for parents to take back our schools. We need to hold school districts accountable for their laughable and ineffective disciplinary actions. Parents need to encourage their kids to be open and honest about any bullying they are experiencing. Don’t be afraid to get in the school administrator’s face and demand action. Don’t be afraid to press charges, there are sympathetic detectives who will go to bat for you. This problem is at epidemic levels, and chances are your child will eventually become a victim too.