October is Anti-Bullying Month

FROM THE DESK OF SHARON R. BOYD PRESIDENT, PARENTS IN ACTION, INC.: October is Anti-Bullying Month. In our house, you would have thought it was in September, and we wish that it had been August. If it was in August, maybe our September wouldn’t have gone so wrong so fast. Let me explain…
I normally write about my son Austin living with severe Autism, as he is the one that I find myself advocating for the most since he struggles with his autism daily. Unfortunately, Adam became my son that had the bigger struggle. On September 3, I was called to pick Adam up at school due to a panic attack. He has Asperger’s Syndrome, which causes him to have anxiety at times in certain situations. He has never had an IEP, and just last year had his first 504 meeting. We had always been able to work through any issues that he had, and he excelled.
On this particular day though, he was unable to cope with the anxiety by using any of the strategies that he had mostly taught himself. You see, a TEACHER who had a copy of my son’s 504, ignored the signs that Adam was stressed and struggling to compose himself. He IGNORED that his 504 said to allow my son room when he closed his eyes and started doing deep breathing to fight back the tears and hyperventilating that would come if he was pushed further at a time when he couldn’t find his words to ask for a break. The TEACHER berated him in front of his entire class! He singled him out, which is completely AGAINST the accommodations listed in his 504, to the point that he was gasping for air and crying. Adam went to his guidance counselor after class, and I was called to pick him up.
Needless to say, THIS Mama Warrior went into full-on battle mode. Meetings were called after a rapid succession of phone calls. All of this happened in the background as many days passed, each one starting with an attempt to take my son to school followed by an extreme panic attack and needing to turn around and go home. It went even so far as Adam having panic attacks upon waking up. We tried everything in our power to calm him, nothing worked, and it was getting worse.
Adam is now on Hospital Homebound instruction, probably for the full school year, but at least until we can get him back into school without his anxiety level being out of control. He will be receiving a Free Appropriate Public Education this way, unfortunately this is the ONLY way for him to do that because of the actions of this person PAID to educate my son. The TEACHER remains in the school, continuing on in his position as he always has, while my son is no longer able to be educated with his typically developing peers. We pay taxes to ensure the education of the children in our community is sound, but NEITHER (representing both ends of the Autism Spectrum) of my sons can be educated by the taxes that I too have paid.
Now, it is time for me to change the system since my son is on his way toward recovering from what happened. This should serve as a message to everyone that is in authority positions around children. It is NEVER ok to continue pushing a child to the point of tears and extreme anxiety, whether there is a diagnosis on file or not. Children are children, labels don’t matter. ZERO TOLERANCE for BULLYING should also apply to adults. If you choose to ignore this and use your power to intimidate or belittle a child, you should be EXPELLED PERMANENTLY. Accountability is key to change.
I invite my legislators, fellow parents, and educators to join me in asking that TEACHERS be held to the same standards regarding bullying as the children that they are leading by example!
Anti bullying Campaign