DR. WALLACE: I am the mother of two high school students. My son is a junior, and my daughter is a sophomore. They are attending a small private school and have had a religious education.
The young man who wrote to you in a recent column complaining about bullying could have been my son; what I read so closely mirrored the experiences he has endured. I am paying $7,000 a year to a private school for both of my children to attend, and I thought it was a good one. I found out this year from two of my son's friends that he was being bullied beyond belief at this very school last year, and the bullying has continued into this school year as well.
Our family was not the only one affected. The parents of another student who was being bullied went to the principal about their daughter. She was on crutches, and these bullies would trip her and then laugh when she fell down. The principal said he would "look into it," but nothing was ever done.
Now three students are leaving the school entirely because of the behavior of these bullies, and still nothing is being done to stop them.
Please print my letter in the hopes that some parents will see their child as a bully and stop them before some other child goes through what my son did. It is infuriating to me that the school administration has not taken these situations seriously. I feel my only hope now is for another parent to realize their child is the bully — and hopefully put an end to this behavior. I'm holding out hope, but I don't have a lot of confidence that anything will change anytime soon. — Frustrated Mother, Boston
FRUSTRATED MOTHER: A principal has both the authority and responsibility to see that students are free from the physical and emotional pain dished out by a bully. Bullying is rare or nonexistent in schools where principals are dedicated to the elimination of bullying. Trust me, it can be done. So, the next step in my opinion is to form a community group of concerned parents who are willing to make contact with both the ownership of this private school and the top levels of this corporation's management (which will likely be someone other than the current principal.)
Do not stop taking action; it is critical that you follow this issue through, up to the very highest levels. Do this first — and if you still are not receiving any responsible actions, you still have two more powerful entities to utilize in your efforts to make things right: the press (your local newspaper and/or television station would likely commence an investigative report) and local law enforcement. I would only engage these last two sources if school ownership and upper management fail to take action first. Give them that opportunity, but be prepared to escalate your efforts if needed. Keep up the good fight; it is essential that our nation's children can attend school without being systemically and continually bullied on campus. You own the moral high ground; use it to gain a positive resolution.
LET HIM GO AND MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE
DR. WALLACE: Two weeks ago, I broke up with my boyfriend because he didn't know the meaning of "stop." He continued to be sexually aggressive against my wishes. Now he is dating a very popular girl, whom I despise. After thinking it over, I think I can get my ex back and train him to behave. It makes me ill to think that Miss Popularity is dating the guy I dumped. Do you understand where I'm coming from? Do you think I should try to get my ex back? — Second Thoughts, via email
SECOND THOUGHTS: Trust me, you really don't want your ex back. The problems you had with him are now Miss Popularity's problems. Let him go, and move on with your life. If the green monster of jealousy continues to play havoc with your emotions, just remember that this girl is dating a guy YOU dumped. You deserve better, and the sooner you start looking for a suitable alternative to your ex, the sooner you will ultimately find yourself in a good relationship with a guy you respect — and respects you.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.