My daughter CJ has been harassed by another student in her school for the past three years – from eighth grade through her sophomore year in high school.
CJ befriended this girl when she started the school year as a new student. But when she shared some unsettling secrets with her, CJ told my husband and me. We recommended that CJ talk to the principal, and the principal talked to the student. Afterward, the girl confronted CJ, asking if she’d told the principal. My daughter was honest and said yes, explaining she was concerned for her.
And this is when the harassment started.
This post isn’t long enough to detail everything that has happened. But since then, I’ve watched my daughter struggle with this student maliciously lying about her and trying to separate her from her friends. For months, CJ was anxious before school and exhausted when she came home.
There were days I sat in my car and cried while I watched my daughter walk into school. Nights that I laid awake battling anger toward some of the school administrators who set up boundaries and then didn’t enforce them. I even struggled with anger against the teen girl who was verbally bullying my daughter.
I was my daughter’s mother. I was supposed to protect her – and yet, nothing I said or did stopped what was happening. For three years.
I’ve learned some hard lessons during this time as I’ve fought, wept, and prayed my way through my daughter’s ongoing trial. If your child is being bullied or harassed:
- Go through the proper administrative channels for help, but realize this may not stop the bullying. My husband and I repeatedly met with school administrators. The school handbook clearly prohibits harassment. And yet, the problem continues. Administrators tried to be “compassionate” and “fair” – but bullying is not about being fair to both students involved. One is doing wrong and one is being Ultimately, we realized their methods were not going to protect our daughter. NOTE: We did consider transferring CJ to another school. However, she wanted to stay because she’s attended this school since preschool and is very involved in leadership and athletics.
- Remind your child it is not their fault they are being harassed/bullied. Sometimes CJ would replay the situation in her mind and ask, “Should I have done something differently?” We always reminded her that she acted out of concern for her friend. There is never a good reason for ongoing verbal cruelty.
- Pray for them. Besides praying daily for CJ, I also gathered a small group of friends who prayed for her. I can text them anytime and give them specific requests. It encourages my daughter to know she has “spiritual ground support” behind her if she’s having a rough day.
- Help your child to forgive – and help yourself to forgive, too. I admit this situation – and the fact that it still flares up – angers me. My daughter still gets upset at times, too, but we’ve put boundaries and safeguards in place to protect her. CJ prays daily for this girl. I pray to completely forgive the administrators who I feel mishandled the situation – causing so much hurt and emotional duress for my daughter.
Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A women’s fiction novelist with Tyndale House Publishers, Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, as well as a 2016 ACFW Carol Award Winner and a 2015 RITA® finalist. In 2016, she continued her destination wedding series published by Howard Books with You Can’t Hurry Love (May) and Almost Like Being in Love (June). Visit Beth at bethvogt.com.
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