No one denies that Dominique Reed is getting bullied. The question is, why is she getting punished for it?
After “coming into her own” in elementary school, Reed has been living a nightmare in her first year at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. In her special education classes, bigger and older students quietly taunt her, in the hallways they push her and punch her, in the playground they steal her hearing aid and throw it as far as they can.
After months of daily abuse, school officials finally took action: They confined Reed to a classroom during recess for her own safety.
Three times Reed tried to show her tormentors just how tough she was. Acting against the advice of the school, she fought back. Each time she was suspended along with the attacker.
“There’s nothing I can do,” she said. “If I tell, nothing happens, and every time I defend myself I get suspended.”
School officials offer several different excuses. One that they cannot do anything about the bully because he is a special education student and another blames the emphasis on test scores.
Others say that the school is “good at implementing preventative programs and anti-bullying curriculum” but poor at actually dealing with the abuse.
Another pointed out that they would be sending home pamphlets to parents telling them what to do and who to contact about the problems.
Just what the kids need, a pamphlet.
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