Friday, March 1, 2013

PTSD .... due to Bullying


I take my teenager to therapy on a weekly basis.  He has ADHD ... mild ODD ... and it began for medication monitoring .... and because he needs it.  He has been through a lot - including being a witness to or being molested at the age of 6 or younger.   It's hard to see my smart, compassionate, loving kid have issues like he does.   Through therapy we've discovered that he is depressed, he has severe anxiety....  and just recently, realized, he has PTSD.

We pulled him out of school to homeschool him due to his severe anxiety (and now realizing he has PTSD a lot of things make more sense.) ...   It all started when he was in grade school and his dad did something stupid.  Parents apparently picked up on his Dad's case, and apparently the child needs to pay for what the parent does.

How fair is that?

It wasn't my son's fault, he was practically a baby!

We moved to get him away from the shadow of what his Dad did.  He had been bullied relentlessly in grade school.  Every day.  Making him miserable.  Kids would follow him home and taunt him, call him names, threaten him.  One day - one kid followed him home and kept telling him that he had a screw driver in his backpack and he was going to kill him.

It got worse in Jr. High and my breaking point was when he got pushed against a wall and choked.  This happened in the stairs at the end of the school day and there were countless students walking by ... and a kid who was suppose to be my son's "friend" pushed him up against a wall, and choked him, then ripped his necklace from his neck.

And when I informed the school I was pulling him out to homeschool him - all they cared about was the bottom line.  Everytime I called the school to complain and to report this abuse, I would get the same line ...  either it was "this happened off school property and there isn't much we can do." .... and continued to the whole "we'll deal with it" and so they call all the students involved into the office, and not only punish THEM but my SON also.  I didn't find this out until just recently.   This punishment was a vicious cycle.... they would do it, the bullying would stop for a minute ... and then start right back up again with in a day or two.

Hindsight - I should have done more, I should have called the cops.  We went to the school, we went to the parents.  It just didn't seem to stop.

And when I got a call one day that he had almost gotten into a physical altercation during class one day - I think the teacher was mighty shocked when I told her it was their own fault.   She calls me up - all bitchy - no kidding - and is telling me how he almost punched a kid in class.  But before he did, he walked out of class.  I asked who it was with - and she told me.  I said "do you realize that this kid has bullied my son relentlessly since the 3rd grad (if not sooner)....   she didn't seem to care or have any compassion - and she said she was fully aware.  So then I said "and apparently when I was told that he wouldn't have classes with these kids, that wasn't true."  So then I go on and ask the teacher what she thinks would happen, how much can one kid take before they snap.  I also told her, he did the right thing by walking out of class and removing himself from the situation instead of going through and punching the kid.  She didn't appreciate my tone and I didn't appreciate hers.  I told her, I will not punish him for this, because I am proud of him for walking away instead of giving the kid a black eye like he deserves.  I told her he has been taught to walk away from situations like this and if she plans on punishing my child, she better be sure to punish the other one too.  She wasn't very happy - and I was pissed.

So we thought things would get better when we moved.  I gave the kids a choice, they could try public school or we could continue to homeschool - and they both decided that they wanted to try out the public school system.  I was so happy - he was making friends, doing okay in school - sure there were issues.  We learned about his learning disability (Dysgraphia) and he wasn't doing great - but he wasn't failing.  Then it started to happen - and I saw this dive in his grades.  He started to complain about kids picking on him.  It was NOTHING like he had been through - but even the crumb of teasing was causing him major issues.  To the point where he was getting physically sick.  We knew something was wrong.

I pulled him out again and we decided to homeschool him.  His needs weren't getting met at school.  Because he couldn't find the voice to speak up and ask for help, he didn't get help.  I know you can't force a kid and he was refusing - I don't blame the teachers for that.  But they would call and expect me to have some magic answers for punishment at home because he wasn't doing his work.  He was lying about not having homework and when we set up a system where I would have the teachers write in a notebook his work, it never got followed through on....  he had an I.E.P and due to his learning disabilities - he was suppose to be pulled out of the classroom for testing and allowed to take it in another room where he could verbalize it and get it done, it wasn't followed through on.  When I addressed it with the school - the response I got was "Well, he should remind his teachers."   .....  Okay, I understand teachers have it tough and they have a lot of students to take care of - but it is not MY SON'S job to remind his teachers of accommodations he's suppose to get - and make himself a target for teasing in front of his class ... When I asked them to make sure that this was going on - it didn't happen.  It was not followed through on.

So not only does my son have severe anxiety due to the years of bullying ....  and have depression ....  but now, after his last therapy session - we realize he has PTSD.

This breaks my heart....

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