Author Terra Dean
When My son was in elementary school, there were older boys on the bus bullying him and doing sexual acts like pushing his head towards their privates to get a laugh out of the others. Their clothing were not down by the way.
It had been going on for a while, but he didn’t tell me right away because he knew I would make a big scene and he didn’t want to be embarrassed.
So I was in the bathroom doing my hair, getting ready for work, he came and stared at me looking kind of sad and worried.
I knew something was up, so I didn’t pressure him, I looked at him and smiled and said, “What’s up, good looking?”
He said, “Momma some of the big kids at my school are picking with me on the bus, hitting me, and throwing things at me and everyone are laughing.”
I knew it took a lot for him to tell me and I also knew the situation had gotten out of control for him to even approach me with something like this. Because he knew I always go to the extreme about wrong things people do to my family, so something this big will push me over the top!
So after he said it, I didn’t miss a beat, and continued doing my hair in the mirror, I didn’t change my expression or anything.
I asked how many boys there were, he said 4.
I asked how big they were and if they were my height, he answered that 2 of them were taller.
He was in the 4th grade and they were in the 8th.
“That’s really mean of those boys, are they doing that to anyone else?”
“Yes, but, not as much as me.”
“Yes, they are pushing my head on their privates and everybody laughs at me…”
After he said that, only the Lord up above kept me from losing my mind right then and there.
So I asked if he wanted me to talk to the boys, their moms, or the principal at school about it.
He said, “All of them.”
When he said that, he had let me know that he wanted me to clown, act like a fool, go to jail!!!! He wanted me to show off in my usual crazy, violent, loud, outrageous way of handling things.
When he said those words, ALL OF THEM, I knew it was bad, my baby was really suffering and he was so upset and overwhelmed that he wanted me to go to any means to make it stop.
“Okay baby, momma will handle it.”
Then I changed the subject like nothing happened… He finally left to go catch the bus to school.
I kept my cool until he left out the house and I heard that front door lock.
When it did, I grabbed the phone, called my job, and said I have an emergency I have to attend to, I will not be in the rest of the week, if it’s longer and I can’t call, a member of my family will call and notify you.
They asked if I was okay, I said no.
I hung up that phone, called my mom and when she picked up that phone, all my emotions came out, I just cried like a baby.
She didn’t know what was going on, I couldn’t even get it all out, I was so enraged and out of control.
Once I told her, she calmly said, “Terra, your son needs you here, not in jail, go ahead and let out your anger, cry and let it all out. Then lay down, get your thoughts together and think this through with a calm head. I can’t talk reason to you when you’re like this. So please, for me, and for your son, do what I said, then once you’ve calmed down, call me back and we can talk when you’re in the right state of mind.”
I’m not going to go into specifics, but, the outcome of my actions got the four boys expelled from school, the bus driver was fired, the principal at his school was asked to resign, the school was fined and put on an eight year probation where they had to follow up with NAACP every quarter for 8 years.
They made bullying a zero tolerance policy at that school, they had to have a meeting with all the students and teachers in the auditorium going over bullying.
What bullying is, and what to do if it’s happening to them or they see it happening to others, they gave them information and contacts numbers to call if they were being bullied or saw someone being bullied.
And they let them know if anyone bullied anybody, they would be expelled right away. There would be no warning; they would just be expelled from the school. So that meeting was their one and only warning.
They gave all the students letters of the new bullying policy and the parents had to sign it stating they understood it and agreed.
My child got justice, and one person can make a difference…I first contacted the principal, her resolution was to just move my child to another seat on the bus. I went down to the school board, they had me waiting an hour just to tell me to set up an appointment. But I would have to call back on Wednesday to do it. When I did call Wednesday, they told me they didn’t handle those types of situations and the school would, I said I was there because the school didn’t. I went back to the school and was pretty much ignored and they wouldn’t give me the parents names of the boys that bullied my son, I demanded a meeting with the boys, their parents, the bus driver and principle and was told I was blowing things out of proportion and pretty much saying boy’s will be boy’s.
I became loud and violent, knocking things off the desk in her office, I was asked to leave, I called the police and when the officer got there, he told me to leave the school or go to jail, I called and threatened the principal and she hung up on me.
Now this is a school with 90% whites there, and I’m black. I felt they didn’t care about us. A receptionist that worked in the office saw everything that was going on with me clowning in the principles office and being told to leave by police. She was a black lady, she found out my information and called me personally to tell me the superintendent direct phone number.
I called him and he had the man over that district to set up a meeting with only me, my son, him and the principal. I said the boys need to be here along with there parents and the bus driver that does nothing and let everything go on. They told me they had to protect those kids which was outrageous because they weren’t protecting mines. They asked my son questions and basically said they’ll talk to the boys, but wasn’t telling me when or what about or if they were going to take any actions.
So I was at the bus stop when he was being dropped off, I jumped on the bus, stopped all the kids from getting off, told my son to come to the front of the bus and I yelled who has been bullying my son, no one answered. I threatened all the kids saying I will bully them and see how they like it, then I told the kids to start getting off the bus. I told my son to pick out the ones as they get to the front of the bus, he pointed them out, they were my height and 2 was taller. I blocked them from getting off the bus had my finger in each one of their faces and threatened them. I had completely lost my mind! Some of the parents that were out there to get their kids from the bus were complaining. I then took out my rage on them. I was so out of control and crazy that no one said anything else. I felt like I could have killed anyone out there that got in my way.
Two of the boys mom came to my house to confront me, I told them what they did and what I did to get justice before I approached their kids, then I started attacking them and their parenting. We argued they left and reported me to the landlord of the apartment complex we lived in. The landlord and I got along well, so she called me in to talk about what was going on. I explained everything and started breaking down crying. She happens to be a minority herself, I believe from India. She told me she was on my side and not to confront the kids next time and come to her, she would have found out who the boys were and contacted their parents for me.
I was so overwhelmed that I decided to type up everything that happened to me, it was 16 pages, and mailed it to the news stations. Unfortunately, at that time the area was starting to flood everywhere, it ended up being one of the worse floods our town has seen in 50+ years, so they never got back in touch with me after they received my letter and I initially spoke with them, all the news stations were too busy talking about the flooding.
I then got NAACP mailing address and sent them my story as a last resort, not expecting much. And that move ended up being the best move of my life! They jumped in so quick and with rage, they had resources and they went in full swing on them. I didn’t have to pay them, they took it as personally as I took it and they are the ones that got things done. They were moving so fast making things happen that I didn’t have to do anything. They just sent me a form giving them permission to act on my behalf and after that,
- boom, first the kids were expelled, next,
- boom, the bus driver was fired,
- boom, the school was fined and put on probation for 8 years,
- boom the school had to do an assembly, make bullying zero tolerance there,
- boom the school had to send NAACP reports every quarter for 8 years on updates of the policy, kids that broke the policy etc.
- boom the principal was asked to resign.
My son graduated from that school, grew up and moved on, and I was still getting copies of the reports that school had to keep sending in to NAACP for the next 8 years. NAACP said That if the school didn’t fire the principal, bus driver, expelled the boys, they were bringing a lawsuit against the school and superintendent and everyone who failed me and that I reached out to. So, that’s why they got rid of them. As long as they got rid of the problems, we couldn’t take legal action So that’s why they were fired and the boys expelled.
NAACP are my angels! If it wasn’t for the NAACP, all the school would have done was kick the boys off the bus and suspend them for 2 weeks. But, they were only willing to that after all the craziness I showed them and the different steps I took as well as being violent and threatening. Because when I calmly called and spoke with the principal, her initial response was to move my child to another seat on the bus. Knowing that the other kids would still be bullied. I believe my son would have still been bullied because the bus driver took no action towards the kids behavior on his bus.
The only reason something serious was done, is because of the fact that this was a white school, we are black and they were ignoring us. So I was able to get NAACP involved.
Now if this was a black school that did this, nothing would have happened at all. Maybe just discipline the boys for a few days, or kick them off the bus. Because every story I hear about kids being bullied, nothing serious ever gets done. I got lucky cause it was a white school that ignored us.