Internet Resources & Links
EDUCATION REFORM WEBSITES
This site serves the New Jersey communities of Succasunna, Kenvil, Ledgewood, Landing, Port Morris, Lower Berkshire Valley and Mount Arlington NJ
A private information site
for parents of students in the
ABOUT THIS WEBSITE: We are homeowners in Roxbury and we started this website in January 2008 when our child was in their early teens. Our goal was to add a voice to help children and exert pressure on School officials to give all Roxbury kids a safe place to learn free from verbal bullying. In our child's early grades we served as PTA Officers and both spent many dozens of hours as volunteers organizing activities, staffing special school events and editing yearbooks. We continue to give several hours per month to a long-established non-profit that serves Roxbury exclusively, and more hours to a non-profit that serves the Morris County area.
in 6th grade, our child was a frequent target of verbal bullying and we
wanted it to stop. In Middle School we battled the Administration over
the lax attitude toward the toxic climate that prevailed within
some class groupings. That menacing atmosphere caused some kids to
withdraw and link school to painful experiences. During the 5 years
that this website has been up over a dozen Roxbury parents have written
to us to relate problems of their children being bullied, half of those
families (to our knowledge) have confronted their Principal over
inaction regarding bullying. None have yet taken us up on our offer of
their own webpage to anonymously tell their story. Some feared
'push-back' and their child being marginalized. During this time, this
website has helped several Roxbury families improve their students'
situation, it has influenced several teachers to do the right thing, it
has angered other teachers, and is monitored by several groups.
However, we no longer imagine that we'll bring voluntary district-wide change. We
were naive to think the District could be embarrassed into action. So,
the site will continue to be informative, and we'll continue to update
it as warranted as a public service, but over the summer of 2009 we
decided to pull our teen out of Roxbury Public High School, after the
Freshman year and
enrolled in a nearby Parochial Academic High School, as did a number of
other families that summer. Our teen was relieved beyond words, and
after three years there, and having graduated, says:
JUNE 2018 - This just happened in
Once again, Teachers & Admins just "go thru the motions". Perhaps they were "off their meds", like we saw in our child's case in Roxbury. With HS teachers being indicted by courts weekly for immoral relationships with students, it's no wonder our public schools are in disarray. Oh, and when teachers fail in their responsibilities, the NJ Teacher's Union, the NJEA covers up their mess.
The Roxbury School District updated their information page on bullying in October 2012. It looks good, but will they follow thru? www.roxbury.org/parents/bullying.html
ORIGINAL WEBSITE CONTENT,
2008 thru 2009:
What moved us to put up this website was a documentary on PBS Frontline (Jan 22, 2008) which profiled a middle school student who had been taunted by classmates for months, who then ended up committing suicide. School officials said they had no idea the verbal harassment was going on. We've since learned that this horrible scenario has been repeated many times in recent years. When kids are bullied and marginalized long-term, with Teachers & Admin not really doing anything * EFFECTIVE * about it, a percentage at that sensitive, vulnerable age commit suicide, a smaller group commit violence.
It seems that if you're not a jock, or popular, don't have an ipod in your ear or use profanity you are a target for verbal bullying. While it's great that the school has very strong programs in Sports & Music, for kids not involved with either the tendency is for staff to shunt them aside. The use of filthy, derogatory expletives is common, not only out of the range of teacher's hearing, but as an undertone whispered in the presence of teachers. We have had some teachers privately tell us that they are shocked and exasperated by all this, but publicly all they'll say is that they can't change the prevailing culture. Well, we're not under any delusion that the staff can change it either, but within the walls of the school a safe, positive atmosphere conducive to learning needs to exist, and for many it doesn't. Let's be honest: Roxbury is a School District that worships at the Altar of Sports & Music. If you or your kid is involved with the sports or music programs, you're OK with that, but for many others Roxbury High School equals 4 years of attempting to survive with the least amount of emotional damage.
Yes, we recognize that some Guidance Counselors do sincerely care, and they've made efforts to help this situation, but they are met with indifference by the majority. The State of New Jersey School Bully Guideline has the potential to be used in a Legal sense against Districts who routinely fail to actually protect students, and just running an anti-bullying assembly once a year doesn't meet the standard. Those assemblies impress only the kids who wouldn't think of bullying, but those who relish their bully role have made it an art form to do so out of the sight and hearing of staff, in the lunchroom, in the halls. They know there will be no real consequences, and typically there are none, even after you've ID'd the bullies by name as we did. Our experience and the experience of other families confirm this. Sometimes, the bullies are among the more popular kids at school, or their parents intimidate school officials and the bully receives only a slap on the wrist. We've seen that in Roxbury.
While we've kept our family name off this website, we've told the school staff of this site, and told them who we are. We are concerned parents, we have nothing to do with the School Board or the Board of Education elections. We don't want to see some Roxbury kids lost in the shuffle. We think that before we debate Turf fields, or the Roxbury Education Association - NJEA Union role in contract talks, or Salary Guides, we should make sure ALL the kids are able to learn in a safe setting. That's NOT happening.
Download the NJ Special Education Rights Code, hosted on our site
Email us at info@RoxburySchoolConcerns.org
Our child was mercilessly taunted
and ridiculed from the start of attendance at Eisenhower Middle School
Fall 2006. Our child
did absolutely nothing to cause this. It seems that if you're not a
jock, or popular, don't have an ipod in your ear or use profanity you can
be a target for ridicule and verbal bullying. When we went to the staff during early
7th grade we were assured that things would get better, the kids were
"just testing each other in a new school". In reality, the
verbal bullying became far worse, filthy expletives were repeatedly
used to harass our child. Our young teen was told repeatedly by several
students "you should die", not as a threat, but just to harass. All the while our increasing
complaints to the staff were met by statements like "oh, it's just a rite of
passage" or "they'll get tired of it eventually". Well,
it got worse as time went on, and our student was deeply affected. We now
understand that staff who tell you "they'll get tired of it eventually"
OR "oh, it's just a rite of passage", are OK'ing the abuse of your child.
We strongly believe that aspects of our situation were mishandled by some EMS Guidance staff. One Guidance Counselor horrifically botched the handling of our child's situation. Her "blame the victim, find fault with the victim" route seemed to be the path of least resistance, far easier than taking effective action against bullies. A perfunctory snap judgment against our child was made as a result of her inexperience, along with the facts being misunderstood or twisted. We even found the former Superintendent (D.M.) flipping the facts 180 degrees when we urged him to intervene, then when we called his attention to it, he acknowledged his mistake, but it was a revealing peek into how our situation had been falsely portrayed within staff meetings. We have it documented. Our child was victimized a second time but in this instance by the adult staff charged with protecting students during the school day. While that specific Guidance Counselor is no longer at EMS, having moved on to another Morris County School District, we continue to hear of situations in the District that cause us concern. The last 6 months of our time at EMS saw a pattern of missed opportunities on their part to correct the situation of bullying in spite of our vigorous communication with them. That's all we wanted. We wanted the bullying to stop. We wanted veteran PE Teachers to actually monitor the Locker Room instead of just telling you they are. That's called lying, and when it hurts kids, the Teacher should be disciplined or fired for allowing abuse, the selfish Teachers Union be damned! Don't just do it for our kid, think about all the others who will be traumatized in the future if some staff continue to abdicate their responsibility. (For those few teachers & staff who really did make an attempt to help us, Mr. B., Mrs. D., the other Mrs. D., and a few others, our genuine, sincere thanks)
While we think it's great that the school has very strong programs in Sports & Music, for kids not involved with either of those the tendency is for staff to shunt them aside. If the truth dared be said aloud, Roxbury School District worships at the altar of Sports & Music, and little real effort, LITTLE REAL EFFORT is made to promote and staff extra-curricular activities outside these areas.
We initially believed that since the Teachers are the professionals, they know best. The reality we've since learned is that Teachers are just like everyone else, some are good at what they do, and some are not. In private industry failing workers lose their jobs, but in the state-run, taxpayer supported monopoly we call Public Education poor teachers are protected by their Unions once they get tenure. Most efforts to bring needed Educational Reform are blocked by the Teachers Union. In the 4 years of bullying we went from being strongly pro-Teachers Union, always voting for whatever the Union was supporting, to gradually understanding that they are simply a self-serving employee guild, seeking to force their agenda, even when it directly hurts children.
The final illustration of this for us was early during the 2008-09 school year, when our teen repeatedly asked Roxbury High School Officials, and we pleaded with them to start up some of the non sports & music clubs so that kids like ours would have a club in their interest and not be marginalized. We were told flat out by two Guidance Counselors, without any shame on their part, that the Teacher work slow down at the direction of their Union would keep several clubs from being staffed. This was the Union way of pressuring the community. They were willing to use the kids as a selfish bargaining ploy to force a 6 % annual pay raise every year over a 3 year contract during a time when many Roxbury parents were being laid off from their employment in a recession. This is absolute moral depravity. That was the selfish position of the Roxbury Education Association, the local Teachers Union, part of the New Jersey Education Association - NJEA, who are willing to bully and use coercion to force their agenda. No wonder they think bullying is a normal part of school life.
After 3 years of seeing anemic, half-hearted efforts to make changes by both Teachers and Administration, over the summer of 2009 we decided to pull our teen out of Roxbury Public High School, after the Freshman year, and enrolled in a north Jersey Parochial Academic High School, as did a number of other families that summer. Our teen was relieved beyond words, and now, after 3 years there, and having graduated two years ago, says: "I never thought I'd look forward to going to school, but I loved going to _____ ". Words are inadequate to describe how happy we are with the change. Our teen did very well at that school, headed up an extra-curricular activity there that greatly benefited the school and is now attending the college of our choice.
We are well aware that many kids go thru our School District without any real issues, with some doing very well, but there are a significant number who are marginalized, and a few who are traumatized, and all the while many staff members carry on with business as usual. So, this website will stay up, and hopefully will continue to bring awareness to this problem, but our role has shifted, we no longer will be actively involved, our time is needed elsewhere, but we will update this site as needed.
9, 2008 Update: 10 days after reporting the harassment and taunts to EMS
Guidance Dept and District Superintendent, they have not acknowledged our communication.
September 29, 2008 Update: Upon seeing a
situation in School mishandled by the staff, this thought came to mind:
January 23, 2009 Observation: While we think it's great that the school has very strong programs in Sports & Music, for kids not involved with either the tendency is for staff to shunt them aside. If the truth dared be said aloud, our District worships at the altar of Sports & Music, and little real effort, LITTLE REAL EFFORT is made to promote and staff extra-curricular activities outside these areas.
2009 Web Link - Sounds like "Roxbury District West": Here's a
nauseating story of how a School District in Washington State not only
ignored repeated instances of bullying, but tried to force the student
back into a dangerous situation after great harm had come to the teen.
While our student doesn't have the disabilities of this individual, the
negligent, depraved behavior by School Administrators was chillingly
familiar to us. We hope a legal judgment against the District will
include personal liability for the Administrators.
September 1, 2009 - For the sake of transparency and disclosure, we want to state that we've decided to pull our student out of the Roxbury Public Schools, and to enroll in a nearby Academic Parochial High School. Our teen is overjoyed by this turn of events after having done a sample day at the new school. So, we will be forced to continue to fund, through our taxes, a system that so botched our child's education, and to additionally pay for our child to receive an education apart from the tormentors. Anyone for SCHOOL CHOICE??
September 2010 -
OLD BRIDGE NJ TEACHERS FACING $10,000 INDIVIDUAL FINES FOR ALLOWING
November 2010 - The
Official Roxbury School District website has a page, edited by the
RHS Guidance Dept,
August 2011 - STUDY SHOWS SCHOOLS THAT OVERLOOK
BULLYING HAVE LOWER TEST SCORES
New Jersey anti-bullying laws go into full legal effect
Are you a MAC or a PC ?? -
Either way, look what Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both said about
November 2011 -
Steve Jobs said some starling things re America's desperate need for
December 2011 -
Bill Gates said some starling
things re America's desperate need for Education reform
April 2012 - In
Ramsey NJ, a 12 year old boy named Sawyer was being repeatedly
bullied by another boy. His pleas to School Teachers and
Administrators fell on deaf ears, even though the bully was known to
have attacked others . So, he e-mailed the school to report that the
bullying was continuing, they were not doing enough to confront it
and to establish a record. Shortly afterward, the bully again landed
a punch to Sawyer's mid-section and he crumbled to the floor. Two
days later Sawyer was paralyzed from the waist down. Five years
later he still has not walked. This month the Ramsey NJ School
District settled the family's lawsuit for 4.2 million dollars. Yes,
4.2 million $$$
2012 - With the Chicago Teachers Union currently striking,
refusing to be held accountable for their student's progress, here is
what a recent study found: In Philadelphia, 44 percent of the Public
School teachers put their children in private schools; in Cincinnati, 41
percent; Chicago, 39 percent; Rochester, N.Y., 38 percent.
2012 - So, after 5 years of NJ schools going thru the motions and
presenting anti-bullying programs,
2012 - School admin authorities do
nothing effective to help bullied student, bullies attack again, student
In a breathtakingly idiotic move, the Principal suspends the victim.
Father of bullied student now pickets the school. Public shaming of
negligent School officials: Is that what is needed?
- In Iowa a teen boy has severe brain injuries and disabilities as a
result of bullying that went on for months even as he repeatedly asked School
Officials to intervene. A major law suit is now in the court. Attention
Roxbury employees who monitor this site: Each teacher who evaded their
responsibility has been named in the media.
2013 - In New York City School, in spite of repeated pleas
from a Mother, School authorities do nothing effective to help bullied
student over a one year period, bullies keep attacking, 12 year old
- In Illinois, a School District and School Principal are being sued by
the parents of a fourth grader
December 2014 - A report by the Dept. of Education shows reductions in school bullying as a result of stringent controls being put into place. That's a good thing, but of course the Teachers Union and many local School Boards fought those rules and bristled at having to comply with those standards.
May 2015 - A teen boy at a Rutherford NJ
public HS was hospitalized due to bullying:
April 2016 - A 12 year old boy at a
California school died after a bully attack, assailant was known to be
- Undercover video catches NJ Teachers Union Official admitting he
covers Teacher's abuse of students
> SCHOOL BULLYING < > SCHOOL BULLYING < > SCHOOL BULLYING <
of New Jersey Guidelines on School Bullying (Became NJ State
Law on September 1, 2003)
"Understanding Bullying and Its Impact on Kids With Learning
Disabilities" by Dr. Marlene Snyder, Ph.D.
Jared was a 13 year old Sp Ed student who was bullied in his school, developed depression, then committed suicide. School administrators didn't believe Jared's complaint, or blamed him for his troubles. They are partially guilty of his death by their "business as usual" negligence. Click to read Jared's story and find additional resources
P.S. The Roxbury School District has a clear choice on how to respond to this website:
a. Deny there's a problem, instruct the staff on how to respond and have the Attorney advise.
In other words, spin the story to protect yourself instead of protecting the children.
The NJEA Teachers Union exists to protect Teacher interests alone, so they deny any problems.
The School District seeks to prevent legal liability, so they deny any problems.
b. Since it's a
lot of work to find and stop the bullies, Seek to discredit &
find fault with the victim,
c. Do the right
thing by starting something really effective to stop the bullying.
This site serves the New Jersey communities of Succasunna, Kenvil, Ledgewood, Landing, Port Morris, Lower Berkshire Valley and Mount Arlington NJ
Email us at info@RoxburySchoolConcerns.org
Updated June 21, 2018