Imagine for a moment that 1st time that you held your son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandson, granddaughter in your arms. Recall in those tender moments how beautiful you knew and thought they were as you gazed down at them. Can you remember the promises that you made to them?
I can, I promised my daughter that I would never let her fall, that I would never drop her, that I would give her all of my love, protect and provide for her, and give my very last breath for her if need be. As a result, I fought her mother for custody during the course of our divorce and I won. I have sense been raising my daughter by myself as a single parent for the past 6 years.
Now imagine for a moment that a grown woman and her child have been harassing you and your child for nearly a year. That grown woman and her child have called your daughter and yourself all types of derogatory terms, accused your child of doing things completely unconscionable and unbecoming of an 8 year old, and has even assaulted your child on multiple occasions in both a violent and sexual nature. These physical acts of violence include the other child placing her hands around your daughters neck and choking her on at least 3 or 4 occasions within the community that you live in. They also include attempting to choke and drown your daughter at your community pool. Further incidents include punching your daughter in the stomach and kicking and stomping her as she lied prone on the ground after. What’s more, is that my daughter has been subjected to inappropriate touch via a sexual variety by her perpetrator. Such incidents have occurred in the community and on school grounds.
What would you do as a grandparent, parent, auntie, uncle, sibling, cousin, etc do to protect your child, cousin, sister, granddaughter?
What would you do when you return home from spending a fabulous evening with your family and that same woman and child are outdoors screaming derogatories and obscenities at you?
I took what I believe(d) to be appropriate steps in notifying the Administrators within the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) and Crystal Brown, Ashton Green Community Manager, Gables Residential at the onset of this harassment (before the start of the school year). However unfortunate as it may be, they failed us both on many occasions. The Administrators within HCPSS never informed me of the proper procedures to document and report the bullying such that it would be officially noted and reportable to the State Department of Education. They also did not inform me of my rights as a parent nor make me aware of my legal rights as a citizen nor a parent. In speaking with the Crystal Brown, I made her aware of the issues that existed between my daughters bully and ourselves. I informed her on August 20, 2015 that my daughter had been experiencing bullying, intimidation, and harassment from another child her family within the community. I made her aware of all of the issues that persisted to include inappropriate touching, physical assault, and derogatory language that my daughter had and has been encountering at the hands of said family. Furthermore, I also notified her that I previously attempted to speak with the other child’s mother on May 5, 2015 regarding her child’s inappropriate behavior(s). However I was unsuccessful at that time in making any inroads with the other child’s mother. Consequently I asked Crystal Brown if she would please speak to the family regarding their child’s behavior as the child and her family have caused my family and other residents within the community a great deal of grief since they moved in. Nevertheless I unfortunately cannot state whether that conversation with the family took place as I never received a follow-up regarding that conversation.
The proliferation and preponderance of the bullying and harassment has been so bad that my daughter has feared going outside for months. She also fears going to school as she feels unsafe due to what I call broken trust. My daughter has informed me that each time she reports any incident between her assailant and herself, her bully goes back to the Alternative Education Provider within Howard County Public Schools and lies on her so as to make it appear that my daughter was the aggressor while she plays the role of the victim. What’s more, my daughter has also reported that this other child has continuously and habitually spread rumors about her. The results of all of these acts have seriously disrupted the learning environment not only for my child but several others. What’s more is that it has had a significant impact on our day-to-day life.
Things reached a boiling point in September where my daughter was savagely attacked by her assailant. My daughter reported to me that she and her perpetrator got into an argument at Hobbitt’s Glenn Golf Course because her assailant was speaking ill about me. Her assailant responded by punching my daughter in the stomach thereby causing my daughter to collapse to the ground. Her aggressor then responded in kind by stomping and kicking my daughter while she was on the ground. My daughter reported to me later that evening that her arm, legs, and back hurt as a result of this assault.
Again I ask, what would you do as a grandparent, parent, auntie, uncle, sibling, cousin, etc do to protect your grandchild, child, niece, sister or cousin?
I subsequently instructed my daughter to sleep with me that evening as I felt it was the only way that I could protect her after all else had failed us. I held my little girl in my arms and rocked her as I cried both of us to sleep. I felt like a complete failure in watching and knowing that my daughter was suffering. I felt like a complete failure in knowing that there was little else that I could do to protect her.
How would you feel in these moments when you’re trying to do all that you can to protect your child?
I finally told my daughter that I had done all that I could as a parent to protect her. As such, I advised her that she would have to stand up for herself the next time that she was engaged by her bully. My daughter did that exact thing by finally protecting herself and fighting back. Her long time assailants mother responded by contacting the authorities. As a result my daughter and I are being charged with assault despite the proliferation of evidence and issues that exist that led up to this. I was not even aware that you could do such a thing against children so young otherwise I would have contacted the authorities the first time her perpetrator placed her hands on her. Now she and I are being treated as the villains in this matter for doing nothing more than finally standing up for ourselves.
The results of all of these acts have seriously disrupted the learning and living environment for both my daughter, other students, other families, and myself. It has further had a significant impact on our day-to-day life whereby which I was instructed via a voice mail message on December 4, 2015 such that I would be given 30 days notice to vacate.
I am just trying to do the best that I can to protect my daughter as a single parent and father. As such, I reached out to the Ron Morris, Director of Elementary Education within Howard County Board of Education. I made him aware of my families entire story including the failings of the administrators at my daughters school to protect my daughter, promote anti-bullying campaigns, notify me of my rights as a parent, notify me of the proper procedures and protocols to report bullying, and issue out consequences for inappropriate behavior within the school. Having had this conversation, I asked that he either please process or help immediately process an out of district transfer request so that my daughter and I might have a fresh start. Mr. Morris informed me on November 16, 2015 that such decisions were not within his purview. Nevertheless he stated that he would forward my paperwork to the designated authority who makes such decisions. He also informed me that he would give them a brief overview of what was going on so as they could understand the magnitude of the situation. My daughter is both a Brownie Scout and an Honor Student. As a parent I have always been actively involved in all of her endeavors from dance classes, to class field trips, to father daughter dances, to honors ceremonies, and anything that brought a smile to my face. My daughter was subsequently being recognized at her school honors assembly on November 20, 2015 for her academic achievements. I had every intent on supporting my daughter as I always have by taking off of work to attend the ceremony. However unfortunate as it may be, I was cut off at the pass by her principal in being told that I was no longer allowed on the schools campus with the exception of pickup and drop-off.
Can you imagine the heartbreak that I felt at that moment? Can you imagine the heartbreak that my daughter must have felt when she turned around and the one person that’s always been there for her, the one person that makes her feel safe and loved isn’t present?
Since said time, I have been fighting with the Howard County Board of Education to remove my daughter from the tumultuous and toxic environment at her school. However unfortunate as it may be, it appears that the Howard County Board of Education [School Reassignment Office] would much rather turn a blind eye towards it. This is extremely concerning to me as a parent as I fear that I and other parents could potentially have another Grace McCormas on our hands if something is not done regarding bullying and harassment within Howard County Schools and my daughters reassignment.
I am prepared to go to trial in an effort to protect our livelihood and way of living. However my liquid assets are limited given that I am a single parent and the fact that I have already spent $10,000 towards legal fees (as denoted below). Hence I do not possess the all of the funding that I need to combat this degree of ignorance. As such, I setup a GoFundMe Account in hopes to raise money and awareness. I am reaching out to each to the world in hopes that you will be able to help me continue to protect, guide, and provide for my daughter and take a stand against bullying. Any amount donated would be greatly appreciated. More than anything I would appreciate if you can help me spread the word regarding this foolishness. A link to the donations page is https://www.gofundme.com/Honeybee2007. Thank you in advance for anything that you can do.
Dedrick L Moone
A Humble Man and Loving Father