Blue for Grace

My Name is Dedrick and I wear Blue For Grace. While I did not personally know her, I know her mothe well. Per her Mrs. McComas accounts, Grace was a bright light from birth. Nevertheless Grace unfortunately endured a litany of extreme harassment, bullying, and abuse.  She was drugged and sexually assaulted by an older male student who attended her school.  This assault was followed by months of character assassination, bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, and slander.

The sister of her assailant confided in a teacher what had occurred.  The teacher responded accordingly by filing a report with the counseling center.  Both families were subsequently notified.  Mrs. McComa’s informed me that she engaged in a form of phone tag with the respective counselor thereafter. The matter unfortunately went unresolved as it was the end of the school year.  Mrs. McComa’s reported that she attempted to follow-up with the counselor again when school commenced; however, the counselor never returned her calls.

Grace was supoenaed to appear as the plaintiff against her assailant shortly thereafter.  Per Mrs. McComas they then became aware of an awful, malicious, dehumanizing, sexually-tinged form cyberbullying  that was aimed at her through discovery and interrogatories.  Comments purportedly included,

“I hatehatehatehatehatehatehate you. Next time my name rolls off your tongue, choke on it and DIE”, “Snitches I will kill you.”   with each remark being reported to school officials. In another incident, she incidentally choked on a sip of water while riding the school bus.  A male student yelled from the back of the bus, “What’s the matter Grace, you got someone’s DICK stuck in your throat?? You know who’s!”  to the laughter of other boys saying ‘what?’ ‘whose?’ !” These incidents were also reported to the school.  However nothing was done about this as the Howard County Anti-bullying law then lacked provisions to account for Cyber-bullying at the time.Grace naturally became sullen, distant, and depressed per her mothers account.  She subsequently made the decision to end her own life on Easter Sunday in 2012.  Having done so, she might have thought it was the only way for her mother’s pain to end. Perhaps she even thought it was the only way for her pain to end.  Instead of letting this break her, Mrs. McComas took action to work with legislators across the state of Maryland to implement a new law called Grace’s Law. Grace’s Law is a law that prevents cyber-bullying and the use of technology to harass others and communicate threats.  This cyber-bullying law was a landmark victory as it was the first in Maryland yet alone the nation.  The state of New Jersey soon followed suit in adopting Grace’s Law as well.

While the law is on the books in per Howard County Board of Education Policy 1060, Howard County Public Schools is still not doing enough to recognize, promote, and fully implement the law however.  Hence children and families are still being exposed to bullying, sexual harassment, physical assault, verbal assault, and harassment all together. As a matter of fact, I would have been able to better protect my daughter from the scourge of bullying, harassment, and assault that she endured had I known about the law.  It’s a bit trivial in a sense as I know about it now. I also know her mother very well and she is a jewel of a lady, mom, wife, friend, and advocate for all of our children. While I am saddened that Grace decided to take her own life, I take joy in knowing that it was not in vain as she is sitting at God’s hand smiling down on each child across this nation.  Thank you for your sacrifices to all of the children and families in not only Howard County but across this Nation Mrs. McComas and Grace. I humbly salute you both while also keeping you in my prayers.

My Name Is Dedrick Moone and I wear BLUE FOR GRACE. The question is will you? nYou can do so by contacting your local and state legislators and letting them know as a community that you are taking a stand against bullying. Share Grace’s story. Share Grace’s Law and have your state adopt this landmark legislation as well.
Blue for Grace

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Letter to Melissa Benoist AKA Supergirl

Dear Ms. Benoist,

My daughter and I tune in each Monday at 8:00 PM to watch Supergirl. We put on our jammies, grab, a spot on the couch and watch your exploits in soaring across the sky and saving the world. With that being said, I am reaching out to you in part to congratulate you on a spectacular 1st season of the show.

Above and beyond all of that, I also wanted to let you know about my little Supergirl. My daughter (age 8) is both an honor student and a Girl Scout. She unfortunately was and has been subjected to an extreme form of bullying and harassment by another juvenile who attends her former school. This bullying includes attempted murder, physical assault, attempted sexual assault, slander, defamation of character, cyber-bullying, and harassment. What’s amazing is that while she has been depressed and isolated she has remained on the honor roll throughout this whole ordeal. And that’s pretty SUPER if I must say so myself.

I worked tirelessly day in night in working with officials at the Maryland State Department of Education, Howard County Board of Education, Howard County Public School System (HCPSS), MD State Delegates, and members of Congress in an effort to remove my daughter from the toxic environment at her former elementary school. My daughter and I attended the Howard County Public School Systems Town Hall on Education on 8 December 2015.  My daughter and I served as the kickoff speakers of the event where we both spoke of her ordeal. My daughter proudly grabbed the microphone in recounting her horror story in front of approximately 200 individuals to include State Delegates, Congressmen, other elected officials, the general public, and members of the press. This Town Hall is available for public viewing at this URLhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah9R73epuzc. She and I can be heard at the 7:00 minute mark. HCPSS turned a death ear to anyone that tried to assist my daughter and I with this ordeal until she and I reached out to the White House. President Obama responded by contacting the US Department of Education on our behalf. The US Department of Education in turn initiated a Civil Rights complaint on our behalf. HCPSS finally turned around and approved my request for a transfer to a new school on January 6, 2016.

The tears that I shed as we walked into her new school accompanied by her Girl Scout Troop Leader (and the PTA President)… The tears that I shed as I hugged her goodbye… And those tears that I shed when the PTA President left a message on my cell letting me know that she checked on my little Supergirl during lunch time and that she was having a great day and that she would be watching out for her daily. Oh my goodness they were tears of joy in jubilation in knowing that daughter was finally safe.

Could you please recognize my little Supergirl for her bravery, strength of character, and resolve in navigating through this entire ordeal? Can you recognize her in being one of the few hero’s in getting her concerns heard directly by President Obama? I know that you are extremely busy, but if it’s not too much to ask could you please visit her school, send her a video shout-out, or something of the sort? Doing so would let every student and parent world wide that bullying will not be tolerated by anyone at school or in our communities.

Thank you for taking to the sky each Monday so my daughter and I can bond. And an extra special thank you in advance for listening and anything that you are willing and able to do.

Sincerely,

Dedrick L. Moone
A Humble Man and Father

SuperJammies

Letter to Mrs. Obama

Dear First Lady Obama,

I am reaching out to the President and yourself to congratulate you both on a successful 7 years in office. I also wanted to sing your collective praises for an outstanding State of the Union yesterday. I also wanted to follow-up with you regarding White House Case # 20160105-06780308 (Bullying). My daughter (age 8) is both an honor student and a Girl Scout in Troop. She unfortunately has been subjected to an extreme form of bullying and harassment by another juvenile who attends her school. This bullying includes attempted murder, physical assault, attempted sexual assault, slander, defamation of character, cyber-bullying, and harassment. What’s amazing is that while she has been depressed and isolated she has remained on the honor roll throughout this whole ordeal. And that’s a big deal. I worked tirelessly day in night in working with officials at the Maryland State Department of Education, Howard County Board of Education, HCPSS, State Delegates, and members of Congress in an effort to remove my daughter from the toxic environment at her former elementary school. My daughter and I attended the Howard County Public School Systems Town Hall on Education on 8 December 2015.  My daughter and I served as the kickoff speakers of the event where we both spoke of her ordeal. My daughter proudly grabbed the microphone as you so often do in recounting her horror story in front of approximately 200 individuals to include State Delegates, Congressmen, other elected officials, the general public, and members of the press. This Town Hall is available for public viewing at this URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah9R73epuzc. She and I can be heard at the 7:00 minute mark. HCPSS turned a death ear to anyone that tried to assist my daughter and I with this ordeal until I reached out to yourself Mrs. First Lady and Mr. President. Howard County Public Schools finally approved my daughter to transfer to her new school on 6 January 2016 after I reached out to you.

If it is not too much to ask, could you please recognize my daughter for her bravery and strength of resolve by visiting her school? Could you perhaps even Skype her a shout out at school? Doing so would let every student know that bullying will not be tolerated by anyone at school or in our communities. Thank you so much for all that you have done for this nation and this country. And an extra special thank you for what you have personally done for my daughter and myself.

Sincerely,

Dedrick L. Moone
A Humble Man and Father

Letter to and Response From President Obama Regarding Bullying in HCPSS – Submitted to Washington Post and Baltimore Sun

Good afternoon,

My daughter and I have been through the ringer in dealing with HCPSS. My daughter is being bullied & tormented by another child who attends her school & lives in our community. This other child has assaulted my daughter on multiple occasions. She has also attempted to sexually violate my daughter on multiple occasions. She has also spread ungodly rumors about my daughter at school & in our community. What’s sad is that my daughter is only 8 years old whereas the other child is 9. The bullying is so out of hand that my daughter is afraid to go to school or even outside & play in our community. To make matters worse is that the other child’s parents have stalked, harassed, & threatened us with acts of physical violence, murder, & made mockeries of my disability status. I submitted an out of District Transfer Request to Ron Morris, HCPSS Director of Elementary Education on 11/9/15. Mr. Morris advised me that he was not the decision authority of such requested but that he would advocate on my behalf. I followed up in speaking with Maryanne Thomas, School Reassignment Specialist on 11/20/15 in sharing our story of torment and fear of public safety with my daughter being at Longfellow Elementary. Nevertheless Ms. Thomas displayed a casual, nonchalant, and non-compassionate response to our plight. Having said that, she advised me that it she had the paperwork, that she was getting ready to leave for the afternoon, that she would look at it upon her return to duty, and that it would take approximately 2-4 weeks to process. I was visibly shaken and flabbergasted by her lack of compassion in knowing our story as I truly fear(ed) for my daughter. As a result, I decided to go above her head in reaching out directly to Dr. Renee Foose, HCPSS Superintendent, Christine O’Connor, Howard County Board of Education Chariman, Ellen Flynn Giles, Vice Chairman, Ann Delacey, Janet Saddiqui, Cindy Vaillancourt, and the HCPSS Ombudsmen regarding the matter. However unfortunate as it may be I only received a response and compassion from Ms. Vaillancourt.  Consequently I then reached out to Dr. Michael Ford, School Safety Specialist, MD State Department of Education regarding these matters Dr. Ford has been compassionate in an effort to bring forth a resolution yet his hands were tied as he lacked authority to enforce action upon HCPSS

Consequently I felt compelled to reach out to President Obama, Congressmen Elijah Cummings, Congressmen Donna Edwards, Congressmen Guy Guzzone, Congressmen Nancy Pelosi, Delegate Frank Turner, Delegate Warren Miller, and Allan Kittlemen, Howard County Executive. President Obama responded twice. He first responded in sending me a letter in advising me of various resources to use to combat bullying. He responded a second time in forwarding an executive action to the US State Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights to commence an investigation against HCPSS for violation of Title VI, Title IX, and Section 504. This complaint is currently under investigation.

Congressmen Elijah Cummings also responded to my complaint as well.

Several residents of Howard County and myself also followed suit in filing a class complaint with the US Department of Education based off of discrimination against race, sex, disability, age, origin, and retaliation.

Everything stated within goes hand-in-hand with the petition to not renew Renee Foose’s contract (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/cut-foose-loose). The Howard County Board of Education has used various strategies to try and discredit those who have signed the petition and the factors stated within. However I do not believe that White House and Congressional action should be dare be discredited. The issues in Howard County Public Schools are horrible. We have to get the news out to the public regarding such matters.

Sincerely

Dedrick Moone
A Humble Man and Father

2nd Letter to Dr. Phil

A grown woman and her child have been harassing my daughter and I for nearly a year. They have called my daughter and myself all types of derogatory terms, accused my child of doing things completely unconscionable and unbecoming of an 8 year old, and have 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 my daughters neck and choking her on at least 3 or 4 occasions within the community that we 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. Those whom are empowered to protect my daughter and I have done little of nothing to protect her. As such, she’s now afraid to go to school or even go outside and play in our community. Dr. Phil please help.

Sincerely,

Dedrick  Moone
A Humble Man and Father

1st Letter to Dr. Phil

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 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 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. Dr. Phil please help.

Sincerely

Dedrick Moone
A Humble Man and Father

Personal Nomination for Teacher of the Year

Dear Selection Committee,

Jennifer Ludwig is a full time educator and teacher at Longfellow Elementary School in Columbia, MD.  Mrs. Ludwig was formerly my daughter’s second grade teacher.  My daughter suffers from school refusal (phobia) due to unresolvable and ongoing issues at Longfellow Elementary.  As such, I submitted an out of district transfer request to Howard County Public Schools on November 9, 2015.

Those issues stated above present no negative bearing on Mrs. Ludwig whatsoever.  Mrs. Ludwig continuously went above and beyond in making herself available to discuss any and all things related to my daughter’s education and health and wellbeing.  It did not matter whether it was morning, noon, or night as Mrs. Ludwig was/is always available during and after school hours.  Mrs. Ludwig offered many words of wisdom, encouragement, and advice from one parent to the next.  She always has/had a smile on her face in all of her interactions with students and parents of diverse classes and populations.  I have personally witnessed her giving several students high fives, smiles, and winks of the eye in making them fell as if they were her own children.  These observations were made during the course of my many visits to the Longfellow Elementary Campus and her classroom.  Mrs. Ludwig was/is very transparent and informative about what was occurring and forthcoming from an educational standpoint in her classroom.  She also gave and provided several references towards additional educational references beyond what was required in an effort to further prepare for the future (middle and high school).

I would have made efforts to get my daughter transferred to another school much sooner were it not for Mrs. Ludwig’s caring and loving nature.  As a matter of fact, my daughter expressed to the Longfellow Administration and I that Mrs. Ludwig was/is the lone educator that she trusted with reference to her troubles.  Consequently my daughter expressed to me that she will sorely miss Mrs. Ludwig in transferring to her new school.  I wholeheartedly second her thoughts in that regard as I truly believe that Mrs. Ludwig is not only the best teacher in Howard County but also the entire Washington DC Metro Area.

I sincerely and wholeheartedly appreciate Mrs. Ludwig for all of the positive contributions that she made towards my daughters academic pursuits and my family’s life during our time at Longfellow Elementary.  Howard County would truly be the best school system [beyond test scores] if it had more teachers like Mrs. Ludwig as she is truly a jewel.  As a point of note, my daughter gave Mrs. Ludwig a red/crystal apple that say’s Number 1 teacher on it.  For those reasons stated within, I believe that Mrs. Ludwig is definitely the teacher of the year.

Sincerely,

 

Dedrick L. Moone
A Humble Man and Father

 

Girl Scouts Rule

Letter to the HoCo Board of Education, HCPSS, School Administration, State Attorney’s Office, Juvenile Services, Social Services…

Good morning,

My daughter and I have been living in imminent fear and danger of our lives by the hands of VM, ARM and their juvenile child MM. As a result, we have been staying away from home with a friend for some time now. My daughter has expressed a fear of continuing to attend school at Longfellow Elementary due to the trauma that she has endured over an extended period of time at the hands of the MR family namely MM. Simply stated she has developed School Phobia (School Refusal) as a result of this trauma.

With all of that being said, I submitted a request that my daughter be allowed to transfer to another school on 11/9/15 so as to give her and I both some peace of mind. We have yet to receive a response back from the Howard County School Reassignment Office. Hence I escalated matters to President Obama, select members of Congress, Allan Kittlemen, Renee Foose, Frank Eastham, the Howard County Board of Education, State Department of Education, US Department of Education, Juvenile Services, Howard County District Court (Judge Reese), and Howard County Social Services regarding said matter.

I have made a parental judgment decision and call that I will refrain from sending my daughter back to school at Longfellow Elementary under the juris of public safety as I do not believe that that the school has the capacity to protect her from additional abuse and harm at the hands of MM and her parents. As a result, I have spoken with Frank Eastham, HCPSS Executive Director School Improvement and Administration at length regarding either an out of district transfer and/or home teaching. I have advised Mr. Eastham that my daughter will remain home until said time that either of my requests are approved. As such, there is no truancy whatsoever as I am doing what is necessary to ensure my daughter’s protection. With that being said, I am not certain how you want to annotate her absences while a solution is being worked out but she certainly will not be present.

Sincerely

Dedrick Moone
A Humble Man and Father

Response From the White House and President Obama

January 5, 2016

WH- 20160105-06780308

Dear Dedrick Moone:

Thank you for your letter to President Barack Obama regarding your daughter being bullied. The White House has referred your letter to the U. S. Department of Education’s (Department) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Customer Service Team for reply, and I am pleased to respond.

OCR enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receives Federal financial assistance from the Department; in addition to many public schools, colleges and universities, and some private and parochial schools also are recipients of Federal financial assistance from the Department. These laws are:

· Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, on the bases of race, color, or national origin;

· Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, on the basis of sex;

· Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, on the basis of disability; and the

· Age Discrimination Act of 1975, on the basis of age.

OCR also enforces Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities, whether or not they receive Federal financial assistance.

OCR also enforces the Boy/Girl Scouts of America Equal Access Act, which addresses equal access to school facilities for the Boy Scouts and certain other youth groups.

OCR’s enforcement offices investigate complaints of alleged discrimination filed with the Department. Please keep in mind, however, that complaints must be filed with OCR within 180 calendar days of the alleged discrimination to be considered filed in a timely manner. Determination of subject matter jurisdiction and determination of whether OCR has jurisdiction over the institution alleged to have committed discrimination are initial steps in complaint investigation.

I am forwarding your complaint to OCR’s Philadelphia Enforcement Office (Philadelphia Office) for further review and appropriate handling. The Philadelphia Office is responsible for investigations of educational institutions in Maryland and provides technical assistance.

If you wish, you may contact the Philadelphia Office directly at the following street mail address, e-mail address, or telephone and facsimile numbers.

 

In addition, on October 26, 2010, the Department issued guidance to support educators in combating bullying in schools by clarifying when student bullying may violate federal education anti-discrimination laws at: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/guidance-targeting-harassment-outlines-local-and-federal-responsibility .

The civil rights laws represent a national commitment to end discrimination in educational programs. The laws also work toward promoting the Department’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.

I hope this information provided is of assistance to you.

Sincerely,

 

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Customer Service Team

 

Letter to the State Attorney, HoCo BoE, HoCo Executive, and Select Members of Congress

Good morning,

As a follow-up, I believe the severity and impact of my and my daughters torment may have been undersold or perhaps misunderstood during the course of our intake session on 1/4/16.  The other child’s father not only violated the conditions of the peace order that is/was in place but he also engaged in activities that violated the provisions of MD Criminal Code 3-802 (stalking) and 3-803 (harassment). As stated previously, he stalked me from behind in his motor vehicle, rolled down his window as he pulled up beside me, followed me around the corner to my home in his motor vehicle, and again threatened to inflict physical harm upon my daughter and myself. He also threatened my and my daughters life for at least the 3rd time.

Another point of note, is that the other child’s mother not only violated the provisions of the no-contact peace order but she also violated the provisions of MD Criminal Code 3-804 (telephone misuse) when she either encouraged or was generally/reasonably aware that her daughter had been contacting my daughter by telephone in an effort to harass, annoy, abuse, and further torment her. The other child’s mother also violated MD Criminal Code 3-805 (Graces Law, Electronic Harassment of a Minor) by using that same electronic equipment to engage in a course of conduct that inflicts emotional distress on a minor… As a result, I was forced to subsequently change my daughters cell phone number in an effort to further ensure her protection when this matter was brought to my attention. I have attached a screenshot of that change request. I have however redacted the file to ensure protection of that private data. Another point of note, is that the other child’s mother entered a motion on 11/30/15 in requesting that said peace order be modified so as to allow her to volunteer at….Elementary School. The reason that this is important is that, the second graders were participating in a field trip to Toby’s Diner on… The school solicited parental volunteers for the event. Allowing the other child’s mother to participate in school events and be on school premises would have allowed additional space and opportunity to further inflict emotional and/or physical harm upon my daughter. Thankfully Judge Reese had the wherewithal, foresight, and wisdom to see through her frivolous and heinous request. As such she denied the modification petition on 12/15/15. This qualifies as an additional form of harassment in my humble opinion.

With everything being said and done, my daughter and I are and have been living in imminent fear and danger of our lives for an extended period of time.  As a result, we have been staying with a friend and living away from home since 12/29/15 and off/on since prior. What’s more, I have also made a parental judgment decision that I will refrain from sending my daughter back to school at ….Elementary for the immediate future under the juris of public safety as I do not believe that that the school has the capacity to protect my daughter from additional abuse and harm at the hands of …  As a result, I have spoken with Frank Eastham, HCPSS Executive Director School Improvement and Administration at length regarding either an out of district transfer and/or home teaching. I have advised Mr. Eastham that my daughter will remain home with me until said time that either of my requests are approved. Another point of note that I mentioned to Mr. Eastham and Ron Morris, HCPSS Executive Director of Elementary Education is that I am also considering allowing my daughter to move out of state to spend the remainder of the school year with my mother in North Carolina so as to further ensure her safety from…

This should not be given that we live in the most civilized nation in the world. With everything being said, I am trusting in you as members of the State Attorney’s Office and Juvenile Services to take all immediate and appropriate legal actions under criminal law enforcement. I am also trusting in HCPSS that my request for a transfer will finally be honored under the provisions of public safety.

Sincerely,

Dedrick Moone
A Humble Man and Father