Owen was born premature at 23 weeks, weighed about 1lb 11oz and had a very rough start in life. Because of his premature birth Owen has been diagnosed with mild Cerebral Palsy, and struggles with attention problems. But even through all of these issues Owen has remained a sweet and loving boy. His sweet disposition has changed though as he approaches his teen years, and I believe it’s due to him being bullied in school.
When Owen was born he lived in a neo natal intensive care unit from November 2003, to February 2004. For most of this time Owen was on an oscillating ventilator barely holding on to life. His father and I were told he probably wouldn’t make it, and if he did he would have severe disabilities. Owen did make it though, he had surgeries, and feeding tubes, and oxygen tanks but he pulled through. After all of these major problems at 12 years old the only thing you would notice wrong with him is that he walks a little funny.
Owen, now diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy struggles to run, jump, and keep up with other kids his age. In middle school the children run the mile, a familiar task for most people who lived through middle and high school. The mile and other PE activates are difficult for Owen. The difficulty isn’t the physical task of running, Owen has been struggling with physical limitations his whole life, that’s no surprise for him. The difficult part is the other boys in his grade tormenting him because he can’t run as fast as them, and what he calls running looks like a concentrated effort to not fall on his face.
Since the beginning of sixth grade one boy in particular has had it out for Owen. Almost every other week Owen comes home in tears because of this boy and his friends. We have emailed Owens favorite teacher and the vice principal about the bully but it’s just an ongoing issue with these kids. We tell Owen just stay away from these kids, but they seek him out just to pick on him and watch him get upset. They think it’s funny to see the slow kid try chase them, or make the funny noises he makes when he gets upset.
All of this came to a head earlier this week when Owen was caught fighting with the boys. Owen is of course wrong for fighting he should have never put his hands on another person, or call them the nasty names the school guard overheard him saying. But he also says the kids had backed him into a chain fence and when he tried to leave they blocked his exit telling him they weren’t finished with him yet. Of course the tormentors didn’t get seen doing their dirty deeds, the security only saw Owen hit them and yell profanity.
Owen after investigation by the Vice Principal was suspended from school for one day. This so called investigation consists of the word of the bullies and the school guard who came in after the initial altercation. When I question the school I’m assured that these tormentors are “good kids”, I guess unlike my limited mobility juvenile delinquent. These other kids come out smelling like roses and get to laugh knowing that the special education child had to stay home from school because they get a rise out of tormenting him.
As a parent I’m left wondering what to do, my first step has been to get Owen into emergency therapy. Hopefully this specialist can help him deal with the hormones and trouble that comes in these adolescent years. But it feels like the cards are stacked against him at this school. I want to protect my child from the world, I want to move him to another school. But would that just teach him to run from his problems? I thought Southern California in 2016 would be a good place to raise my special needs child. I guess no place is safe from bullies and the bias that school administrators show to normal athletic children.
Here parents of children with Cerebral Palsy can post questions about caring for their child and get advice on special needs and care.
1 post • Page 1 of 1