S'mother love? Daughter escorted to school, classes to guard against bullying
Published Thursday, May 16, 2013 10:08AM EDT
A Toronto mom is taking extreme measures to protect her 11-year-old daughter from alleged bullies, escorting her child to school, to all of her classes, and even spending recess and lunch by her side.
Jill Trahan-Hardy first brought concerns about bullying to her daughter's teachers in March, but said little was done. Then, after another student recorded a confrontation between her daughter, Harley Campos, and two Grade 7 girls last week, she removed Campos from school altogether.
In the recording, two girls can be heard making threats to Campos, who is in Grade 5. One says "my dad doesn't care if I get suspended, he gave me advice on how to beat the s*** out of you."
Harley said the girls mistakenly believed she had insulted one of their mothers.
The older girls were both suspended for a day-and-a-half over the incident, but Trahan-Hardy said she was stunned that no members of the school staff had caught the behaviour while it was happening.
"I was upset. I just couldn't believe that no one had heard what was going on in the school yard. With four teachers and a principal in the school yard why didn't anyone hear this? You had to have heard the yelling and this language, it was incredible," she told CTV's Canada AM.
Trahan-Hardy said she removed her daughter from school last week, but allowed her to return this week on one condition -- that she be allowed to accompany her.
Since Monday, she's been doing just that.
"I'm just playing it by ear for now. I've been given permission to continue on as long as I feel comfortable so as soon as Harley says she's comfortable I'll back off a little bit," she said.
Harley said it took her a little while to get used to the idea that her mom would be her bodyguard during school hours.
"I didn't actually believe her at first and she is escorting me to school and my classes and it is really weird, but I feel safer," Harley told Canada AM, adding that she's not embarrassed by the attention.
Trahan-Hardy said she has been told not to speak to any students at the school, but that she does get the occasional "look" from parents or students uncomfortable with her presence. But some parents have told her to "keep up the good work and stay strong."
While Harley is in class, Trahan-Hardy volunteers in the library or lends a hand if another teacher needs extra help.
Asked whether she was worried that her decision could lead to even more bullying in the future, when she stops escorting Harley to class, Trahan-Hardy said she lives close to the school and will never be more than a phone call away if her daughter needs her.
Harley said she had the option of switching schools, but didn't feel she should be forced to change locations, saying "if anyone should change schools it should be them."
The most valuable lesson, she said, is to involve an adult as soon as bullying begins.
"Most teachers say tell an adult. It's not always easy to tell an adult, but you really should because I didn't tell my mom until way after and something would have been done way earlier. And now my grades are dropping because of that so you should actually tell an adult. It's hard but you have to," Harley said.