Childrearing

Trend Alert: Parents Are Bullying Their Kids’ Bullies

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bullyLast month we wrote about Debbie Piscitella, the Florida mom who was arrested after choking a 14-year-old boy who bullied her 13-year-old daughter on Facebook. While I don’t condone her behavior, I do get where Piscitella was coming from; I see how protective I am of my own children, ages 6 and 3, and I think I’d lose my shit, too, if a classmate dared to destroy them. Not surprisingly, the story sparked a huge debate, though many people empathized with Piscitella.

Now it seems we’re hearing a variation of this story almost every day. Earlier this week, for instance, 42-year-old Connecticut dad Philip Prokop was arrested after allegedly paying a 17-year-old girl $21 to attack a 13-year-old girl he suspected of bullying his daughter. (He denies those claims.)

“My daughter was put through torture and she finally came forward to tell us,” Prokup told WTNH-TV. His daughter, who just completed eight grade, appeared on the TODAY show and explained, “People would trip me in the hallways. Or grab my stomach and say that I was pregnant and ask me like how far along I was.”

Meanwhile, I just read yesterday about a mother in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, who’s banned from visiting her child’s school without written permission. The details are sketchy but the mom, Kathy Lindsay, says she’s been trying to stop her daughter Hailey from being bullied by a group of classmates. The school board won’t discuss why they sent Lindsay a letter back in June informing her of their decision, but they insist there’s a reason (apparently it’s in response to a letter from Lindsay’s lawyer).

Lindsay told The Sault Star all she did was walk her daughter to class and make a number of phone calls to try to stop the bullying. “They’re going to say I called often, and yes, I did,” said Lindsay. “I called often, because it’s not taken seriously enough and that was my way of trying to get something done about it.” (Lindsay and her husband have since pulled both their children from school and are considering switching schools or homeschooling.)

I’m curious to know what exactly Lindsay said during these phone calls and if she made any threats against her daughter’s supposed bullies. If her story is like the other two then chances are she may have uttered a threat or two (this is speculation, of course). It’s difficult to comment without knowing the details but once again, I can’t help but think what I would do if I were ever in a similar situation.

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