Rachel - posted on 12/02/2013 ( no moms have responded yet )
We just moved to a new area late this past August. Our previous school district was one of the top in the state and we chose a new home in a town with a reputation for "excellent schools."
My son has always loved school, had wonderful relationships with all of his previous teachers, (all of whom we stay in touch with and consider family friends) and has been an honor roll student. His new fifth grade teacher at this school is a man who yells, screams, belittles and humiliates my son and many other children in his classroom.
At first, I tried to have an open mind and I met with the teacher within the first month of school to see if my son was exaggerating. I was hoping we could work together to help my son feel better about his new school. The teacher seemed to want to help my son succeed, but after that meeting, he continued the verbal abuse, sarcastic comments and even made fun of his teeth in front of the whole class.
My husband and I then wrote a letter to the principal requesting that our son be transferred to a new teacher and asked to meet with her. She read it and suggested perhaps we just didn't understand the teacher's sense of humor, and that her school was of such a high academic caliber that new students from other districts took a while to adjust to their school's "more challenging curriculum." I included in the letter my son's standardized state-wide test scores to show that he scored in the advanced and proficient ranges and was not unintelligent or lazy, but was being terrorized and was afraid to ask questions or for clarification on assignments for fear of being made fun of or yelled at. She said she would speak with his teacher and follow up with us.
When she called to follow up, she again reiterated that perhaps we needed time to adjust to their "more demanding curriculum than we were used to." She said that she met with his teacher and talked to him about new students and how they "might be sensitive to their faculty's comfortable sense of humor." She also said she understood we "felt" that our son was "not as happy as we would like" but that was normal for new students and that it would be "more productive" if we took our concerns directly to the teacher because she didn't feel her involvement was warranted at this point. She also denied our request for a transfer to another classroom because she believed the situation would improve over time, and she simply didn't have an open seat in another classroom. She not only sounded like a politician and spun the situation so that it was somehow our fault, she redirected us to go back and talk to our son's teacher, the bully, when we already tried that to no avail.
Things are getting worse every week, and I have spoken with the mother of another child in my son's class who is being humiliated and yelled at on a regular basis as well. She claims when she volunteered in the past she overheard the teachers talking in their lounge to discuss students with "problem parents" and basically blacklisted them. They all apparently back each other up.
Aside from private school, which we cannot afford, I am at a loss. Any helpful advice at all would be met with tears of absolute gratitude. I apologize for the long story. Thanks for your time and for reading.