The media has turned a lot of attention toward bullying in recent years. Campaigns online and in school seek to educate kids about bullying and how to handle it. Schools have adopted "zero tolerance" policies and instituted stiff penalties for kids who engage in bullying. However, what happens when the parent of a bullied child believes the school isn't reacting appropriately to accusations of bullying?
For parent Stephan Feuder in Fairfield, California, the answer is to file a temporary restraining order. His son is a 9 year-old fourth grader at Rolling Hill Elementary School. For the last few months, Feuder has been suffering bullying attacks from another student. The son asserts that the bully has stalked him and used verbal intimidation, including racial slurs. Things came to a head on March 13 when the bully allegedly physically attacked Feuder.
Feuder says the bully was attacking another student when he intervened. The bully pushed Feuder, who pushed him back. The bully retaliated by punching Feuder in the face. Feuder retreated to a school bathroom where he called his father. However, when Stephan Feuder reported the incident to the school, they refused to treat it as a case of bullying, calling it an "isolated incident" instead.
Stephan's next contact was with the Solano County Family Court where he asked for and received a temporary restraining order that is meant to keep the bully two yards away from his son at all times. The restraining order is effective immediately, but cannot be permanently enforced without the last name and full address of the bully, information that the school district refuses to supply.
School officials argue that they do not tolerate bullying, but must follow procedure before meting out discipline. Kris Corey, district superintendent, states: "We just can't expel somebody … there are certain laws we have to follow."
In the meantime, Stephan Feuder is seeking name and address information on the bully so that the restraining order can be served and take full effect. He feels his actions are protecting his son and other students who may have been bullied by the same child.