(Photo of Monique McClain printed with permission and consent of her mother.)
After appealing repeatedly to the Board of Education for some resolution to what she says is an ongoing bullying problem, Alycia McClain, supported by her own mother Alexa McClain has decided to keep her 7th-grade daughter Monique home from school. McClain has requested that the administration and the Board of Education provide an alternative learning situation, in the form of a tutor, for her daughter.
"I understand that Tutor(s) can be made available to a student who can no longer attend Middletown Public School," McClain wrote in a letter to the Board and Frechette. "I want that avenue of education made available to my Daughter immediately."
McClain, who has appeared before the BOE before, documented several instances where her daughter was physically bullied and taunted on a regular basis by a growing contingent of bullies recruited by a ringleader. McClain noted that Wilson principal Charles Marqua and Vice Principal Diane Niles have acknowledged the problem and have administered "detentions and suspension to the offending bullies" but that these measures have not prevented the ongoing harassment.
"My daughter feels extremely isolated, depressed and targeted while fearing for her safety everyday," McClain said.
Monique McClain herself stood before the Board and tearfully read a statement which declared the fear she feels while at school.
In a package presented to the board, Alycia McClain provided strong evidence of cyberbullying in the form of a Facebook post targeted at her daughter.
(In full disclosure, I spoke at the BOE meeting is support of the young woman, and read the following cyber threat into the public record).
This threat appeared on Facebook signed with the name of the young woman who has allegedly harassed McClain:
"I Fucking Hate Yhu Withh All My Heart, Yhur a Bitchh & I Just Wannaa Like Uqhhh, Yhur a Fucking Snitch & I Just Wanna Like Beat Yhu The Fuck Up The More Yhu Keep Snitching on Me in School, The Moree It Makes Me Tougher, All Yhu Doo Is Tell Yhur Lil Short Ass Mom Like She gunnaa Do Something, Yeahh Okay Probably Just Bring Me To Court Butt IDCC, Keep On Imma Show Ya Something: The More Yhu Keep Snitching The More Imma Keep Wanting to Fight Yhu &+ When I Doo Imma Demolish Yhu, Yhu H"
The police where shown the threat and expressed willingness to charge the harasser, but Monique McClain asked not to press charges, fearing reprisals.
Principal Marqua, who spoke about extracurricular programs at the meeting, including an extracurricular anti-bullying student group, declined to talk about the bullying incident beyond indicating that he, and the school are following the anti-bullying guidelines published by the district.
"It just does not work in every instance," Marqua said of the policy. He indicated that because new and different students were harassing McClain over the course of months it was difficult to stem the problem. "They (McClain's mother and grandmother) complain, and we address the complaints."
When asked if he felt Monique McClain was being punished twice, once by the bullies, and another by a system which can't protect her, Marqua said he couldn't answer because the situation involved underage students.
"I don't think we should talk anymore," Marqua said.
According to Alycia McClain, in a phone conversation on January 27, Superintendent of Schools Michael Frechette said that he didn't believe there were other educational options outside of the school for her daughter.
McClain also provided the BOE with a report from her daughter's psychological counselor who indicated that it was her opinion "that an alternate placement for Monique's schooling be found so that she can learn in a safe environment."