Justice for Janise is now trending on Twitter as a result of a brutal bullying incident that occurred in Chicago. The child being attacked by a group of girls is Janise Harris. Ms. Harris is now missing and her friends are trying to get the word out about the incident with hopes of finding her safely. If anyone knows anything about this incident, please get in contact with https://home.chicagopolice.org/.
As a parent of a child that went through a very similar ordeal, please do all you can to locate this child due to the nature of this situation. Call the cops if you have any information.
So, last week we posted my daughter’s episode for her YouTube channel and something magical happened. If you watch the video you will see her just come to life. For a while, cooking has been her coping skill especially after PTSD took over. It really helped to act as a caldron for the negative energy she was feeling.
It is so important to establish something positive when dealing with children who have been victims of bullying. We started her YouTube channel two maybe three weeks ago and since then she has stayed three nights at a friend’s house. Some of you might be like that’s not a big deal. Well, for her it was a big deal because prior to three weeks ago she had never felt confident to stay away from home, we are talking about 5 yrs of not wanting to be close to anyone other than us. Her friend was like you are 17 and never slept over anyone’s house and she was like nope!
So of course when her friend stayed over here, I might have went a little all out! I talk so much about what she has been through and this video just shows how she’s laughing and loving life. If you are dealing with children who were victims of bullying, remember being there is number one. Don’t try to push them into anything until they are ready. I might have suggested she try a food show, but it’s all her.
Families are made up of so many different things. With each family comes a set of unique illustrations that paint that family’s life from within. Trauma seems to add new details and sections to the dynamics which can ultimately alter how families are able to coexist among each other. It is at the end of the school year, and we have come to the conclusion that we are still dealing with the tremors of trauma from five years ago.
If the event would have been an earthquake, you would have expected to see small tremors that popped up some years ago. However, it seems as though the tremors are harmonic in nature and ever reaching. We were finally able to have a real heart to heart with our 13 year old. Yes, I said the 13 year old. She was 8 when her sister was attacked and my oldest was 16. In many ways we focused so much and so hard on the recovery process for one child that we nearly lost the other two.
My eldest has been living in Florida for nearly six months now. It makes me sad to write this because I don’t know how much I missed when it comes to being there for the 13 year old. For the past five years while I was trying to save one daughter, I was slowly letting the other two drift away. After having a real heart to heart, my baby finally opened up and told me how she felt.
She informed me that there were nights that she would just lay in her room crying because she felt like we didn’t see her. No parent ever wants to hear that, you do not want to hear that you were a shit parent. I think I did what my parents did in many ways. I tried to bring in things to make up for not being there. We had the season tickets to Six Flags, great hiking adventures, and even trips to craters. We were really trying to meet that quality time quota that so many of us play towards.
Now, we are looking at quality time in a much different way. It’s about those trips to markets that result in instant bright face appreciation as well as those moments of tenderness because some boy has broken her heart. It’s about telling her how much we love her each and every night and telling her no matter the outcome, she will overcome. In my mind, I still see her as
this little one. This picture was taken on some random day at the park. We decided to ditch the normal routine after school and have a play date. Don’t make the mistake that we made and think that quality time has to be something like below.
Hiking in the mountains.
Going to ballet.
Mining in dormant volcanoes.
It can be anything as simple as just watching your kids walk ahead of you at the park. If you are anything like my family, you are still trying to work out the kinks. We are moving in a better direction, but that direction now comes with open eyes. It’s not always easy after you take off the rose colored glasses, but it’s something that you can’t ignore. Don’t miss those moments.
So, as many of you know I have been debating the idea of continuing my blog. After thinking about things for a while, I have come to the conclusion that my job isn’t done. There are still so many issues out there and parents need answers.
At any moment parents are championing their children. Some of us are able to do a little more because of who we are. I have come to the conclusion that my blog doesn’t just help me, it also helps those out in the world. At any given time, I have readers from Spain, Africa, India, Europe and of course the USA reading my articles. I have even had people start to follow my blog after I decided to call it quits. My journey can’t be over, because the challenges of being a mother are far from over.
So, in the latest saga of momville. This is the newest issue. Just this morning, I had to write this email. Just because the year is almost over, doesn’t mean we can’t help to make the next one a little better for our children.
Thank you for reaching out to me. I am in the process of sending emails in regards to Ariana and how relationships with her teachers need to be a little more therapeutic in the future. I think it is important for you guys to understand who you are teaching, so, allow me to introduce you to my daughter. Ariana Santiago, your student was a happy go lucky child. She has dealt with ADHD, and ADD all of her life. She was diagnosed with having an IQ of 65 in the third grade. This diagnosis was very defining in our history because it introduced a new type of struggle. We had to reintroduce things to her that people had sworn she couldn’t do. In the end, it resulted in her being tested again some years later. Her IQ then went from 65 to over 70 which puts her still in a sort of a danger zone, but we are still working with her to overcome obstacles. Some of the things we were told that her IQ wouldn’t allow her to do was to use microwaves, cook using detailed recipes or even use money. Your class is important to her because it will help her to attain even more goals. My daughter is a work in progress. She was able to go from having an intellectual disability to not having one in three years.
Now, while all of this is happening inside of her body, on April 4th in 2004, she was attacked by 11 girls. This set us back and even added another issue we were never prepared to deal with. She would then try to commit suicide twice that week as a result of how violent the attack was. She has since had issues dealing with children and social interactions. The schools back in Garland worked with her extensively as well as us. Now, I do not want to point fingers, but your class is important to Ariana. Yet, some of the interactions have to stop in order for your class to not become a constant trigger. One of your first encounters with her dealt with you getting the entire class mad at her which made them upset and react in aggressive ways which resulted in her running out of the class into the bathroom and breaking down on the floor. When she came home she talked about how it made her think about those 11 girls and feelings that we were fighting so hard to help her deal with. So, this latest issue with her bringing a pizza into your class which resulted in her getting suspended because she stated that she would not give it up, has placed us on edge.
Firstly, Ariana now gets how telling you that she purchased it with her money wasn’t the wisest of words, yet she still doesn’t understand why others are allowed to have food in the classroom. As her mother, I have no issues with telling my daughter when she is wrong. As her biggest advocate, I must inform you that if you are allowing others to eat in your room , you are setting up a very confusing situation. I have asked for someone to come to the room from time to time to check in on the treatment of my daughter in regards to you. I am not sure why there are issues or even if there are issues , but since this is the level of your concern ” Hello, this is Mrs. Fyffe. I am Arianna’s Culinary teacher. How can I help?”. I thought it was only warranted to let you know. Being her biggest supporter and a blogger on special events, I hope you take the time to read articles on how to interact with children like her. https://shellzonit.com/2019/03/04/our-children-and-our-reaction-to-bullying/ I will also post this email and send it to all of the teachers who work with my daughter and I hope this will be the start to a better bully free zone for her at your school. Bullying is never okay, no matter who the bullying is coming from.
In case you need more clarification, I have posted my daughter’s medical report from the incident; in case you fear I am just blowing smoke. If nothing else comes from this communication, I hope you understand how important it is for you to help Ariana build relationships in that class and not use your power to bring her down.
Keep fighting for those kiddos. The year was 2014, sorry about the typo for all who sees the posting. The recipient of the email has the right date on the medical record. Sorry, and never stop fighting for your children. Be very careful and mindful if your child has a disability that their rights are always respected. We want to make sure that ALL children have the same respect in and out of the classroom.
My daughter could have been on the road to becoming a killer until we fought back. At some random school this morning, a child is hiding in the bathroom because he or she is too afraid to walk the halls due to bullying. I know it to be true because it was my daughter’s life for over a year before she was finally attacked. I’m going to try to tread very carefully while I write this, but I’m also going to be very honest. So, I warn you now, this might piss you off, but it has to be said.
School shootings do not happen by accident. Guns do not walk into the class and fire without a person pulling the trigger. Show me a school that has death due to school shootings/suicide, I’m willing to bet that school has also dealt with a problem in regards to bullying. Bullying has lasting effects, it not only hurts the students that the harmful words are aimed at, but it also hurts people caught in the environment of the issue. I can tell you this because I know it to be true. It has taken my own daughter years to overcome the words and pain associated with bullying.
My daughter’s attack happened on a playground with nearly a dozen children surrounding her. She was rolled up in a ball and kicked over and over. The children then tried to impale her head on a steel pike. At the time of her attack four teachers were on the playground. A boy stepped in and saved her. He took her to the office and I was called. That week after we got her home she tried to commit suicide twice. After weeks or so she started acting out violently. She pushed my oldest daughter in the street and then tried to push her down stairs.
I remember grabbing her and putting her in the car asking what was she thinking. She told me she knew it was wrong, but that she just wanted power. She said she felt so powerless and it made her feel powerful to be able to do finally stand up for herself. Needless to say, this scared the crap out of me. We talked about her feelings and the outcome of harming others because of the pain she felt for at least 6 to 8 months after the incident. We even had to commit her for a little until we could get her to calm down.
Today, I’m glad to report that she no longer has those same anger issues, but it wasn’t easy dealing with those issues that came after the attack. After one of the school shootings we were talking and she added that she felt torn in some of the cases. She said she felt horrible about the people who died, but that she also felt bad for the person who was bullied. As a parent that watched my daughter go through so many different emotions in regards to her incident, I think it gives me a unique outlook.
My daughter didn’t shoot up a school, yet she did try to hurt her sister. Luckily, I worked in mental health, I knew the warning signs, I knew the right people, and I was able to focus entirely on her healing.
However, I do not know what I would have done, if I didn’t know some of the things that I knew at that time. Ariana was dealing with a range of emotions that we knew nothing of and most importantly we couldn’t relate to her on those levels. So, it was a lot of redirecting negative behavior and replacing negative feelings with her love for cooking. I think we went broke that year! We have to do something about bullying because it produces rage. I wasn’t going to let that rage take over my child. My daughter is now almost 18 and I can tell you that we haven’t had an episode in about three years. She has been able to make a few friends, and she’s now being a normal kid.
She told me recently that she still can’t help but think about that day from time to time, but that she’s not mad about it anymore. I know we want to make these issues about gun control, but it’s about so much more. The true weapon is bullying and it can cause mass causalities or a single fatality. We are seeing too many children commit suicide and harm each other over the feelings associated with bullying. It’s time to have real conversations about the need to revamp how schools keep records in regards to bullying.
We need to hold the schools more accountable and in some cases the parents as well. After Ariana was attacked, I didn’t hear from not one of the children’s parents which is even sadder. We can do so much better.
Often times we divorce our spouses if the situation becomes too volatile. However, how many of us move our children away from bullying situations when they become volatile? As a mother of a child who suffered from extreme bullying, I would warn you about keeping that child in the same school. Right after my daughter’s attack we moved her away from the school, but when she started middle school the next school year the girls all filtered into that school. The counselors at the school were a complete joke. They told me that my daughter was no longer getting bothered and that they even called the children into the office to see if anyone was talking to her.
One morning I watched Ariana from the corner of my eye silently cry as we drove her to school. Something just told me to not go home so I waited. After a few minutes I drove around and then I found her hiding in between two buildings with her books pressed up against her chest. She was in a tight spot crying and scared to move. I got her attention and told her to come here. She walked to the car with tears still running down her cheek and talked about being sorry. She said she just couldn’t face anyone it was too much. I nodded and told her to get back into the car and we drove around the school and then I enrolled her out. I enrolled her in a private school a few miles down the street. She was loved at the school and did really well. She was a favorite in her French class and was well liked by many of her teachers, but there was the issue of interacting with children that still needed to be dealt with.
We still lived in Garland, so running into those children was an issue. Every time we thought we were doing better an encounter with one of them would send her crashing once more. Soon her Freshman year of high school was calling. She wanted to go to her home high school which meant she would be around those girls again. I wasn’t for it, but I finally decided if she felt ready, I would let her try once more. She was scared out of her mind her first day of school. She had started second guessing the idea of going to the high school, but she wanted to try it out.
She came home that day with this corky smile on her face. She had discovered she was a magnet for boys. She also said one of the girls that used to bully her, came up and said hi. She talked about being blown away and she didn’t know how to take it at first. In the common weeks she would talk to numerous people and even stand up to bullying against others, she was no longer the target. She was still known as the one who was attacked, but it wasn’t something that the children often talked about. She didn’t get invited anywhere so her nights were pretty much always lonely. She was still having a really hard time making friends, so we all decided that perhaps we just needed a new beginning.
We moved two maybe three hours away from that area. She was finally able to do things like go to games with people, go to eateries, and even to the movies. Ariana was able to have a life because we got her out of that broken environment. You see bullying is very mental and I think keeping the children in the environment hurts them more than we know. We still deal with social interaction issues, but she’s no longer constantly by herself. We have to make sure our children aren’t isolating. In many of the incidents with bullied children turning to violence or committing suicide they often isolate and target certain children. We have to make sure that we are doing all we can to repair the damage that has been done by the bullying. As parents, we can’t take the position that it will make them stronger to make them stay.
In Ariana’s medical record it had chest contusion, aggravated assault, leg injury, but it never had a broken spirit. We were ready for the physical stuff, but it was the mental stuff that nearly shattered my daughter into pieces. Talk about it with your children and truly ask how they are doing. Take notice of behaviors that could be problematic and above all else, tell them you love them.