Bullying in CPS and at Ogden (new Trib Article)

June 7, 2014 at 11:16 am 216 comments


Moving the bullying discussion here for more discussion, as it’s an important topic.

Please share your thoughts/experiences but do not mention specific people.  You can discuss the people in these stories in hypothetical terms (if kid X did this, then kid Y should get this punishment) and keep in mind that we’re discussing real children here.


I also just read this incredibly tragic story about a 12yo girl who killed herself due to alleged (and ignored) bullying.




TRIB: Students who made anti-Semitic remarks barred from graduation ceremonies

June 06, 2014|By Kim Geiger and Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah | Tribune reporters

Link to Trib story if you’d like to read comments or make comments there:



After repeated demands that anti-Semitic remarks by Ogden International School students against a fellow eighth-grader be labeled a hate crime, a Chicago Public Schools official stopped short of characterizing the behavior that way but said the three boys would not be allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies.

Chicago Board of Education Vice President Jesse Ruiz said at a local school council meeting Thursday that an investigation into the events at Ogden “has determined that the boys’ behavior targeted a group that historically has been subjected to discrimination and persecution.”

The additional punishment meted out against the Ogden students comes after some parents, including the victim’s mother, Lisa Wolf Clemente, demanded that the boys be punished more severely. She said her son was told, “You should wear striped pajamas. We’re going to put you in an oven.” She added that the students showed him pictures of concentration camps and said, “This is what’s going to happen to you.”

According to CPS, Clemente contacted school principal Joshua Vander Jagt on May 20 to let him know her son also had been subjected to anti-Semitic comments from classmates and that students had been playing a video game that “had been altered to include offensive language.”

The students behind the bullying wrote apologies to the victim, district officials said. The students had all been learning about the Holocaust in their eighth grade curriculum, and the class has since visited the Holocaust museum in Skokie.

All three of the students have received one-day out-of-school suspensions, and two of them have also received an additional day of in-school suspension.

Ruiz said the incidents at Ogden would guide districtwide revisions to the student code of conduct. Right now, bullying incidents land students one- to three-day suspensions.

Additionally, the district will bolster anti-bullying training and will work with nonprofits and leading community organizations, Ruiz said.

Clemente said after Ruiz’s statement that she didn’t “want to split hairs” over how the behavior was described.

“It’s not about my son,” Clemente said. “What I’m really upset about is the way it was handled.”

She focused her criticism on Vander Jagt.

Among her complaints about Vander Jagt’s handling of the situation, Clemente said, after she reported the bullying, he had promised to meet her son one morning before school and then didn’t show up.

“She’s absolutely right,” Vander Jagt said at the meeting. “I told her that I would meet with her son the next morning. And I didn’t.”

Vander Jagt, who has been Ogden’s principal for about six months, said he thought he would be able to make it to the other campus in time to meet Clemente’s son at lunch time after tending to another responsibility, but was unable to do so.

Vander Jagt said he had “made mistakes” but that he took the allegations of anti-Semitic bullying very seriously.



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On the verge of summer MAP scores Spring 2014

216 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Karen  |  June 7, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I am an Ogden HS parent and to this day have received zero communications about this issue.

  • 2. Counterpoint for Discussion  |  June 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Relax. Call me any derogatory name you want and tease me about my lineage. I’ll just come right back at you in order to place us on equal footing. It’s called debate skills improvement. The kid or adult for that matter that can’t take it is the kid/adult that America doesn’t need. Strike that..I mean it’s the kid that America can not longer afford. Fragile personalities create a fragile nation.


  • 3. cpsdad  |  June 7, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    CPS obviously is an easy target. But kids spend 7 hours at school, 17 hours at home. Where are the parents?

  • 4. Bullied  |  June 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    My child experienced years of bullying at the cps school. It was told to us that it was our word against the bully. Very little was done. I felt no time or care was given to our sutuation. This school has a zero tolerance for bullying.

  • 5. Bullied  |  June 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Bullying had caused my child to feel suicidal last year. I spend the last two years working on self esteem and confidence. Bullying goes far beyond the act.

  • 6. Toni  |  June 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Karen, do you know of an overall bullying problem at Ogden?

  • 7. Toni  |  June 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Are the other commenters here parents at Ogden?

  • 8. cpsobsessed  |  June 7, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    I think it’s important to specify what is meant by a bullying problem at certain schools. Bullying made up of individuals and those kids can be found at any type of school.
    Statistically, some classes, grades, and schools might have more bullying-type kids than others.

    There are a few kids in my son’s grade who have bullied other kids but I’d hesitate to say the school “has a bullying problem.” It’s these specific kids who have a bullying problem.

    I think the question is whether a school culture is set up to deal with it swiftly in a way that makes sense and works for the parties invovled.

    My son’s school has been very pro-active with stepping with facilitating conversations and bullying “workshops” (for lack of a better word), but keeping it front and center immediately when the problems arises in a certain grade. Does this mean that some kid in the school isn’t being bullied personally, discretely by some other kid? Probably not.

    To me, a “problem” is when a school gets repeated reports of bullying and does nothing to address or acknowledge it (as in the past with “kids will be kids” comments.)

    So again, what does a bullying problem at a school constitute?

  • 9. Toni  |  June 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    “To me, a “problem” is when a school gets repeated reports of bullying and does nothing to address or acknowledge it (as in the past with “kids will be kids” comments.)”

    Yes, this is what I mean when I ask if Ogden has a bullying problem. My daughter is to start in the IG program there next year, and I am concerned.

    It is difficult to tell from the outside if this situation is an isolated incident of bullying not being handled properly, or if it is indicative of a larger problem there.

  • 10. CarolA  |  June 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Bullying is a big problem in life from young students all the way to adults. As a teacher in CPS (great neighborhood school), I see it every day. I agree with @3….it starts with parents. I have a lot of wonderful first graders and first grade families, but there are several I just wonder about. Obviously, these little ones are witnessing things at home that make them feel certain actions and verbal remarks are appropriate when clearly they are not. It’s sad to see the look on their face when they really don’t understand why something is inappropriate. I usually get the response……my brother does it to me all the time OR dad does it to mommy and he laughs. Things of that nature are happening more and more each year I teach. I currently have BOY X who is just nasty to his peers. He trips them, pushes them, uses foul language, etc. When I talked to the parents, they just act surprised and say they will talk to him. He has served “restorative justice” time which amounts to wiping the tables clean after lunch. He has missed countless recess periods. What else is available for schools to do with first graders. Yet, if nothing more is done and there isn’t any parent accountability…it will escalate as the years go on. We have a formal bullying program that teachers work with on a daily basis and dedicate 30 minutes a week to actual “class meetings” with specific topics for discussion. At the first grade level, we use role play, watch movie scenarios, etc. and talk about ways to handle a bullying situation. It seems to be helping the non-bullies to get ideas of how to “stand up” to a bully, but it doesn’t seem to be stopping the bully. I see parents who use foul language when they are dodging cars at arrival and dismissal. I see parents who literally drag their child down the block because they are not walking fast enough (all the while the parent is talking on the cell phone to someone else). For goodness sake, your child just spent 7 hours away from you…can’t you get off the phone and ask how their day was????? I have GIRL Z who is quite bossy to her peers and manages to get the “quiet ones” to follow her. In one of her free choice writing assignments, she told me she doesn’t know why she acts that way, but her mom is very mean and always swears at her so maybe that’s why she does it……sad that she is trying to diagnose herself at this level. This is just the beginning. We must find solutions. As CPS employees, we MUST follow the Student Code of Conduct. Look it up if you don’t have a copy. It’s quite clear about the consequences. Yet, administration is very reluctant to follow it. Why? I’m guessing because detentions and suspensions are reported out by schools and principals don’t want their school to “look bad”. So many situations are handled discretely and there is no record of it. CPS parents…..INSIST that your child’s school follow the Student Code of Conduct! Attend LSC meetings and ask about the discipline and how things are handled. As teachers, we have to talk to our students about the SCC and WE have to sign off on it. Yet, administrators are not always following it. Time for change. Things are in place. They just aren’t being followed all the time. Other teachers out there…..what’s happening at your school?

  • 11. HS Mom  |  June 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    With the internet, bullying has taken on a whole new dimension. This aspect is really hard for any parent to control. I think that people (not just kids) can take on any persona and it can be very harmful to teens when combined with their very volatile emotions. I know our school offered a workshop for parents and don’t know of anyone who attended. There is also an issue online when kids get engrossed in these facebook discussions and games that they become wrapped up in it and are in essence participants. Sometimes they don’t even see it until they are on the receiving end.

    @3 – I assume you have young children because it is impossible for parents to monitor everything that your teen does online or on their phone.

  • 12. Counterpoint for Discussion  |  June 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    To #10 Carol A.
    Your statement “It seems to be helping the non-bullies to get ideas of how to “stand up” to a bully, but it doesn’t seem to be stopping the bully.”……… Needs work. Nothing stops a bully! A bully only understands that they will receive equal tongue lashing by the other party involved in order to display that the other party isn’t a wilting lilly. That’s what causes the bully to choose another victim. That’s the life lesson. The life lesson is “Stand up for yourself.”

    Your statement “INSIST that your child’s school follow the Student Code of Conduct!” is ridiculous. The police would be called for almost every incident, which would eventually result in more kids attending charter behavioral disorder schools. Wrong on so many levels.

    [random insults removed for content]

    Obama would like that though because he get the Democratic vote for the SSI disability recipient.

  • 13. Harriett  |  June 7, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I hate to sound awful but this same victim called a young AA girl the N word and nothing was done. It was reported to a teacher, but nothing done. Other students heard it but because no adult heard it no punishment given. the teacher did the “that’s not nice everyone apologize thing”. I am not saying that something should have happened based on kids’ statements alone, but allegations of racist comments by all the kids involved, including the victim is not new unfortunately. There is a culture there of excluding minority kids. Not sure if the mom of this victim knew her son was accused of using this hateful word, but at least one teacher knew. A complete change in attitude at the school is needed (parents, kids, and staff). This latest incident is vile, but it is not surprising to some parents like myself. If I knew about earlier incidents based on my kids talking the staff and principal should have known as well.

  • 14. 2nd grade parent  |  June 7, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    CarolA – thanks for filling in a missing blank for me. I always assumed that the reason why admin. didn’t follow through on incidents was b/c of “paperwork” but now i see the connection to the reported stats of ‘suspensions’ and how that works against a school.

    just awful… and how did we get here?

  • 15. CarolA  |  June 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    @13 Sounds like an unhealthy climate.

  • 16. cpsobsessed  |  June 7, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks for clarifying, toni.

    I think things are a bit more grey in the younger grades. Does it make sense to label a child a bully and possibly remove them from school for having self control issues (hitting, calling generic bad names) are more “naughty” behavior in little kids, unless it’s always directed at a specific child maliciously.

    It feels more like bullying to me when kids are older and direct it more maliciously/psychologically.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 17. CarolA  |  June 7, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    @16, good point, but it does start in the younger years. It’s not as clear cut as it might be in the older grades, but a good administrator/teacher can spot the potential for trouble and nip it as best as possible. In my case….yes, it is directed at a specific set of two other students, not generic misbehavior to anyone who happens to be around this person.

    Also, having worked under several different administrators, I can tell you that they set the tone for the school. Yes, teachers have their own set of personalities, but it is the administration that guides the climate of the school.

  • 18. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 7, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    I don’t know if it’s fair to characterize Ogden as having a “bullying problem.” A few (hopefully isolated) instances aren’t enough to label it as such, IMHO. However, their administration’s inability to properly and efficiently handle these situations as they arose is alarming. The principal, only 5 months into his position, seems to be over his head. And don’t even get me started on CPS; leadership starts at the top. There’s no need to have policies and procedures in place if they aren’t followed. Ogden didn’t adhere to protocol, pure and simple. The higher-ups just hoped the problem would go away, e.g., graduate.

    Don’t forget that these are smart kids who participated in Ogden’s IB Program, most of whom are entering an SEHS in the fall. They knew what they were doing. Do you know how one of the ringleaders’ moms responded when he was prohibited from walking in today’s graduation ceremony? Instead of apologizing or acknowledging any wrongdoing, she started a petition to overturn the board’s decision and approximately 75 (out of 110) classmates signed it. So much for learning their lesson.

    Yes, CPSO, the degree of bullying can intensify as one grows older and it also may become more intentional, hurtful and targeted. But like all forms of education, it needs to be taught and positively reinforced — at school and at home — from an early age. It’s our collective job to raise a generation of responsible and accepting citizens.

  • 19. cpsobsessed  |  June 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    @18: good point Neighborhood mom. We can’t control what kids are taught at home, but CAN control and set the tone for what is/isn’t allowed in the school space.

  • 20. CarolA  |  June 7, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    @19 Yes and hope that parents support the rule/consequence on each side of the coin. The Student Code of Conduct should be signed by parent, child, and teacher. That way when an issue comes up, it’s clear about the consequence. The problem…..group 1 through group 4 problems have consequences that can be up for discussion and interpretation. However, group 5 and 6 are clear cut, but not always followed

  • 22. Concerned CPS Parent  |  June 7, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I think all the children involved are victim of irresponsible administration at the school. I’m sure the bullies involved didn’t target this kid with anti-semitic remarks one morning without reason. It was probably over some minor dispute which got out of hand because adults at the school didn’t care enough to get involved to resolve it. Why stop at disciplining just the children involved. Really culprit is the school administration. To prevent it from happening again, board or cps should discipline the school admin. Principal is getting off the hook with “sorry I messed up this time but I will try harder in the future”.

  • 23. Liza  |  June 7, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    @22 How is the administration responsible for this? Unless the school administration goes around making anti-semitic, racial or other type of inappropriate remarks in front of the students, the fault lies with the parents. Intolerance of others is a learned behavior, children are not born with these attitudes. The parents of children who engage in these types of behavior need to take a long hard look at themselves and what they are either directly teaching their children or what they are allowing their children to be exposed to indirectly. Once the principal was made aware of the issue, he dropped the ball, but all that shows is the principal’s lack of experience and ability.

  • 24. realchicagomama  |  June 8, 2014 at 1:34 am

    Bullying is roughly defined as (1) intentional acts (2) to harass or intimidate someone (3) in an attempt to maintain or alter social power.

    I think that attempts to codify consequences for bullying are difficult to implement because there is so much gray area. It is hard to pinpoint what is conflict resolution and what is true bullying, and as a PP pointed out, it’s a problem for schools within CPS when the policy is followed to the letter.

    It’s a tough issue for CPS, and it’s a tough issue for parents and teachers.

    I struggle with this every day. I have felt both that one of my children was bullied by a few of his/her peers, and that s/he is or has been a bully to his/her peers. It seems cyclical and I can almost see the direct cause-and-effect of teasing at school and behavior at home.

    Where is the line, and how do you draw it? Because children who bully are often bullied themselves or witness to bullying, it’s difficult to determine who is the bully and who is the respondent. The allegations against the Ogden student who was allegedly bullied someone else show that that can be the case. To the bullied, it feels like victim-blaming. But if you are on the other side, your side of the story is also valid, and very often also explained away. It’s definitely a complicated issue.

    Our school has always had a social-emotional curriculum component, has several programs in place to address peer interactions across grades and ages, screened the kid-friendly version of the movie, Bully, and has done several other things to actively promote and encourage bullying prevention and intervention.

    But while it’s easy to blame teachers, administration, and parents themselves for their children’s behavior, it is difficult for those same groups to effect change. I have a kid who, 85% of the time, will allude to being bullied by her peers. But s/he often reacts at the time of these incidents in a way that looks like bullying to everyone else. As his/her parent, I am doing everything I can to alter her perception of what is happening in these peer/social interactions, but the process of doing that is laborious and slow. And while we are working on it, there are are going to be some outbursts at school, because, well, changing is hard.

  • 25. klm  |  June 8, 2014 at 7:54 am

    So far, my family has dodged this bullet.

    We work very hard in our family to remind our kids about looking out for kids that are being picked on, the importance of kindness, empathy, how one person can make a difference, etc.

    That said, I know of examples of kids who come from very nice homes that are bullies. We can’t always blame parents, teachers, administrators, etc.

    Being a bully, especially the “queen bee” variety can be very empowering for kids. Once somebody gets designated “number one” they can become power hungry and respond accordingly. These are children, after all, so they don’t have the same context and sense of morality that we do. They get their minions who cling to being in the “right” group, so the school power structure centers around both INclusion and EXclusion. We’ve all been to school as kids, so we’ve seen it. I see it happening with my kids now.

    I don’t mean to bring gender into this, but as the parent of both sons and daughters, I’m more concerned about the “girl drama” variety of bullying, since it so often goes under the radar, since it so rarely involves physical threats and misbehavior and glaringly obvious never-OK words. It DOES however involve emotional threats and misbehavior.

    My sons know who the other boys are that are “jerks” and know to stay clear to avoid getting hurt.

    My daughters get sucked into the whole girl drama thing, without even trying, since there’s so much “now that you’re in our group, you have to drop your other friends” -type stuff going on. Mostly my daughters seem to doing fine, but just last week a class “queen bee” came over for a play date and wow, was she ever bossy. My daughter wants so bad to be her friend that she puts up with it. I nearly went beserk (but of course, I didn’t) when I heard Queen Bee tell my daugher (they were having a ‘fashion show’) that my daughter doesn’t look as good as her in a particular outfit because she’s not as thin –and they’re in FIRST GRADE!!!!!

    Again, my daugher puts up with it since Queen Bee is the “most popular” girl in the class. Why? Because she’s the “prettiest” and “best” at sports…HUH?! How are kids ALREADY aware of all this in 1st grade?

    Gosh, what’s middle-school going to be like if 1st grade is already like this?

    Is there any meaner person on Earth than a 13-year-old Queen Bee?

    Thing is, I know Queen Bee’s family fairly well. Both parents seem like lovely people, very down to Earth, etc. Somehow, within the ecosystem of my daughter’s classroom and school, Queen Bee’s become #1 and I’m not sure that there’s much adults can do to prevent this kind of power trip thing among kids from going on.

    I’ve talked with the teacher and she’s very aware of how things are in the classroom (she talked in the most professional, neutral way, but we were on the same page). Luckily, she’s working to keep things from getting out of hand –arranging pods to break up “cliques,” assign groups with different kids, etc. Same with many of the parents. We make sure everybody’s included at birthday parties, remind our kids about being a good host, how important it is to treat everybody nicely, etc., not just a few close friends, etc.

    Still, there’s only so much adults can do. We can’t control all aspects of classroom hierarchies, but we CAN work to keep things from getting outta’ hand. We can also enourage empathy and discourage the lack of it.

  • 26. Concerned CPS Parent  |  June 8, 2014 at 9:00 am

    If administration let things go on and is indifferent to it, they are responsible. They don’t have to go around shouting anti-semitic remark themselves to be responsible, if they don’t do anything/ignore it and let it go on, they are responsible. Administration sets the tone on how the students should behave and if you let boys be boys, they will push then envelope until they are told otherwise. Even the victim’s parent was more upset with how the principal handle the situation because she thought she was being ignored. If she felt like she was being ignored, how do you think the student felt? These kids aren’t Nazis/racist. They didn’t like this kid and they wanted to hurt him in some way and they thought calling him “Jew” would hurt him the most. Now unfortunately, all the students involved will be labeled in some way.

  • 27. Concerned CPS Parent  |  June 8, 2014 at 9:12 am

    By the way, I thought assistant principal was in charge of Junior high at Ogden.

  • 28. realchicagomama  |  June 8, 2014 at 10:15 am

    klm – as the parent of both girls and boys, I agree with so much of your post. We also work on empathy and kindness, but it is difficult for kids to take those lessons to heart and embody them, because they are human. I was going to say because they were children, but I’ve met adults who lose sight of those values and actions as well.

  • 29. HS Mom  |  June 8, 2014 at 10:25 am

    “Bullying is roughly defined as (1) intentional acts (2) to harass or intimidate someone (3) in an attempt to maintain or alter social power.”

    “Being a bully, especially the “queen bee” variety can be very empowering for kids. Once somebody gets designated “number one” they can become power hungry and respond accordingly”

    Thanks, I was going to elaborate on these points.

    Since when is bullying limited to “the scum of the earth” and kids from broken and abused homes? What about the hyper competitive who bully’s their way to the captain of the team, determines whose “in or out” of a social group or club, and overall makes them selves look good by putting others down. These same kids have the parents who are all over the teacher and admin if their kid gets a B – reporting said teacher for their ineptitude and screaming at their kids at sporting events. I can’t help but think that this is the kind of bullying behavior that drives the recipient into depression.

    Regarding schools handling of an issue – We had an incident/prank that was not only demoralizing but had the extra component of effecting his grade. I took off work to speak to the A/P and P about it. They asked if we knew who did it (didn’t know for sure) and if my son was willing to report them, which of course he was not. They were going to “ask” the teacher to reconsider the grading issue…..all in all we were made to feel like we were the burden and the school just didn’t want to get involved in the kids “antics”. So yes, I agree that 99% of these problems can be addressed, even fixed, if the school has a better understanding of how the kid actually feels and is compassionate and actually follows through with a plan.

  • 30. OutsideLookingIn  |  June 8, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Lots of very thoughtful posts here. Glad to see that there are parents, teachers and administrators out there who take this problem seriously and take steps to manage it. On a side note, I’ve been reading the book Wonder with my kid, which has quite a bit of bullying in it. It’s been interesting to discuss with my kid, who is about the same age as the characters in the book.

  • 31. New to Ogden IB  |  June 8, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Hi Toni,
    My daughter is also going to the Ogden IB program this fall for 6th gradel. I am trying to stay enthusiastic about our decision. We are transferring from Lasalle II which my daughter and I love dearly.Though we are sad to leave Lasalle , I am looking towards my daughters future and have decided that a guaranteed high school option at Ogden is the best for our family.
    I have friends at Ogden with kids in both the elementary and high school levels. I can assure you that the Ogden bullying outside of this incident is not rampant. I cannot say it does not exist because it does in every school to some degree, even our beloved Lasalle.
    The IB program at Ogden is stellar and the kids and the teachers are so enthusiastic. Look at the big picture and see all the good things Ogden has to offer. I am remind myself That the West Campus of Ogden has 700+ students, out of that student body 3 kids were disciplined for bullying. If you would like to have our kids meet before school that would be great!
    If you are thinking about Ogden for High School, I think it is a good option now but it will be a great option in the near future.

    My father is Jewish, his family came from Latvia my family name is Rosenberg. My sympathy goes out to the Clemente boy and his family. With this said I feel that the principal deserves a second chance and work out his contract. If he does not show improvement then the LSC can take action to not renew his contract. Mr. Van der Jagt is very remorseful, his eyes have been opened and I feel he will be much more sensitive to student issues. If you saw him at the lastest LSC meeting you can obviously see how sad and remorseful he is.
    Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow!

  • 32. Family Friend  |  June 8, 2014 at 10:57 am

    One of my sad duties as a board member of a charter school is to serve as a hearing officer at expulsion hearings. Don’t get me wrong — these are kids who should be severely disciplined, because they have had many warnings, because they are very disruptive to other students’ learning, and because they are sometimes astonishingly violent. But too many episodes are rooted in relational aggression. A kid who has been pushed to the edge by a master manipulator overreacts. We are working on addressing the roots of the aggression, but sometimes it’s hard. The bullying is often very subtle. Teachers don’t understand how bad it has become, and how kids who might, in my day, have become withdrawn, now harm themselves or others. Bullying happens off school grounds, or on line, and teachers don’t become aware of it until it has escalated. I think anti-bullying programs must start in the primary grades, when kids are more willing to accept adult wisdom, and they may be more willing to stand up to bullies because they are more tied to home and less to the social environment at school. To the extent possible, parents should be involved, but every kid should know he or she has an advocate, someplace, who can and will help.

  • 33. New to Ogden IB  |  June 8, 2014 at 11:26 am

    To answer Karen
    When an administration is working on a bullying situation, the people involved are limited to parent/student, the principal and school counselor. .In the case of Ogden it was brought to the press because of the way the principal handled it.
    I worked at my daughters school and had to handle bullying issues on the playground.These matters are kept confidential not for the general population of the school. Most likely that is why you never received any information directly from the school.

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  June 8, 2014 at 11:34 am

    @24 RealChicagoMama – very good points about the grey areas – and how sometimes both parties are somewhat complicit (or at the very least, it can appear that way to teachers.)

    A child in my son’s class has some behavioral issues that may be bullying or may be impulse control. This child seems to move from kid to kid so it seems situational, not personal. Who knows what happens to provoke it. Maybe my son gives them a weird look. Or doesn’t include them in jokes or make the child feel part of the group (I have no idea, it’s all subtle and the situation feeds on itself I suspect.)

    Obviously in other cases a child is being mercilessly picked on and singled out, which is a different story.

  • 35. Leah  |  June 8, 2014 at 11:47 am

    80 students signed a petition to request that the accused boys by allowed to march in graduation. This was most of the class. I am troubled that the kids who signed and their parent saw nothing wring with having to face a consequence for this behavior. This speaks loudly to the type if parents and students at the school.

  • 36. Leah  |  June 8, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Oops….saw nothing “wrong”

  • 37. Leah  |  June 8, 2014 at 11:56 am

    @ 26–“these kids aren’t racist” ? Seems pretty racist to me.

  • 38. New Ogden parent  |  June 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Most of the Ogden 8th grade have been together since kindergarten. These kids have developed deep friendships and maybe ,just possibly ,they wanted to see their fellow classmates graduate with them. The three boys were given suspensions and in a child’s mind maybe they think that was suitable.
    Disparaging 80 families is a bit like bullying too:-)

  • 39. CLB  |  June 8, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Excellent posts by @24 and @25. Worth reading before posting.

    I object to the blanket “it’s the parents who enable it or set the tone.” There are plenty of children whose parents are courteous and hold their children to high standards of social behavior but when they are outside adult monitoring behave atrociously. Many of us are also familiar with the odious parent who has the angelic child (at school at least). As was noted above, some kids who are bullied also bully others. The social dynamics at the school are complex, and there is not one single cause of bullying. But there problems with how bullying is dealt with at a school.

    The ‘if a teacher didn’t see or hear it, it didn’t happen’ is an obstacle to bullying prevention. When there were some accusations of bullying at my school, this came up. This completely undercuts the “tell a teacher” rule for by-standers and makes a farce of any claims for “zero tolerance of bullying.” If the word of other students count for nothing, what’s the point in going to tell a teacher? For physical bullying, the Student Code of Conduct has an explicit self-defense provision so physically resisting a bully who use or threatens to use force is not punishable. If anyone says it constitutes fighting, they are wrong. Fighting is a mutual agreement to use force (‘let’s meet after school to mete it out’); bullying is one-sided. I have told my 9-y.o. daughter (who does kung-fu adeptly) that she may intervene to stop physical or social bullying of both herself and others. (She shall use only as much force as necessary to safeguard herself or others until the bully retreats, stays prone, or a teacher arrives; she may not punish with pain.)

    What makes a big difference to any kid who is bullied is that other kids stand behind him. Bullying persists when by-standing students are cowards. The kids I know who were bullied said what hurt the most was not being bullied but the failure of any of their friends to do anything. When I was in K12 school (1970-80s) in suburban NJ, bullies, physical or verbal, had no ground to stand on. If a bully shoved a kid into a locker or wall and the person who was shoved or an outraged bystander socked the bully in the nose or shoved back, only the bully was punished if he or she was fool enough to tattle. When I was in 6th grade, two 7th graders would bully me – name-calling, shoving. One day four other 6th grade boys came up to me as we were about to leave class and walk past the gauntlet of 7th graders that included the bullying pair. They told me they were walking out with me and that they had my back. So when the one bully taunted and the second shoved me, I threw a punch at the second, but only glanced him. I happened to do so just as the vice-headmaster walked into the hall. He immediately called us both into a room and we had to recount what happened (since all he saw was my swing). We both did honestly. The vice-headmaster then told the 7th grader to apologize to me. The purpose of the apology was not to express remorse but to shame him in front of only the headmaster and me (but not publicly humiliate him). The vice-headmaster then warned the bully that if it happened again the bully would be punished. I was neither reprimanded nor praised, but the message was quite clear to both of us and to all others who of course wanted to know what happened in the room: my actions were excused if not justified; his were not. I never had a problem with those two again.

  • 40. Leah  |  June 8, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    @38, saying I am “troubled” about this petition is not bullying. You are out of line to call me a bully. I did not name call or disparage anyone. I am troubled about this, and other Ogden parents in my daughter’s grade are troubled as well. This is not a bullying statement, it is my feelings on this matter!

  • 41. cpsobsessed  |  June 8, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I can’t seem to cut and paste from here, but this defines bullying and how it is to be handled. It seems to refer to incidences as those where an adult witnessed bullying. I’m sure the more far removed from that (ie, parent contacts school, says kid is being bullied on the playground) the less clear it becomes.

    The ways of handling it are laid out, but also create many grey areas.


  • 42. Parent  |  June 8, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Leah, I was at several informal playground meetings with parents, and I too am bothered by the blame the victim mentality. I am disturbed that this incident has been labeled as bullying or teasing and not labeled as racism. The “bullies” themselves proclaim on the page that the created that they, and I quote ” are a group of friendly racist.” They are smart enough to label themselves as racist. I personally would be horrified if my 6th grader thought this behavior was ok and a one day ” stay at home and watch TV” suspension was appropriate punishment. The parents of all of the 8th grade should have (as good parents) discussed with they’re children what was going on with this situation and why actions deserve consequences. I see this a a parenting problem. I am not saying to shun the 3 “bullies”, but part of our job as parents is to explain consequence for bad behavior and move on. It seems like the parents of these children missed the opportunity.

  • 43. CLB  |  June 8, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    @ 37. Leah: I think what is meant is that these students do not really believe that Jews are inferior or have any serious ideological anti-Semitism. Rather, they found a way to hurt their target and revel in the breaking a taboo. Their actions are racist in their effects, but their motivations are not. Ideologically, they are assholes (or as my daughter would prefer I say “donkey-pits”).

    Adolescent assholes can become better. Racists, well, those you might have to give the Vidal Sassoon treatment.

  • 44. CarolA  |  June 8, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    In order to address the issue of bullying, it is important to clearly understand how bullying is defined. A commonly used definition developed by Dr. Olweus is

    A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.

    Expressed in more everyday language one might say: Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending himself or herself.

    ****More info on bullying is available if you Google the Olweus program. It’s a research based program that offers a lot of insight into the topic. The key difference between general misbehavior and bullying is that bullying consists of actions that are done repeatedly and over time and usually to someone smaller, more shy, etc. who, in general, will not defend themselves.

  • 45. Ogden mama 2  |  June 8, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    @ 42!!!! AMEN, where are the parents? They admit online to being racist. Disgusting behavior. Children learn at lot by how we react or don’t react. As a parent I spoke to my child immediately about this and I called it, like my grandma used to say, ( a spade a spade). This was vile and racist. parents kneed to be parents, I condemn the behavior, but not the children. If we act as if it is a minor thing, how will children learn that it actually isn’t a minor thing. Gone are the days where “kids are kids” and kids don’t do awful things, they do. We need to teach and responded with love but also DISCIPLINE.

  • 46. cpsobsessed  |  June 8, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    It’s difficult to comment without knowing the specific kids in question (the “bullies”) but I can see how it may seem extreme to keep them from graduation. What may have been bone-headed moves on their part in a short time periods is being punished with missing graduation which reflects their 9 years in the school.
    It also feels a bit like over-compensation on the principal’s part who may now be trying to take a harder stance (again, I’m speaking completely hypothetically here, knowing little about the facts.) If the kids have otherwise been upstanding, perhaps parents recognize that any kid make bone-head moves at some point and wouldn’t want to see their kid have the same severe consequence.

    On the other hand, if there was some seriously mean, vindictive, hateful bullying going on, then it does send a strong signal about consequences.

    I’m torn about whether it was too extreme, but would love to know the rationale of the parents who signed the petition. (again, speaking generally here – not asking for real people to chime in.)
    If there were racist/anti-semetic/homophobic bullying episodes in my son’s school I’d be hard-pressed to rally in support of those kids unless there was some backstory or extenuating circumstances.

  • 47. Professor Motley  |  June 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Reblogged this on Professor Motley.

  • 48. Ogden mama 2  |  June 8, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    They told the boy to “get in the oven”, very pointed and specific reference to the Holocaust. Not a one time statement, said multiple times, then invited his younger brother to join this group. they were smart enough to target the younger kid in this disgusting behavior. i imagine that they knew how hateful this would be. Trying to trick and manipulate the younger bother into joining in…….. Sorry…….not walking across the stage is a small punishment. They got their diploma, no mention of it on their record, they still will attend their various selective enrollment or private schools without any lasting consequences. Kids have been kicked out of CPS schools for far less. I don’t judge, but my child knows how disgusting I think this behavior is. 13 and 14 years old are not innocent babies, they knew full well what they were doing.

  • 49. CarolA  |  June 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I do not believe keeping them from walking across the stage was harsh punishment at all. As @48 said…they knew full well what they were doing. Not knowing them at all, but following this blog, I’d have a hard time believing this is a first time problem with this group. There were pretty extreme remarks made and groups gathered. Something like this doesn’t “just happen”. There have been instances in my school where students I had trouble with in first grade caused major problems in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Each year their behavior escalated until people began to notice and stopped dismissing it as just boys being boys. Having the advantage of working with tons of students year in and year out, gives school staff a great perspective of what is “normal” misbehavior (is there such a thing?) and what has the potential for serious consequences.

  • 50. Tim O  |  June 8, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    @41CPSOBSESSED—- I looked at the code of conduct and the 5.14 , seems they broke this , calls for a suspension of five days and students over 6th grade may be referred for explosion . It seems like they got off easy. I wonder why the code of conduct wasn’t followed with these children? Interesting

  • 51. cpsobsessed  |  June 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Can you clarify what the code is (ie, the behavior)?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 52. maalika mekhi  |  June 8, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    OK my son was bullied at Ogden high school 3 years ago. He was jumped on in class, and ended up in the emergency room. The administration at that time was nonchalant about the ordeal. They just said press charges. They said they didn’t want the bullies there, but they did nothing to expel them. I got a restraining order, and all the school did was switch the bullies schedules so they would no longer have the same schedule as my son. My son didn’t want to transfer. I should have made him. When I inquired about my son transferring after the bullying incident at Ogden, the administration acted as if they couldn’t be responsible for sending him to a different school. The A.P. also made a remark about sending my son to a high school that was known for violence, because he assumed that was my neighborhood school. My son stopped going to school regularly, or was severely tardy daily. He was effected by this. He finished his sophomore year at Ogden, I home-schooled him his junior year. Enrolled him in a neighborhood school for senior year, but he didn’t graduate because of his attendance/credits. As soon as students at this recent neighborhood school bullied him, he stopped going again.

  • 53. Tim O  |  June 8, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    5.14– use if any computer to threaten, harass, bully, or intimidate it otherwise intimidate others….

  • 54. Tim O  |  June 8, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Use of….

  • 55. T  |  June 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    You should wear striped pajamas. We’re going to put you in an oven.” She added that the students showed him pictures of concentration camps and said, “This is what’s going to happen to you.”…….WTH!!!

  • 56. Tim O  |  June 8, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Number 55 is me, my name was cut off

  • 57. CLB  |  June 8, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    … like my grandma used to say, ( a spade a spade). This was vile and racist.

    Not the expression that I would use to condemn racism. Maybe, “a spade, a shovel” would be better. Though the racist connotation of the prior phrase does not emerge until the 20th century, the Classical origin of the phrase was arguably similarly offensive. To “call an x, an x” you substitute x for the c-word, and I don’t mean cancer. Put differently, our bullies are confirming cases of Tucker’s Law. I’m having it embroidered on my tea-towels too.

  • 58. guest  |  June 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    @ 57, in the African American culture the statement “a spade a spade” is not racist. It refers to the farming days when hard work was done by a hoe or a spade, the spade with the short handle was a lot harder to use than the hoe. The statement referred to the sentiment that hard work is hard work, no matter how you twist it. Now back to the actual discussion at hand.

  • 59. guest  |  June 8, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Tim—-The socio-economic make up of Ogden is different from most CPS schools, so I imagine that is why the SCC wasn’t followed. Just my first guess.

  • 60. CarolA  |  June 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    What’s the point of a SCC if it’s not going to be followed? That’s like saying if you live in a certain area of the city, the city laws don’t apply to you. If it’s CPS…it’s CPS! As I mentioned earlier….it’s a gray area in groups 1-4, but groups 5-6 are pretty clear cut. It should be followed no matter what CPS school the students are attending.

  • 61. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    @46: I agree with Ogden mama 2 and CarolA that the punishment wasn’t harsh enough. Not even close. I’ve been closely following this story as it’s been developing and the facts are beyond disturbing. So much so that I already know three (!!!) Jewish families who weren’t directly affected by this situation and have decided to leave Ogden’s east campus for good. They’re distraught over the extremity of what happened and how it has been handled. The school is very much divided, as evidenced by the recent petition, and these particular parents no longer feel that it’s a safe climate for their children. (CPSO, as an FYI, the petition was written by a ringleader’s parent and signed by 8th grade students.)

    @59: The SCC wasn’t followed because it allows for principal’s discretion and he reduced it to two days for the ringleaders and one day for the game participants.

  • 62. Steve  |  June 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    In CPS, Poor minority kids are punished a lot more than well off privileged white kids.

  • 63. Another Concerned Parent  |  June 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Getting admission to a selective enrollment high school shouldn’t be just based on academic achievement. Admission should be rescinded if a student is suspended from school. A number of the Ogden students who were involved in the recent incident have been accepted into SEHS. I know it’s too late to do anything now but criteria should be changed to include language stating student should not have had any disciplinary action taken against them during 7th and 8th grade in order to be considered for admission to any of the SEHS schools.

  • 64. opinion  |  June 8, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    80 classmates signed a petition supporting these racists thugs. Wow. Rather than supporting the bullied, they put their names to paper in support of the thugs. This action says it all about the kind of graduates Ogden produces for all of Chicago to see. I am glad to know that and will be spreading the word. Have a nice future.

  • 65. Jones2  |  June 8, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    “FYI…the petition was written by a ringleader parent and signed by the 8th grade students”

    Not sure if the “ringleader” learned anything from this experience but it is obvious that his parent didn’t. The notion that a parent would have thought circulating such a petition was appropriate “boggles my mind”.

    Who approached the other 8th grade students and requested their signatures? The student involved or the parent? It is interesting that ‘allegedly’ 80 fellow 8th graders signed the petition…what is that, 4/5 of the 8th grade class? Did the remaining 20 refuse to sign or were they just absent/not around that day.

  • 66. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 8, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Not only that, Jones2, but the petition was supposedly accompanied by a letter from the parent describing the ringleaders as wrongly accused 4.0 saints. Is it fair to assume that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? I was wondering myself how it was circulated and if the hold-outs were intentional or never asked. There were around 110 students in the graduating class, I’m pretty sure.

  • 67. Leah  |  June 8, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    @ 66—The parent approached other parents who then passed it on to the kids to sign. Unfortunately the feeling is by a lot of parents and kids in the middle school is that what the kids did is not a big deal. That is scary.

  • 68. Jones2  |  June 8, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    @Neighborhood parent/Leah

    I’m speechless.

    Learning that the petition was written by a ringleader’s parent & now learning it was actually circulated by that parent to other parents who then passed it on to their child to sign…I’m at a loss for words to express how I feel.

  • 69. CarolA  |  June 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    If, in fact, this was a Group 5 offense (5-14 mentioned above), then there isn’t any wiggle room for administration. The SCC clearly states (page 27) that it requires a longer suspension with options to make it even longer and adding restorative justice activities, but not in place of the longer suspension.

  • 70. CLB  |  June 8, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    @69 The SCC is badly written when it come to bullying. It defines bullying as… “any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students, that has or can be reasonably predicted to have one or more of the following effects:”

    But there are references to bullying that distinguish “bullying” (no suspension recommended) from “persistent severe bullying” (suspension). So we have a class of “persistent severe severe or pervasive conduct….” Great. This from the people responsibly for our children’s education.

  • 71. Leah  |  June 8, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    There is a petition for the principal to be removed. I think this is going too far. When will parents start taking responsibility for their children? When will parents start teaching basic decency? I said before, I am troubled about the reaction of the parents of the accused and the parents of the children who put their name to the petition.

    The principal was in a no win situation. If he had given punishment as the SCC directed you can bet there would be legal action from the little darlings parents and calls for his removal. It s clear by the petition that they have a lot of support.

  • 72. New to Ogden IB  |  June 8, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    The petition does have close to 400 signatures but the majority of the signatures are from non- parents of Ogden students. Many dont live in Chicago, some are from out of state. Not sure how legal that is. principal Van der Jagt has support from many parents. From what I have been told by high school parents that they have not seen or heard of a petition. Honestly the people that started this petition are not CPS families and they have no idea how hard it is to go through the whole principal selection process and how small the applicant pool is.. Once again I am so sorry for what happened to this kid but ousting the principal is not the answer.

  • 73. CarolA  |  June 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    I believe 5-14 has to do with the technology part of this situation. Didn’t someone write about how they changed the names and references in some type of computer game? I didn’t go back and check which post.

    Leah: You are right. It’s a learning experience. Removing the principal would be too far to go. Watching him handle future situations is what is needed. You make a valid point about people, in general, taking responsibility for their actions. The problem here is that any severe actions may affect future school choices and that’s why certain parents go a bit overboard in protecting their children. They are not looking at the actions clearly. They are wondering what it means for the future. Again, I don’t think things like this happen out of the blue. When the rough waters calm down, all parties involved need to dig deeper into the situation. No need to point fingers, but it’s necessary to make sure this doesn’t happen again in any school.

  • 74. New to Ogden IB  |  June 8, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    # 72 in reference to the principal petition only

  • 75. OutsideLookingIn  |  June 8, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    The administration made the right call by not allowing the ringleaders to walk at graduation. It sends a message from the top saying “we will not tolerate this behavior here”. I’m sure that to many of the Ogden families who have known the ringleaders since they were little boys, this seems like an overly harsh and unfair punishment. But it isn’t. These kids may have earned their diplomas but they don’t deserve our applause.

  • 76. HS Mom  |  June 8, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Tim – regarding the computer thing and SCC…..tough area. I gather that this is a game (albeit a bad one) that that all these kids participated in for possibly months. The parents did not intercede until the younger child was invited. There would certainly be questions as to how that plays out with bullying.

    @46 CPSO – I agree with you. Based upon discussion here and in the news (which is on line so it must be true) it’s hard to tell if the punishment was too harsh or a long time in the coming. I think you lay out some strong reasoning points. I also waiver on this just because earlier accusations had 13 kids now it’s 3, various timelines etc. I just find it hard to believe that 13 kids from Ogden or any other school would be raging Neo Nazis. Like you, I believe that there must be some character in a kid who goes to a good school, has made academic strides and is part of a group for 9 years. Maybe I’m wrong but I can reflect upon our own 8th grade class – perfect, no way – problems, yes – anything that would make mortal enemies at the end – don’t think so. I could be wrong, don’t know these kids but this is really too bad all the way around.

  • 77. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 8, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    @76: To clarify, there were three ringleaders and 10 additional kids involved in the “Jewish Incinerator” online game. The ringleaders were prohibited from walking in graduation; the others received one-day suspensions.

  • 78. cpsobsessed  |  June 8, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    So things happening in online games with fellow students falls under the CPS bullying rules? (I am guessing, just as Facebook bullying would?)

    What would be the ideal reaction from the principal that parents are demanding? Longer suspensions for all the kids involved?

    For anyone reading, what solution would have satisfied you as a parent? Or was it more the general handling/lack of quick or serious response that was the issue?

  • 79. cpsobsessed  |  June 8, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Sun Times article with more details (most of which were mentioned above:)


    The vice president of the Chicago Board of Education said Thursday that Chicago Public Schools does not condone anti-Semitism.

    It was the first time a Chicago schools official has used that term to describe an ugly incident at Ogden International School.

    “CPS does not condone bullying, harmful rhetoric, intolerance or any anti-Semitic comments or behavior,” Jesse Ruiz said at a special Local School Council meeting at the school’s east campus, 24 W. Walton St.

    Anti-Semitic bullying against an eighth-grader by his classmates, and the district’s response, which some parents called insufficient, caused a firestorm at the North Side school.

    The 14-year-old, who is Jewish and attends the west campus for sixth to 12th grades at 1250 W. Erie, told his mother, Lisa Wolf Clemente, six months ago that kids told him to put on striped pajamas and get into an oven. Clemente said she told him to handle it himself.

    But then, on May 20, she went to the principal after the teen’s 8-year-old brother was invited to an online video game called Clash of Clans; several Ogden students had teamed up as “Jew Incinerator,” calling it “a friendly group of racists with one goal — put all Jews into an army camp until disposed of.”

    Ruiz told reporters he used his “own words” when he called what’s happened at the school anti-Semitism.

    “My family is Jewish, so I may view it differently. I would take great offense to those words if they were directed to my sons,” Ruiz told reporters.

    Clemente, who has since sought help from the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said her children didn’t feel safe at school. The school sent two letters to parents, but the first on May 23 only advised parents to talk to their children about online behavior, and the second didn’t mention anti-Semitism, said Clemente’s friend and fellow Ogden parent Jory Strosberg. An online petition is being circulated calling for the principal’s resignation.

    The principal, Joshua Vanderjagt, said at Thursday’s meeting he should have met with Clemente’s son sooner. But the first-time principal defended his actions, saying they were taken with the help of CPS officials to ensure all students’ safety.

    Three students were suspended for one day out of school, according to CPS, with two of them serving another day’s suspension in school by writing reflection papers and apology letters to the victim’s family.

    Ruiz said the students will not participate in graduation ceremonies Saturday.

    He said CPS has been revising the student code of conduct and will launch a “multifaceted campaign” to raise awareness and provide training to principals and teachers.

    Ruiz also met privately with Clemente.

    Clemente called that meeting “positive.” It ended with a hug.

    Meanwhile, Vanderjagt said the district is organizing a meeting for all the kids involved in the ugly incident.

  • 80. anonymouse teacher  |  June 8, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    @78, for me, I view what these students did as criminal behavior for which they should be prosecuted, as children, under the law. I don’t think this is a school issue any longer, but a legal and criminal issue.

  • 81. maman  |  June 8, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I agree with anonymouse teacher. The police should have been involved. Were the police ever notified?

  • 82. cpsobsessed  |  June 8, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    What is the crime in which the police would be involved (specifically when related to 8th graders?)

  • 83. anonymouse teacher  |  June 8, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Use of hate speech, threat of harm, and intimidation.
    I believe their actions should be considered through the lens of their age, and at the same time, legal action of some kind should happen.

    Back when I was student teaching, a 10 year old student, who had 2 older brothers in gangs, repeatedly threatened to have me killed on my walk to the bus after school because I gave him time outs for negative, disruptive behavior. All I did was to secure a ride from school to my university when I should have pressed charges. But I was 22 and naive and didn’t know any better.

  • 84. CarolA  |  June 8, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    I guess I’m a bit unclear. Did the computer game happen during school time…on school premises? What about the racist remarks? Obviously the school can continue to watch the situation, but if these things happened outside school hours/campus…..sounds like a police issue.

  • 85. Carolina  |  June 8, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Cpsobsessed– a minimum of a five day suspension is warranted, labeling it correctly as hate speech, and being proactive in terms of response would satisfy me as a parent. The one/two day suspension is not even a slap on the wrist for hate speech and intimidation.

  • 86. @84  |  June 8, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    The Student Code of Conduct makes it clear that the bullying does not have to take place at school for CPS to intervene.


    See page 31:

    Bullying is prohibited:
    6) when it is a Student Code of Conduct (SCC) group 5 or 6 offense that occurs off campus but seriously disrupts any student’s education

    What has been described clearly fits the definitions of 5-4 and 5-14, defined on page 26-27 (“most seriously disruptive behaviors”).

  • 87. Appropriate Punishment  |  June 8, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    The limited suspensions and the not walking at graduation seem too mild rather than too strong. I would be appalled if my child had engaged in these actions and would be working on figuring out what I had done wrong as a parent and how to get my child to understand the full extent of what he had done. That the parents of these kids are working on petitions to get them admitted to graduation (if I am understanding this correctly) is very sad.

  • 88. CarolA  |  June 9, 2014 at 6:13 am

    @86…Thanks for the clarity. Then it is not up for discussion about the suspension days. The SCC clearly states a Group 5 offense has a minimum 5 day suspension.

    @87…I agree

    There must be some terrific consequences or positive bonuses for principals depending on their suspension counts. There’s no other reason for not following the SCC. I have recently become aware of a few situations where it was a Group 5 offense and NO suspension was given. Interesting to say the least. One of the news articles linked above mentioned that CPS is taking steps to better inform principals about the SCC. Hmmmm? Why does it always take some big news and unfortunate activity before CPS takes action? The rest of us (parents, teachers, and students) need to make sure this type of behavior does not continue and if it does….appropriate steps are taken to send a message that these types of actions are not taken lightly.

  • 89. cpsobsessed  |  June 9, 2014 at 7:15 am

    So 5-14 mentions using social media/computer for harrassment, bullying, intimidation. I assume that means in or out of school (but that probably needs clarifying as some of the others are also vague.) Does there need to be proof shown to school admin to get the suspension? Was that done in this case? I worry about “I said, you said.” In this particular case there seemed to be enough confirmed reports that it happened, whether screen shots were shown or not – but I think there still needs to be adequate investigation time/burden of proof before a 5 day suspension happens regularly.

    Interesting finding:
    5-16 Inappropriate consensual sexual activity.
    Um… that’s pretty vague. At school? At home? What’s inappropriate?

  • 90. Patricia  |  June 9, 2014 at 8:22 am

    @CPSO Like many things “put in writing” things are vague to allow for interpretation and hopefully application of common sense. The problem with getting very specific is the risk of leaving things out or the things that won’t be listed. It also creates a cycle of constant changes with document amendments. (Kind of like the CTU contract which is a mess. Also how legislation works, very messy and overly specific in some areas and not specific enough in others until a crisis comes up and it is amended.) Just think how long the section would be on “inappropriate consensual sexual activity”. By the time it was defined and written, kids would find the one thing not listed and start doing it. Also, the specifics would probably give some kids ideas that they otherwise would not even know about.

    I am not saying that things in the SCC can’t be improved, rather that being vague has its benefits too. In the example above, does a school kick out a student who gets pregnant? Is that inappropriate consensual sexual activity? I am not judging, just saying that specificity can have a downside.

    I do agree that the SCC should be followed uniformly. However, isn’t there a movement from Obama on down to no punish students (specifically black males) as much since they are disproportionately suspended more? Again, not judging, but just trying to highlight some of the complexity.

  • 91. cpsobsessed  |  June 9, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Very good points. Ha, so true about teens finding a loophole.
    I think you’re right though – some vagueness is needed but then it becomes more grey about enforcement.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 92. Concerned CPS Parent  |  June 9, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Like I said earlier, I believe administration is the main reason it got out of control. They could have nip it at the bud. While I don’t want the principal fired over this, cps should send a message that all administration should create an environment where student feel they are protected by the administration while in school and that they will not be ignored if report being attack in some way. Obviously, I don’t know the truth but victim didn’t talk to the teacher before going to his mom. The kid didn’t trust the staff at school.

    Couple of thing I don’t understand about the people involved here:

    What is the mentality of the ring leaders parent’s to petition to attend the graduation? Why did they sign it? I don’t the whole story but seems they are not put together right up there…crazy

    Also, victim’s parent understandably is frustrated, but whole point should be to protect her son and to make sure these boys don’t act this way again in the future. Did she really think these boys were racist with nazi mentality? Did they act this way to all the Jewish kid in the school? Cmon… What they did was wrong but these are 13/14 yr old kid who acted really stupid while being among their peers. Did she have to call the reporters and jewish community organization because she didn’t think original punishment wasn’t harsh enough.

    Seem with all the parties involve… recipe for disaster

  • 93. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 9, 2014 at 9:45 am

    New Op-Ed piece for your viewing “pleasure”:


  • 94. edgewatermom  |  June 9, 2014 at 9:50 am

    I haven’t seen any comments about the suicide of the 6th grader at Peirce. I don’t know many details, but from what I have read her parents brought the bullying to the attention of the principal but very little was done about it.

    I really believe that the culture of the school really determines how these things are handled. I know that at our CPS school, bullying is taken very seriously. The teachers and school counselor are very proactive about it. EVERY school has bullying – it is how the school reacts to it that determines whether or not it will continue.

    I am actually surprised that the suicide at Peirce has not received more media attention. It is such a tragedy.

  • 95. Peirce  |  June 9, 2014 at 10:10 am

    @94 I’m also surprised the Peirce suicide hasn’t been more prominent. I don’t know that publicity is necessarily useful, though it probably is if the claims that the school was not being responsive are accurate.

    A child killed herself. It’s just sad beyond words.

  • 96. @89  |  June 9, 2014 at 11:08 am

    5-14 isn’t vague. It says: “Use of ANY computer…” as opposed to “Use of any school computer.”

    There were screen shots. Nobody is suggesting that this didn’t happen. The debate is about the appropriate response to the behavior.

  • 97. Chris  |  June 9, 2014 at 11:55 am

    5-14 states, in full:

    “Use of any computer, including social networking websites, or use of any information technology device to threaten, stalk, harass, bully or otherwise intimidate others, or hacking (intentionally gaining access by illegal means or without authorization) into the CPS network to access student records or other unauthorized information, or to otherwise circumvent the information security system, regardless of intent “

    So, the relevant portion would be:

    “Use of any information technology device to threaten, stalk, harass, bully or otherwise intimidate others”

    And the question would be about the proof of the actions constituting “threaten, stalk, harass, bully or otherwise intimidate” (I think, as reported, the action do constitute that, but that’s a matter of evidence, not my opinion).

    ***What I find interesting is that using “any information technology device” (ie, smart phone) makes the violation more severe–to be a Level 5 violation *not* involving a any information technology device, it has to be “Use of intimidation, credible threats of violence, coercion, or persistent severe bullying.” which is a lot higher standard.****

  • 98. CLB  |  June 9, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Courts have granted schools broad discretion to punish students for behavior outside of school provided they can make a plausible link between the external behavior and conditions in the school. In the internet era, it is easier to observe such conduct. In theory, if student A walking home with students B,C, and D says “Principal X is piss-licking loser”, a bystander hearing it could report it to the school and student A could be punished by the school for undermining the principal’s authority. But the students could readily deny they did so, making it hard to prove. But when student A posts the remark to his Facebook page and invites students B,C, & D to read the post, now anyone with access to the page can take a screen capture and send it to the school. Cant’ lie now. In some cases, courts have distinguished satire or parodies as having protection outside of school but general dickishness, not so much.

    @97 Indeed, the idea that using a computer is really bad but doing the same thing without a computer is less bad strikes me as really stupid. In other words, CPS’s code considers the months of verbal harassment the older boy suffered to be less serious than the one-time invite to join the anti-Semitic online game.

  • 99. klm  |  June 9, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    @94 and @95

    The Peirce thing is beyond horrible. How sad must that girl have been.

    She almost certainly had mental health issues with depression, hopelessness, etc. Many of us remember from child and adolescent psychology classes, many kids think about suicide in order to get back with somebody that they feel has been wrong towards them (mothers are often the target in this scenario, but also bullies) in order to make them feel the pain of guilt, but only truly depressed people overwhelmed by hopelessness actually go through with it. That kind of mental illness is rarely triggered by bullying, although bullying can make people that suffer from hopelessness finally go ahead and attempt suicide.

    In the past when similar things have happened, the first person(s) people point fingers to for blame are the alleged bullies. However, when all the facts are examined, the story becomes more nuanced: there’s an issue with depression, personal turmoil, sometimes the the story is more complicated than a simple vulnerable victim pushed to suicide by bullies, sometimes the victim was once a bully, too….,etc., ,,,

    I don’t presume to know anything about the situation with the Peirce student, but it’s hard to imagine that any child’s bullying behavior –no matter how mean– is single-handed responsible for something so horrible.

    Any parent dare not even think about it too much, since they’ll break down and panic over their own children’s well being and become quasi-paranoid enough to actually become the cause of their children’s sadness, not a source of relief from it. At least that’s how I approach things like that, otherwise I’d go crazy with worry and transfer it onto my kids..

  • 100. cpsobsessed  |  June 9, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    @chris, very interesting point about the use of technology being considered more severe – ie if the same words are spoken in person, less severe?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 101. school marm  |  June 9, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Two years ago an Alcott elementary student hung himself. The suicide specialist who spoke at a parent meeting said that there really is something to the cluster phenomenon. I wonder if not publicizing a child’s suicide could keep the cluster effect down. Just a thought. I have no expertise at all.

  • 102. cpsobsessed  |  June 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    So to get detailed about this case at ogden, if the kids played their “incinerator game” online for “fun” (sarcasm.) But then they used verbal threats to the child who was bullied – does that constitute computer-aided harassment? (Not sure if that’s how it went down, just pointing out a possible loophole.)

    Loophole or not, it appears the family didn’t feel a level of seriousness on the part of the admin, which seems to be the bigger issue, addressed by the graduation consequence.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 103. Chris  |  June 9, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    “So to get detailed about this case at ogden, if the kids played their “incinerator game” online for “fun” (sarcasm.) But then they used verbal threats to the child who was bullied – does that constitute computer-aided harassment?”

    *Apparently* (unclear on timeline/full facts) they invited the victim’s little brother to join the game, which would be sufficient to tie into 5-14.

    It is ridiculous that using a computer takes generic “bullying” (in whatever form) from a Level 3 to a Level 5. That would, I think, make for a reasonable argument (from the accused) that treating any given case as a 5 instead of a 3 is unduly harsh–basically, if nothing else, the course of action would be to ‘plead out’ to a Level 3, especially in a first offense situation.

  • 104. CLB  |  June 9, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    @96 The issue would be which student issued the invitation for the Jewish student to join the game to get to Group 5 offenses.

    If Joe Student sets up a Clash of Clans page called “Death to Hipsters” and declares the group open to “anyone who hates hipsters and hopes they die,” Joe is not using an “information technology device to threaten, stalk, harass, bully or otherwise intimidate others.” No reasonable person would assume that setting up a game group is an actual call to kill hipsters any more than Star Trek Use-net sub-groups called “Wesley Crusher Die Die Die” were seen as genuine threats against actor Wil Wheaton. But if Joe sends invites to self-identifying hipsters or those he calls hipsters, now Joe can reasonably be seen as attempting to intimidate them.

    A group called “Jew Incinerator” is in a separate class of highly offensive actions, and inviting any student to play in the group would permit the school to discipline the student-creator under the SCC:

    2-6 Exhibiting or publishing any profane, obscene, indecent, immoral, libelous, or offensive materials, or using such language or gestures.


    3-4 Profane, obscene, indecent, and immoral or seriously offensive language and gestures, propositions, behavior, or harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, gender identity, gender expression or disability

    The offensive material or the proposition need not be at school so long as the school has a rational basis for curtailing the exhibition or proposition, which it would if the student invited other students to take part. The school can claim that such offensive, racist behavior foreseeably spills over into the school (students might discuss it there). Courts have upheld such a basis for sanctions.

  • 105. klm  |  June 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm


    Good post.

    This area of education law is ripe for judicial clarification.

    There are issues with the Constitution, public education access (which all children are entitled to), legal obligations, duties, etc. that need to be defined more clearly, especially regarding social media and K-12 public education.

  • 106. Wondering  |  June 9, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    “only truly depressed people overwhelmed by hopelessness actually go through with it. That kind of mental illness is rarely triggered by bullying, although bullying can make people that suffer from hopelessness finally go ahead and attempt suicide. ”

    Are you a mental health professional?This statement is the purview of a psychologist. It may seem intuitively true to you that a suicidal child must have pre-existing psychological problems before being bullied, but things intuitively true are often not actually the case. This is why mental health professionals must undergo years of training. Let’s be careful concluding that someone’s child must already be mentally ill if they suicide after bullying. That sort of mimimizes the seriousness of bullying, doesn’t it?

  • 107. klm  |  June 9, 2014 at 4:23 pm


    No, I’m not.

    But, how many of us here are “education professionsal,” but we still have thoughts and opinions, discuss subjects re: education, CPS, SPED, etc., that we’ve read about, have been shaped by discussions we’ve seen on C-SPAN, CNN, had experience with our own kids, extended family, etc.

    Same here.

    That said, there have been widely publicised cases (Phoebe Prince, Jon Varmichael….) of kids and bullying that were widely discussed, written about, have tons of mental health professionals giving their analysis, legal experts discussing the obligations of students, children towards other children in school, etc. That’s where I was coming from.

    Also, like many people I do remember discussion from professors in college re: all this stuff and remeber at least one good chapter about it in a class in child psychology.

    Also, like many people, I’ve had to deal with mental health issues in my own family, including depression, hoplessness and all that goes along with it.

    I’m not giving out prescriptions to setraline, just stating my opionions and feelings re: the subject, having been shaped by all that I’ve read and heard about the subject from psychologists and psychiatrists and from relatives that have been suicidal due to mental illness.

  • 108. concernedparent  |  June 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    The incident with Peirce is horrible. I’m not a mental health professional, but suggesting the girl had a pre-existing mental illness lest she wouldn’t have committed suicide is really beside the point. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. The focus should be on why nothing was apparently done to stop the harassing behavior. According to what I read, the girl was allegedly physically assaulted (an obvious crime) in addition to being repeatedly bullied by other students and maybe even a teacher. I agree with the prior poster who said that the culture of a particular school will determine how bullying is handled. It is a terrible shame and I hope that the girl’s family is able eventually to find some peace.

  • 109. junior  |  June 9, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Always hard to assess these types of incidents through the harsh prism of the media, but my biggest question is —

    The mom knew about this behavior 6 months ago, told her son to “turn the other cheek”, and then suddenly in the course of a couple of days, it blows up into a federal case. In one report, one of perpetrators is described as a best friend of her son. Why isn’t the first telephone call to best friend’s parents instead of to the ADL and the media?

    I’ve dealt with a kid both bullying and being bullied. Both instances nipped in the bud with a quick 5 minute phone call. Are people so warped by their access to media that they can no longer engage in personal dialogue and?

    I have a hard time believing that this is about organized ideological hate instead of simply run-of-the-mill bullying in which the kids simply failed to recognize the gravitas of their subject matter. Yes, I’ll say it — it’s typical insensitivity of adolescent boys — in need of competent parental intervention, not a media and police circus.

  • 110. Toni  |  June 9, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Hi New to Ogden IB.

    It would be great to get our kids together. And, thank you for the info. We missed out on the tour day, and all of this has been a bit alarming.

  • 111. Chris  |  June 9, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    ” it’s typical insensitivity of adolescent boys”

    Well, that’s downplaying the tenor of the abuse.

    If they were instead directing a similar degree and type of shi…stuff at a black student (eg–a ‘game’ name of “Lynch Mob” and they would suggest the victim would be “put in chains” and “strung up” and they called him “n*****”), would you similarly dismiss it as “typical” insensitivity? If not, what’s the difference?

  • 112. Chris  |  June 9, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    ps: I agree that the “media and police circus” is not actually helpful to the situation, and is unlikely to have the best possible result for all involved. But then neither is/was acting like it’s just a minor thing.

  • 113. CLB  |  June 9, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    @106 KLM’s comment is on the mark. Except in extremely unusual cases (e.g., self-immolating monks in 1960s Vietnam, those suffering painful, incapacitating, late-stage terminal illness), rationale people do not commit suicide. It is only in the depths of spiraling depression or other mental illness that one can come to believe that there is no possibility of changing one’s circumstances and that therefore the only way of to end one’s suffering is to end one’s life (or in the case of severe psychosis to convince oneself that an obviously lethal action will not be lethal or disregard its lethality).

    It doesn’t minimize the seriousness of bullying; those people who have suicidal ideations or commit suicidal acts (like buying poison or a weapon up to suicide itself) are more likely to have been bullied, with those who are both victims and perpetrators having the strongest association with suicidal thoughts and action over solely being a victim or a perpetrator. The bullying may exacerbate the effects of the illness or may make it more difficult for a person to discuss their problems with others or seek help directly.

    Rationale people search for the cause of a suicide because we want to prevent it in the future or at least make sense of it somehow, but it is not so simple. I know someone whose then best friend committed suicide around the same age of the girl here. With the parents’ permission, she read her diaries to find some reason, but her deceased friend would write of her plans to die in the same passages that she would discuss banal daily events. There was no reason to it.

  • 114. Chicagomama  |  June 9, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    My immediate reaction to the Pierce story is: where was dad in all this? Why didn’t he come back from Ohio before this? The dnainfo story didn’t address this. Why is this suicide the school’s fault? What about the parents? I wonder if the girl was especially susceptible to bullying because she felt bad about her family life? The article talked about how dad came from Ohio to pass out fliers, but where was he when his daughter was being bullied and feeling badly about herself?

  • 115. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 9, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Am I the only one who feels uncomfortable reading these hypotheses about why the Peirce student may (or may not) have committed suicide? The poor girl is dead; the parents are obviously destroyed. I don’t think it’s this board’s place to speculate on her state of mental health. Please leave it for the professionals who actually knew her and redirect the discussion here on the awful reality of bullying.

  • 116. realchicagomama  |  June 9, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I think that is germane to the discussion because the only “proof” we have that bullying was the cause of her suicide is the charge made by the parents and reported by DNAinfo. I think someone’s mental state is very much a factor in bullying – how susceptible they are to it, how they react, etc.

  • 117. CarolA  |  June 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    How about we try to come up with some ways to deal with bullying in the schools? Ideas?

  • 118. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 9, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    @118: At several private schools I’ve toured, they have peer mentoring programs in place. They’re geared toward making the younger kids feel welcome, safe and secure, in addition to providing assistance for academic progress (like “reading buddies”). I’d love to see something along these lines integrated into CPS system-wide and it might, just might, help combat bullying issues. It’s all about creating and nurturing a climate of acceptance from the top-down.

  • 119. Leah  |  June 9, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Until parents of bullies get involved it is a losing battle. The first step is acceptance, if the “not my baby” is the mentality then I am not sure out successful any program will be.

  • 120. lawmom  |  June 9, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Private schools are not a panacea. Sadly, kids are marginalized there for any number of reasons — socially awkward, not rich enough, not pretty enough, wear the wrong clothes, don’t have a summer house, don’t take vacations in the right places. It is not a safe haven. Speak to the administration in advance if your child is vulnerable (ADD, ADHD, Aspergers, Obese, not pretty, etc.)

    First, to the parents of the Ogden student and his brother, I am horrified that this happened in a Chicago school. And I am more than happy to not have the 3 instigators cross the stage at graduation. The others got off soft. My son, who is on the Autism Spectrum was early on bullied at his school. However, I got this resolved early on. Parents have to be active. Furthermore, those who are protected under Section 504 or the ADA are protected and a parent can write a “Gebser” letter to get action from the school for bullying if they cannot get attention from the administration. I agree also, if there is no response, go to the LSC. When you, as a parent, show up, the principal suddenly takes notice and “stuff” gets done.

    We have mostly had a positive experience with CPS, but as a result of being bullied at a private school, my daughter is now so strong at Whitney Young, She doesn’t take it any more and looks out for others.

  • 121. cpsobsessed  |  June 9, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Updated article with more info (slightly conflicting about the severity/length of bullying.) This does make it sounds like the admin responded as soon as it was brought to their attention.


  • 122. realchicagomama  |  June 9, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I absolutely agree with this. As I said above, our school has a strong social-emotional learning curriculum and allowed our PTA to sponsor both a presentation on bullying and a showing of the shortened/kid-appropriate version of the movie Bully. But the people who came to the presentation / movie are generally those with whom I’d feel comfortable addressing any issues or conflicts with their children; it’s the ones who didn’t attend who may or may not be receptive to discussions.

  • 123. @122  |  June 9, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Even if kids are all given the same kind of instruction at school about bullying, some just don’t get the message. I remember last year walking down the hall at my kid’s school right after dismissal, surrounded by 1st graders. I saw one very shy, sweet boy accidentally bump into a kid I knew was pretty aggressive. The aggressive boy turned around and shouted at the shy kid: “HEY! You bumped me! YOU’RE BULLYING ME!!!!!” Meanwhile the shy kid was trembling with fear, almost in tears. (Obviously they’d learned about bullying, yet that kid sure missed the point).

  • 124. junior  |  June 10, 2014 at 12:25 am

    @111 Chris

    Yes. What you describe happens all the time. Usually dealt with outside of the media spotlight, as it should be.

  • 125. Chris  |  June 10, 2014 at 5:25 am

    CPSO–“Updated article with more info (slightly conflicting about the severity/length of bullying.) ”

    That was the first article, no? So not really updated, just conflicting?

  • 126. CarolA  |  June 10, 2014 at 6:06 am

    HMMM….the article did say that these students did not have any history of problems at the school. Although a terrible situation, maybe it is just a case of bad choices. Very insensitive for sure and that should be a concern. I agree that it sounds like the principal acted as soon as he knew. It also sounds like mom is harboring ill feelings because, as parents, we feel the hurt of our children and that’s hard to let go sometimes.

  • 127. cpsobsessed  |  June 10, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Oh was it? Could have sworn it was new but I was on my tine screen so may have misread the date.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 128. HS Mom  |  June 10, 2014 at 8:07 am

    @125 the article is dated June 4

    Conflicting stories all the way around. But I suspect that this game that got out of hand will certainly give everyone pause to consider how they behave on line and hopefully off line too.

    I’m in agreement with Junior on this one….open communication lines are usually the best for everyone. I’m a firm believer that you first approach the offender (in this case the parents) then go up the line until there is resolution.

  • 129. @128  |  June 10, 2014 at 8:37 am

    While it might make sense to approach the parents of the offender in most situations, I’m not surprised the mom of the victim didn’t feel comfortable in this circumstance. We’ve already learned that the response was “boys will be boys” and that the parent has circulated that petition about graduation. Seems likely that this parent’s personality was well known. In addition, like Chris, I’d wonder if the boys had learned the anti-Semitic attitude in the home. I’d want to steer clear of any conversations with the family too.

    Also, back to the general discussion about bullying, it’s important to realize that victims frequently don’t report bullying because it’s humiliating. It’s profoundly embarrassing to admit that, for whatever reason, you are not “cool” and are being targeted. (It can even be embarrassing for the parents of victims). We’d all like to think that, like in the movies, our kid would be able to stand up for him/herself at school, showing everyone the wrongness of the bullies. That’s not how it plays out in reality though.

  • 130. school marm  |  June 10, 2014 at 9:03 am

    It doesn’t matter if a child is mentally fragile, the bully is wholly responsible under a very well known legal tenet:

    “There is a principle in law known as the ‘thin skull‘ principle sometimes referred to as the ‘you take your victim as you find them‘ principle. If a person is careless and that carelessness causes injury it is no defence to say that the victim was particularly prone to injury or that the injury would have been less if the victim was tougher. So long as the injuries are real and related to the wrongdoing the injured party will be entitled to their fair damages.”

  • 131. LearningCPS  |  June 10, 2014 at 9:17 am

    @80, 81, and 82 – I was also curious about where this case falls in legal terms and in talking to a prosecutor who also spent several years of his career in juvenille court, there is no legal action in this case…at least with as much as he knows about it through the media, etc. It is a school discipline situation. As a hate crime, it doesn’t hold up to the standards they would need to charge the students. The way he described it to me, right or wrong, is the online game, while despicable, is the legal equivalent to the inflammatory and derogatory language and racist terms and show up on so many chat boards and article comment threads. Like it or not, that is protected under the 1st amendment as free, if not socially acceptable or considerate, language.

    Also, what he wasn’t sure of is whether the victim was also playing this game or the mom only learned of it, as has been published, when the younger sibling was invited. If the victim was playing it, he has the option to stop doing so which again makes a legal case harder. If the victim was not playing the game, then there isn’t any legal connection that can be made showing the game directly harmed the victim. Not trying to lessen the seriousness of this situation, just sharing the legal view.

    He also clarified that on it’s face, “bullying” is not illegal and bullying behavior ideally needs to be handled by parents, teachers and administrators. At times, bullying can lead to actions that could be charged (assualt, shooting, theft, etc.) but in this case he doesn’t see that.

  • 132. briannag009  |  June 10, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Another very important factor to consider is teacher bullying. Teachers also create climates where bullying has tacit approval. If teachers pick on and single out the different kid or anxious or super active kid or the not-on-task child, this sends a very clear message to the children that it’s okay to treat certain people more harshly than others.

  • 133. Peirce Parent  |  June 10, 2014 at 10:28 am

    My heart breaks for the Peirce student’s family and friends. I don’t know any deatails of the story that have not already been reported in the media. I have 2 children at Peirce. One of my kids was bullied by a much older kid last year. The school took swift action and the bully was stopped. So my personal experiance with the school has been that they take bullying seriously. Last week the school held 2 suicide prevention meetings. Parents were pretty upset that the focus of the meeting was not bullying. I don’t know what admin did or did not do in this case. I find it hard to believe a teacher bullied this student, too, but I know it could’ve happened. The Peirce community is not one that condones bullying of any kind. We all want answers as to what happened to this student. I doubt we will get any answers any time soon. CPS most likely has forbidden the staff from speaking to the media about this.

  • 134. mrssilencedogood75  |  June 10, 2014 at 10:28 am

    So many pieces of misinformation have been set out there about this story, and since most of it goes against the perpetrators, it seems that the mother here has been more than happy to let that misinformation persist. I haven’t seen evidence that she is willing to correct the record.

    Stories have circulated that the antisemetic comments started 6 months ago. At the same time, the comments and actions were allegedly started when the students began a unit on the Holocaust. Those two statements are inconsistent. The Holocaust unit didn’t start until the end of April or the beginning of May. There weren’t 6 months of antisemetic comments. After seeing the mother on tv and in these meetings, do we believe for one minute that she was going to let antisemetic comments go without raising heck? And for 6 months? No way. It’s not a credible claim.

    For fun, let’s assume she did wait 6 months, why does she want the principal’s head when he investigated, interviewed, and suspended the 3 involved students within 4 days of her telling him about the issue? Under the SCC, he had 10 days to complete his investigation. Mom emailed him on the 5/20. By 5/24 he completed his investigation and issued suspensions for the ringleaders.

    The SunTimes article is the first to mention that the perpetrators invited the younger brother to the game. I don’t think that this is actually what happened. In all of her rants and interviews, she has never alleged that they targeted her 8 year old. Let’s be realistic, if the 8 year old had been targeted, don’t you think that would have been the lead in the coverage? Don’t you think we would have heard about this more from the mom? And yet we didn’t. In fact, this was never presented as an “East Campus” issue, where the 8 year old attends. The 8 year old was never presented as one of the victims on the “fact sheet” victim supporters sent out to the media. This sheet, which is more opinion than fact, was created by those working with the victim’s mother. Do we honestly think they’d leave out an 8 year old victim if they in fact had an 8 year old victim?

    Numerous students have said that there are no innocents here. The victim was known to dish out his own verbal taunts and insults: some racist, some sexist. It’s not unreasonable to conclude that this was less about bullying and more about an escalating conflict between peers, with the perpetrators going way over the line.

    Did the principal do everything absolutely correctly? Nope. He should have met the victim when he said he would. He should be clearer in his communications with the parents. Will he react better in the future? I hope so, and I’m willing to give him the chance to do so.

  • 135. @132  |  June 10, 2014 at 10:59 am

    @132 That is an excellent point. My child had a teacher that chose to run her classroom in that way. There were times she had all of the children in unison reprimand individual students. It was horrible, and administration chose not to do anything about it. Hopefully, these incidents will open the eyes of administration everywhere.

  • 136. Concerned CPS Parent  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:05 am

    @134 Thanks for sharing another side to this story. Do you know why the petition to attend the graduation by ring leaders was signed by so many students at Ogden?

  • 137. Jones2  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:42 am


    That is also what I would like to know…and what bothers me most about this incident. By writing & circulating a petition for their children to be able to attend graduation (and thus avoid part of their punishment)…it certainly leaves the impression that the parents of the ringleaders did not think what their children did was “that bad”.

  • 138. Chris  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Jones2: “it certainly leaves the impression that the parents of the ringleaders did not think what their children did was “that bad”.”

    We have more than a few folks here–who seem to have no connection to the Ogden kids–who think that the (slanted) facts presented (which likely paint worse picture than reality) are “not that bad”, so it is not surprising *at all* that one or more of the parents (who may only have knowledge of facts slanted *the other way*, minimizing what happened) think it’s no big deal.

  • 139. Jones2  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:58 am

    @138 Got it! However, even assuming that the students involved never said a mean word to the victim all year…certainly their parents would have seen the screen shots of the game they created, right?

  • 140. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 10, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    C&P from a previous post regarding the timeline of the Ogden incident:

    At report card pick up on April 7th, the victim’s mother told a teacher (who was incidentally covering the Holocaust) that fellow students were tormenting and threatening her son with Nazi propaganda. She asked the teacher for help and while it was thought that he/she was going to report it to the principal, this failed to happen. Meanwhile, other teachers witnessed the victim being verbally threatened in the lunchroom with images of the electronic game, “Jew Incinerator,” as well as online Nazi propaganda in the library. These teachers did report the multiple incidents to the principal and suggested the library be closed during lunch. The principal flat out said no and continued to ignore the situation as it worsened.

    Finally, on May 20th, the mom had enough and personally contacted the principal. She emailed him images of the game, along with a link to it. He confirmed that he received the email and said he would watch the action on the game’s website and call CPS’s Safety and Security first thing the next morning. On May 21st, no action was taken against the attackers. They weren’t spoken to or punished; their parents weren’t contacted to be made aware of their actions. The victim missed another day of school because he was being bullied. The victim’s mom contacted CPS’s Chief of Security on her own and she told the mom that she had not yet been notified of this incident by the principal (despite his promise to do so).

    Based on the details above, which I fully believe to be true, the victim’s mom did her best to handle it before everything spiraled out of control and became a media circus. At last week’s LSC meeting, Ogden’s principal finally admitted to responding too slowly. The tendency to blame the victim and his/her family in situations such as these needs to stop or progress will never be made.

  • 141. Chris  |  June 10, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    “certainly their parents would have seen the screen shots of the game they created, right?”

    …and there are plenty of people in this world who would think that is ‘no big deal’–a mere lapse in judgment.

  • 142. lawmom  |  June 10, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    @140, thanks for the timeline. This is just so upsetting. I actually am glad that it became public as I hope others can learn from it. I am disturbed that people would blame the victim and hopefully the principal has learned a lesson too and will respond more appropriately in the future.

  • 143. mrssilencedogood75  |  June 10, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Actually, the mom complained in April that her kid was being tormented. She didn’t complain that the torments were antisemetic. The teachers reported that kids were using computers inappropriately. It is my understanding that the teachers did not see what exactly was being typed and didn’t report anything antisemetic. What was going on was being lost like a game of telephone.

    Like it or lump it, the victim’s actions must be considered in deciding whether this was a mutual squabble, bullying, or severe bullying.

    Why did so many students sign the petition? Probably because as 13 or 14 year olds, they thought that being suspended for 1-2 days was enough punishment. Combine the punishment with the scads of adults calling the perpetrators Nazis, racists, and overall irredeemable pieces of scum, the classmates thought they had enough. They also have the benefit of knowing both the victim and the perpetrators. They have a different perspective about the dynamic between them. The petition discussed things the victim had done that made this situation look more like a mutual squabble rather than one-sided bullying. In fact, the petition stated that the victim had beaten up one or two of the perpetrators days before the Clash of Clans antisemetic clan was created.

    The students never said the perpetrators were innocent. They merely said that they thought the perpetrators were punished enough. In response, the adults supporting the victim’s family responded that all the kids who signed were antisemites and racists. They demanded that the signers be outed so that the parents of the signers could be shunned and their businesses boycotted.

    Oh, and the petition WAS written by a student and extensively discussed by the students. They wanted to get back to being friends. The adults decided that they weren’t allowed to.

  • 144. SEHS parent  |  June 10, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    @143 IMO the petition just added more fuel to the fire & displayed another ‘bad judgement call’ by the alleged perpetrators.

    Do I think the kids are horrible irredeemable ‘racists’? No…but they did do something incredibly stupid and would have been wiser to accept the consequences of their actions instead of complaining (via the petition) that the punishment was too harsh.

  • 145. @131  |  June 10, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Why does the victim have to have been playing the game? The allegation is that he was shown the game with the offensive content by the perpetrators. Clash of Clans is a game where you willingly join a Clan — obviously the victim would not have joined this Clan. They deliberately created the hateful content and showed it to him to harass/bully him.

  • 146. mrssilencedogood75  |  June 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    The perpetrators didn’t write the petition. It was written by another 8th grader.

  • 147. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    @145: Right! And his 8-year-brother was deliberately invited to join. That was the last straw for their mom.

  • 148. mrssilencedogood75  |  June 10, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Mom has never said that the 8 year old was invited to join. It’s not on the supporter’s fact sheet. I don’t believe the 8 year old was ever involved other than to react to his family’s situation, saying “I didn’t tell anyone I’m Jewish.”

  • 149. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 10, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    @148: Wrong. (I’m a friend of a friend.)

  • 150. Concerned CPS Parent  |  June 10, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    @143 Thanks for the info.

    While applaud the students for voicing their opinion, I hope the students understand that while they may find reasons why the ringleader acted this way, there is no excuse for their action in the end. It doesn’t minimize their act, they deserve whatever punishment set by the LSC. Hope students learn that this is no way to channel any conflict.

    @143 Seems all the students felt they couldn’t go to the admin and had to handle the conflict themselves. Is this the environment at Ogden?

  • 151. mrssilencedogood75  |  June 10, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Do you know many 8th graders who go to adults to address problems they’re having with peers? I don’t know of many middle graders who will go to a school admin on something like this. They don’t want to be seen as a tattletale or weak. Frankly, this is why the ADL app is made. Kids this age don’t want to tell.

    I wouldn’t say that the administration and teachers are aloof. I would say that administration was probably stretched too thin. The middle school and high school each need their own VP/Dean of Students. That will happen now.

    @Neighborhood Mom, please show us where the mom has said the 8-year-old was targeted. Show us where you and your cohort put that in your “fact” sheet.

  • 152. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Just because it’s not on said fact sheet doesn’t make it untrue. I’m sure they (and their legal counsel) had their reasons for omitting it. I suppose you also deny that the middle brother wasn’t punched by an Ogden classmate a few weeks ago either.

  • 153. Concerned CPS Parent  |  June 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    fortunately, my kids are younger. Maybe I’m naive but I don’t have problem telling my kids to talk to your teacher. Over the years, they recognize on their own which teacher/staff to go to and not all teachers are alike.

    What is ADL app by the way?

  • 154. LearningCPS  |  June 10, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    @145 I was only responding to some earlier comments/questions about why police weren’t involved and/or what charges could be applied here. The prosecutor I spoke noted that one of the reasons why this case wouldn’t bring legal charges was that the victim (if they were playing it, which certainly would be weird) could stop playing the game if that was the issue. Also, someone just showing the victim the game or telling them about it, even with the purpose to taunt or intimidate them, is not illegal, even if it is mean. It is bullying and should be/has been be addressed as such. I’m not trying to suggest that the victim had to be participating in the game in order for this situation to be a problem.

  • 155. mrssilencedogood75  |  June 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    I don’t deny that the 8 year old was struck in a completely unrelated incident with his classmates on the playground. Let’s try some other logic here. If the 8 year old were targeted by the 14 year old, why is it that the mother only refers to her 14 year old child as being bullied? There is no way on G-d’s green Earth that she would NOT call her 8 year old a victim and it would have absolutely been on that sheet. If the 8 year old were targeted her comments would have been “hate crimes have been committed against my children!” Come clean. Be honest. The 8 year old was never targeted. Stop perpetuating the half-truths and misinformation. The story is bad enough on its own without the need for embellishment.

    @153 Sorry, my error, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (not ADL) launched the Combat Hate app that allows people to report hate crimes and cyberbullying anonymously through smartphones. They launched it here in Chicago in March: http://abc7chicago.com/archive/9462619/ In my experience, as the kids get older, they tend to try to police themselves — even when the issue does require adult assistance or intervention.

  • 156. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    @155: Before accusing me of “perpetuating the half-truths and misinformation,” perhaps you need to get the facts straight. The 8-year-old brother wasn’t struck on the playground; he was invited via email to play the “Jewish Incinerator” online game. Sure, it could’ve been a coincidence. However, he’s not even at the west campus, so how/why did he end up on the invite list? It was the middle brother, aged 10 or 11, who was punched by a fellow student at Ogden a few weeks ago. Again, coincidence? I don’t know for certain either way and despite what you may believe, I’m not here to spread rumors . . . only the truth as I know it.

  • 157. SEHS parent  |  June 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    @155 I don’t know if the 8 year old was “targeted” but somehow the victim’s Mom got ahold of the screen shots. The only way to do so would have been from someone in the clan or invited to join the clan. The game does not allow you to just search for a particular clan & look at their posted information. I’m not saying that it makes the situation better or worse, just that the clan page was not accessible to the general public.

  • 158. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  June 10, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Why bullying — big and small — should never be taken lightly:


  • 159. PatientCPSMom  |  June 10, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    @158 Thank you for the post. Too bad we all know we’ll just be adding data points to the map in the coming school year.

  • 160. anonymouse teacher  |  June 10, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Different situation–with similarities, but students were charges with a crime despite only being one year older.

  • 161. CPS parent  |  June 10, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    160……um, posting obscene images (guessing bath room or locker room related) is against the law. How is that similar?

  • 162. mrssilencedogood75  |  June 10, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    That clan info page was completely accessible by anyone who plays the game. The clan was open to all. The 14 year old pulled it. Nobody invited the 8 year old. If I’m mistaken about which younger brother was in a scuffle, that may be. But I also know that it was completely unrelated to the events on the west campus.

    [edited to remove personal alleged information]

  • 163. mbg  |  June 11, 2014 at 2:30 am

    I think a HUGE point is missing from the conversation. It wasn’t just bullying that went on at Ogden and wasn’t dealt with, it was violent aggressive anti-Semitism and racism. This wasn’t even addressed by the school and the principal until the Hate Crime Group started to reach out to the public to let them know what was going on. The CPS and the principal tried to cover that part up. Well it didn’t work but sadly they’re still not telling Ogden parents what really happened.
    The kids who did this were required to apologize completely but some ignored the directions from the school and didn’t even write an apology. This is absolutely disgusting. These kids are complete racists and the school could care less, their parents clearly are as well because kids aren’t born to hate and the CPS is just allowing this behavior to go away with a slap on the wrist. These kids were violent and abusive and spewing racist anti-semitic rants for months while at school as well and teachers and the principal knew and did nothing to stop it. This is why it’s so disturbing, upsetting and makes me ashamed right now to say I’m from Chicago. A city where clearly people do not respect each others differences and feel it’s acceptable to be racist and that if you come from money and get good grades you can be a racist, commit a hate crime and get away with it.

  • 164. mbg  |  June 11, 2014 at 2:41 am

    This is to answer comment 144. SEHS parent | June 10, 2014 at 2:21 pm Who thinks the kids aren’t racist.

    My response: Let me ask you a ques: If you saw a game online called
    “Lynch ( N Word**)”
    And then the description of the game:”to round up all black people and then hang them until they’re all dead.”
    And then these same kids who created this game went around harassing one of the only African American kids in school with pictures of African Americans who were killed by lynching back in the 50’s and 60’s and telling this kid that this is what they were going to do to him. Would you not call that racist? I’m so confused so please explain to me how you think
    ” The Jew Incinerator” is not racist?
    How is it that: ” we’re a friendly group of racists and just want to gather all the Jews into a camp until we can dispose of them ” isn’t racist? By the way a friendly group of racists means they hate all races that aren’t white not just Jews.
    Oh and wait there’s more showing the kid pictures of ovens and telling him to get in and also pictures of holocaust victims in striped uniforms and harassing him with those. That’s not racist / anti-semitic in your eyes?
    Well if you and others think this is not racist then God Help Us All.

  • 165. anonymouse teacher  |  June 11, 2014 at 6:11 am

    @161, my point is this: exactly how much more obscene are “bathroom” or nude images than posting how you want to round up all the jews and put them in ovens? Just because something isn’t letter-of-the-law illegal doesn’t mean it isn’t just as bad or worse.

  • 166. SEHS parent  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:57 am

    @162 I stand corrected…I re-asked my teenage sons & they did confirm that you can find a particular clan group if you know the exact name the group is playing under…which IMO makes the actions of students involved more egregious…not less…what the he** were they thinking?

    @164 If you have inferred from my comment that I don’t find what occurred at Odgen extremely offensive…you’re wrong. My point (and as I don’t personally know the perpetrators or their families I could be wrong) is that most likely these teenage boys sought to lash out at the victim in the meanest & cruelest way they could think of and this is what they came up with. Unless such views are reinforced/taught in their homes I find it hard to believe that they are actually budding ‘white supremacists’. Yes, what they wrote was racist..there is no disputing that…I would just be surprised if at 14 years old they really hold those views.

    This whole affair is disturbing on many levels…I have 3 teenage boys…two currently at SEHSs. Per this blog, the ringleaders are attending SEHSs in the Fall…do their parents realize how easy it will be for anyone interested to figure out who they are? Often kids at SEHSs are the only one from their elementary attending. At most, only a handful of students attend a particular SEHS from a single elementary school.

  • 167. @160, 161  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:20 am

    It’s hard to compare the Wheaton incident since it is so unclear from the article what happened. It says that “the charges did not involve the juveniles distributing or taking explicit photos of themselves or fellow students” — yet they “have been charged as juveniles for posting obscene images involving school faculty and other students.” What does that mean? Did they photoshop some regular photos of teachers of students to make them obscene? I have no idea what occurred based on this report.

  • 168. Concerned CPS Parent  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:48 am

    @165 If this was your kid, would you want the admin to call the police on them? You keep bringing up police involvement. I think it should be the last option when you have no other choice with students.

    How many times have you involve your student with police? Have you seen any positive resolution come from getting police involved other then expulsion.

    It maybe wishful thinking but I want my teachers look at my kids as one of her own and I have been lucky enough over the years to encounter a few. Seems best teacher usually have kids of their own in cps and fully understands what being a parent is.

  • 169. Concerned CPS Parent  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:28 am

    @mbg racist act “yes”, racist “no”.

    Big difference between the two. Maybe you think there is little threshhold between the two.

  • 170. lawmom  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

    @164. I was thinking the exact same thing. Thank you for articulating it.

  • 171. school marm  |  June 11, 2014 at 11:23 am

    The details are out on who the identities of the bullies, the 80 signatories, and the parents pushing the signatories. Just have to dig a little. If I had a minority child going to a SEHS I would certainly dig and warn them to beware. Isn’t going to be hard for colleges to come upon this information, either.

  • 172. Chris  |  June 11, 2014 at 11:43 am


    I think you picked the wrong comment to latch onto—SEHS parent just objected to the conclusion that the kids are ‘racist’.

    There are several other in this and the other thread who have asserted that what went on is just ‘boys being boys’. That view would be more deserving of your ire.

  • 173. CBM  |  June 11, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    To me this thread just proves the point that being bullied and being a bully are not mutually exclusive. One can easily be both.

    If my son did what it’s said those Ogden kids have done, I like to think I would react immediately and drastically to try to change my son’s thinking and behavior. If my son were the victim I have no idea what I would do – I would be crushed. I think in either case it’s unrealistic to think that school administrators can do much to make the situation better.

    That being said, I think that poor administration is contributing greatly to the crisis (social, academic, financial) in the current CPS. The teachers get blamed but in the end show me a good school and I’ll show you a good Principal. Show me a failing school and more often than not there’s a poor administrator running it. Principals of these SEES and good neighborhood schools can’t take all the credit for good test scores then start pointing at parents or the budget the second things start to go haywire. Most importantly, they have to stop trying to pretend there’s no problem in their schools to protect their jobs.

  • 174. CarolA  |  June 11, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    CBM: Well said!

  • 175. mbg  |  June 11, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Thank you for clearing that up. And I don’t mean to be attacking anyone. This is not towards any individual this is to the community as a whole Either way I wanted it out there so people can read it and actually think about it.
    The fact that this is even a discussion and that the entire school wasn’t up in arms about this (once it was on the news and in public) and demanding that the boys and principal give a public apology and lead the way to make sure this never happens again,is shocking and very telling of what kind of people are part of the Ogden family. There are some who’ve spoken up ( like those on this discussion board ) but most of the school’s parents haven’t really done much to get the school to take this more seriously. Even though the school hasn’t officially notified parents everyone knows what’s going on. Where are the rest of the parents who’s kids go to Ogden? Why isn’t everyone not getting together and demanding more from their educators and leaders? I just don’t get it. Are people that self absorbed today? If it’ doesn’t directly affect them, then who cares why bother?
    Check out how Eugene, Oregon handled something similar back in the 80’s where they created ” Hate Free Zones ” to combat racism in schools.
    And how a young kid (7yrs old) from California decides to fix his own bullying tendencies. http://kfor.com/2014/05/28/confessions-of-a-bully-its-not-too-late-to-change-former-bully-switches-sides/
    Clearly Chicago and it’s residents are way behind the rest of the country.

  • 176. mbg  |  June 11, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    @ concerned CPS parent : Do you thinks there is a difference between racist act and being racist? Am I understanding this post correctly?

  • 177. mbg  |  June 11, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    @concerned cps parent. Can I ask you what race you are? I can’t imagine anyone who is not white saying there is a difference between “racist act” and “racist”
    I could be totally wrong here but I will gamble to say I’m probably not.

    So was George Zimmerman just committing a racist act when he decided to follow Treyvon Martin with a gun simply because he was walking around his neighborhood. Would Zimmerman have gotten a gun if the kid was white? I will go out on a limb here and say,NO.

    Please read ” Suspicious Nation” it’s a telling new book on the case as well as all the sad, eye opening statistics of what’s really going on in the U.S. with regards to justice system and racism in our country.

  • 178. mbg  |  June 11, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Can someone please enlighten me.
    How many ” racist acts” does someone need to commit before they’re deemed a racist? Is it 1, 2, 3,4? Just want to make sure.

    I mean seriously, are these the values you’re teaching your kids?

  • 179. Chris  |  June 11, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    “How many ”racist acts” does someone need to commit before they’re deemed a racist? Is it 1, 2, 3,4? Just want to make sure.”

    See, you’re turning this into a thought police thing. Someone does/says something stoopid *once* and they’re forever ‘racist’?

    So is everyone who smokes pot once a ‘druggie’ AND a ‘criminal’?

    Look–I’m appalled by what happened, and queasy that some defend it as ‘typical teen boy stuff’. But concluding that everyone involved is automatically an anti-semite is too much for me, too.

  • 180. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 11, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    @178: I’m agree with Chris. In my opinion, there can be a line between racist acts and racism. It might be a thin line, but committing a racist act(s) doesn’t necessarily mean somebody is a racist… especially when talking about impressionable youth. And if you read my numerous comments above, you’ll see that I’m very much on the same side as you.

    From a blog post on today’s Huff Post Chicago by a CPS parent, LSC member and psychologist: “Children who spew hate are acting less out of bigotry and more out of ignorance; less out of racism, anti-semitism or homophobia, more out of discomfort with, and intolerance of, what is different.”

    I think this sums up the difference fairly well.

  • 181. Concerned CPS Parent  |  June 11, 2014 at 6:42 pm


    Think about this:

    Do you think the initial conflict between the boys happened because he was Jewish and they go around picking on all the Jewish kids at school? or Original conflict had nothing to do with his religion/race and because they hated this kid, they made issue of his religion/race?

    You may think it doesn’t matter either way. I think it does.

    I’m asian and grew up in the south and know little about racism.

  • 182. anonymouse teacher  |  June 11, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    @168, I do keep bringing up police involvement because I believe it is warranted. You are free to have a different opinion.
    If legal action is not available, there is always civil court.

    No, I have never called the police on a student, but I can think of at least 3 times I should have. Yes, I have children of my own and I teach. I’d be crushed if my child was arrested for threatening another child the way the Ogden students did and even more crushed if either kid was acting that way, but I’d support those consequences in hopes it would be a swift, severe consequence that might save my children from further, more serious actions down the road. And I would not dare have the gall to put out a petition that my child should have something as meaningless as an 8th grade graduation when he’d just destroyed someone else’s sense of safety.

  • 183. HS Mom  |  June 11, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    @175 – “once it was on the news and in public) and demanding that the boys and principal give a public apology and lead the way to make sure this never happens again,is shocking and very telling of what kind of people are part of the Ogden family”

    I think it would be wonderful if people could publicly apologize and write formal written apologies – wouldn’t it be nice. Would sure make a difference in hurt feelings etc. In this day and age no one dares do that. Any attorney would certainly advise against that. This is what we’ve come to. That is why open honest discussion early on with kids, parents and school with all involved is imperative.

  • 184. mbg  |  June 11, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    @ Concerned CPS Parent

    Have you seen the screenshot of the game? In case you haven’t, these kids actually chose to label themselves as a “friendly group of racists.” They are telling you, me and the public that they are racist. So why is that you are trying to call them anything otherwise.

    These are educated kids/ young adults who knew exactly what they were doing. These are not really young naive children who just chose the wrong set of words. Everyone really needs to stop making excuses for what happened and what these kids did.

    Lets start having an honest conversation about this and the racism that plagues Chicago. It’s not just at Ogden and we all know it.

  • 185. Concerned CPS Parent  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    @182 respectively disagree.

  • 186. lawmom  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    @182, 183 and 184 well said. Let those who are oppressed rise up and take back freedom. Just keep demanding that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. Get in people’s faces. Hitler youth beware. There is no room in Chicago for white race supremacy.

  • 187. mbg  |  June 12, 2014 at 2:01 am

    Look up this amazing woman, Bahati Ansari. She was the first to create Racism Free Zones in schools back in the 80’s which she started in Eugene Oregon. This is what should be implemented throughout the CPS system.

  • 188. mbg  |  June 12, 2014 at 2:17 am

    In response to these remarks about some people on here trying to differentiate “racist acts” from being a “racist”. Let me ask you do you separate a young adult 13 yrs old who rapes a girl and commits “rape” from a “rapist”?
    I don’t like to live in a world where I try to sell my self or others stories of a fake realty in order to deflect from having to deal with the actual matters at hand. Which is exactly what each person in this forum who tries to rationalize the difference between “racist acts” from being a “racist” is doing.
    All in all whether you believe the kids are racist or not the point is the way the school responded to the racist acts was completely negligent and the Principal bears sole responsibility for that. He knew of this before CPS was even contacted. He knew for months what was going on. He was notified by other teachers and he chose to turn a blind eye.
    We can’t change the way these kids are being raised by their negligent parents. But the Principal, the minute he found out about this back in April from a teacher, should have responded immediately. Instead he chose to ignore it. This is the guy you all have watching over your kids, guiding your kids. If I had kids at Ogden I’d either call for his resignation or pull my kids out of that school immediately.

  • 189. mbg  |  June 12, 2014 at 2:23 am

    @179, Chris, Just FYI it wasn’t just once. They harassed this kid for 6 months with anti-semitic slurs and showed him pictures of ovens and told him to get in on numerous occasions. They started a game called ” The Jew incinerator” and rallied other kids to join this went on for weeks. So if it was a one time thing, yes maybe we could chalk this up to a lesson learned. And move forward with a slap on the wrist and some guidance counseling. The scary thing is this went on for MONTHS, teachers saw, complained to the principal, he did nothing and then when they got caught. They didn’t even get the bare minimum punishment required by CPS’s own code of conduct and policies that other CPS schools follow and apply.
    SO CHRIS and all other people on here who want to try and not face realty and the facts, is this how you think CPS and the Principal should have handled this? Now knowing what really happened do you think the response by CPS has been adequate? If this was your child would you be satisfied with the way CPS and the principal responded. Just try for one minute to imagine what you would do if this was you and your child.

  • 190. CarolA  |  June 12, 2014 at 6:27 am

    HS Mom: You make a very good point and I agree that what a wonderful world it would be if we could just apologize (honestly) and learn a lesson from our actions through proper discussions. If we start early (that’s the key), it would work. I have some first graders who just refuse to apologize even when they clearly have upset another child. They have learned at this early age that if you say nothing, nothing can happen. They don’t lie about it. They just choose not to answer any questions about it. I call it the guilty by omission complex.

    Also….everyone is afraid of being taken to court these days. We need to move away from that mentality. If we follow the rules set out for CPS, there’s nothing to worry about. Yes, there is plenty of vagueness, but for those incidents that fall into the alarming categories, we need to follow the SCC.

    Without going into any kind of detail (off topic), my grade level team has implemented some rules this year because there was some abuse of the “vague” rules. We clarified our expectations in those areas, had parents signed to agree, and have followed through on each incident that occurred. Problem was reduced from 15 students to 1…now none. It’s a matter of following through and being consistent. That’s the key…consistency. It’s the same with my classroom discipline. I teach the routine and the students know my expectations. They also know the consequences if the expectation is not met. It doesn’t take long before actions change.

  • 191. OTdad  |  June 12, 2014 at 8:58 am

    @189. mbg
    “The scary thing is this went on for MONTHS, teachers saw, complained to the principal, he did nothing and then when they got caught. “
    Did the teacher tell them to stop? Did the victim’s parents complain to the principal and the boys’ parents at the beginning? Did the victim feel threatened and worried about his safety? Or was the ‘anti-Semitism’ thing happened mostly in a computer?

    If those boy’s didn’t know better, I would give them a 2nd chance. They are young kids after all. We do need to examine how the adults handled the case.

  • 192. Chris  |  June 12, 2014 at 10:07 am


    You want twist everything around so that everyone is against you and everyone is either a racist or defending the racists. Whatever, your right to do that, but you should be aware the effect it has.

    It’s really unnecessarily confrontational wrt to those who generally agree with you. You’re trying to turn me into an enemy–and doing a darn good job of it, I must say.

    Good luck finding those pure enough of thought and action to satisfy you.

  • 193. Chris  |  June 12, 2014 at 10:12 am

    “If those boy’s didn’t know better”

    Please. They’re 14 and not stupid and isolated from jews by living in west rural nowhere. If they claim they “didn’t know better”, they’re lying (or there is someone in their life who has normalized anti-semitism — btw, no scare quotes necessary; we’re not talking about a heated discussion about settlements).

  • 194. Jones2  |  June 12, 2014 at 10:15 am

    At what point did the victim’s mom contact the parents of the ringleaders to let them know what was going on between their respective children?

    That should always be the first step & in my experience has been the most effective in dealing with bullying/social problems occurring at school or elsewhere. Those phone calls should have been made early on…after a few weeks of when the problem began. The phone calls are never easy to make (or to receive) & I have been on both ends.

    Parents have a lot more influence and leverage over their children to correct such behavior compared to school administrations. No code or steps follow…we can lower the hammer quickly & effectively. As parents, we also have the benefit of daily interaction with our kids. Once made aware…we, as parents, can follow up with our children everyday to make sure that the situation is resolved. In the past, when I’ve been on the receiving end, I have also followed up with the other (complaining) parent to make sure that the behavior has been corrected.

    Obviously, if the parents are not responsive or receptive to the idea that their children could have possibly ‘done something wrong’ the situation may require getting the school involved but I would ALWAYS start with the parents. So far, it has worked for my family.

  • 195. mbg  |  June 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    @ OT Dad. Yes to all your questions. That is why everyone is so upset.
    Teachers asked the Principal to close this one area at school during lunch because a lot of the racist bullying was going on in this one area and they mentioned that to the principal. I believe it was the library. He said, NO.

    The mother of the victim told the teacher who was covering the Holocaust back in April what was going on and they did not follow up with the mother.

    The victim also for months was telling his mom what was going on and that he was afraid to go to school.

    When the mother of the victim followed up with the principal about this and why no one was responding to fix this after the teachers had notified the principal, she told the Principal that her son was scared to come to school. He agreed to meet the victim at the front doors and walk him into school.
    This was back at beg / middle of may, already over a month into the mother’s initial notification in regards to this but months after the principal and teachers already knew what was going on.

    The Principal promised to walk victim into school, but when mother dropped her son off the principal was a NO SHOW. He blew the victim off.

    Then the Principal did ZERO to address the issue or fix it. Not until the mother went to outside resources for help in this matter.


    I hope this clarified things for you. Now ask yourself if this happened to your kid and you were getting no help from your child’s school what would you do? Would you be angry and frustrated?
    Clearly you see this is not just a one time thing and that the mother just sat back and did nothing. Because that is not what happened.

    The school is trying to cover up this HUGE failure because they’re afraid of being sued.
    Frankly if it were my child I’d sue and would have had the kids arrested.
    However, the victims mother is a lot more compassionate than me. She just wanted a sincere public apology for her son which she never got. She didn’t even get the main ringleaders to send a written apology.
    She also wanted the school to take serious steps to fix this which they have not done either.

    So it’s up to you parents to get involved and force change if you want anything to improve. Otherwise it’s just going to stay status quo and the only people who will really suffer, are your kids. And that would be really unfortunate if the adults at Ogden fail them again by doing nothing.

  • 196. mbg  |  June 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    @ chris I am not in this forum to make friends or get people to like me. I also have only been posting facts. 100% facts that I know of what occurred.
    I believe 100% in what and who I am standing up for because I am on the right side. If you feel this is a situation where we need to appease in order to not offend well that is your right. But in life and throughout history we’ve seen what happens when people appease attackers, bullies, tyrants, etc.

    I am also not trying to get people to pick sides. This is about people recognizing that we are all equal. No one is better than anyone else. And frankly by the way the mother of the ring leader and the way the Principal responded to this they are clearly acting in a way that shows they believe these kids are above accountability and that the school doesn’t need to apply CPS’s own rules because the School is above the rest of CPS schools in the city. It’s actually pretty astonishing at the level of arrogance that is being shown.

    So it’s a wonder to me why you would take my comments in here as an attack on you and making you an “enemy ” of mine. I don’t think of you or anyone in here as an enemy. I don’t walk out into the world and feel that people are my enemy.
    Maybe if you are taking my comments that way and not really reading them and seeing what was said in these comments and what the intentions are then maybe that is something you need to check within yourself as to why you would take my trying to help as an attack to the point where you feel you want to be my , “enemy” ?

  • 197. Chris  |  June 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    mbg: ” I also have only been posting facts.”

    mbg: “SO CHRIS and all other people on here who want to try and not face realty ”

    So, it’s a *FACT* that *I* am trying to not face reality?

    Get over yourself.

  • 198. North Center Mom  |  June 12, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    What is it about the last week of school that brings out the cranky in people? Last year at this time, it was an ugly discussion about girls’ shorts. Shesh. Time for vacation.

  • 199. Patricia  |  June 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    @mbg you said, “Maybe if you are taking my comments that way and not really reading them and seeing what was said in these comments and what the intentions are then maybe that is something you need to check within yourself as to why you would take my trying to help as an attack to the point where you feel you want to be my , “enemy” ?”

    How on earth can you think that you are not picking fights? You slam anyone who is not jumping on your bandwagon. Chris has said so many things in support of your posts. He is just being his/her usual—insightful and objective self. I think you are the one who should reflect within yourself. Really, reread your posts.

    I think the post above with the assessment from a qualified professional is probably spot on ” From a blog post on today’s Huff Post Chicago by a CPS parent, LSC member and psychologist: “Children who spew hate are acting less out of bigotry and more out of ignorance; less out of racism, anti-semitism or homophobia, more out of discomfort with, and intolerance of, what is different.””

    It does seem the adults all around failed in this situation. However, not knowing all sides, I can’t say for certain. CarolA and HS Mom and Jones2 pointed out that it is critical how the parents need to work together to nip-it-in-the-bud. Agree. So important.

  • 200. Patricia  |  June 12, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    @198 Memories………….the short-shorts scandal. Yes, to vacation!

  • 201. Neighborhood Mom  |  June 12, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    @mbg: Ironically, your posts are coming across as being quite tyrannical. And you’re reporting facts that been discussed thoroughly on here for the past couple weeks like we’re completely ignorant and in the dark. Most of us aren’t. This isn’t the “Hate Crime and Bullying at Ogden” Facebook group. If you want your thoughts to be heard and positively received, I suggest taking your tone down several notches and Stop. Lecturing. Us. Otherwise, you’re doing more harm than good for the cause. My cause; again, I’m an ally.

  • 202. mbg  |  June 13, 2014 at 12:07 am

    This was started by Bahati Ansari, http://racismfreezoneinstitute.com/rfz-declarations.php back in 80’s by a close friend’s cousin.

    If any one on this board actaully wants to be proactive and do something positive about what happened at Ogden I would highly recommend looking into this. Schools and Universities all over the country have adopted this program. It’s pretty amazing and I would love to see Chicago have something like this in their school programs.

    @ Neighborhood mom and @ Chris Just wanted to pass the info on to help. So please don’t take this as my being a tyrant……

    Best of luck to you all. Hopefully something positive will come of this.

  • 203. opinion  |  June 13, 2014 at 9:06 am

    MBG please continue, don’t let the haters shout you down. Many of us are out hear listening.

  • 204. Jones2  |  June 13, 2014 at 9:38 am

    @203 oh, please…the “haters?” Seriously…have you even read our posts?

    And we wonder why 14 year olds have problems resolving conflict…

  • 205. lawmom  |  June 13, 2014 at 10:18 am

    mbg thank you for the timeline. Personally I am horrified by these events and can’t believe the principal failed to act. The good news is once these kids to high school they will receive serious consequences for this kind of behavior. The code of conduct is much more strictly applied in the high school environment. Jones2, you’re just rude.

  • 206. junior  |  June 13, 2014 at 10:52 am

    @194 Jones2

    Spot on. Thanks.

  • 208. Becca Robinson  |  June 16, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Looks like the jewish-supremacist mandatory brainwashing, didn’t work out as they intended: “The students had all been learning about the Holocaust in their eighth grade curriculum, and the class has since visited the Holocaust museum in Skokie.”

  • 209. 2nd grade parent  |  July 25, 2014 at 5:18 pm


    ….. will a principal reassignment and re-selection really solve this issue? I wonder if BBB’s decision actually helps the LSC, cuz it seems like it would have been a difficult decision/action by the LSC to fire/replace the principal.

  • 210. Neighborhood Mom  |  July 25, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Solve it… no. But I think it’ll allow the Ogden community to move forward with less resentment. I applaud the decision.

  • 211. cpsobsessed  |  July 25, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Wow, interesting news. Thanks for posting.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 212. anonymouse teacher  |  July 25, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Wow. Still no true consequences for the people who actually were in the wrong–the students. Unbelievable.

  • 213. Jelly  |  July 25, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Have to weigh in here as I have had a front row seat for most of this:

    While I agree that the situation was not handled well by VanderJagt, I do question whether he was free to act or whether his hands were tied by fears of legal action due to CPS policy. I personally felt he deserved a chance to prove himself after the fact given his passion to improve the school in every possible way. While I know them and am very sympathetic to their cause, the parties involved who were wronged were especially aggressive and punishing to VanderJagt and anyone not 100% in alignment with their cause. Reports on this blog also serve as evidence in this regard. This incident involves children and their poor choices. These are not adults. I am saddened beyond words that the parents of the transgressors do not seem to understand the impact of their children’s actions. I also feel the need to point out that others on this board have reported that the boy who was aggressed upon bullied an AA girl. While it hurts the students in the direct line of fire the most, ultimately it hurts us all. Everyone in the Ogden community is now worse off having yet more time without inspired leadership. VanderJagt was sincere in his intentions for Ogden and its community and should have been allowed the opportunity to make it right going forward. While I hear the argument for a fresh start, I feel punishing VanderJaht was not the answer.

  • 214. Ogden IG  |  July 26, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    I am saddened by the decision too. Yet i know vanderjaht did not have a chance with this small aggressive group of parents.they would have made his work conditions simply unworkable.if I was on the LSC I would be livid. Maybe the anti vanderjaht camp should be put in charge of this task…oh wait that would be illegal because the majority of the petition signers either live outside of chicago and illinois:-)

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  • 216. vengaboys  |  June 16, 2015 at 7:00 am


    Bullying in CPS and at Ogden (new Trib Article) | CPS Obsessed

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