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Letter to the Editor: Let's Talk about Bully Parents

Parent wants to raise awareness about parent bullies in the community.

Submitted by: Julie Clingerman

Years ago one of my children was the victim of bullying at a private school. It was a horrifying series of incidents but I am proud to say she is a strong, beautiful young lady in spite of the experience. Since that time, it seems anti-bullying campaigns have become prevalent in our community with many programs implemented in the schools to help children cope with and overcome bullying. I am a huge advocate of these programs and applaud the groups that initiate them.

Even with the wonderful programs in place, and the fabulous job our schools are doing to eradicate bullying, I have observed a major influence in our community that is counter-productive to the anti-bullying campaign.

The negative influence is the parents themselves. On any given day, parents can be observed bullying each other in the carpool lanes and school parking lots. Bullying takes place among and against PFC/PTA members, in church groups, committees, and while driving the local streets of our community. This past week parents of a young child bullied a Pleasanton sports league to allow their daughter to play on a team that she was not selected for during tryouts. When their attempts at bullying the coach failed, they went to the board where their bullying efforts paid off.

It does not matter how many wonderful anti-bullying programs and campaigns we initiate, if we do not model appropriate behavior at home and in our community, our children will never be free from this terrorizing harassment. It is imperative that we do not engage in or condone bullying behavior. By giving in to the bullying demands of parents, such as the parents who bullied the sports league, it is only rewarding them for their atrocious behavior and will encourage them to continue acting in the same despicable manner.

The greatest teacher a child has is his parents and putting an end to bullying starts in the home them.

Thank you for your time,
Julie Clingerman

A Reader September 14, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Bravo. You eloquently stated the reason that I have so very little respect for many of the Pleasanton parents these days. Entitlement on every front leads them to demand their way in every area.
Mary September 14, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Spot-on Julie!!
Jennifer Hart September 14, 2012 at 11:01 PM
As a classroom teacher, I encounter one or two of these parents a year. I just don't understand how a grown adult could possibly imagine that attempting to intimidate their child's teacher would be a good strategy. It just makes me feel sorry for your kid.
Californicus September 14, 2012 at 11:59 PM
It's helicopter parenting. Veruca Salt lives!
Gary September 15, 2012 at 05:07 AM
This really happened in Pleasanton?
Elizabeth September 15, 2012 at 07:24 AM
Actually, I believe the author of this article is the one who is doing the bullying with the "This past week parents of a young child bullied a Pleasanton sports league to allow their daughter to play on a team that she was not selected for during tryouts. When their attempts at bullying the coach failed, they went to the board where their bullying efforts paid off" story. The author has an ax to grind on that situation; therefore, I am sure the author has some connection to this situation. Since in Pleasanton many coaches give spots to children on teams that they have coached previously (or are friends with parents) rather than objectively choosing who is supposed to be on the team based on objective skills criteria alone, I can understand completely why the parents went to the Board. That is not bullying at all. That is escalating the decision to a higher level.
Mamabean September 15, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Though I do agree with the comment of "In Pleasanton many coaches give spots to children on teams that they have coached previously (or are friends with parents) rather than objectively choosing who is supposed to be on the team based on objective skills" my children have been apart of these kinds of teams before. Sometimes making a team and sometimes not, for which when they were say... on the "bubble" and didn't get picked due to talent and the team went with a player less capable than my child or chose a friend of their child; we never complain even if we want to or feel for our child. This is where I think the lesson needs to be taught to kids. You're not always going to get picked. The lesson should NOT be that if you have enough bark and bite you can weasel your way onto a team. But through hard work, putting more effort into that passion and driving yourself to do better and be better, then maybe next year or next time you will get a spot on the team. And yes, it hard and hurtful and sometimes wrong, but in everything (even sports) politics are involved and that's life. But we also need to teach our children to overcome. There are winners and losers in ever day life. Teach our kids to persevere and become a better person from it.
Robin September 15, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Anyone engaged in the act of bullying always defend their actions as righteous.
Julie September 15, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Of course I have a connection to the situation which is how I know the extent of the bullying that took place. The only "ax I have to grind" is to eliminate bullying from our schools and community and I believe that starts with the example parents set for their children.
A Mama Reader September 17, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I can completely relate to this letter and the sentiment behind it. It is sad to me that “bullying” still occurs in the adult world, but it is very much alive and thriving. All too often we as parents want to protect our children from the hurt and disappointment they will come across in their young lives and this is understandable. We are, after all, their parents and we love them. A parent’s questions or concerns are one thing, but when this crosses into an unconstructive and mean arena of bullying this is unacceptable. The biggest tantrum throwers should not be rewarded just as we do not reward our children who do the same. Someone commented “You’re not always going to get picked” and this is true throughout life. Instead of stomping and screaming the loudest, stop and consider how your message impacts your child. What we need to remember is that by shielding them from some of life's unpleasant experiences, we do them a great disservice by not teaching them how to grow into productive adults who are equipped with the skills to overcome adversity.
Elizabeth September 18, 2012 at 08:34 PM
If the coaches are picking people based upon nepotism or favoritism or getting kickbacks from picking certain kids (and some of them do), then the statement "But through hard work, putting more effort into that passion and driving yourself to do better and be better, then maybe next year or next time you will get a spot on the team" is simply a false promise. I say get rid of the coaches that are doing this. Boards need to know what coaches are doing this so they know which coaches need to be replaced. There are many competent and fair coaches waiting in the wings that will do the right thing.
Maureen September 19, 2012 at 12:45 AM
There are many factors coaches use to put together a team. My husband has coached our children in various sports for many years. Often he was forced not to chose a child for his team just because of the parents. Sounds like this is a situation where the coach was trying to avoid difficult, overbearing parents. Unfortunately it is often the child who is the victim.

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