Mother starts MOB to battle bullying

Beachy Cove Elementary parent forms a group to fight for change in school policies across the province.

Dana Metcalfe received a terrifying phone call last Thursday from her 10-year-old son.

Metcalfe says her son had called just after lunch, wanting to come home from school because another classmate had forcefully punched him in the back – a thrust so big that it made him vomit.

On Sunday, Metcalfe, along with other parents, will join forces as Mothers Opposing Bullies (MOB). The campaign seeks to change the public school system’s bullying policy across Newfoundland and Labrador.

Metcalfe says this hasn’t been the first bullying incident her son has faced since moving to Newfoundland two years ago. She says the school hasn’t been supportive; the problem still exists and she feels it all boils down to the unclear bullying policies and procedures that are in place.

Dana Metcalfe advocates for her MOB (Mothers Opposing Bullies) movement. The group will hold its first meeting on Sunday at the Ramada in St. John’s. Lauren George/Kicker

“If I am obligated by the government to send my son to school, then I’m entitled to my son’s safety while he’s there,” said Metcalfe.

Following the incident on Thursday, Metcalfe shared her story on Facebook. The post spread quickly, and many other parents across the province were equally upset. The original post attracted over 130 shares, 104 comments and 140 likes.

As well, Metcalfe has received numerous personal messages via Facebook from parents who are facing similar issues.

President James Dinn of the NLTA says although the Safe and Caring Schools policy currently in place is a good system, it seems to place more responsibility on teachers and the school rather than parents and the public.

Dinn says since recent budget cuts to education, teachers are being plagued with more responsibility than ever before. Overpopulated classrooms and the lack of resources are creating higher stress levels in both teachers and students.

“I have confidence in the policies and procedures,” said Dinn. “But they need people and time to back them up.”

A spokesperson for Education Minister Dale Kirby declined comment, saying the minister had not been fully briefed on the issue.

Metcalfe created the Mothers Opposing Bullies (MOB) with intentions to create awareness and to create a plan to improve bullying policies and procedures across the province. MOB is holding a public meeting at the Ramada on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Metcalfe says she will fight for her son and other children across the province.

“I want to be a part of the solution,” said Metcalfe. “Not the problem.”

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9 Comments

  1. Two conflicting stories. CBC reports Mrs. Metcalfe didn’t find out until hours later from her son, this article states he called her right after lunch. Which is it? It’s not right her child was bullied, but why did it have to come down until he was physically attacked to begin MOB, why wait the best of two years? The school board system doesn’t tolerate bullying in any format. I’ve had a child and know parents of bullied children, each time it was addressed the school stepped in and helped the situation. There’s obviously more to the story. What about the “bully” child’s parents? Have you asked the school about getting them in a sit down with you and your child to see if a conclusion can come about? What did the school or the system not do for MOB to be born? I would like to know where the school failed exactly.

    • Hi, my child has been bullied in the same school for over a year. This year it’s gotten worse, I’ve been to the school so many times, had meetings, all of it! I have made many many complaints, I’ve approached my daughters teachers, principal & vice principal, emails, I’ve done it all. I even requested a sit down with the bully’s parents, and I was told by the school that this is not something that they would do for me. My child has been bullied emotionally, and also physically and nothing has been done by the school, absolutely nothing! One remark I got from the school was that maybe my child is being picked on because maybe the bully actually likes your child.., he made my concern seem so little even went on to say that the age are faced with so many horomone changes. Blah blah blah! Once the bully gets away with it, and they know they do get away with it, seems like more and more kids step in and start bullying as well. There was a period when my child was followed by a mob of approx 20 kids, with them chanting “scrap scrap, werehonna scrap u!” These kids don’t know when to quit. So, I do understand this woman in the article above, who said the bullying has been ongoing for sometime, who says she didn’t do anything the past two years? You wake up every day with a new hope that today might be the day that it will stop. It’s been an ongoing battle for my family I know exactly what her family is going through.

  2. It is very encouraging that parents will take this matter into their own hands and work with schools to eliminate the scourge of bullying. Well done Ms.Metcalfe.

  3. MOM2 What bloody difference does it make when he called her? Obviously she is not going to bring this story to lite if this did not happen in the said school. Why did she wait 2 years you ask? Maybe she tried other avenues to deal with it. Maybe she only now has been strong enough to start this group because she knew she would have to deal with this negative. Have you not heard the statement “Better late than never”. To ASSUME their is more to the story makes you a bully. If you are so strong with your thoughts and opinions why did you have to hide beside a name tag and not your real? Why can’t people just rejoice when someone tries to do something good but nope lets just kick someone when they are already down. I don’t know you and I don’t know Mrs Metcalfe but if you are seriously trying to say that ALL bullying is dealt with effectively and appropriately, than I sure would like to know where you get your school memo’s. Always remember….” If you have nothing good to say, just best to say nothing at all.

  4. I see a number of discrepancies in this mother’s story. I’m sure others see those, too. I’d like to let Ms Metcalf know that she is not obligated, as she states, to send her child to school. She may very well home school her child or choose private schooling. There is no obligation by government to have him attend publicly funded school.

    Ms Metcalf, in other posts and interviews, seems to have an issue with the teachers. All of the focus has been placed on the school system. Does she realize that teachers are not paid for their supervision, after school meetings, lesson planning on weekends, etc? Do you know other government employees who would work hours after their shift without retribution? She says there isn’t enough supervision yet she expected the classroom teacher to leave his/her students to follow up with her personally regarding the incident she discusses. Apparently she was unable to wait two hours. Prevention of bullying takes place at home. Parents have taken away teachers ability to discipline except when it’s against another child they feel have wronged their own. You can’t tie teachers arms behind their back for years and then expect them to give you a hand. Why doesn’t this mother try to work with the teachers and the school rather than trying to bring them down?

  5. I would like the public to know that there are MANY conflicting stories occurring here. I am a parent at this school. A very visible parent and let me tell you this, Beachy Cove is not the place Ms. Metcalfe is making it out to be. She went on in her interview yesterday about the principal and how he was starting his own campaign in spite of her and that she is being bullied. Not my words, hers. The sweater competition was in the works long before this incident as the school holds the event each year as an environmental initiative. It was the timing that Ms. Metcalfe may see inconsistencies in. As for the letter that went home, my child has received the dreaded orange letter in regards to my tardiness. Know how I solved it? I left my house 10 minutes earlier and it has not been an issue since. My heart goes out to this child as nobody deserves to be assaulted in any way, shape or form. Does something need to be done here? Yes there needs to be some repercussions for sure. What that looks like differs according to each individual situation. I know it’s easy to jump on a bandwagon here but this school has done wonderful things for my child. I feel sad to leave Beachy Cove to be honest. Mr. Dawe runs a tight ship. The teachers are caring and understanding. Let’s not tear it down. There are better ways to work through issues such as these than publicly slandering someone and making assumptions based on emotion that are running high.

  6. I agree with MOM2 – how did it get to the point the child is being targeted and bullied for 2 years and only now with a physical assault does action happen? Where was the intervention 6 months ago? 1 year ago? Has there been meetings with the school officials and/or the other parents involved? Has there been any punishment for the bullies (i.e. suspension, detention, etc) has there been anything attempted in this situation prior to now.

    I am totally against bullying and my heart aches for the little ones who have to deal with this kind of thing, but I think at the end of the day parents need to step up more, especially when the school is not being accommodating. If this was me, and my child was being bullied for months and years, rest assure I would have moved him to a different school long before it resulted in this tragic situation. It’s not right and it shouldn’t be the bullied child that has to move, but at the end of the day if it makes the child safe physically and psychologically, then that is what you have to do.

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