My 13-year-old son is the victim of bullying both by students of Owosso Public Schools (Middle School) and by the principals and teachers who stand by and allow the bullying to continue. He has developed extreme anxiety and frequently experiences mood swings due to the pressure, humiliation, and trauma he is forced to endure day after day. He is pushed, punched, kicked, tripped, cussed at, degraded, and screamed at by staff if he reacts in the least (and he does react, as most anyone adult or child would.) Again, this happens every single day he is at school.


    A few months ago, Cherokee, my son, was heading from one class to another when another child pushed him down a flight of stairs. I went to the school about this. I asked them to do something to stop the bullying. They said that they watched the video tapes but Cherokee was out of the line of sight so they couldn’t tell who had pushed him. Cherokee told them who pushed him down the stairs. I followed up 3 days later to see what they had decided. The Vice principal Mr. King said that he talked to the other boys who Cherokee had named as his attackers. The boys denied having assaulted Cherokee, so Mr. King dropped the issue. The boys were neither reprimanded or suspended for their attack.


    As time has gone forward, these types of attack happen habitually. Cherokee is often sick at school or calls to come home. Teachers such as Mrs. Anderson, his math teacher, allow Cherokee to be bullied even during class. When Cherokee asked for help, she scolded him and told him to get back to his seat.


    Today, 3/20/2013, Cherokee was shoved in the Gym class from behind. He turned around and grabbed a child behind him. As the ingrained response was triggered, he put his left hand on the child right shoulder and his right hand on his chest. He neither pushed nor harmed the child. Unfortunately, the child Cherokee reacted to was in front of the ones who actually shoved him. For this act of self-defense, a taught, ingrained protective response due to the year of bullying, Cherokee has been suspended from school. Mrs. Dwyer, who claims to have seen the incident, reported to the principals that Cherokee had “scooped” the other child. Cherokee denied the allegation and begged to be able to tell his side of the story. Mrs. Dwyer screamed at him to get out of the classroom that she did not want to hear him. The school called me to come get him.


    When I entered the office, I told them I wanted to speak to both principals and Cherokee. They said initially No I would talk to them first. I refused until Cherokee entered the room. So they sent for him. The first thing I asked Cherokee was if he was allowed to tell them what had happened. Of course, as is customary, he had not been allowed to. He was simply suspended without being able to voice his statement. With me there, he told what happened. He admitted that he reacted to the first person he saw. I told the Principals, Mr. King and Mr. Collins that he would most probably not have reacted the way he did had they stopped the bullying at any point during the school year.


    Mr. Collins said, “We get reports about problems with Cherokee weekly.” I said, ” I get reports of bullying DAILY.”

    How can a school and its staff, when bullying is against the law, continue to allow it based on their personal preference for one child over another? If a child is ADHD, Autistic, overweight, or in any other way, “different” at Owosso Public Schools, they are the targets both the students and the staff. The early teen years are difficult for all children but for those labeled different or troubled… It is hell on earth.


My name is Shelly Baxter. My son’s name is Cherokee Shrum. At 12 years old, he became the target of continual torment at the hands of students and staff of Owosso Public Schools. A year later, it continues.


Cupids Arrow: Tale of a Happy Ending

The daily prompt tells us: It’s Valentine’s Day, so write an ode to someone or something you love. Bonus points for poetry! To join in simply click here à

Oh Love how I have searched

For something true

Yet like a bird in a cage my heart perched

For I didn’t know of you.

I longed and looked without reserve

Until the question did arise

What do I really deserve?

Surely, only my demise.

My blue eyes alas baleful

The search was lost

My nightly cries wailful

Only my heart knew the cost.

When I gave up

Only then Love did you find

My heart an orchestra to conduct

And my sorrows to powder you grind

Imagine my surprise

To learn you truly were no actor

To see love in your eyes

And know you are my happy ever after.

DPChallenge Couples Embrace

The day seemed to fly by all too quickly.  John and Ava Maria spent the day together wandering from museum to museum taking in the breath taking pieces of art.  As the day drew to a close, they knew their time was nearly over.  Together, they walked hand in hand to find a quiet restaurant to take their final meal together.

The walk to the restaurant took only about ten minutes.  John turned toward Ava and pulled her into his arms.

“Oh, my sweet, sweet Ava!”  His voice broke as he tried to choke back emotion.  “How can I live without you?  How can I go on?”

She nuzzled his neck.  He smelled of citrus cologne.  It was a scent that always took her back in time to their first meeting.  It was on this very same block.  They had been riding the small train.  She was off to college and he was leaving for boot camp.  They were seated next to each other in the streetcar.  He wore the same cologne that she knows now as only she would; is his scent, as much a part of him as his intense hazel eyes.  That first meeting was the beginning of a beautiful journey together.  At the time only she knew how it would end.

“My love, you have been there for me each and every step of the way.  I have not once been lonely or afraid.  Please understand this is something I must do.  My death will be only a moment in time, but my life will continue forever.  I will save thousands.”  Ava Maria patiently explained again her resolve to give up her own life to save many.

Ava, did not discover the cure to cancer, she was the cure to cancer.  Ava Maria’s body would become the medicine.  Each person who received certain cells from her body would in turn receive the gift of life.  The long list of children around the world with leukemia will be given a chance to grow up.  Maybe, just maybe, one of those children would become the doctor who would create more medicine.  In doing so, the flow of life would continue from generation to generation.  It would all begin with Ava.

Tears spilled down his cheeks as he pulled her tightly against him.  His heart was beating so hard he could hear it pound in his ears.  What kind of love she must have for humanity!  There was no selfishness in her small body at all, not a drop.  Suddenly, without his control, a cry of anguish erupted from somewhere deep inside him.  John’s heart was breaking.  His breath quickened as his body shuddered, wracked with unimaginable emotional pain.  How could she be taken from him so soon?  He was so in love he could not fathom a life without her to love him back. Ava held tightly onto John.  She wished with all her might that she could help him.  She was so willing and able to help countless others, but she was torn with guilt that she could not help the one person who loved her above all else.

Finally, after taking a few deep breaths, John pulled back.  He held her face between his palms and lowered his lips slowly to hers.  When their lips met, it was as if a smoldering fire had ignited.  Heat, love, and passion made the world disappear for them both.  It didn’t matter that the elderly folks across the street were clucking their tongues and shaking their heads at the public display.  It didn’t matter that the streetcar was sounding its bells waiting for the last of the passengers to board.  No.  The only thing that mattered was each other, in this moment.  Time stood still for the young couple.  It had to.  Neither was willing to break the embrace.  This was it.  Today, their time together was over.  It was indeed bittersweet sorrow.

When the spark dimmed, John wiped the tears from his face.  He was shaking but he took her hand and led her into the restaurant.  The lighting was dim.  A single tall white candle with a gently flickering orange flame illuminated each table.  Their hands parted only long enough for each to sit down in the elegantly designed wooden chairs.  Soft cream suede covered the seats.  Delicate classical music filled the room.  It was so soothing it felt as though one could float on the drifting notes.
John stroked the backs of Ava’s hands with his thumbs feeling the smooth skin.  She is so young and beautiful he thought.  It just doesn’t seem real.

“Maybe, this is all just a bad dream.”  John whispered and looked into her blue eyes, bloodshot from withholding her own tears.  He shook his head slowly.  Ava withdrew one of her hands and stroked his cheek.  His five o’ clock shadow was rough on her fingertips.  The sensations made her smile, and even blush.  She was remembering another time she felt that stubble against her heated skin.  The smile was fleeting and the reality of what she was about to do gripped her.

     I can do this.  Ava told herself and looked up into John’s eyes again.  He was looking intently back at her.  The loving gaze was lost shortly as the waiter approached their table.  They ordered their food.  In silence, they ate slowly but their eyes would meet and they would softly smile at one another.

Once the meal was over and the bill was paid, John led her outside and once again pulled her into his arms.  He rested his chin and cheek on top of her long soft hair.  She smelled of lavender and vanilla.  He inhaled deeply.  When he opened his eyes, he saw her elderly father across the street.  John took a deep breath and squeezed her tight.  Ava held him.  She never wanted to let go, but she knew she must lest she lose her resolve.

Ava turned and saw her father.

“Good-bye my love.”  She was gone.