I didn’t sleep well last night – obviously. I woke up with anger and anxiety, which sucks quite frankly. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got to the school, although a million and one scenarios played in my head. After I dropped off my son to his classroom, I went to the principals office. I assumed she knew why I was there – but she didn’t. She had NO idea. No one had told her a thing. Great.
So I sat down and told her everything. She’s one of those people that have this nervous smile/laugh, that is great unless you’re telling her about your son who was assaulted on her watch. I told her how I felt, I told her that I wanted severe consequences, that I needed assurance that the parents would be involved in some valuable way. She asked if my son had “done anything” to bring it about, if he was “involved” in any way – I’m not sure what a 6 year old can do exactly to bring about a full on assault by two other kids. She told me that she would have to deal with it after lunch because all the grade ones were away in the morning. So I waited for a phone call, and she finally called at 5:00 p.m.
She played out what she gathered happened by talking to the kids who were there, the teachers and the yard duty teachers. First of all, the yard duty teachers saw nothing. NOTHING. When I told her how ridiculous it was that no one saw a group of kids stand around watching 2 kids pummel on one, she didn’t respond. Really, what could she say. She said that she had talked to all the parents and that they were beyond mortified and horrified that their children did such a thing. The parents were surprised that it escalated to such violence, when their children have never shown any violent behaviour before this. Now, I don’t know the one boy, since he is in the other grade one class, but the one I do know, I’m not surprised that he picked my son to target. I’ve seen him pick on him before – with my own eyes. I have felt the need, in the past, to be at the school during recess, and watch my son from the street, and saw him being picked on by this kid, over and over again. Even when my son tried to walk away, the kid kept at it following him around. My son’s mistake was not telling anyone when it did happen, trying instead to handle it himself.
Both kids were given a ONE DAY suspension that they will carry out at school, in the principal’s office. ONE DAY. I was mistaken when I said that the school has a zero tolerance policy – evidently it doesn’t. Instead, they practice something called gradual discipline(?) – so basically, the more a kid acts out, the more severe the punishment. Because neither of these kids had been caught doing anything wrong in the past, they can only do so much. However, because of the severity of the assault, she was forced to do more. Each child will also be kept inside during recess period in order to earn back the trust they lost. These are her words by the way – not mine. She told me that one child was completely remorseful, crying and the lot, while the other one bragged about how good he was at beating kids up. A SIX YEAR OLD.
They also are meant to apologize verbally and in written form to my son. When they attempted to verbally apologize to him today, he told them and the principal that he was not ready to hear it. That’s my baby.
And that’s that. The school year ends on the 26th – seven more school days left. She told me that the discipline process would continue until the end of the year. That there would be formal letters given to the parents and put into their files. Am I satisfied with that? I don’t know – not really. Do I expect to hear from the parents? If it was the other way around, I would have contacted them immediately. I would have marched my kid over to their home to apologize to his victim and the parents, to ensure that he understood the severity of the situation and that that kind of behaviour would not fly. But that’s just me. Had my son told on the one boy who teased him and picked on him, every time it happened, then there would have been a file on this boy, so instead of the principal and teacher constantly feeling the need to tell me HOW SURPRISED THEY WERE by his behaviour, they would know that the kid was actually a little shit.
My advice to every mom/dad out there based on what I have experienced over the last 24 hours? Make sure your child knows that they can come to you with anything and everything, no matter what it is. Make sure they know that they need to tell their teacher every time they are hurt, teased, bullied, both physically and mentallyby another student, so that there is a record. As your child’s parent, you are their best and only true advocate – put public opinion, reputation and friendship aside when it comes to what is best for your child. If you read the comments from the original post below, you will see story after story of bullying that people or their children have endured. It makes me sick to my stomach to read them and know that kids are scared to go to school because of what other kids may do to them. What is happening? It’s ridiculous. It is total and utter bullshit.
Finally, I really want to say a quick thank you to every single person who commented and tweeted and reached out to me so that I wouldn’t feel so alone in this. I cannot fully express how grateful I am, and how much I needed it. If anyone, ever doubted the power of blogging, of tweeting, of social media – just think about those moments when you are supported and held by so many of these amazing virtual people, whom you may not have even met otherwise. You made all the difference.
~~ ORIGINAL POST~~
I pick my son up from school every day. He sees me waiting for him, and runs like crazy toward me, so happy to come home. His smile is always the biggest when he knows he’s coming home for the day.
I don’t blame him.
Last week, a 7 year old who is in the other grade one class, and who was also his best friend in SK, told him he was going to kill him. He was also pulled, pushed, kicked and chased around the field, by him and another boy, as he tried to get away from them.
Today, my 6 year old son was outside at recess when two other grade one kids, started chasing him again. Because he’s asthmatic, my guy can’t run very fast. They caught up with him and pushed him down and started kicking him. They kicked him in the stomach, the groin, and continuously in the neck, while a group of kids watched. Only one boy yelled at them to stop, and they didn’t. It didn’t stop until the bell rang and the kids dispersed. Despite there being supposed yard duty teachers on site, no adult was there to stop what was happening to my 6 year old.
So, today, when my 6 year old ran toward me, his teacher was right behind him and I knew something was wrong. She told me what happened, and I could literally feel my blood pressure rise as my son held onto me tightly. She was very matter of fact, and without an ounce of compassion in her voice. When I mentioned that I would be back tomorrow, to talk to the principal (who was absent), she told me that both boys apologized and would miss recess tomorrow. That is their punishment? Missing recess? This is supposedly a no tolerance school, and yet this kind of thing happens all the time. For some reason, my son is a target, and constantly teased, and yet when I tell the teachers, they respond that they cannot believe that the other boys would act out in that way. When my son defends himself, they simply say that he was also guilty of being “bad”. It’s a no-win situation – for a six year old boy.
I hate this shit. I go blue in the face day in and day out, making sure that my son knows right from wrong, has good manners, and is respectful. If it was my kid who did something like this to another kid, you bet your ass there would be severe consequences.
Tomorrow, I’m going to the school to get answers, and I will go to the school board if I don’t like what I hear. It is going to take everything in me to not approach those kids and tell them to stay the hell away from my son. Of course, if I did that, I would be the one in trouble – because that’s just the way it is.
My son spent the afternoon lying on the couch, burying his head in the pillows, on the verge of tears. I could hear him mumbling quietly to himself saying, “but why? but why?” When I tried to comfort him, he would look at me with this look of utter sadness, and just ask, “But why did he do that to me, mommy? I didn’t do anything to him? Why did he do it to me?”
“I don’t know”, I say.
“What’s gonna happen now, Mommy?” he asked me later on this evening.
“I don’t know, bunny,” I say.” I don’t know.”
Short of being on the field during each recess, I have no idea how to protect my son from these six year old bullies, and that thought makes me sick to my stomach.