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Should I call the parents - possible bullying issue (Update #23)

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
DS is in 1st grade. There is a kid in his class that constantly annoys him and it really borders on bullying, but verbally not physically. The kid hates DS (as other kids have noticed and said so) and calls him names, like nerd. When DS is playing a game with another student, he will frequently come over and tell the other student what DS has so that DS will lose.

This kid will not leave DS alone.

We've met with the teacher, she said she would handle it. She didn't. I talked to her again last week and she said she would move them (right now they sit next to each other). She still hasn't and said she won't do it until next week.

His teacher has HORRIBLE class management. It is chaotic and the kids are totally out of control. I truly believe she has the worst class in the building. She does not know how to deal with misbehavior effectively.

I have the class list and I am wondering if it would be out of line for me to call the parent. I wouldn't do it in a confrontational way but more in a way of "I understand our kids are having trouble getting along and I am wondering if DS has done anything to your son."

If this is not appropriate, any suggestions on what I can do to help DS deal with this on his own since he is getting no help from his teacher?
post #2 of 32
get your child into another school, you can't really overcome the problem at school, by calling the other kids parents unless you want to befriend the childl and try to teach him better manners yourself.
post #3 of 32
Many districts have very strict, zero tolerance kinds of anti-bullying policies in place now. Document your discussions with the teacher. If she fails to act (really moving kids desks is not a big deal) I would go over her head to the principal or other administrator.

And I say this as a teacher.

Also I would try to coach your son on the art of non-reaction. Kinda like how the game of keep away is fun only if the person excluded is trying to get the ball. Not that this is in any way his fault!
post #4 of 32
I agree with Rosebud -- you need to go to the principal. I wouldn't wait, however; I would make contact now.

I am also going to recommend a book, "The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander." It's great from all angles - from the parent of the bullied, the parent of a bully, and what to expect from schools to prevent bullying. It also discusses what bullying is and isn't. Teasing is mutual fun - it's something that you do with friends and isn't intended to hurt. Taunting is something entirely different and it *is* bullying. It discusses multiple strategies to help a child who is being bullied - ignoring or standing up for oneself isn't always a good strategy. I wish I had read this book years ago.

http://www.amazon.com/Bully-Bullied-...8935649&sr=8-1
post #5 of 32
OP: Yes, document and contact the principal. No, don't contact the parent. It won't go anywhere, and the bully and bully's parents won't react in a constructive way.

I just finished that book. I did find it useful for defining bullying and some other info, but I actually found the advice on how to help your bullied kid as pretty useless. The definition of bullying as "contempt, not conflict" rings true to me. However, the advice for helping the bullied was all on conflict resolution.
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post
I just finished that book. I did find it useful for defining bullying and some other info, but I actually found the advice on how to help your bullied kid as pretty useless. The definition of bullying as "contempt, not conflict" rings true to me. However, the advice for helping the bullied was all on conflict resolution.
yeah - I think it takes some extra thinking on the parent's behalf to figure out what strategies are helpful given the specific circumstance, who the bully is and what they're doing, and what the child who is being bullied is capable of pulling off. Some strategies work better at different ages. The book isn't clear on this, I agree.

There is some good advice on assisting a child to use positive self-talk to develop confidence and self-respect so they don't internalize that they somehow deserve the bullying. Unfortunately, it is likely that most children will be bullied at some point in their lives. How they are able to deal with it emotionally will determine if they become more vulnerable to future bullying or whether they will also become a bully.
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post
I just finished that book. I did find it useful for defining bullying and some other info, but I actually found the advice on how to help your bullied kid as pretty useless. The definition of bullying as "contempt, not conflict" rings true to me. However, the advice for helping the bullied was all on conflict resolution.
I'm glad I'm not the only one! I bought it after I saw it recommended on here a few times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
yeah - I think it takes some extra thinking on the parent's behalf to figure out what strategies are helpful given the specific circumstance, who the bully is and what they're doing, and what the child who is being bullied is capable of pulling off. Some strategies work better at different ages. The book isn't clear on this, I agree.

There is some good advice on assisting a child to use positive self-talk to develop confidence and self-respect so they don't internalize that they somehow deserve the bullying. Unfortunately, it is likely that most children will be bullied at some point in their lives. How they are able to deal with it emotionally will determine if they become more vulnerable to future bullying or whether they will also become a bully.
I agree with all this. DS (7) is now enrolled in a class to help kids develop more self-confidence and become "bully-proof". Some of the techniques described in the book, such as urging the bullied kids to say something along the lines of "I'm outta' here" are coming up in DS' training, but the training is much more effective (using role-playing) in really making the advice real and usable.

Anyway, OP, I'm sorry your DS is going through this.

When we had a similar situation, I emailed the parents of the kids involved saying something along the lines of, "We heard this from DS. We're trying to help him deal with these sorts of situation, and we really want to know if you'd help us gain some perspective on what actually happened so we can best help him. DS says, XYZ. Would you mind talking to your DS and see what he says and let us know? Thanks."

Of course, we are part of a relatively small community school and the kids had, in the past, been friends (hence me having the parents' email addresses). So I felt relatively comfortable sending such a message and got a super positive and productive response. But, of course, I did know the parents, although was only really friends with one of the moms.

Anyway, I say go with your gut, OP.
post #8 of 32
I would probably have asked for a class change long before now. It is late in the year to do that now, but may still be worthwhile. I personally would not phone the parents, because they may be hostile toward you. I would take the issue to an administrator or counselor.
post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your replies. I have decided not to contact the parents. And it really is too late in the year to change classes.

We had our parent teacher conference and it was brought up again and she said she would move them but was very hostile towards us and it was not a good meeting at all. I'm going to post the story in another thread because I need some advice on that as well.

We ended the conference with ways that DS could deal with the bullying and we also made it clear that if the boy did not stop that he could yell loudly "Leave me alone!" and he would not get in trouble with the teacher.
post #10 of 32
I would not call the parents.I think though that you might be able to request a meeting with the parent and the principal and/or teacher if the situation is not resolved.Given your other issues I would recommend looking into another school,because the current one does not have the safety of your child as a priority.Seems like he is just $$$$ to them. It may be close to the end of the year,but for a child each of those days in a bullying situation IS a year long day.

I also give my son permission to do what he needs to in order to deal with difficult classmates.It is unfortunate that children are put into this situation.Even with skills in place the daily anticipation of *is he/she going to bother me* will affect them. Hopefully the child in question will grow tired of bothering your son,but that usually means he/she goes on to bother another child.
post #11 of 32
I would escalate it to the principal.

I am not sure the fact that it is late in the year is relevant to changing classes. If he is miserable, even a day more of it is no fun.

I would ask the school if they would do a class chnage if Ds wants a class change. If they are agreeable, I would ask DS if he wants a class change.

I would not call the parents. You believe your son, and they will believe their's on what happens. It is hardly likely the boy is going to own up to his parents...."yeah, I bully xyz".

Sorry you are going through this

Kathy
post #12 of 32
OK, reading the other thread ( ), the principal is not on your side. I'd call the district office and ask for a copy of the district's bullying policy. I believe every district is required to have one (post Columbine policies). It's a district level policy, not school level. For all the other policies our district keeps online, this one was not. The person who answered the phone at the district was able to mail me a copy.

This is a place where that The Bully, The bullied.... book is helpful, since the last chapter outlines the school's role in such situations. It also gives you the words to use to establish very clearly that verbal bullying is still bullying. (something we've discovered teachers don't really see)

I agree with the poster on the other thread suggesting the immediate meeting with the principal and all teachers involved. Don't expect much from it, though. We just did one of those meetings (totally different circumstances -- purely academic, and something one would expect to be a positive meeting) and it was complete and total party line. However, once you get the party line, then you have all your i's dotted and t's crossed. Write up everything, document meetings and events, send it to the superintendent. With no action there, send a copy to the newspaper.

Simultaneously, though, I hate to say it, but it might be time to look into another school. While the child's personality that might tend to draw out bullying won't change, a better principal and environment can help make a safe environment.

ETA: our public library had 3 copies of the Coloroso book.
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by DariusMom View Post
DS (7) is now enrolled in a class to help kids develop more self-confidence and become "bully-proof". Some of the techniques described in the book, such as urging the bullied kids to say something along the lines of "I'm outta' here" are coming up in DS' training, but the training is much more effective (using role-playing) in really making the advice real and usable.
Can I ask where you found the class and what it is called? I would love to get DS (8) into something like this. He takes critcism so much to heart and has a really hard time standing up for himself.
post #14 of 32
I saw the other thread as well. I would say considering the general culture of the school, that the teasing from this kid is not the biggest problem your DS faces.

I would just try to help him keep the teasing from getting under his skin for now and focus most of you energy on finding a new better situation. I suspect that yelling loudly "Leave me alone!" will delight his bully and get the teacher pretty annoyed even if she claims he won't get in trouble for it.
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
I saw the other thread as well. I would say considering the general culture of the school, that the teasing from this kid is not the biggest problem your DS faces.

I would just try to help him keep the teasing from getting under his skin for now and focus most of you energy on finding a new better situation. I suspect that yelling loudly "Leave me alone!" will delight his bully and get the teacher pretty annoyed even if she claims he won't get in trouble for it.
Agreed.

I posted earlier on this thread before reading the other one - and given the new information, I too would focus more energy on finding a better environment than on fixing this one.
post #16 of 32
If the only thing the teacher came up with is to have your ds yell at the bully, then there is no real effort to stop the behavior of the bully. The teacher is not taking responsibility or escalating the situation to her superiors. This means that your ds will continue to be a victim of the bully and it definitely isn't an environment that is conducive to learning.

I agree with the last two posters - What are your options for another school?
post #17 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post
It also gives you the words to use to establish very clearly that verbal bullying is still bullying. (something we've discovered teachers don't really see)
That is so true! At the conference, the teacher told me that she sits all the kids down and tells them that if they are being hurt, it is ok to tattle. Otherwise, they should try to handle things themsleves. Well, a child is going to think of hurt as physical, not emotional. Hence the reason why DS feels like he can't say anything because then it is tattling. And he had gotten in trouble early in the year for too much tattling so now he doesn't always feel comfortable telling teachers anything.

As someone that was verbally and emotionally abused by my ex, I was pretty irate when she told me that. I asked her if she told the kids that mean words were a form of bullying too. She never answered. I then went off for a few minutes that she needs to teach the kids that emotional and verbal bullying is just as bad, if not worse, than the physical bullying. She listened but I'm not sure she will do anything about it. But my son heard me loud and clear.

A lot of you have asked about other schools. It just really isn't an option for me. I don't have extra money to pay for a private school and the charter school in the area already had its lottery. I am thinking about calling and begging to see if they would take my son. I doubt they will though because there are 15 other kids on the wait list and that wouldn't really be fair.
post #18 of 32
While it is late in the year to change classes, you can request that they're in different classes next year. I would put the request in writing, too. (I write a letter requesting my kids teachers most years... it always seems there's one to avoid, or, one that is extra special...).

I would also politely and persistently INSIST that their seats are moved. Now. Not next week.

Also, I found this article "teaseproof your kids" interesting: http://www.loveandlogic.com/pages/teaseproof.html

Good luck!

ETA: Oh, I forgot to add... I definitely would not call the parents. You don't know what type of people they are... they may actually make things much worse. If there's any way you could meet them at the school and gauge their personality first, they might seem responsive, then maybe, but, too big a risk without knowing. Or, only as a last resort. JMO.
post #19 of 32
Quote:
A lot of you have asked about other schools. It just really isn't an option for me. I don't have extra money to pay for a private school and the charter school in the area already had its lottery.
What about other public schools?
post #20 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
What about other public schools?
That might be the answer! I didn't even think about it!! There is a smaller, public school that is on the other side of town but still considered in our area. I could give them a call and see if he could go there if we were willing to drive him to and from.

I'm going to call on Monday!

Thanks so much!!
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