I'm not diminishing anything. I was tortured as a child - name calling, physical abuse. All of it. However, the best thing my parents did for me was give me the tools I needed to deal with these people. The child needs to learn how to handle himself when his parents aren't there to protect him. Okay - the rhyme is definitely outdated but she can make up her own one. It doesn't mean you won't be hurt by the name calling. It doesn't mean it's acceptable. However by giving him the tools he needs to handle it himself - you are doing him a service. No, the child should NOT be allowed to call names incessantly - however her son needs to know that to protect himself, he may have to bend or even break a rule (getting up on the bus).
Extreme example - I heard a story on PBS given by a retired homicide detective who counsels parents on how to protect their children....
You spend an arm and leg on a book bag and books. You tell your kids - those books and that bag are part of you - you are not to leave them at school, you are not to leave them at Jenny's house or at the playground or on the bus. You will NOT LOSE THOSE BOOKS! Imagine the pain the father felt when he was sitting with his daughter, after she had been beaten and raped, in the emergency room and she tells him, "I could have gotten away from that bad man but my books were too heavy". Tell your kids to drop everything and run. Tell them if they are being pulled into a car, slip out of their jacket or shirt (even girls) and run in the opposite direction screaming fire.
Tell your son to do what he needs to do to keep himself safe from bullies. If that means getting up on a moving bus and walking up to the aid or driver, then do it - you'll support him through the consequences.
My sister was an overweight child. On her first day of a new school, a kid called her fat. She came home crying. The next day, the girl called her fat again but this time she was ready.... "I may be fat but your ugly and I can diet". They are still best friends today.
No. Particularly to the bolded - just no. Children need to be protected from bullying - not taught how to handle it.
Special needs or not, if the child who is doing the tormenting cannot stop, he should be kept away from her son.
I do think kids need to learn how to say no, stick up for themselves, etc…but they need protecting while they learn these skills, and it may take years to acquire the skills. Quite frankly, if an adult calls me names or is inappropriate with me (rarely happens) I will stand my ground but I will also make sure I do not spend much time around that person.
Oh and names hurt me far more in my childhood than any stick or stone. I don't think we should diminish the pain names cause.