My son is 4.5 years old and this is his second year of preschool. Last year there was one boy in his class about the same age who continually threw sand in other kids' faces, pushed kids, yelled at them, and was really just a bully. Let's call him "Mitt." Note that I observed this behavior when Mitt first started preschool when he was three years old. I know the preschool teacher spoke with Mitt's parent because at one point when I was picking up my son, the parent asked the teacher if her son had "punched out another kid today," and laughed about it. She was trying to joke and make light of the situation, which I totally understand.
I work occasionally in my son's preschool class. And I've given special attention to this boy. When Mitt gets one-on-one attention from an adult, he's great. When he doesn't get that one-on-one attention, he's not well behaved at all and in my opinion endangers other kids.
More recently, about one week ago, my son was trying to push a car around Mitt, and Mitt didn't want to let him. I'm not sure what happened but the end result was Mitt "screaming" at my son about three inches from his face. My son cried and finally a teacher went over to see what happened. Despite Mitt being in preschool for two years, he still throws sand, he goes out of his way to push other kids, etc. The teachers do not ignore this behavior. They pull the child aside and sit with him for a few minutes to let him calm down, or they show him how he's hurt another child and they ask him to apologize. In my opinion, redirection and passive correction is not working... obviously.
Last year my son would come home and tell me stories about how Mitt was mean to him or to someone else in preschool. This happens almost every time he's at preschool. I was able to handle one child like that. Well, now we are in a new year and there's another child at school that "is mean" according to my son. I didn't realize how mean until I was in class one day as working parent and my son and this other boy (let's call him "Gary") were across the playground. My son loves to climb rocks, and there's a spot in the corner where there are a couple rocks the kids can jump on. They are about 2 ft high. My son was on one and Gary pushed him off, so hard that my son hit the fence behind him. My son cried. The thing is, these kids are 4-ish years old (this is a Pre-K class) and when Gary saw that my son was crying, he laughed. He kept laughing until the teacher got a little firmer than usual and told him to look at Cole and tell her how Cole was feeling. It wasn't until a few days later when I saw my son's back for the first time and realized that he had bruises and scratches down his spine from that incident.
Needless to say, that kind of set me over the edge. I know boys get rowdy, but to purposely hurt another preschool-mate is beyond my comprehension.
I would like to ask folks if this is normal behavior for four year olds. And to ask your advice as to my next step.
Edited by california_mom - 10/7/12 at 8:12pm