Cross-posted in Learning at school
Whenever I read the threads about grade skipping/early entrance and people provide their own or their kids' or some other kids' experiences, I come away with the impression that boys struggle more with the effects of being younger and thus (presumably) being smaller, weaker and less mature than girls. That's all anecdotal, of course, but if one has a large enough sample of anecdotes, a trend may emerge, and I think it would be interesting to know whether strong gender differences in acceleration are a myth or whether there is a real concern that should be considered.
So, if you you know of any facts or statistics, numbers, research etc in that respect, have us know. For those who have studied A Nation Deceived reports or done the Iowa Acceleration Scale with their kids, what, if anything, do they have to say about that question? Are you are a reseacher, teacher, gifted coordinator, gifted association leader, mom of more than 10 accelerated kids etc. and thus happen to know the outcomes of a sizable sample, let us know too!
I am also interested in anecdotes about your or your own kids experiences, also the neighbour kids, the cousins or, if you are a teacher, your students etc, which you feel have a bearing on that question. If you can only remember accelerated kids with problems, please let us know whether you are sure that all the kids you knew who hadn't had any problems were not accelerated (because you're a teacher, or know all the birthdays from your kids' classes, or the school made it clear that they normally never accelerate) or whether there may be sample bias we should be aware of.
And finally, if you know any facts backed up by research, or opinions borne out by your experience (please specify which), let us know, too!
For instance: I live in a country which traditionally has two cutoffs: one regular summer or fall cutoff, after which attendance is mandatory and children may only be held back after an evaluation and a Dec 31 cutoff for children whose parents can request early entrance at the discretion of the principal. (Children born after Dec. 31 may still be entered early, but again need an evaluation.)
There are statistics which show that early entrance is requested and granted disproportionately for girls (numbers are fairly large, eg with a June cutoff, about half of all July-born girls are entered early), and holding back requested and granted disproportionately for boys, which skews the age ranges by gender, but statistically, girls still do better altogether academically and behaviorally (though the differences are small and boys still do somewhat better in math). Which would mean there is statistical proof that girls can compensate for being younger more easily.
Anecdotally, I was, as a grade skipped girl with a regular June cutoff and a January birthday, up to two years younger than my classmates and did well academically and, um, at least better than in my regular class socially, which does not say much, but was very worried about my oldest boy being entered early in a class with a September cutoff and an October birthday, and don't hink I would have considered iif he had been April born, which would be the equivalent age difference. Am I being borne out by facts and experiences or prey to a myth?
Ohhh, good question.
I think there's some scant research with narrower scope, like math accelerations. I don't recall the results, but I do recall thinking that the studies didn't apply to my kids.
I was grade skipped (2->4). I was old for grade (Nov birthday with Oct cutoff), and school went from ridiculously too easy to too easy. The next year I was given another acceleration in math. I struggled with writing and spelling until high school when I had one fantastic teacher (I'd still got B+ or better, but it was a struggle). Based on that experience, I suspect I would have struggled had I stayed in grade until I had a teacher really teach me what the expectations were. I did start to struggle socially, though I still suspect that it was a set of special circumstances. Pre skip, my friends all had older siblings in the next grade up, so when I skipped, they made it known that no one was to socialize with their baby sisters' friend. Better support from the school would have likely helped. I took a year off between high school and college and spent the year as a senior in high school in Turkey living with a Turkish family. That experience was one of the key events in my educational history that led to the most growth for me. I'm not sure I would have thought I had the time to do this with my life had I been a year older.
We have declined a request from DD's middle school for a grade skip. She struggles socially though last year was better. She's the 5th youngest kid in her class of 200 students. She's on an IEP for a diagnosis of dyslexia and dysgraphia, and she'll be in a gifted language arts class next year that other parents describe as writing boot camp. Given my history, I'm hopeful that this will go a long way to resolve the writing issues. So we'll keep the radical accelerations in math and science and see how things go next year. She still may skip 7th, but I'm thinking I'd like to make things work in this grade. There are 4 PG kids in her grade, and I'm working with the school to advocate that these kids be placed together for the general ed classes.
DS is old for grade (Nov birthday, Sept 30 cutoff), and he skipped 1st grade. Socially he was clearly more immature than the others, but he started to integrate himself towards the end of the year. I suspect next year will be better. We've done cub scouts, which seems to attract a bunch of kind misfits, and so that's helped a lot. For next year (3rd grade), he'll be in gifted 5th grade math (offered to 4th graders), with a promise they'll reevaluate for further accelerations mid-year. I'm hoping that being with the gifted cohort, he'll be appropriately stimulated and we can put off further math acceleration for another year or two. I'm not thrilled about the idea of sending a newly-8 year old to the middle school. Writing has been a huge struggle for him (see a theme here?), and this year was so hard for him it did make us question the skip at times. Things were both helped (academically) and hindered (socially) by him being the only person who qualified for gifted services in 2nd grade. He had 80 minutes a week of services that worked on his weaknesses with a gifted specialist, but further highlighted to his peers just how different he was. At the same time, suspicions of some sort of processing disability have been highlighted by this situation. We're awaiting the report, but it looks like some sort of oral apraxia (which I suspected), a handwriting disability (huge surprise), and we got a call from the university speech center for an auditory processing disorder test.
So the upshot? It's been bumpy for all of us. I'm not sure how much the skips played into the issues we've had. Socially, we come from socially awkward stock. DH and I both felt like social misfits until we went to a college full of social misfits, at which point the social scene suddenly made sense. It was certainly a situation of finding our tribe. DD is doing better this year as she's finding her way to the HG and PG kids. Academically, she's bored and she acts inappropriately at times when a class doesn't go to a depth that she needs. The science acceleration did not fix this problem.
I know of 4 grade skipped kids in my son's school. One is a girl in his grade, one is a girl who was radically accelerated a grade behind him, the last is a boy two grades behind him. I know both the girl's families well, but the other boy I don't really know. So we have two boys and two girls that I know of. They each skipped in a different way. My son skipped 1st, his classmate skipped K, the other girl skipped straight to 2nd from preschool, and the last boy did a mid year skip from K-1st.
I live in a town where red-shirting boys is the norm. I had so many people absolutely incredulous that we were sending our son with an April birthday on time. The cut-off is Sept. 1. I don't know of a single other boy his age who went on time, every single other one was held back a year. So when we did the skip it put him 2 years, not just one behind his peers in age. In contrast the other girl in his grade has an October birthday and had just missed the Sept. 1 cut-off. She's really only a few months younger than her youngest classmate (other than DS). Unsurprisingly the other student who had a harder time with the skip was the radically accelerated student. Of course the bigger differences in age there is the harder it is.
We noticed a tendency of school personnel to simply blame problems that may occur on the skip instead of working to solve the problems, resulting in the same problems simply getting passed onto the next teacher and the next. I also found my son getting compared to the girl in his grade in second (the 1st year post-skip). I had to point out to the teacher that this type of comparison was not helpful, and that his classmate was a full year post skip while he had just skipped. Both grade skipped kids in his class get along really well and are good friends. Actually, my son gets along really well with both grade skipped kids he knows. They love knowing they aren't the only ones on this crazy adventure.
He has struggled a bit with the skip due to really only being on grade level in writing ability. Since he went to a gifted school being on grade level for writing really held him back. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to afford the tutoring in writing I think he needs, so I have moved him back to the general ed. track for this upcoming year when he moves to middle school. I think a lot of the poor fit issues we discovered were due to his placement in the gifted school, not due to the skip. The program he was in was not a good fit for him. It was much more of a high achiever type program than a gifted program. DS struggles with focus and organization. However, I think these issues are more ones of personality than maturity or ability. However, middle school brings new challenges in focus and organization so I'm okay with his course work being of minimal challenge the next couple of years while he works on some other skills. He is still accelerated in Science. If needed we'll re-advocate for him to be moved back to advanced classes.
I think you bring up some good questions. I noticed when we did stumble post skip that there is a bit of a gap in the research about helping kids cope with a skip. I found lots of information about weather a skip is a good idea or not. I found resources talking about how to decide if a skip is the right choice. But there wasn't anywhere near as much about how to help a child integrate after a skip. It was like no one wanted to admit that there might be issues even in a "good skip". Even when the skip was the right choice that doesn't mean that there aren't bumps or even big hurdles to overcome. I'm actually thinking about getting my doctorate in education so that I can research some of these issues myself. I'd like to look at what are some of the common problems that kids have post skip and what are the most effective interventions to deal with those issues as they arise.
Purely anecdotal -
I have 3 sisters and 1 brother. Two have early birthdays, the others have late birthdays. We all grade accelerated at least once, some twice. Now this was 30 to 40 years ago when grade skipping was the go-to accommodation for advanced/gifted students. The "routine" skip happened from the 4th to 6th grade, along with about a half-dozen other students. One sibling also skipped kindergarten, another compacted her high school years and graduated a year early. DH, who grew up in the same school system but in a different district, had a similar "routine" skip in the primary grades but it was at a slightly younger age.
We all experienced a fairly rough time with social issues in high school. I'd say DH had the best experience overall into integrating post-skip but he is fairly tall, well-built, athletic and extroverted. He also had a strong network of friends in Scouts, where he was active well into almost adulthood eg. He learned to drive while en route across country to an international jamboree. His social life wasn't confined to his school life.
I have a couple of sisters who really struggled. Both have early birthdays. They did not quite a crash and burn, but they had a tough few years finding their footing. One sister participated in a fair amount of risky behaviour including drug use, smoking cigarettes and sex during her high school years, possibly in an effort to "keep up" and "fit in".
Thinking back on the group of kids that skipped along with me, the boys had a rough time in high school as "geeks" and "nerds" at a time when it was definitely not cool. They were bullied a fair amount. I know some did fairly well eventually. I can't say anything about their inner lives, since I haven't kept in touch. I know one guy is a successful lawyer and elected politician.
From personal experience, I can't find a gender difference in outcomes or struggling post-skip. It's been an issue for both girls and boys.
There aren't many studies on acceleration period let alone studies on girls vs. boys and acceleration. Nation Deceived is about it and I admit to not being a fan of the Templeton Foundation itself.
For us, we rejected a skip for our DS despite the success our DD was having. DS was already starting kindergarten close to the cut-off which was Dec. 1st at that time. So, he started K at 4y10m without any acceleration. Our district is red-shirt heavy..... put it this way, DS had 2 classmates turn 7 while still in kindergarten. We moved him to an accelerated immersion school for 1st grade and he became not only younger than the boys by a lot but younger than the girls too. Things were great until 3rd grade when he was turning 8 and his classmates turning 10. Suddenly, he went from being universally well-liked to the the loser who was a foot shorter, couldn't run as fast and hadn't mastered the ability to hide his sensitivities as well as the older boys. The girls were over-protective of him which did NOT help his case. The boys who had been his buddies turned on him to save their own skin. It's really sad to say but things only started to improve earlier this year when DS 12 grew a good 5 inches, lost it and punched out a bully during his daily P.E. humiliation period. DS feels like a monster about it. He still cries over this action 6 months later but there is no denying that it stopped the torture where 5 years of working with the staff did not. Academically? Yes, he's benefited from being the youngest. He's still top of the class even in his subject accelerated classes. With teachers? Yes, he's a favorite. They love him. With peers? Outside of school, DS is a popular kid! In all his activities, he's the leader. He's the guy you want to be friends with. His 4 best friends (that people have been calling the musketeers since they were 8) range from 12 to 14 years old. No issues. At school... big old "L" on his forehead and I can't help but notice it started when the other boys approached puberty and DS was still years behind.
Is that anecdote valid? I'm not sure. I mean, he wasn't grade skipped but it's the experience of a smart boy being the youngest in his program. I already feel like the adolescent boy has to squeeze into a much narrower range of acceptance than girls do and being the youngest made that more of a challenge for my own DS. Girls had more outlets. DD could do dance P.E. or choir without harassment just as easily as she could be in advanced P.E. In fact, she was "cool" for being a great singer and a cross-country runner. She was allowed to be friends with her teachers while DS gets needled when a teacher says anything familiar to him. It's ironic that the options that make HIM feel more accepted are the very things that also make him a target to bullies.
Please don't assume I don't think acceleration is not a valid option for males. That's not the case. Like I said, I feel that girls have a wider range of acceptable growing up than boys do (though I sort of think that swaps as adults) and that wider range could make acceleration a more comfortable option for females in general.... at least it did for my daughter.
Holy smokes, no kidding.
I just did a Scopus search. "Acceleration AND gifted" finds 50 some papers in the last 4 decades. Just 7 papers mention "gender" as well.
Two that sort of address the question are below. Curiously, they are both from early 2013. Maybe we can hope for more research to come in the next few years?
Assouline et al., Gifted Child Quarterly, 57(2), 135-147, 2013:
Based a survey of students who took the EXPLORE test in grades 4-6, there is a moderate, but measurable difference by gender of who has subject accelerations or other sorts of gifted services by subject: Boys are more likely than girls to have differential education in math and science, and girls are more likely than boys to have language arts. However, when she breaks differentiation out according to how the kids actually performed on the EXPLORE, she drops tracking by gender.
Culross, Jolly, and Winkler, "Facilitating Grade Acceleration: Revisiting the Wisdom of John Feldhusen", Roeper Review, 35(1), 36-46, 2013.
Here at podunk U, our library seems to have dropped their subscription to this journal. The abstract is modestly encouraging:
"This article revisits the 1986 Feldhusen, Proctor, and Black recommendations on grade skipping. These recommendations originally appeared as 12 guidelines. In this article, the guidelines are grouped into three general categories: how to screen accelerant candidates, how to engage with the adults in the acceleration process (e.g., teachers, parents), and how to support the accelerated students. The authors then reviews the literature since the publication of Feldhusen et al.'s original article. This body of research includes grade skipping, early entrance to college, and early entrance to school and supports the three general categories. However, some findings provide nuanced changes to the guidelines. The past 25 years of research also presents some additional considerations about acceleration not considered by Feldhusen et al. These topics include gender issues, resistance to acceleration, and methodological concerns."
The 1986 Feldhusen paper seemed to outline the Iowa Acceleration Scale, and contains little beyond the conventional wisdom that we know here.
Tangential thoughts ... I haven't done much reading in the educational research realm but when I have I'm amazed by how few good studies there are in any realm. Almost every kid goes to school, billions of dollars are spent on education every year, and we're measuring the heck out of our children's "achievement," and yet there seems to be precious little decent research on any of it. I once spent ages search the internet for any evidence on the benefits of assigned weekly spelling lists on later spelling ability and could find nothing. Here is a practice that millions upon millions of children are subjected to week after week, year after year, generation after generation, and no one has ever looked into whether it's effective?
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
I would respectfully submit to you that nothing in education is ever particularly about it being effective in the way common sense might tell you it should be effective.
It's more about turning out a few elite people who are going to be capable of running things with a great deal of in-depth thought, some elite below them to be smart but not think too much and a whole lot of masses who hopefully do what they are told without much disturbance. Hence the deliberate dumbing down of most education. Children aren't taught to think or use reasoning skills or question anything in any sort of mainstream education. Children are to be put in categorised boxes and this is where they should stay. You are smart, you are average, you are special ed. Regardless of which box, they are taught to memorize useless information and regurgitate it on demand for standard tests, which they then promptly forget. The standard tests are then the measurement of "effectiveness". Here the word effectiveness actually translates to funding. School districts receive different funding based on test scores and whether the naughty teachers are on probation or not for their students not memorizing and regurgitating as well as other schools.
Aren't you in Canada? I'm in BC. In our country school districts across each province receive identical per-student funding, regardless of performance. The exception is that sometimes special programs provide additional funding to schools with additional challenges (eg. extreme rurality, majority of students ESL or FSL).
I'm a dyed-in-the-wool unschooler. I would agree with you that the historical roots of institutional schooling have aims similar to what you outlined. But the in-the-trenches teachers of today, and the educators who train those teachers, the vast majority of them, are driven by much higher ideals -- to optimally serve individual students, to bring forth potential, nurture creativity, to reach the students who struggle for whatever reason, to ready students for life-long learning, etc. etc.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
I'm at Canada now, but more familiar with the U.S. and Swiss school systems.
In the U.S., funding has everything to do with standard test scores.
Your opinion of all teachers and educators of teachers is interesting. I'm sure teachers do start out with the best of intentions.
I apologise to the OP for this going so far off the rails. Here is my personal anecdote: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1384452/grade-skipping/20#post_17402839
[Writing with one eyebrow raised]
So you are judging something when you aren't familiar with it. I think you've said that you do not have children attending school yet, which suggests you have little current experience with "mainstream education". There's a certain irony to that Malcolm X quote in your signature, then. Perhaps it would be appropriate to expand it a little - "Don't be in a hurry to condemn because there's a time when you still don't know much about a subject".
For every mention of "dumbing down education", there's probably twice as many comments in the Learn at School forum complaining about advanced academics now being pushed down into kindergarten and primary school. My experience with my kids' schools (in different cities and countries) is that the there is quite a bit of reasoning and critical analysis and creativity in the classrooms. Just one example - my kids were introduced to critical media studies (analyzing t.v. commercials and print ads and cartoons for bias and truth) in kindergarten and it was part of the curriculum every year. Again, I hear a lot of commentary about the constant questioning of authority and the status quo by the younger generation which doesn't fit well with an image of unthinking, unquestioning robots being churned out of the public school system.
FTR, I also dislike standardized testing and teaching-to-the-test. There are challenges in our schools today, no doubt, as well as some very good pedagogical practices. This isn't really the thread for that discussion. OP, I too offer an apology for following this rabbit trail, but I do get tired (so very, very tired) when I read this kind of commentary. Mostly I ignore, but every once in a while, I'm compelled to respond.
I am at a loss where I ever made a comment that specified Canadian schools.
In the post that you only partially quoted, I specified I was referring to U.S. schools funding.
It is interesting to see it turned into a personal attack against me, though. LOL
I read somewhere that girls are 1.3 times more likely to be skipped than boys. But I haven't found research that states how boys do, in comparison to girls, if they are skipped.
I have 3 girls (so don't know if this will be helpful to you). My oldest, while she has some definite gifts, they are not as measurable in an academic scale. She also has some disabilities (ADHD, Dyscalculia, some working memory issues), so is on an IEP. She has a March birthday, and is doing quite well in her grade level and is about in the middle age wise. DD2, does not have these disabilities, has a December birthday and skipped 1st grade. This was the first whole grade acceleration that my school district had done in over 20 years. They simply do.not.do.it. And they did it under great protest. 2nd and 3rd grade went very smoothly. Academically, and socially. 4th was a little bumpy socially. On the one hand, she has a couple of good friends that she has made. On the other hand, this is an age of pretty significant queen bee mentality. Part of the problem, I think is that the bandaid of the grade skip is wearing thin. Academically, the divide between her and her classmates seems to be getting wider, not coming together. I think the other girls sense this. Emily is very outspoken and is not going to be inclined to change who she is to fit in with a particular group of kids. Her having a few strong friends helps this. She did not have a fabulous teacher, this year, either, and I'm sure that made a difference. We are trying to muddle through the rest of elementary school, with the hopes that we can approach some subject acceleration in junior high, or at least some more meaningful differentiation. DD3, while not identified as gifted yet, is showing all the signs. I would say, that she is probably as academically advanced as her sister was at her age, and more so in some areas. She is not, however, as emotionally mature. She had a wonderful K teacher who really was capable of seeing that Abby was academically challenged, while still gently guiding her to the behavioral standards that are expected in school (she's not great at sitting still or waiting her turn to talk). 1st grade was much the same. She also has some very good friends in school that would be greatly disrupted with a grade skip. Academically, it would probably be a good idea. Socially, this is a very different child than my middle. While things are working, we are choosing not to do anything about it.
Personally, I was an October birthday, and my mom pushed to have me start school even though I missed the September 1 deadline. I don't know if she had to jump through any hoops to get this to happen or not. I did well being the youngest in the class. I can't imagine having been held back another year to start.
Not perfect, Just amazing!
I was playing around with database searches and thesis dissertation searches on acceleration. Found this dissertation on this topic - http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.usd.edu/pqdtft/docview/304462482/13F4D96B85A555E6E1D/11?accountid=14750
Haven't read it yet.
Sorry. Thought I'd added the full citation.
Grossman, L. R. (2008). The intersection of gender equity and gifted elementary education: Does numerical parity tell the whole story? (Order No. 3324960, University of Southern California). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 171-n/a. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304462482?accountid=14750. (prod.academic_MSTAR_304462482).
Tangential thoughts ... I haven't done much reading in the educational research realm but when I have I'm amazed by how few good studies there are in any realm. Almost every kid goes to school, billions of dollars are spent on education every year, and we're measuring the heck out of our children's "achievement," and yet there seems to be precious little decent research on any of it.
Amen, amen, amen!
Maybe it is the problem that everyone went to school, so everyone and their dog feels they can have an opinion about it.
That said, I actually went to the expense of downloading and the trouble of reading John Hattie's Visible Learning (not just for this discussion, I was interested for various reasons) and he refers one meta-analysis: Kent, S.D. (1992). The effects of acceleration on the social and emotional devellopment of gifted elementary students: A meta-analysis. Unpublished Ed.D., University of Georgia, GA. Unpublished, hmm...if anyone happens to have access, let us know!
I'll quote Hattie (it's not much): ..."In a meta-analysis directed at this question of the social, effects, Kent found an average of only d=0.13, in favor of gifted students in acelerated programs - if anything there were positive social effects of acceleration and negative effects if not accelerated. There were few differences between methods of acceleration (telescoping was the highest efect, d=0.15, or by sex (boys d=0.21, girls d= 0.15). Instead we may need to question the negative social impact on gifted students if they are not accelerated!"
The problem is, of course, something Linda pointed out in another thread: it is a huge difference whether acceleration means "accelerated curriculum as part of a gifted program, in which kids are grouped with gifted age-mates" or "grade-skipping".
Hattie appears to differentiate between the two, citing an effect of d=0.49 for ability grouping vs. d=0.88 for acceleration (Kulik and Kulik, 1984a, 1984b, if anyone wants the full citation let me know) but he really muddles it all together again by referring, under the heading "ability grouping" to "special, homogenous classes with challenging curricula" (which presumably means an accelerated curriculum as compared to regular classes) and, under the heading "acceleration", to "many options, such as curriculum compacting and telescoping, and advanced placement", which appear to require grouping.
I assume that that confusion is also at the bottom of so many educators insisting that is has been shown that tracking and ability grouping only husrts the struggling and does not help the high-ability students: if you teach everyone to the same low-to-medium standard, it doesn't matter who is in which classroom - the weak students will keep struggling (only with lower motivation) and the high-ability students will do well. Only if the high-ability students are actually taught the accelerated curriculum they are capable of will they show accelerated achievement.
Yes, we need more research on all of this.
Sorry, just realized that I never got around to explaining what Hattie meands by the variable d, which makes this a completely useless post. "An effect size of d=1.0 indicates an increase of one standard deviation on the outcome - in this case the outcome is imporving school achievment. A one standard deviation increase is typically associated with advancing children's achievement by two or three years, improving the learning rate by 50% or a corellation between some variable (eg amount of homework) and schievement of r=0.50. When implementing a new porgram, an effect site of 1.0 would mean that, on average, students receving that treatment would exceed 84% of students not receving that treatment."
He also says that virtually everything works, ie d= almost always above 0.00 - "one only needs a pulse and we can improve achievement."
"The typical effects from tteachers are between d=15 and d= 0.40."
"The zone between d=0.0 and d=0.15 is what students could probably achieve if there was no schooling."
Maybe that's another reason why the research appears to be so worthless...
This is such an excellent point. I think some gifted kids are going to have social issues no matter where they are because they are quirky or overly emotional. These are common gifted traits, and they both make getting along with others a bit tricky, regardless of how old the child is compared to how old the other children are.
In the grade accelerated child I know who had the bumpiest time with social adjustment had a strict and I felt overly controlling mother. The mom insisted on rules for her in line with her chronological age rather than her peers' age, and this just exacerbated the problem. None the less, it is quite impossible to say how the child would have done without acceleration. She would have been less engaged with her school work, and may have still had the mom drama that naturally led down a path of rebellion that we ALL want to spare our kids from.
but everything has pros and cons
ETA - my school highly recommended the acceleration. It was my parents who refused on the grounds that I was not emotionally mature enough - I think because I was highly sensitive.
It's really sad to say but things only started to improve earlier this year when DS 12 grew a good 5 inches, lost it and punched out a bully during his daily P.E. humiliation period. DS feels like a monster about it. He still cries over this action 6 months later but there is no denying that it stopped the torture where 5 years of working with the staff did not.
Wow, what an incredible story. Like a bad movie plot. Your poor DS. Doesn't it make you wish you were the kind of parent that just booms (or shrieks, as the case may be) "Well done, son!" as you clap him on the shoulder, and he going "aww, shucks, mom!"
Haha, yes. It does. That was pretty much every adults response. I found it pretty interesting how once I shared this story with friends and family, pretty much every male we admire had a similar story about being bullied and finally having to lash out physically to make it stop. Both grandpas were beaming and they aren't the aggressive sorts in the least. The Principal had me keep him home for appearances but didn't write DS up.... told DS he'd have done the same at his age. The PE teacher was pretty much patting him on the back. School staff is SOOOO tied down these days. They know what is happening. They give all the lectures. They hire all the assemblies. Teach all the anti-bully curriculum. They try to be vigilant but they also know when their back is turned for a second, this crap happens and without hard evidence, they can't do squat. Even WITH hard evidence, they are limited as to what they can do. It generally ends with the victim being asked to forgive and show compassion which I get but man, So frustrating as a parent.