We're having a helluva time trying to navigate a private kindergarten where our son is only 1 of 2 boys in a class of three girls. I know how weird wording it that way sounds, but bear with me...
Two of the girls are kids with no siblings and they are pretty much the spirited equal to my son... adorable, high love capacity but equally as high a capacity for raising cain. I'm pretty a very strict guy, conduct rules are rules and there are immediate consequences for crossing healthy boundaries (little or no tolerance for disrespectful behavior towards others, etc.) When I get wind of my son crossing boundaries at school, I gather more info and my son gets an earful from me plus whatever appropriate consequences occur. Unfortunately, I tend to default to believing other peoples' "testimony" rather than my son as he does have a tendency to confabulate (usually to avoid my strict discipline... go figure).
A few weeks ago at school, we got a note from his teachers outlining that he and the two girls (who both allegedly have "crushes" on him... that whole idea drives me psycho... their five
not twenty!) had been consistently violating conduct rules at school, disrespecting teachers and school property. (He'd been having some trouble disrespecting his mama too and those two girls and my son make a volatile trio and I was already uneasy about how well this might go).
Needless to say, I went ballistic and hollered at him (not very proud of this, of course) for four hours and sent him to his room until morning (another overkill moment to be sure), imposed a probationary system for either improvement or withdrawal from school (mama had to negotiate with me on this one because I wanted to simply pull him from school; the unenlightened, thermonuclear approach...). However, my excesses aside, we were getting daily reports from the teachers and they were not surprised to see a marked turnaround so immediately from him (I was just relieved). So for two weeks I thought, good, we're improving, he'll stay in school, etc.
Then, last Wednesday one of the two girls' mom comes into class to drop off her daughter and, in front of her daughter and my son, proceeds to launch into a personalized attack of me and my son, and making an unbelievable number of wild unsubstantiated accusations (based on the pure uncorroborated hearsay of her daughter and her friend). When his teacher attempted to defend my son's behavior, which had improved dramatically in her opinion (unlike the mom's daughter--that didn't go over very well either), countering the mom's contention that I was a negligent parent and my son an "evil menace," that she was "doing all the work in this situation" and I was "doing nothing," and it was all my son's fault her daughter was in trouble, etc. etc., she turned on the teacher and began haranguing her for her alleged negligence, etc. I was so stunned by the venom and inappropriateness of the situation (being right in front of her kid and mine, making direct accusations right at my son...meanwhile her daughter is smirking and laughing at my son's downcast expression and hung-head). I didn't know what to do... I was really caught off guard; one minute I'm talking hamster food for the class pet and the next me and my kid are the targets of some really attrocious and baseless accusations in a really psychotic situation.
After a minute or two the teacher had begun to move her off to the side of the room at least and I took my son to wash his hands (he'd been engrossed in thickening up some homemade playdough, uncertain what to do either). The woman continued going off on the teacher for another ten minutes. When I returned to the room I knew there was no point in trying to make my own case or counter her accusations because it was clear she'd made up her mind and no fact would change her mind. Initially I thought, well, she's pissed, she just needs to vent. Later I got really upset at what she'd said and how she'd said it, she was sooo out of line! Apparently this woman has engaged in this behavior before at the school, I found out later. I'd had an encounter with her in the past (my son and her daughter were in the same preschool level together... longer story) but never did anything about any of them because I just figured she was a little "off."
So all this background... today I picked my son up from school and there's a big sheet of paper taped to the classroom door with a note to parents. It appeared to be a progress report putting a positive spin on how things were going in class. The bizarre thing was that half the note described an incident today involving my son and this girl (the daughter of the nutty mom). Apparently they were riding a bike together (he riding on the back step of the bike, she pedaling) and having fun. My son decided he wanted to hop onto his own bike and pedal alongside her on a separate bike. She took offense at this (the note said, "he hurt her feelings") and stopped riding. My son agreed with the story except the part that her hurt her feelings... he was pretty confused why she felt hurt and said she had told the teacher he hurt her feelings. Even though he didn't think he'd done anything wrong, he said he felt guilty, so he stopped riding too. The note made it sound like my son had done something wrong even though it cryptically included a vague indication that this girl was somehow "consoled."
My reason(s) for telling this tale is(are): I felt emotionally drained by all this behavioral micromanagement, I can't imagine a class of boys ever dealing with this level of intensity and twisted emotional manipulation and coercion. I feel like my kid is being framed as a bad kid when all he was doing was moving from one activity to the next, and that now he is being manipulated into thinking he has to deprive himself of joy because some other kid misunderstands his harmless and non-malicious change-of-play. When I initially asked him what the note was about, he got really upset, and said he was really getting confused at school. He feels hurt because he "can't do anything right anymore," he told me how he's been trying to play with the other two kids (who tend to be better behaved) but then the other two girls chase him and bait him into getting into trouble (pressure him to misbehave then quick turn and yell for the teacher, tattling on him). We've noticed this first-hand...
On Wednesday afternoon my wife happened to be at a school thanksgiving day event and witnessed this little girl trying to get him to play something he knew he shouldn't and when he refused and walked away from her, she turned and grabbed a younger girl and told her our son wanted to do something bad to her, which made her upset, etc. They ran to a teacher and it came back to my wife who immediately set the record straight as to who wanted whom to do what (that this girl had set my son up and lied about it). The teacher was embarassed and very upset that she too had been played and the lights went on... or so we thought.
Now it looks like our son is or has been getting framed routinely at school by these two girls (one of whom is going through a divorce and the other one is openly lying to her mother, who in turn insists her daughter is 100% honest and innocent despite evidence to the contrary on other occasions). Now he's being made to feel guilty on account of another kid's irrational feelings. This is insane!
Any of you dads ever experienced any of this? If so what'd you do, how'd you handle it? I'm dumbfounded and just want to pull him out of school. The redneck in me wants to chew the daylights outta the nutty mom, but the adult in me wants to just refuse to cave in to this crap and stay above it. But it's happening to my son anyway no matter what I do and he's thinking of himself as the kind of person this psycho mom is making him out to be... which is sooo not true! I'm totally freaking out over this crap... and I have six final end-of-term papers and two final exams to finish over the next ten days on top of all this!
I feel like an utter failure as a Dad... can't protect my son from nutcases, can't discipline gently or kindly or whatever is supposed to be enlightened these days... he's suffering and it hurts and that makes me feel crazed and in pain too.