very violent child at our home-school co-op UPDATE - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 12:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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so there is a very violent child who attends our waldorf co-op school (we meet 3 mornings a week) . he has seriously hurt most of the children in his class. my daughter is in his class and her teacher is amazing. this child is going thru a very tough time (his parents are divorcing and getting remarried right away, and i do not think they are really involved with him emotionally) and the teacher is working with him to help him mature thru this without acting out. there has been a lot of success since the beginning of the year. however, when he does snap, he really hurts kids, out of the realm of normal. today my daughter (they are both 6) picked up a toy he had put aside and he freaked out and bit her cheek REALLY hard. this happened almost 10 hours ago and her face still looks really nasty (blue bruise, swelling, and broken skin from every tooth). this is his worst injury so far. whenever these issues have come up with this child and his violence, the teacher and the school's chair from the board have tried to talk to them about it. and they deeply deny him being any thing but a normal kid with normal behavior. just a little boy! is what they say. i mean deeply unwilling to look at this at all.

now the obvious thing is that we should get this family to leave our co-op and it is in the by-laws that a family can be voted out in this type of situation. however our co-op is so small that if we loose that one family we will not have enough money to pay our monthly rent and teacher (we have already increased all of our payments and are paying our teacher less than what we promised her) if we loose this family we loose our school.
and we LOVE our school.
and this little boy is making over all progress.

but i am feeling concerned for my daughter's safety.

this is not normal behavior for a 6 year old. he talks about getting the dolls naked before he kills them!

his mom is a acupuncturist and his dad is a yoga teacher, it is really concerning to me, as his behavior is so intense when he snaps and his parents seem like such gentle people.

anyway, we are having a discussion about this at our monthly meeting on sat and i wondered if i could get any feed back about how we can handle this situation.
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#2 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 01:15 AM
 
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Would it be possible to have one of his parents sit in with him to help manage his behavior? Or if his parents are unwilling, maybe a volunteer.

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#3 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 01:16 AM
 
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um WOW? I hope your daughter isn't too traumatized, and while I commend the coop teacher for trying to help the child cope in a very stressful situation for him, that is not the environment for it IMO. He is regularly, and seriously, injuring other people's children and it's a giant breech of the school/coops duty of care to the other childrens safety to allow him to continue coming.

It's a huge shame that his parents are so in denial... maybe someone should type up a list of the injuries he has inflicted on all the other children with an inclusive range of dates. Present that to his parents and ask if they would consider it normal if any other child had done all of that? They obviously need to get their son some professional help dealing with his anger.

Would it be possible that in the interim of finding another family to fill the empty spot, the other families could band together and spread the lost funding out over the group? Obviously that would depend on how much the fees are, but it may be a workable solution for the short term.

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#4 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 01:22 AM
 
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Has anyone, parent or teacher talked directly to his parents about it? It sounded like people had spoken to the school, but not the parents. That would be a good place to start. I like the idea above about someone staying with the boy.

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#5 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 01:59 AM
 
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Safety trumps money. The boy simply cannot ethically be allowed to continue at the co-op - he's endangering not just your child, but the children of all the other parents. To let him continue is insane (and a legal liability, which will shut down the co-op faster than missed rent).

He needs to be kept home until the family can be voted out (although voting doesn't seem necessary in this case - there is surely a provision for violent behavior?). Scour around for a replacement family and if you need to, talk to the landlords about your situation and see if you can either get a temporary reduction in rent or at the very least permission to pay late for a month or two. Place ads for additional families if you need to. Advertise. But whatever you do, don't let that child walk back through those doors. Take pictures of your daughter's face, because you may need them if the parents try to stay in the co-op, and also because it may help them see that their son truly has a problem.

I hope your daughter is OK.
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#6 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 02:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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yes his parents have been confronted, they are unwilling to call it anything but normal, we have a incident reports with each date, time, and details from all of his acts of violence.

and yes, thank you for reframing it that all of the children must be safe and school is responsible for that above all. i have considered having a parent attend with him, but they seem to be a trigger for his attacks in that i suspect he is acting out for attention and trying to get them to stop him. instead they litteraly laugh it off.

his mother was there today when my daughter was bitten and she was trying to make jokes.
arrrrrrrrrrggggggggggg.
my momma bear is totally on right now.
the other issue is that i am another teacher at the school, and so my daughter gets free tuition. somehow this ups my guilt issue for me to demand that this family leave the co-op when they pay and i do not. ykwim?
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#7 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 02:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks soulcakes, my husband did take pictures. he is really pissed.
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#8 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 03:33 AM
 
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No tuition for your dd is really simply part of your payment package- which is fine and normal. It's standard practice for children of teachers to have free/reduced tuition- even at the state college I attended! So no worries about that please!

Your dd and the other children need to be safe. End of story!

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#9 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 04:41 AM
 
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his mother was there today when my daughter was bitten and she was trying to make jokes.
arrrrrrrrrrggggggggggg.
my momma bear is totally on right now.
the other issue is that i am another teacher at the school, and so my daughter gets free tuition. somehow this ups my guilt issue for me to demand that this family leave the co-op when they pay and i do not. ykwim?
Seriously? your child has her childs teeth marks on her face, and she JOKES?? Momma bear of oz might have assaulted her so I'm glad it was not ME. You DO pay by virtue of your services rendered to the school, I'm fairly sure your services as a teacher are worth at least what the tuition for your child would be. You should not feel in the slightest guilty over demanding that they leave the group after a LONG string of violent attacks on the other children!

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#10 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 04:50 AM
 
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What a tough situation My heart goes out to this little boy who obviously is in need of more help than the co op can give him.
It's unfortunate that his parents don't see the severity of the situation.

It may be the best thing for him if you did vote them out of the co op. The parents would have to find another school and if there is a pattern with his behavior then at some point his parents will have to deal with it. (if he continues to be booted out from different schools)

You are in a tough situation, mama Good luck and keep us posted.

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#11 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 07:57 AM
 
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It's a frustrating situation, but please don't let your guilt over free tuition stand in the way of doing the right thing. Good luck.
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#12 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 01:26 PM
 
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That is unacceptable behavior on the part of this poor little boy's PARENTS!

Can your group start posting on local homeschool lists, Craigslist etc. looking for a replacement family? Who knows, you may even get a few more families that are interested in attending so that money isn't quite so tight for the school.

I'm so sorry that your daughter got so injured, and I hope that these parents step up to the plate and let go of their denial. However, it sounds like you, the other parents and the teacher need to begin the process of discharging this child from the co-op.

Good luck!
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#13 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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These violent outbursts are probably as unhealthy for the boy as they are for the victim.

If it were me, I would do everything I could to keep my child out of school until I felt reasonably confident she wouldn't be attacked while she was there.

Expelling the boy may be the best thing for him, as it may be what it takes to get his parents to take his behavior issues seriously.

Short of expelling him, I suppose his parents could be given the option of holding his place in the school (by continuing to pay tuition) while keeping him out and working through his issues in a way that doesn't endanger other children.

I was in a similar situation once, and the clarifying realization for me was that the status quo was dangerous, and if I chose to do nothing I would be responsible for the inevitable injury when it occurred. This little boy can't control himself-- the adults in his life need to protect him and the kids around him from these impulses.

Your situation is more complicated, but the basics are the same-- the grownups need to act to keep all the kids safe. It would stink to have to find a new preschool, but certainly no school, or a different school would be better than a dangerous school?
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#14 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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Your situation is more complicated, but the basics are the same-- the grownups need to act to keep all the kids safe. It would stink to have to find a new preschool, but certainly no school, or a different school would be better than a dangerous school?


If the parents are unwilling to address the situation, odds are that at some point a child is going to end up needing stitches, or a trip to the ER, or something of that nature.
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#15 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 03:23 PM
 
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As teachers aren't you in a position to know when a child needs to be evaluated? Can you tell the parents he needs to be evaluated by a child psychologist for anger issues? When he's be evaluated he can come back to school. That way he might get the help he needs.
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#16 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 03:55 PM
 
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im just going to 2nd or 3rd what everyone has been saying.

in fact you do "pay" for your daughters school but only as your services. So dont feel any guilt for not being a monetary tuition payer. Your school needs you, your a teacher.

wow, I couldnt imagine making jokes if my child had hurt another child seriously. I wouldnt flipped out all mama bear right then and there. Obviously (well to everyone else) there is something going on with this child. its sad because he's a child and dosent know how to express himself. my anger would be the parents who are in some serious denial about stuff that or they really have rose colored glasses on.

Just because its normal toddler behavior (Im assuming they mean biting part) dosent mean it isnt grounds for being removed. Ds had a "biter" in his class and even though yes it is "normal" behavior the school had them withdraw. They had to be concerned for the safetly of the children and staff and the liability issues of having him continue. They had to be watchful of the overall groups safety. it is not the teachers or schools place to act as a therapist in trying to calm the child, that needs to be left to professionals.
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#17 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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Just because its normal toddler behavior (Im assuming they mean biting part) dosent mean it isnt grounds for being removed. Ds had a "biter" in his class and even though yes it is "normal" behavior the school had them withdraw. They had to be concerned for the safetly of the children and staff and the liability issues of having him continue. They had to be watchful of the overall groups safety. it is not the teachers or schools place to act as a therapist in trying to calm the child, that needs to be left to professionals.
I agree that biting can be a normal behavior for a toddler, but I think OP said the child is 6 years old. Biting isn't normal behavior for that age range, is it?
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#18 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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No, it is not normal for a 6yo. I could only see it if the 6yo were non-verbal, but that doesn't sound like the case.

OP, I'm sorry I'd be furious, take pictures and document the incident with a formal request that he be removed from the co-op. There's no expectation of behavior for him and he's been told from his parents that he can do this. People are going to start leaving soon ( I see it all the time with our homeschool group, we leave in a group when we leave somewhere). You can replace one or replace the group of people already considering other options and I can guarantee you that it's happening already.

This happened with a gymastics class we have. Several of the parents just set up a private class on another day and left that class. The offending children will not be allowed to join the new class.

Good luck. Poor baby girl.

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#19 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the support! the last time he really hurt my daughter, he threw a ball really hard at close range right at her eye, i wrote a long letter to the teacher and the board asking that we as a school refer them to a family counselor. no one did and he continued to improve with less and less violence, so i think the suggestion was over looked.

but yes, i do think that he needs real help and more than a teacher can give him in the context of a school day setting.
sigh....
i hope the meeting goes well, my husband wants a sit down with both his parents and us and the teacher and the board chair before the meeting.
wish me luck!
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#20 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 04:22 PM
 
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I kind of feel two different ways on this issue. Yes, definitely, the other children need to be protected. Maybe a one on one volunteer to monitor his behavior and immediately remove him from the room if he begins to get violent. It sounds like he really needs some support. I'm sure his parents are so wrapped up in their divorce issues that they just aren't able right now to see his needs and are not as attentive as they need to be. By removing him from the room at first sign of violence and giving him this one on one attention you might be able to help him work through his issues. Grant it that this should be the parents job but if they are not going to do it someone has to help this child.

I was extremely ill last summer and fall. I was dealing with cancer and chemotherapy and really not able to give my seven year old what he needed. It seemed that the sicker I got, the more violent he got. He started throwing things, hurting the cat, getting in fights with other kids, defiant about any request we made of him. I know his behavior was tied to my illness. I tried to make sure he had play dates on a regular basis. One particular friend would come almost every week just to spend time with him. She would visit with me a bit but most of her visit was spent with him. She even got him involved with helping her clean up a bit around the house. She was the best thing for him ever. That one on one attention was just what he needed. Now as I am recovering and we are able to start to get back into our normal routine, his behavior is getting better all the time. He still lashes out from time to time, but not anything like he did last fall.

I say all this just to say that I can relate to this little boy. He needs lots and lots of attention and his parents right now are not able to give it to him. I wouldn't kick him out of the coop if there is anyway you can provide him with the one on one he needs. And yes, I agree that this is the parents job. But if they are unable to do it someone needs to.

I hope you can work something out for everyone involved.

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#21 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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Uh, that child is extremely violent and angry and tells the dolls that they have to get naked and then be killed? That is sending up HUGE red flags to me. HUGE ones. That play is just.not.normal for a 6 year old.

The fact that the mom is a yoga teacher and the dad an acupuncturist is irrelevant....the child can still be being abused or being exposed to something he shouldn't be despite the parents' occupation. He needs to be separated from the other children until his issues get under control, but to me, my gut issue says there is something deeper going on....either abuse on some level (emotional, etc. from someone...a parent, relative, neighbor, etc.) or the child has some psychological issues that need to be worked on. The whole thing about making dolls naked and killing them really really concerns me...that doesn't even strike me as normal boy behavior at all....not at age 6.

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#22 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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I'd start seeking out another family to replace them. Seriously. Ask around-- sometimes people just don't know about opportunities like this.

I feel for this child because what is happening isn't his fault (the divorce and remarrying) but I would not want my child to be around anyone who would #1 bite her face or #2 talk about getting a doll naked and then killing it.

I just couldn't deal with violence and that isn't fair to the children who are the recipients of the violence.

It sounds like he needs professional help and it is very worrisome that he may not be getting it.

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#23 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 06:12 PM
 
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Uh, that child is extremely violent and angry and tells the dolls that they have to get naked and then be killed? That is sending up HUGE red flags to me. HUGE ones. That play is just.not.normal for a 6 year old.

The fact that the mom is a yoga teacher and the dad an acupuncturist is irrelevant....the child can still be being abused or being exposed to something he shouldn't be despite the parents' occupation. He needs to be separated from the other children until his issues get under control, but to me, my gut issue says there is something deeper going on....either abuse on some level (emotional, etc. from someone...a parent, relative, neighbor, etc.) or the child has some psychological issues that need to be worked on. The whole thing about making dolls naked and killing them really really concerns me...that doesn't even strike me as normal boy behavior at all....not at age 6.
I agree. Kids come up with weird stuff all the time... but that's beyond weird and into disturbing.

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#24 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 08:07 PM
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. Take pictures of your daughter's face, because you may need them if the parents try to stay in the co-op, and also because it may help them see that their son truly has a problem.

I hope your daughter is OK.

My thoughts exactly! Also, have the other cases been documented? Search for another family, but if you can't find one, can the teacher be eliminated and the parents rotate as a teacher. Or, maybe the teacher can be an advisor and help plan the class, but not do the teaching--she may not need as much money that way and the class can stay on its course.

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#25 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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all good thoughts, thank you.

dakota's mom, i hear you! we had a full term still born baby a few years ago and then i got pregnant again right away...my dd was nuts from all the loss and fear and stress and my lack of ability to cope and focus in on her. her behavior totally showed it all, and sometimes still does. however, we went to family counseling for almost 2 years and we someone who does other healing work with her now. i ask her teacher EVERY day how she did and then i am clear with her about what is expected of her and let her know that she can not attend if she can not XYZ.

the lack of parental support is the real big issue here.

it is one thing to watch a child being violent and scary and know that his life is unstable etc, it is another thing to watch this and hear his parents say that he and every thing is fine.

i too think that there must be some deeper issue (abuse or mental issue) for him to say the crazy things he says. and we do have it ALL documented.
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#26 of 62 Old 01-22-2010, 10:28 PM
 
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What sort of discipline does the school use in these situations? I would expect a child who bit my kid's face to be gone for a couple days.

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#27 of 62 Old 01-23-2010, 09:14 AM
 
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What sort of discipline does the school use in these situations? I would expect a child who bit my kid's face to be gone for a couple days.


I understand it's a coop, but honestly, Waldorf coops and schools are notorious for failing to handle problems like this. I would bail, and fast.
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#28 of 62 Old 01-23-2010, 10:14 AM
 
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I think it's interesting ppl blame the family structure, or assume that the child is being neglected or abused. The first is silly IMO, second is a possibility, but the violent children I have known (3, all boys, all of whom engaged in deliberate violent acts towards other children much like the ones described by the OP) had very loving, attentive parents. IME two sets of parents were 'wishy washy' in their discipline and underestimated the extent to which this violence was actually a Big Deal. They were passive and didn't know how to cope. (3rd set of parents I'm not sure about yet as their child has just started to manifest these behaviours).

We distanced from the children who behaved violently, and whose parents minimized the impacts. I noticed I kept bringing my child around them because their mothers were my friends, I wanted to see them, didn't want to hurt feelings, wanted things to be good 'this time.' And each time my child would get hurt. I finally realized that while these parents thought it suitable to correct 100+ times because eventually it would sink in, in each incident my own child was learning it was acceptable to be targeted violently, and that adults didn't see it as a big deal, and wouldn't/couldn't stop the behaviour. I also hated what she was learning about gender, being a girl targeted by aggressive boys, with pathetic responses from mostly female parents.

So I dropped out of the first two social situations in which this was happening. I'm not sure about the third yet as it is just beginning, and my child is older than the little aggro this time. It will depend on whether she is being directly hurt, and whether he gets punished/consequenced for his behaviour, or whether parents take the route of explaining that 'hitting hurts our friends' ad infinitum while it goes on and on.

OP I think you need to protect your daughter here, and I think you will regret it if you don't. I regret how long it took me!
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#29 of 62 Old 01-23-2010, 10:24 AM
 
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wow. I think I'd leave that type of situation and find another group to be a part of, something smaller where people actually care about who their kids associate with.

I was part of a larger co-op last year where the mother of a very mean boy was never asked to leave and never told to correct her child. They just "dealt" with it. The kid always ended up in my classes it seemed. I spent more time correcting him and shutting him up in the classes than I did actually enjoying teaching the class. One of the many things the little boy did was that he would pick the other little boys up by their heads, literally picked them up off the floor by their head/neck area. He cursed often and had a negative, bad attitude all the time. He was never asked to leave. I got tired of the co-op for other reasons and left but didn't like the fact that this child's parents were never called out on this. His mom was very "out there" and sad all the time but she babied her little bully and it bugged me and a few other moms in our group at the time.

Proud *single* mom to 3 amazing kiddos
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#30 of 62 Old 01-23-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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i'm so sorry your little girl has been hurt. i feel bad for the little boy as well. he is only 6 & obviously needs help dealing with his emotions... and until he can learn that skill, he really needs to be "shadowed", so immediate intervention can occur. when my son was a toddler, i had to shadow him all.of.the.time, as he could not be trusted with other children if he got angry. i needed to be right next to him at all times! i firmly believe the supervising adults and parents are accountable. it is apparent this child has serious issues that need to addressed, and to shrug it off as "normal" and to allow him to play in the classroom with enough unsupervised freedom to bite and/or hit is a huge deal! if the teacher is unable to be directly by the child, than an acceptable solution needs to be put into place (i.e. the parents come to the class to help shadow him, he is put on suspension, etc). i would not be okay with the current situation. i would let the school know they need to address it in a satisfactory manner or i would drop out of the co-op. hugs to you.

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