How Do I handle kindergarten bus incident? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-14-2014, 07:10 AM
 
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I disagree with this.  As i said,  her child, as do all the others, have the right to travel safely on the bus without being hit. Thats the end of it. No ifs not buts, no excuses, no embellishments, no psychoanalysing, no speech about choices.  When someone hits me while im going to my destination, i dont call it a low level problem, i call the police. Every person has the right to physical integrity. You really need to rethink this Linda

 

 

I pretty much agree with you. Hitting is not OK. But I've spent enough time around young boys that to see that the line between play fighting and someone getting upset or hurt is quite blurry. 2 kindergarten boys who have trouble with boundaries is a low level problem. This isn't some psycho kid who is stalking the OPers child, it's the child of a friend (or acquaintance) of the mom. Its the kid her child WANTS to sit with on the bus. This is social skills problem.  You really can't translate it to adulthood, or even older children. Just last week I explained to some 5th grade boys that the reason they can't play fight is because the little boys copy them and then hurt each other. They totally understood.

 

But if you insist on putting it in adult terms, if the person hitting you on the way to your destination is your best friend, then you would need to rethink that relationship. If your best friend hits you from time to time and you call the police every time, wouldn't it make sense to get a new best friend (whether or not you call the police)?

 

Is this other boy's behavior a problems only on the bus, or also at other times?

It makes no difference where it is. Hitting once is once too often.

 

Yes, you are right that hitting once is too often, but since the kids have a lot of contact with it each, finding a solution really should look at the big picture. What is going on during recess really is relevant. 

 

 

I would let his teacher, not the principal, know. This is a low level problem --

Nope. Its not the teacher job to discipline bus behavior Its the schools job. The teachers has the classroom to worry about.

Discipline at a school is ideally a team effort, so who to tell at the school is a minor point. The teacher sees the boys at more times than the principal and is in a better position to trouble shoot the situation. There is nothing wrong with telling the principal -- he or she can get the information to the right person in the school. Many schools have someone other than the principal who just handles discipline.

 

In our school, the school secretary and the school principal handle this, not the teacher. I admit it can be different at other schools. I think the relationship is one thing, the behavior is another. Playfighting is one thing, hitting is another. Yes, the line is difficult to draw, but i think its easy to see that in this case the line was drawn. In our school, the bus is a particular situation that requires careful handling, because there is effectively no supervision in that time. Rules need to be stricter for that reason.

 

I think the biggest reason to let someone at the school know is in case this is a pattern of behavior with this child. If the OPers son sits with someone else on the bus, so this boy ends up

sitting with someone else, what if he play fights/hits that kid?

 

Well if the other child doesnt want it, then maybe the OP's son will have the sense to stop. Unlike  his friend in the original situation. You need to give children credit for self control and the ability to understand  when no means no. I teach my children this and hope other parents do the same.   Also, you seem to be making the OPs son the bad guy here,  ie acting as if he will do wrong no matter what. I think its simpler to keep the rules clear-no hitting, keep your hands to yourselves etc.  If kids like playfighting, then let them playfight when there is mutual consent in a safe environment. But on the bus, stick to the rules.

 

Maybe trouble shooting is warranted if problems continue despite intervention, then the teacher can be of help.

 

 

I really think the school needs to know there is an issue so that *if it doesn't go away* they can take it seriously. This may be a child who needs a formal warning (with his parents being called in) to get the message that his behavior isn't acceptable.

 

I agree with the formal warning. Maybe thats all that is needed. It doesnt have to be a big deal. I agree with going through normal neutral channels so that puts everyone's safety and well being at the forefront.

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Old 01-14-2014, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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update-  He came home Monday, (they sat together on the bus again), and he said the other boy was poking him here,here,here with a pen he found on the floor of the bus (he pointed to his chest and belly in various areas) and he showed me a sharp piece of plastic that broke off the pen, that he wanted to save.  I talked to him briefly and he said he enjoyed it, they were playing zombies with each other, and trying to kill the zombie (which must have been him).. He did not want me to tell ANYone about it.  I do not know how hard he was poked, I think he said it did hurt, but now I can't remember...I did decide to let someone know before someones eye got poked out by accident.

 

I handed the bus driver a brief note this morning to keep an eye on them, they had been play fighting on the way home recently, to have a talk with them or separate them if needed.  I also  wrote a note for his teacher in his folder, and without going into detail, told her the boys were roughhousing on the bus recently (including hitting and poking with pen) and could she have a talk with them...  I didn't mention who was doing what to whom because I didn't feel comfortable blaming the other boy, since I wasn't there, although now I'm wondering if that was a mistake.


She  apparently let the principal know, and the boys got called to the office today.  My son wouldn't tell me much when he got home, I was wanting to know what happened at the office when I read her note, and it was like pulling teeth.. He was upset I told someone, he said "I know you must have told someone" as soon as he got off the bus.   He probably won't ever tell me anything again. He even said "I was just kidding" (about all the stuff that happened.)   Trying to convince me he had made it up. But when I said ok I better let the teacher know you were just kidding, he changed his story again and said he wasn't kidding.

 

Did I do wrong with how I worded the note? Not specifying who was doing what to whom?  My son never had issues with hitting anyone in the past. He is not aggressive at all to my knowlege. So I'm assuming they both got in trouble equally, and I feel bad for that, but, its sort of what I wanted for someone to remind them both to behave on the bus, since he seemed to enjoy it also. (and also because I'm not sure how much or if he exaggerated anything)


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Old 01-14-2014, 05:01 PM
 
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update-  He came home Monday, (they sat together on the bus again), and he said the other boy was poking him here,here,here with a pen he found on the floor of the bus (he pointed to his chest and belly in various areas) and he showed me a sharp piece of plastic that broke off the pen, that he wanted to save.  I talked to him briefly and he said he enjoyed it, they were playing zombies with each other, and trying to kill the zombie (which must have been him).. He did not want me to tell ANYone about it.  I do not know how hard he was poked, I think he said it did hurt, but now I can't remember...I did decide to let someone know before someones eye got poked out by accident.

 

I handed the bus driver a brief note this morning to keep an eye on them, they had been play fighting on the way home recently, to have a talk with them or separate them if needed.  I also  wrote a note for his teacher in his folder, and without going into detail, told her the boys were roughhousing on the bus recently (including hitting and poking with pen) and could she have a talk with them...  I didn't mention who was doing what to whom because I didn't feel comfortable blaming the other boy, since I wasn't there, although now I'm wondering if that was a mistake.


She  apparently let the principal know, and the boys got called to the office today.  My son wouldn't tell me much when he got home, I was wanting to know what happened at the office when I read her note, and it was like pulling teeth.. He was upset I told someone, he said "I know you must have told someone" as soon as he got off the bus.   He probably won't ever tell me anything again. He even said "I was just kidding" (about all the stuff that happened.)   Trying to convince me he had made it up. But when I said ok I better let the teacher know you were just kidding, he changed his story again and said he wasn't kidding.

 

Did I do wrong with how I worded the note? Not specifying who was doing what to whom?  My son never had issues with hitting anyone in the past. He is not aggressive at all to my knowlege. So I'm assuming they both got in trouble equally, and I feel bad for that, but, its sort of what I wanted for someone to remind them both to behave on the bus, since he seemed to enjoy it also. (and also because I'm not sure how much or if he exaggerated anything)

IMO - NO you didn't do anything wrong!

 

I think it was GREAT both were brought in, not just one - I'm sure it was handled in a way that both share in what happened and both will learn from this. They may not have "gotten in trouble" but maybe it was stressed that this is a safety issue and that it is really important that the driver know and not be distracted.

 

I would reinforce that even when you are not around OTHER adults are (the bus driver!) and they can "tell" the teacher what goes on when they are on the bus - give other examples of other adults in other situations where they can let you know things. Let him know adults are "looking out for him", stress the safety issue and how it may be play in his mind but that "someone else" may not see it that way - so that he doesn't make it all be that YOU did this.

 

Let it rest a few days and stress that (example here) if he is with grandma she has to let you know about things too, that everyone just cares a lot about him and how important it is to tell someone when ever someone pokes, hits, etc - EVEN IF IT IS ONLY PLAY! If you make him feel that you are not mad at him about this, I don't think he will not confide in you again, stress why you care but don't bombard him right away, go slow with it.

 

I'm going to "assume" here that you don't hear much more about this and IF it is brought up when you have your next conference it will be very minor. 

 

I think what you did was correct and IMO you at least knew about it and you spoke up! Good for you!


 

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Old 01-14-2014, 05:05 PM
 
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 I didn't mention who was doing what to whom because I didn't feel comfortable blaming the other boy, since I wasn't there, although now I'm wondering if that was a mistake.


She  apparently let the principal know, and the boys got called to the office today.  My son wouldn't tell me much when he got home, I was wanting to know what happened at the office when I read her note, and it was like pulling teeth.. He was upset I told someone, he said "I know you must have told someone" as soon as he got off the bus.   He probably won't ever tell me anything again. He even said "I was just kidding" (about all the stuff that happened.)   Trying to convince me he had made it up. But when I said ok I better let the teacher know you were just kidding, he changed his story again and said he wasn't kidding.

 

Did I do wrong with how I worded the note? Not specifying who was doing what to whom?  My son never had issues with hitting anyone in the past. He is not aggressive at all to my knowlege. So I'm assuming they both got in trouble equally, and I feel bad for that, but, its sort of what I wanted for someone to remind them both to behave on the bus, since he seemed to enjoy it also. (and also because I'm not sure how much or if he exaggerated anything)

 

My thoughts:

 

  1. By not blaming the other boy, you allowed YOU, as a parent, to come across really well.
  2. Because staff at the school see both boys in a variety of situations, they already know which boy is more likely to be roughhousing. It's not a secret. :thumb
  3. There are multiple ways that that the school could have found out, such as other students on the bus telling on them.
  4. They really didn't get in much trouble. They were told by an authority figure to stop the nonsense, but there were no real consequences for either boy. They will be watched more closely now (and they need to be because their behavior wasn't safe). Hopefully, this is the only action necessary to stop this behavior. Your son needed this talk as much as the other boy because he really didn't get that there was anything wrong with what they were doing, and he didn't put a stop to it. The only argument that could be made that your son should get "less" is if there were a punishment involved, such as a detention or getting kicked off the bus. That isn't happening for either boy, and it sounds like the school hopes this issue will end without punishment.  (Yeah for the school! more concerned with changing kids' behavior rather than "making them pay" for misbehavior!)
  5. As far as your son not telling you anything again, all kids learn that certain behaviors aren't OK and that if they choose to indulge in them, it works out better for them to keep them on the down low. None the less, the other kid was poking a sharp piece of broken plastic at your kid's chest in a moving vehicle and your child thought it was fun. I was a super mellow mom about play when my kids were little -- I only put a stop to things that could land them in the ER or the morgue. Your son's behavior was that extreme, and it was escalating. You did the right thing by putting a stop to it, and someday he will understand that.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 01-14-2014, 05:53 PM
 
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I think that this is how the situation would have been handled no matter how you worded the note.  Children, especially young children, tend to tell adults about what other children did to them in a way that leaves themselves looking like the angel child who was suddenly viciously attacked by the antisocial child.  It is very rare for things to go down this way, especially among friends, and school personnel are very aware of this.  At my dd's school they pull both kids in separately to find out what happened then pull them together and mediate a solution or remind them of the rules (sometimes both).  Sometimes there is also a consequence and it may be for both parties.  Typically it is a teaching or mediation process though.

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Old 01-14-2014, 07:55 PM
 
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I agree that both kids would have been spoken to in a group setting in a situation like this in my DC's school. I think that's a fairly typical problem solving approach these days.

 

The only thing I would consider doing differently is being really upfront with your son when something comes up in conversation that you feel needs some intervention. I think your son probably knows that it was you who told the school so it's best to just be upfront about it. I think that taking action on behalf of our kids secretly will ultimately do more to inhibit communication than the occasional open mom intervention. :)

 

There may come a time where he will not tell you something because he knows you will feel you need to do something about it. That is something all of us will face as parents. There's something that seems really healthy about that to me though.  For one, you are teaching him that his mother does not keep secrets that she feels are unsafe to keep. 

 

But, of course, this really depends on the temperament though, doesn't it? If he's SUPER slow to offer information, perhaps now would not be the time to tell him that you wrote the note. ;-)  


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Old 01-14-2014, 08:50 PM
 
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He was upset I told someone, he said "I know you must have told someone" as soon as he got off the bus.   He probably won't ever tell me anything again. He even said "I was just kidding" (about all the stuff that happened.)   Trying to convince me he had made it up. But when I said ok I better let the teacher know you were just kidding, he changed his story again and said he wasn't kidding.

 

You did just fine, and your son will eventually tell you things again. 

 

What I have learned to do whenever I send such a letter to the principal or teacher is to read out loud or have my dd read the letter before I send it.  That way, my dd gets to have her input in what goes in the letter.   That really helps a lot. 

 

I have also found that after the teacher or principal resolves the problem, it helps if I talk to my dd and point out what a good thing it is that my child allowed me to contact the teacher or principal.  In your example, I might say something like it is actually helping the other child learn to be a safe bus passenger.

 

Of course, you know your child best.  However, I contacted the teacher once when my child asked me not to, and she wasn't really thrilled even when the teacher successfully resolved it.  However, a few months later, probably because of the way the teacher successfully resolved the previous problem, my dd told me of another situation and agreed when I asked if she wanted me to write a note to the teacher.  So take heart, I predict that your child will come around much sooner than you think!  (Although perhaps not right away.)

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Old 01-15-2014, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks.. that really made me feel better.  It hasn't been brought up again, and things have been ok on bus for past few days so hopefully its forgotten. I can't even remember how I had replied to that when he said I must have told someone, so maybe I was jumping to conclusion. He might have figured it out but maybe I didn't say.. lots of good advice here, thank you!


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Old 01-16-2014, 05:25 AM
 
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Thanks.. that really made me feel better.

When I go through things like this with my DC, I always take heart in knowing that we are all laying the groundwork for later in childhood where I suspect the stakes will be a bit higher.  I think that's totally true of our kids and their experiences at school and it's also true for us as parents. Your son figuring out how to handle a friend on the bus in kindy is a pretty good start for the long education that needs to happen before he's riding the city bus by himself it 16!  There's real value in the bumps of childhood (and parenthood!).  :love


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Old 01-16-2014, 08:01 AM
 
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At this point, I can try a bunch of things. I can tell Jenny I don't want to sit with her. I can tell Jenny I'm saving this seat for Jessica. I can insist I need to sit alone. The results, however, are always the same. The uninformed adult in charge tells me to sit where I am and let Jenny sit next to me. We don't save seats, jessica is sitting over there with Jade, Jenny can sit next to me, why can't I be nice. My protests that Jenny was mean to me this morning are met with eye rolling, and the suggestion that I should have said something in the morning (who I should have spoken to is not specified). My actual effective options for not sitting with Jenny (given that I am 5) are: fight with Jenny so badly that the adults decree we can never sit together (although, ideally, not so badly that they suspend me from school or bus), or go home and tell my troubles to an adult who takes me seriously and can call up the school and say, hey, I'm not sure exactly what's up with the girls, but please tell the bus drivers not to make Meep sit with Jenny, they seem to have hit a rough patch.

 

Your description is pretty much my daughter's exact experience on the bus.  When it comes down to one kid's word against the other, the kid who is smart enough to cry first and act hurt is probably not going to get in trouble.  I had a similar situation on the bus when I was a kid and I was the one who got in trouble.  My seatmate would demand my homework every morning.  I would say no, she would cry that I was mean, I would get in trouble for being mean.  No one investigated further because adults who deal with a load of kids in a day are really not that interested. It's easiest to just punish someone and move on.

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Old 01-16-2014, 09:03 AM
 
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Thanks.. that really made me feel better.  It hasn't been brought up again, and things have been ok on bus for past few days so hopefully its forgotten. I can't even remember how I had replied to that when he said I must have told someone, so maybe I was jumping to conclusion. He might have figured it out but maybe I didn't say.. lots of good advice here, thank you!

chances are it was all you (and that's OK :wink) but you can (if it comes up again) remind him that other too can say things about his behavior - other children can be frightened and tell their teacher or parents, etc. about it - some might not know it's play and can interpret it totally differently!


 

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Old 01-16-2014, 12:51 PM
 
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Your description is pretty much my daughter's exact experience on the bus.  When it comes down to one kid's word against the other, the kid who is smart enough to cry first and act hurt is probably not going to get in trouble.  I had a similar situation on the bus when I was a kid and I was the one who got in trouble.  My seatmate would demand my homework every morning.  I would say no, she would cry that I was mean, I would get in trouble for being mean.  No one investigated further because adults who deal with a load of kids in a day are really not that interested. It's easiest to just punish someone and move on.

I would be appalled if that happened at our school. In your situation, couldn't you have explained your version of what happened?

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Old 01-16-2014, 02:38 PM
 
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It certainly didn't feel that way at the time.  Frankly, it was the 70s and not many people cared about children and our feelings.  I can remember some things said to me, an overall quiet, well-behaved student, and I'd be LIVID if someone talked to my child that way. 

 

But the point is, if a kid learns to pick out students who are easily flustered or don't like to break rules and make scenes, they can pretty much do what they want.  As it stands, my own daughter has a reputation with adults who know her as very truthful and strictly (I think the word "neurotically" has come up a few times) worried about fairness - to herself and others.  At this point in the year, if the same thing happened, the bus driver would believe her.  The girl's mom has been really helpful, too. 

 

It's easy to say stand up for yourself, tell someone!  Tell that kid NO and walk away - but often the people you need to tell are busy (driving the bus) or uninterested (line cutting and shoving isn't such a big deal when that kid over there is having a full blown melt down and spitting), the kid doesn't CARE if you say no, and your exits are blocked.  That's what parents are for.

 

Also some kids are just kind of mean when left to their own devices.  They need an adult to step in and put a stop to it because they either are unwilling or unable to stop themselves.

 

I am making her school sound awful when it's really pretty great.  For the most part, they stay on top of things but we had a huge influx of kids in the past few years and class size is up.  The school is full. Sometimes things that don't seem like a big deal from an adult perspective are just kind of swept along and sometimes I need to write a teacher and say hey, this is happening, we need some help here - and they help the kids work it out.  It's not perfect but it's so much better than the lord of the flies approach my own elementary school allowed (private Christian school, at that).

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Old 01-19-2014, 02:22 PM
 
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 Sometimes things that don't seem like a big deal from an adult perspective are just kind of swept along and sometimes I need to write a teacher and say hey, this is happening, we need some help here - and they help the kids work it out.  It's not perfect but it's so much better than the lord of the flies approach my own elementary school allowed (private Christian school, at that).

Yes, i agree. Its my job first and foremost to look out for my kid.

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