Would you call this bullying? What would you do? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 10-12-2010, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So my kindergartener came home today complaining that another child from his class, R, has been mean to him.

It sounds like it has been going on since the beginning of the year and getting worse. R has said things to my son like "I hate you" and "You are not my friend".

He has been physically violent with him repeatedly in the classroom, on the playground and on the bus. Asher has told me a few other times about some punching, pushing, etc. Up to this point, I have just asked Asher to keep talking with his teachers and asking the child to leave him alone.

Today, R tackled my son while he was trying to play basketball, held him to the ground, punched him repeatedly in the face and stepped on his feet when he tried to get up. Asher said he told the teacher about what R did. It sounds like the teachers keep telling R to stop, but there aren't any consequences. It also sounds like R is doing this to other boys in the class.

Among other things, I told Asher that he has my permission to hit back in self defense, if the boy is holding him to the ground and punching him again. And I sent an email to the teacher.

What should happen here? I am used to typical boy behavior (we have 3!) and the wrestling and general rough housing doesn't bother me or my boys. It seems like R has something out for Asher though, as he keeps picking on him and is getting more violent.
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#2 of 15 Old 10-12-2010, 06:59 PM
 
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I would call the teacher ASAP and ask exactly what she has seen and what is her plan for putting a stop to it.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#3 of 15 Old 10-12-2010, 07:04 PM
 
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Go in & talk to the teacher. You will get much further face to face.

I would NOT encourage him to hit back.
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#4 of 15 Old 10-12-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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Yes, this is bullying. Physical violence is not ok at all. The things you quote R as saying sound not very nice, but short of bullying on their own.

I agree w the PP who said face to face is best. I would also ask the teacher what she was doing while your son was getting punched in the face! You may consider going to the principal to make sure there is a follow up w the teacher from admins.

(yes, I have boys, and I get wrestling, and it's ok at our house as long as everyone is having fun-- of one is having fun at another's expense or anyone has said stop, it has gone too far!)

blessings-- hope this year goes better from here on out and that this is dealt with!
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#5 of 15 Old 10-12-2010, 09:09 PM
 
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Personally I will always give my child permission to defend themselves from physical violence, even if that means hitting back. However, that's something each family has to decide, and know the consequences may include suspension for your child as well.

As for what's going on, you need to be at the school first thing. The violent child cannot be allowed to continue and check to see if your school has a zero tolerance policy. If so, then the other child should automatically be suspended for this behaviour. I would insist on knowing what repercussions this type of behaviour will result in and what they plan to do to keep your child safe from violence.
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#6 of 15 Old 10-17-2010, 03:26 AM
 
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It was good you contacted the teacher.
As an educator and a parent, here are the steps I would take.

1. Since this has escalated to physical violence, I would skip the teacher and go straight to the principal at this point. The fact that nobody else saw this or reported this or broke it up is worrisome if this happened on school grounds.

2. Does your son have any physical bruising from the punching? If so, the Principal and teacher need to see it.

3. Having your son fight back is not always the right answer (since this can lead to him having the same consequences as the other child), however what he needs to try to do (if he can) is if the other kid is picking on him again, to go straight to the teacher to report the situation. This is not snitching, this is trying to prevent another incident.

4. If you feel that this is continuing and your son is still coming home and reporting these things happening, you need to keep the communications open with the school either via email, or face to face conference with the teacher and/or principal. Many times we are the last ones to know that things are going on because kids find ways and times to bully each other that is not in view of the adults. So if nobody tells us, we can't do anything to help out. However, if he is doing this in the classroom, on the bus, and the teachers are just asking the other kid to knock it off, and he's still repeating this behavior, it is so important that you go to the Principal.

In my classroom, I have a hands off policy. When I see hands on - the kids are removed from the room, we discuss, they stay for detentions. If they repeat, I call home and they are written up in the office. I have 37 kids in my classroom and I teach 6 classes of 37 kids a day and I teach middle school.
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#7 of 15 Old 10-17-2010, 10:44 AM
 
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I absolutely agree with the pp who suggests you should take this to the principal. The teacher needs to be stepping in to stop the violent behaviour as soon as it happens, and there needs to be consequences for the other boy.

For the mean talk I would suggest coaching your son on not giving the other boy a big reaction. There's a great article that I've seen linked here several times that I just can't find (hopefully another mama will come and post the link), that explains how to deal with bullies. It basically comes down to not giving them the big reaction that they're looking for. Instead of tears and arguing the bullied kid should give a bored or "whatever... you can think what you want to think" kind of reaction. I'm not explaining it well though... I hope someone chimes in with the link.

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#8 of 15 Old 10-17-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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This is bullying. I would go to the teacher and then to the principal.

eta: I agree with your decision to give your son permission to defend himself.
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#9 of 15 Old 10-17-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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In the school I teach in that bully would have been suspended. This should have been stopped some time ago by the sounds of things. Be assertive with the teacher and principal--I'm assuming a lot of the relatively smaller infractions went under the teachers' radar screen and the principal probably doens't even know about it if there haven't been any consequences. Teach your kid that standing up against physical violence is not the same thing as tattling. You and he need to be sure that the teacher knows about everything that is going on. Document what you know has happened.
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#10 of 15 Old 10-18-2010, 12:55 PM
 
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my daughter learns "bully busters" in her martial arts classes. quite a few bullies locally and at school, she's handled all of them by doing this: 1) say LOUDLY "(kid's name), stop (what they're doing)!!" as in, "John, stop stepping on my toes!" this way, she's not tattling per se, and she's drawing attention directly to the bully, rather than herself. it's working great, so far. i'm always recommending martial arts for kids because it seems to tremendously increase their confidence. (it really seems to work for the kids who bully, to learn self discipline!)

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#11 of 15 Old 10-18-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandalamama View Post
my daughter learns "bully busters" in her martial arts classes. quite a few bullies locally and at school, she's handled all of them by doing this: 1) say LOUDLY "(kid's name), stop (what they're doing)!!" as in, "John, stop stepping on my toes!" this way, she's not tattling per se, and she's drawing attention directly to the bully, rather than herself. it's working great, so far. i'm always recommending martial arts for kids because it seems to tremendously increase their confidence. (it really seems to work for the kids who bully, to learn self discipline!)
I guess it is hard to tell someone to stop when they are on top of you, punching you?

But that is a great idea.

OP: Talk with the principal. Explain that your son *needs to feel safe at school.* He cannot feel safe with the way the classmate is behaving and the school is failing to respond to it.

The administration needs to speak with this child and let him know that the behavior *will not* be tolerated. If there is bullying at our school (to that level--repeated physical violence) the child bullying is sent home. Period.

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#12 of 15 Old 10-18-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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I typed out a long response, but rereading the OP, do you feel your child has instigated some of the roughhousing and so you're on the fence as to a response? Because to me, this would be a no-brainer--that's bullying, the teachers were derelict in supervising, interactions btw R and your child need to be watched in the future. My kindergartener isn't big on roughhousing, so if he came to me w/ a story about being punched on the playground I'd be at that school the next day demanding a meeting w/ the principal, AP and teacher to find out how they were going to correct the situation. To me, R's behavior is unacceptable and needs to stop, and the teachers need to do it.
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#13 of 15 Old 10-18-2010, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post
I typed out a long response, but rereading the OP, do you feel your child has instigated some of the roughhousing and so you're on the fence as to a response? Because to me, this would be a no-brainer--that's bullying, the teachers were derelict in supervising, interactions btw R and your child need to be watched in the future. My kindergartener isn't big on roughhousing, so if he came to me w/ a story about being punched on the playground I'd be at that school the next day demanding a meeting w/ the principal, AP and teacher to find out how they were going to correct the situation. To me, R's behavior is unacceptable and needs to stop, and the teachers need to do it.
word! Most schools have zero-tolerance on this kind of thing. A kid attacking another like that should not go unnoticed and should be dealt with effectively-- likely with a suspension.
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#14 of 15 Old 10-18-2010, 10:03 PM
 
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I agree that this is a no-brainer. Go to the teacher and principal.
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#15 of 15 Old 10-18-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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Yup, bully!!!! Beyond contacting the school (go in person). Make sure that the parents of R are also contacted. We had a kid last year in wrestling that behaved similar to R (minus the punching). Parents looked the other way, coach said to deal with it. Ugg! I"m concerened about this year starting up. DH assures me that Issac is more 'mature this year'. Will see....

Do not let this situation go without clear communication

Shane - Homeschooling mom to three boys (12, 1-, 8) and living the open life with my husband.

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