Today at Big Red Dog Elementary School

(Also posted at Phantom’s Wednesday Whining)
This is less a whine than a mother’s cry of outrage.

The Princess often comes home with tales of the social interactions in the fifth grade. She is unusually insightful about human relationships. On Monday, Difficult Boy broke into a conversation between The Princess and two other girls, complaining bitterly that all they did was say mean things about people. The Princess tells me he “freaked out.” My future psychologist reached out to him, since she knew she wasn’t guilty of the mean talking, only adjacent to it. They talked and had a meeting of the minds, agreeing that saying bad things about people was, well, bad.

Fast forward to this morning. All the children gather on the playground before school, then line up with their classes when the bell rings. The fifth grade is on the third floor of this old school building. It is a long, unsupervised way up from the back door at the basement level.

During the climb to Mount Third Floor, Difficult Boy kicks The Princess, hard, in the behind.
The shocked Princess makes her way to the classroom and confides in her teacher that Difficult Boy has kicked her, although she cannot bring herself to do anything but hint at the location of the injury.

The teacher questions Difficult Boy, who admits that he kicked The Princess. He says he did it because some third party told him The Princess was saying bad things about him, and more specifically about his family, along the lines of “yo mama doesn’t love you.”
The teacher is wise, thank God. She asks him, “Are you sure you mean Our Princess? This doesn’t sound like something she would say.” He admits that he didn’t hear her say any such thing, only heard it from another student. Wise Teacher had a call into his mother when I talked to her after school.

We cancelled some things and stayed home together this afternoon. I’m worried because she has not cried. Yet. (Still true, and bedtime approaches.)

Here comes the rant:
First of all, I can’t believe someone didn’t call me about this.

Second of all, I am furious that there is a child in the class who thinks kicking another student is okay under any circumstances.

Third of all, we cannot feel safe dropping her on the playground before school anymore, which means she loses out on being with her friends each morning.

Fourth of all, I don’t feel any playground time is going to be safe with this kid around.

Fifth of all, even though I object to his violent acts, I realize I could cheerfully throttle anyone who has hurt my child.

Sixth of all, I can’t believe The Princess is going to have to sit in the classroom with someone who attacked her. Is it possible to Office School a child?

13 thoughts on “Today at Big Red Dog Elementary School”

  1. This is outrageous! I’d like to know how Difficult Boy’s parents responded to the teacher’s phone call and what plans were made to see that DB doesn’t do this again.
    Further, I hope the Princess isn’t suffering physically from the kick. I hope she cries if she feels like it.
    Could you make arrangements to stand in the playground area to observe the children for several mornings and walk with them up the stairs?

  2. That is a much better idea, StCasserole. Thank you. I was just planning to take the easy way out and whisk her through the front door. I will ask her how she feels about that thought in the morning.

  3. Oh how terrible. Here’s a big hug for the Princess. Bullying and violence is such a blight on our schools. Good for the Princess for telling the teacher right away….stopping school violence begins with naming and acknowledging that it is happening.
    I do hope that she is ok.

  4. This just makes me furious and sad at the same time. This seems to be more and more common. I am so glad that she did tell! I am so sorry about what she is going through.
    I do think I would want to find out if the young man is getting some sort of help or counseling. He seems to have a lot of anger built up and does not know what to do with it.

  5. I’m so sorry! It’s unfortunate that children today think striking out physically is an appropriate response to some perceived wrong. I hope DB’s parents and the teacher respond well and put a stop to this immediately. And a big hug and an ice pack for the Princess.

  6. It’s so hard to see your kids get treated badly. How awful for you as well as for The Princess. But if she hasn’t cried, maybe she’s gotten over it faster than you have? Kids do tend to bounce back faster than their parents! 🙂
    I do think that kids have *always* been violent, hitting, kicking, biting beings when there isn’t someone around to insist on more humane behavior. I can vividly remember my friend Sandy grabbing Rodney by the hood of his sweatshirt and spinning him in circles by the neck one day in 3rd grade. (He’d been teasing her about being large for her age, and she’d had enough. So she showed him just what powerful things “large” could accomplish.) And I can remember kids slugging each other pretty hard. In 8th grade I got slugged in the hallway by a girl who decided I was in her way. And a decade ago when I was student teaching, I saw some pretty bad bite marks. The school never called parents unless someone was seriously injured enough to require the nurse, or unless blood was present.
    That doesn’t mean it’s ok, of course. But sometimes schools have a way of settling these things in a low-key way (giving detention or suspension to the agressor, for example), depending on the kid’s history. But the unfortunate reality is that kids can be violent, even when there *is* supervision. It’s so sad. I once had to call the cops on a kid who was violent in my classroom.
    You obviously know this kid, and whether or not this was a one-time moment of going out of control (it happens to kids as a part of growing up!), or if it’s part of a pattern. I’d be a lot more upset if it’s a pattern of behavior than if it’s a one time incident. (After all, I once got in trouble for throwing ROCKS at boys on the playground!)
    Hope you and The Princess have a better day tomorrow.

  7. (((SB and Princess)))
    I think it would be reasonable to ask a member of staff (pref their own teacher) to supervise the journey up to the class for a while, and I’m with St C that it’s good if you (and other parents) are willing to be around in the mornings.
    I suspect Princess bounced back fast because she was courageous to report it and also told you when she got home. Personally I think it’s a good sign that she trusted the teacher, and didn’t need you called in. But my heart goes out to both of you – and also to the boy. His behaviour is inexcusable – but this may be his cry for help? Let’s pray he gets it!

  8. I’m just an old grandfather, and I don’t know enough about the dynamics here to comment … but, no one is expressing much confidence in Princess obvious abilities.

  9. I’m so sorry that this happened to the Princess! But it sounds like she handled things very well by confiding in Wise Teacher and you so promptly. I hope that she feels better soon!

  10. popped back here to see if there was an update on how Princess’ and your day went. (forgot about time zones) Hope it was blessed for you both.

  11. I am so sorry to hear that this happened … but very impressed at how Princess handled herself in such a difficult situation! You have every reason to be proud of her.
    I have serious issues with how incidents like this are handled at our school … and it doesn’t sound as if your school does much better. I’m glad everyone works hard to take the feelings and motivtations of all parties into account, but sometimes wrong is just wrong, you know?

  12. Ooooh, I’m SOOOO angry on your and princess’ behalf. I’m livid! What a little butthead.
    I hope this gets resolved asap. The Princess should NOT have to suffer for another boy’s bad behavior. Hugs to both of you.

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