14 June 2010
My Very Own, Soon-to-be Karate Kid
So this one isn't about writing, but a session--biggest therapy one to date--a soapbox and I am, after all, writing it.
So it counts.
Though this subject is not a fond one for me. Rather, it makes my stomach knot and my angry-mother-yielding-weapons side rear itself. Not that I want any of those other parents holding the "weapons" bit against me, but my teeth are flaring.
My son, age 8, was slapped by another kid in the playground last week. I know, boys will be boys, lighten up, etcetera etcetera. I would, except that it isn't the first time. No, he's also been kicked, knocked down, pushed off his bus seat, yelled at, sworn at, teased and chased around the playground. These are things he has reluctantly told me about and I hate to thing of what else lingers in the recess's of his innocent mind.
Innocent mind. Yes, I know. It sounds as if I'm putting him on a pedestal and he is always on the good side of good vs evil, "evil" being the little bastard on the bus and in the playground, but we've been down that road many times, fight your own battles, takes two to tangle, so here's some perspective:
Stomach pains, nausea, constant missed school days, led to ultrasounds which led to blood work which led to 2 hours of needles for lactose tolerance tests and a few sit downs in the doctors office, all in the name of, "what in the hell is causing my kid so much physical upset?"
And do you know what the answer was?
That's right. Stress. 7 years old when it started, and he is so stressed he's having adult sized symptoms. He's missed school, I've been called to pick up my "green looking child" numerous times, and finally, I start to get a few admissions from his mouth stating E---- (bleeped to save the little bugger's identity) has made him afraid of recess, afraid of taking the bus.
My son has friends, a wide variety of them. He doesn't sit alone in a corner and all the bullies pick on just him. He doesn't wear glasses that get tossed on the ground and they don't call him four-eyes. And he isn't chased home by the town bully throwing spit balls. He's an average kid, getting picked on by a kid smaller than he is because my son has been taught right from wrong, morals and has mastered the best stone face, expressionless stare down because he is smart enough to know the kid only wants the attention that my son won't give him. That, by the way, is what got him slapped in the first place last week.
I would think the teachers, principal, supervisors etc. would get the picture clear enough...
Hint one that something is out of place: "Mom," says my son, frustrated tone, piss spittin' mad, "E--- is so bad in class he is ruining the rest of the classes chance at our education." He's eight, remember?
Hint two: Whilst on a field trip as a parent volunteer, the teacher says, "E--- is in your group. Sorry in advance, and let me know if he acts out; he likely will." And guess who spent the rest of the day with the teacher, alone?
Multitude of Incidents + Same Kid = Problem. Eureka!
How in the hell it comes to this in a school that preaches Zero Tolerance on Bullying I'll never know. They even ran a program beginning of the year including exercises, skits for the kids and an assembly with the head of our school's Bully Program herself, Miss I-Don't-Actually-Give-A-Crap-Even-Though-I'm-Putting-On-A-Great-Freaking-Song-and-Dance, who apparently heads this Theatrical display meant to look like they're protecting our children. We even signed a parents student contract. I wonder if they remember what that looked like?
I cringe at the thought of what has been done to help on the end of the school:
1. Bully yelled at by teacher
2. All grade two classes lose computer privileges for a week
3. Bully and my son sit in the office while bully in question cries, lies and is sent out without punishment and mine is left feeling rejected with a, "his word against yours. Too bad."
4. Bully is moved from one classroom to another so that what began on the bus has filtered to rest of the school day.
5. A thousand (at least) "E---, stop that. Now you're in big trouble" 's
6....Nope. No number 6. That's about it.
Sad thing is, 8 year old bullies are not bullies because they are evil, devil children born from Medusa mating with the Red Horned Demon himself. They act for attention, good or bad, lacking something in another place, at home, or dealing with extraneous circumstances that we can't likely begin to understand. Does it excuse them? No. But it certainly doesn't excuse the schools who don't act at all.
When my son asks "what should I do?", having exhausted all reasonable attempts (walk away, tell them to leave you alone, tell the supervisor, let me talk to them with my diplomatic mommy face on, let me talk to them next with threatening phone calls) I have only one thing left to say...
Punch him back. Hard.
He starts Karate in September.
A quote from K8, during a very intense mommy pissed off moment:
"So, mama, if you worked at the school, what would you do to fix it?"
Me: "To the office. Three chances and you're out. Done. You wouldn't be welcome at our school when you pick on other kids."
K8: "Yeah. That would be awesome if you just go and yell at them."