Friday, October 19, 2007

Bullies

No one ever said having kids was easy. And let me tell you, it's been one of those weeks! I was sitting home yesterday working on the computer, when I got a call from the school. The principal at Oak Grove West was on the phone to let me know my son, who is a 6th grader, was being suspended for one day for fighting. Now...this is my straight-A son. Mr. Wagner wouldn't tell me who the fight was with, or what it was about. Just that he could finish up the day, but was not allowed to come back on Friday (today).

Of course, I spent the rest of the afternoon worrying about it. Chad is not really an aggressive child. He fights with his sisters all the time, but has never been in a fight at school. He is the youngest kid in his grade (which makes him the youngest child in the entire Jr. High). To top it all off, he's small for his age too. Probably my fault, since I barely top 5'2"!

When he got home, he was so upset. Apparently, he was playing ball with his best friend, when a group of kids started messing around with them. This group of bullies has been bothering Chad and kids in the class for years. Most of the time, it's just words. Chad has heard all the short and midget jokes there are. And I know it bothers him. The boy that started the whole thing is in Chad's class. But he is almost 2 years older. His birthday is in September, which makes him one of the oldest in the class....then he was held back a year. So he's 13....and a good foot and a half taller than Chad. The kid put Chad in a headlock, and bent his glasses all out of shape.

Don't get me wrong. Chad can handle himself. When his glasses got bent, he punched the other boy. Of course, the school's all have a non-violence policy. And normally, I completely agree with it. But Chad was only trying to hold his own. At this point in a kid's life, you are in a catch-22. If you don't fight back and tell a teacher, you are a snitch and a wimp. If you do fight back, you get in trouble. And it breaks my heart that I can't protect him from this.

The worst part about it, was Chad had a huge History test today. The quarter ends next week and this is a huge chunk of his grade. He was devastated last night. Not the suspension, but the fact he was going to get zeros for the day. So I went in to the school today to talk to Mr. Wagner and the teachers. It is up to each teacher's discretion about the zero's in class. So I talked to each of them. Since Chad is such a good student, each teacher decided to give him a break this time. He's going to be allowed to make up all his homework/tests!! So that is at least one good thing that came from this.

It really is hard having kids sometimes. You want to protect them and make everything easy. You want the best for them. It took everything I had not to drive right over to this kid's house and try to beat the snot out of him myself! But I guess you have to have a little faith that each day they walk out of the house, they will make the right choices.

So....today Chad read his book for his AR points that are due next week. We went out and had lunch. It was a nice day for the two of us. Hopefully, when he goes back to school on Monday, everything will be fine.

15 comments:

J. Kaye Oldner said...

You go, Chad! Bullies need to be stopped and teachers aren't doing enough to make sure this doesn't happen.

raidergirl3 said...

That's too bad, the whole story. The other kid got suspended too, right?
I just wanted to say that at our high school, we are not allowed to give zeroes if a student is suspended. They can't be penalized for any work they miss while on suspension. I'm surprised it is up to the teacher.

Kristy said...

That's why I don't have kids;-) It sounds like you handled it beatifully. It had to be difficult. I hope next week is better. Sounds like the two of you had a great day.

3M said...

It is so hard when something like this happens to your own child. Glad he won't get zeroes!

Literary Feline said...

Fighting is not the best way to resolve a problem, but I don't really see that Chad had any better options open to him. He did the best he could under the circumstances. Having been a victim of bullies myself, I know how difficult it is dealing with them. I imagine it must be hard for you, wanting to protect your son from such things and yet not being able to.

I am glad Chad's teachers were so understanding. It's such a shame though that the bullying hasn't been dealt with though.

Chris said...

Bullies get on my last nerve! They're one of the reason I decided to become a counselor with kids. I dealt with bullies as a kid myself and it really is a catch-22 situation as you said. It's really ashame. Tell Chad to hang in there. The day will come when being the short kid with straight A's pays off! And don't tell him I said this because we don't want to encourage it, but I have to admit I'm glad he gave the bully one for all the kids who've gotten picked on! ;)

jean pierre said...

i can't believe it!!! bullies are so terrible and then, when your son has the courage and ability to stand up to him he gets in trouble?! did the bully get suspended too? i hope so!

Chris said...

Aw Stephanie (((HUGS))) It is tough raising kids. We worry all the time about them. Hopefully, this is just one of those 'rites of passage' he has to go through and this will be the end of it.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Why hasn't the school done something about the bullying? Have you discussed these kids' behavior with them previous to now? Is your son the only one who is on the receiving end of this?

Sounds to me like the school isn't doing nearly enough to change the behavior of those kids. Haven't the past HOW many years of school shootings taught them ANYthing?

Gentle Reader said...

It does sound like one of those catch-22 situations, so frustrating! I hope the bully was suspended, too. And I'm glad his teachers let your son make up his work--if he had gotten zeroes, that would have been a travesty! Isn't parenting the hardest job ever?

Nymeth said...

I have nightmareish memories of Junior High. It's the worst age - kids can be so unbelievably cruel.

The whole situation is unfortunate, but at least his teachers were understanding about it.

I can imagine how frustrating it must be not being able to protect him for this. But he will get through it just fine, you'll see. I'm sure that having your love and support at home makes a huge difference.

kookiejar said...

Poor Chad. I was bullied through school too. I wish there was a way for Chad to know that everything he is going through now will make him a better, stronger person when he grows up.

Stephanie said...

Thanks Everyone! Yes, the other kid got a one-day's suspension too. And I know all the stuff about "it will make him stronger". It doesn't make it any easier having to watch your own son go through it.

I really didn't deal with bullies much growing up. I went to such a small school, we really didn't have a lot of problems with it. It's hard for me to watch.

Chad's principal said that kids getting bullied is a horrible epidemic. He said he even had an impromptu assembly to talk about it. That afternoon, there were 3 more cases of bullies. They do as much as they can to police it.

If I didn't work, I might consider home-schooling. But I honestly think that kids need to social interaction that school gives them.

Shannon said...

Poor Chad! i'm glad he was able to make up his work though!

Bookfool said...

Stephanie,

I can truly empathize with you; I've been through the same thing with my eldest. It wasn't till high school that he blew up after being picked on and started a fist fight, but he was suspended for 5 days. So was the bully, as well as my son's friend, who encouraged him not to take the verbal abuse (their friendship petered away, after that experience). As raidergirl said, students here are not allowed to be punished academically for behavior problems. So, he was given work to do at home and tests were made up, when he returned.

It sounds like your son merely defended himself, but with the new "no tolerance" policies, even self-defense has become forbidden. Ridiculous, but true. I wish you strength.

And, on the comment about size - both my kids were picked on for being *big*. It goes both ways!