Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More bullying

Am I proud of my child for handling this himself or disturbed that the assistant principal calling to tell me she'd had a peer mediation session with my son and another child was the (almost) first time I've heard about it?

Little background here. A couple of weeks ago my neighbor's 8th grade daughter told her mom that another child kicked W. on the bus but she didn't want her mom to tell me. Obviously we moms don't honor silly requests like this and T. told me what her daughter had told her. Apparently my generally oblivious and oftentimes cantankerous (what a combination, eh?) 6th grader sat in a bus seat this particular boy seemed to think was his and so he told W. not to sit there the next day. Cut to the following morning when W., in all his obstreperous glory, sits in the same seat. Well, apparently no 6th grader can just ignore this 8th grader's dictum and so he hauled off and kicked W. The bus driver did not see this but my neighbor's daughter thought W. should report this other kid and get him kicked off the bus. He did not. Nor did she say anything, explaining to her mom that she didn't want to make it worse for W. When I asked about the incident, I was casually told that this kid was a bit of a bully and that it was fine. (Apparently my child is also becoming more stoic because he not only ignored the kick, he didn't cry--and he's generally a big crier.) Stupid mom thought that was the end of it since W. never said another word about it.

So this morning we get a call from the 6th grade assistant principal who clues in the completely clueless parents. Apparently other children had told their parents and those parents had contacted the school about this ongoing bullying. (No indication to us from W. that he was living with this daily either.) The assistant principal confronted W., who admitted the reports were true. The 8th grader has been disciplined in school and his parents were contacted yesterday. Yay school for getting right on this!!! Then today there was a peer mediation between W. and a 6th grader who is apparently "sort-of" a friend of W.'s who has watched this situation, never stuck up for W. during it, and even picked on him some at the egging on of the older kid. Will this change anything? The cynic in me thinks no but at least the school will keep an eye on it. As to the rest, I do worry (it is my job, after all) that W. will be the neighborhood pariah as a result of the whole thing since all the kids involved live here too. I specifically asked if it was made clear that W. hadn't been the one to report it since I wanted the bully and the follower to know that other people were watching them too. I did restrain myself from asking the names of the kids but I might see if W. will cough them up when I ask him about it later today. Of course, if I find out, I'll never ever be able to like either of those kids ever, even if they were to become the nicest, most pleasant boys around so perhaps I should leave it unknown.

But I am also wondering why W. didn't bother to tell us (not that he told anyone until directly questioned) and that worries me too (see how good I am at the worrying job?). This parenting thing, it's gonna be the death of me! Oh, and a rhetorical question here (well, if you have an answer for me, feel free to share it but I suspect it's one of those unanswerable things): Why the heck is my child such a bully magnet? What about him screams out to be abused? And somebody please promise me that we'll all make it through this in one piece.


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