Vent post ahead…
“No one wants you here.”
“No one likes you.”
“You’re not allowed to talk to us.”
“You can’t do anything right.”
Those are comments that have been directed at Little Man by some of the kids in his class.
Following speaking with Little Man’s teacher, the main bully who had been giving him trouble didn’t speak to him for the next four school days after that. I assumed whatever she was doing must have been helping, but shit happened again on Thursday.
They were playing a game with pool noodles in their gym class and the bully directed everyone to attack Little Man. Everyone didn’t, but the bully and his two “minions,” as LM calls them, got after him. He said they were hitting him super hard and that they wouldn’t stop when he told them it hurt and laughed. He said he whacked the bully hard once to show him how it felt and that the kid got mad and knocked him down. That was enough. We called the principal to set up an appointment to discuss the situation.
My husband and I both went in yesterday morning to talk. We went over everything, including all of the insults listed above, the exclusion, the bully encouraging other kids to pick on LM, and the few physical incidents that LM shared with us. (Apparently there has been a lot more going on than what he had been telling us, and that spilled out on Thursday. One of his friends came home with us that day and told us stuff he’d seen.)
The principal was appalled. He told LM that his number one job at the school was to make sure that he had a safe environment to learn in, and to always let the teachers know when this stuff is going on, and if the teachers don’t do anything, to let him know. That’s tough for LM since he’s received some mixed messages about that. A teacher he had a couple years ago wouldn’t let them report anything without taking certain steps to resolve conflict first (and I get that, but that shit doesn’t work with bullying behavior, and she treated it all the same.) He promised to call the bully’s parents and to pull him and the others into his office and talk. He said he was confident that this stuff was going to stop.
A few hours later, we got a call from LM, who was sobbing. He got into a fight with one of his friends on the playground. They were playing basketball and the friend kept elbowing him, and LM got mad and hit him in the stomach. The kid threw the basketball at LM’s face, and another friend got in between them and separated them and kept it from going further. I was floored that LM would hit someone over that (he’s only hit someone once that I can think of in his ten years). I mean, I know how frustrating that has to be, but still. I asked him why he punched him over that and he admitted that he was already upset when he went out on the court.
During lunch, they went outside to eat, and he dropped his whole slice of pizza in the dirt. The bully saw this, pointed it out, and had the other kids laughing at him and mocking him. He said the bully got in his face and laughed some more and told him he deserved every single bad thing that ever happened to him. LM said he pulled the teacher to the side and told her and that she walked over and said something to the kids, but that was it. He then went out to the court play basketball, and that happened.
That was one of the concerns I brought up to the principal during our meeting — that either the bully was really going to take things too far and hurt LM or that he was going to snap. And he did.
I fully expected the principal to say that LM was suspended next week, but he said he told them no more basketball for a week. Floored again. He chalked it up to being a game of basketball getting a little too heated and said that they were both good kids who had never been in trouble before, so he thought that was enough punishment. From what LM told me, I knew it was more than that. I told him about the situation at lunchtime, and the principal told me he hadn’t talked to the bully yet. He had called his mom already, but hadn’t gotten to him at that point.
Little Man told me that he and his friend apologized to each other and shook hands and hugged it out without being told to and were joking around on the way back to class. We talked a long time after LM got home about everything and about figuring out some exercises to help him calm down. I hope I’m handling this stuff right. I’ll follow up with the principal on Monday and see if he has talked to the bully.
Four more weeks.
While we were talking, LM went off on a tangent about another kid who told him a couple of weeks ago that his dad had been abusing him. He said the boy had bruises all over his back and that his dad had gotten mad at him and thrown him into a wall. This was the same kid who told LM some story about CPS being evil people who take kids from their parents and hurt them. Jesus. My husband called to make a report to CPS.