When I was going to school (you know, the days when television reminded parents what time it is and where their children are) there were four ways in which you dealt with bullies.
- Run away (real fast)
- Stand your ground (get your butt whipped)
- Tell a teacher (then run away, real fast)
- Don't bother going back to school.
Point being, survival instincts kick in sometime around kindergarten graduation, as the proverbial lines are drawn and the definition of social order rapidly declines to a melee of rumors, innuendos and incoherent speculations.
And that's just the parents!
If I had a dollar for each time my kids (or I) have lost sleep worrying over some new abuse another kid supposedly discovered, well, we would have afforded to go to Disney, at least once, by now.
Yeah, I've seen plenty of lockers pasted with "no bully zone" and "just say no to bullying" stickers on the dozen (or so) back-to-school nights my husband and I have attended, over the years and honestly, I still can't help but think...meh...why bother.
If only it were that easy.
"Well, I got shot today."
Then, my son (he's 11) came home from school yesterday and, well, I had the same exact look on my face that you probably have, right now, trust me.
He pulled his sleeve up, I saw the angry welt (like, maybe someone used a rubber band to fling something sharp, like a paper clip) and I don't remember much after that, really, besides drilling my poor son, like a suspect.
Then, I sat down and wrote my first email to the principal and when I say first, I mean...ever.
Long story, short (you're welcome!) his response, less than 5 minutes later, made me feel better about my decision to NOT worry about sounding like "that mom" (for once) or, whether OTHER parents will think that my kid is a wimp (or, not) and just focus on helping my son, you know, do the right thing.
Call out the bully (in this case, the bullies) make the kid take responsibility for his/her actions (not the parents) and, maybe, just maybe, we can ALL get a little more sleep, for once.
(P.S. My son met with his principal, by himself, today and, although he admits to feeling "sad about telling on someone," more than I am worried about the other kids seeking retribution, I'm glad that the lines of communication are now, you know, open.)
(P.P.S. Being verbally harassed on the bus, daily, is typical 7th and 8th grader shenanigans pulled on incoming 6th graders. Yeah, I get it. Don't touch my kid.)
(P.P.P.S. My son's middle school is creating a special number kids can text, when they observe bullying, that goes right to the principal -- what a great idea, right?)