Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bullying Sucks!

After dinner on Tuesday night my son non-chalantly mentions that his best friend since pre-school went to look at another school that day and that he is probably going there next year. I looked at him in disbelief. First of all that he could mention a thing so casually. Second of all because I thought he must be wrong. This boy's brother and sister went to OLGC from pre-school through 8th grade, and I assumed he would to. I was incredulous. I probed Ian for as many facts as I could. This friend had indeed shadowed students in another school for part of the morning. He seemed likely to be going there. But there was no reason why. Ian couldn't give me any and he didn't ask his friend.

So Tuesday night I had a pit in my stomach all night. I decided I would call this friend's mom and ask her directly what was going on. So yesterday I called and heard the sad news. Her son is indeed going to this other school next year. Apparently three of the boys in my son's class have been bullying him for at least a year, maybe longer. They haven't been physical, but have been very mean in saying horrible things about this child. They exclude him, or when he is included, find ways to both belittle him and set him apart from the rest of the group. When I heard this I was shocked, to say the least. I wasn't completely surprised at two of the boys involved, but the third one I had no idea about. She asked me if Ian had any trouble with these boys, and I said none that I knew of.

One of the big problems at Ian's school is that it is very small. There is only one of each grade. So there is no chance of relief from year to year with changing classroom make-ups. This poor boy is looking at five more years with these same kids. I don't blame them for switching schools.

But the more time I've had to think about it the more angry I get. These same three boys will just stay here and probably find a new target once this boy is gone. Meanwhile, a family that has supported this parish and school tremendously are having to move their child to another school because of pure meanness. And my son is going to lose a best friend. How is that fair?

I wish there was something I could do. I'm at a loss right now.

When I told Ian I had called his friend's mom and it was indeed true that his friend would be going to the other school next year, he asked why. I explained that three boys in their class have been repeatedly making fun of his friend. When I said that Ian immediately named the three boys. When I brought up a few of the situations that I was told about Ian confirmed that they had happened. I am so sick about this. After talking to Ian about this kind of behavior and why it should never be tolerated I asked him how he would feel about going back there next year without his best friend. He said it would be different but that he still wanted to go back.

Now I'm worried that he is next on this little posse's hit list. I'm also worried about what he'll do without his best friend. I have never understood why some children are very cruel. I especially don't understand it when they are going to a good Catholic school and I know two of the three sets of parents. Do I tell them that their kids are the cause of this student's leaving? Would they believe me? I think I would want to know if my kid was doing this kind of thing. Is it too late for these kids to change? They are only in third grade, for goodness sake. If they can't change, who can? I am so angry over this. And really, really sad.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the bullying doesn't stop at grade school. Kids can be so cruel. I just don't get it.

Alison said...

Oh Heather, I could have written this post. this exact circumstance happened to my daughter and it started in 2nd grade and has continued. Part of me wishes that we would have changed schools then, but another part of me knows that Cassie has grown so much and has learned so much through this experience. She is now finishing 7th grade and wanted to leave this "nice Catholic" school this year. We looked at options and she decided to stay and graduate this year. You hit the nail on the head when you noted the glaring problem of only having 1 class per grade and no relief from the brats of the class. Unfortunately this does happen in every school, I just hated the idea of paying money (tuition) for it!! Cassie has changed alot this year and she has gained so much maturity and confidence it is amazing..she has really grown from this horrible experience. Your son may be next, or he may not be...whichever way it goes I am sure you will handle it just fine, you are a great mom!