I didn’t think it would happen so early on.
It started with stories of a girl in her class constantly yelling in her face. Antagonizing her with hurtful words and sometimes even laughing at her when she would tell a story. Making fun of her every time she presented her show and share item, telling her that her selected item was “stupid”.
When it first came up, I thought perhaps my daughter was exaggerating a little. Some children just have more aggressive personalities I thought to myself.
But then the stories became a daily routine. Her friends were telling me the same things that my daughter was telling me – that this girl was only being mean to my daughter. That she would somtimes shove her. One time my daughter even fell to the floor and her friends had to help her up. They made sure she was ok and told the girl to stop being mean.
Then one day, my daughter exited her classroom after school and told me with a worried look on her face that the girl had punched her in the face in music class. “Sometimes I feel a little scared of her mommy, she’s just so mean to me” she said in a whispered voice.
That was the last straw for me. This girl was a bully and something had to be done to make it stop.
|She believes that “being different is better” and treats everyone with a kind heart.|
I didn’t know how to approach it so I weighed the options in my head, and asked a few of my teacher friends for their advice. We narrowed it down to three solutions:
I could talk to the parents of the girl who was bullying my daughter. I didn’t feel comfortable going directly to the parents because I hadn’t seen the acts firsthand. In my opinion, it was the teacher’s responsibility to react immediately to the behavior, and to discuss the issues with the bully’s parents and the parents of the affected child.
I could talk to the school’s principal. I weighed this option carefully. I knew there were certain procedures in place for addressing bullying in the school, and worried that going over the teacher’s head might get her in trouble with her supervisor.
I could talk to the teacher. This was the option that I thought would work best. This would allow me to get the full story from a firsthand witness, and would give the teacher the opportunity to explain her process for addressing bullies in the classroom setting.
After careful thought, I ended up doing a combination of the last two options. I had been asked to send a note to the principal with any special requests for grade 1. In my note, I requested that my daughter not be placed in the same classroom as the girl who had been bullying her, as I thought the behavior was hindering my daughter’s learning environment. This note led to a follow up call from the principal, who asked me to share more information on what had happened between the girls. She suggested that I speak directly with the teacher as well.When I brought up the subject with my daughter’s teacher, she was very understanding and reassured me that she had set up meetings with both the girl’s parents, and her grandparents who sometimes shared childcare responsibilities. She told me that they were managing the situation and doing their best to ensure that the behavior is dealt with.I also took some time to discuss the situation with my daughter. I asked her to try to avoid talking to the girl, and to do her best to sit apart from her in class. My daughter agreed that this would be a good resolution and followed my advice.
I haven’t heard any stories this week about the girl attacking my daughter, and feel a little relieved that perhaps the situation has been resolved. But this is only Kindergarten, is this just the beginning of a long road of bullying? Will I always have to ask about my kids’ classmates and how they are being treated by their peers when I’m not around?
Has your child ever been the victim of bullying? What did you do?
NOTE: In my online research efforts, I came across this resource and thought it might be helpful for anyone who is experiencing the same thing as I have. Check it out: First Steps To Stop Bullying – Adults Helping Kids Aged 4-11 (Public Safety Canada)