the meeting: use of force
DJ woke up with a headache today and I let him stay home. One of those 'mental health' days. At 9:30, I left him home with my husband and headed up to the school for a meeting with the principal and the teacher.
I walked towards DJ's classroom and stood in the hallway for a few minutes. The bell had not yet rung, so the kids were lined up in the halls.
It took all of two minutes before I was able to pick out which kid was Big Bully. Thing is, Big Billy turns out to be Little Bully. He's about the same size as DJ, yet his demeanor makes him appear to be much larger. In the time that I stood there waiting for the teacher, Big Bully had pushed/shoved no less than five kids, including two girls, one of whom he purposefully tripped. He had a little crowd around him; several boys who egged him and laughed at everything he did.
I should state for the record that I like DJ's teacher. She just has a very tough class this year, and it's a bit more than one person should have to handle. If you were just taking into consideration education (not social) factors, I would say she is a damned good teacher.
So the teacher and I headed up to the principal's office for a meeting. I immediately went on the defensive because the principal used wording that made me feel as if I had to explain myself when what I really wanted was for him to explain himself.
The conversation ran the gamut, from why children of divorce sometimes seek attention from their parents (are you saying my son is making stories up to get my attention?) to needing corroboration of Big Bully's behavior (I gave you the name of two other mother's, call them) to the school's zero-tolerance policy on hitting and shoving.
The problem with the zero-tolerance party is that the hitting needs to be brought to the attention of the teacher or supervising adult in the classroom, playground or lunchroom. This is DJ"s job, and I agree. He must tell someone when something happens. If Big Bully knows that DJ won't tell, it will only empower him to do it more.
I still did not like that tone of the meeting, during which I felt like the principal was somehow blaming the situation on me. He kept saying "real world" and "this is what adult's do" and "if someone robbed you, wouldn't you tell?" and I kept explaining that this is a nine year old kid we are talking about, not an adult. The principal said that DJ has to realize how the real world works sooner or later, and he needs to start telling on Big Bully before things escalate.
What if, I said, DJ gets to the point where he's had it? What if Big Bully takes it one step too far and DJ hauls off and hits him back? The principal explained the definition of fighting to me as if I was a three year old and assured me that they would both be punished.
I assured him that I would back up my son's right to defend himself physically if the situation called for it. Especially now that I no longer see Big Bully as some huge kid that would knock DJ flat, but just a little wimp whose bark is worse than his bite.
The meeting ended on a rather antagonistic note, but I don't care. I think they saw from the look in my eyes that I mean business. I did tell them I would take this higher up if need be. The bully does not have to push my child every day in order for this situation to be rectified; just the fact that he goes to school in a climate of fear is enough to warrant more action than what I'm getting.
I came home and went from upset and frustrated to pissed off and agitated. I made DJ breakfast and we sat on the couch together, watching cartoons and talking about the situation.
Aunt Lisa told me last night that I should defend myself.
Of course you should.
She told me that if he tried to hit me, I should grab his hand and bend his fingers back.
That's one move you could make.
But that would hurt him.
And then he wouldn't hurt you.
And then Aunt Lisa said I should say 'your father told my mother that you have problems and you pee your bed at night.'
Well, Aunt Lisa tends to go overboard sometimes.
What if I did hit him back, mom? Would I get in trouble?
You might, but not with me.
You wouldn't be mad?
How could I be mad at you for defending yourself? And you know, I finally got a look at this kid today. You could take him. Easily.
Maybe. I just don't know how to fight.
You've seen enough hockey games. You know what to do.
Pull his shirt over his head?
And then punch him in the stomach?
Maybe I'll just start telling the teacher when he's being mean to me.
Yea, you need to do that. It's the only way he'll ever get punished and be made to pay for his behavior.
And then I'll go kick him in the balls.
That's my boy.
Bitch at me all you want for condoning violent behavior in my child. I've had enough of him being taken advantage of. The time has come to fight back and while I may do that with lawyers, DJ can do it with force.