The Bully Returns
[For those of you who are not familiar with the story and care to get a primer, just read the above linked post and thengo here and work your way around, if you are so inclined.]
Things have escalated since September (if you recall, DJ was once again put in a class with "S.") and rather than go into every detail of the aggravation and torment, I'll just tell you that everything culminated with a phone call from the assistant principal two weeks ago.
At least I thought that was the culmination. I was assured that S. would be dealt with properly by the new assistant principal, who seemed to understand - unlike the principal himself - that S. was the root cause of the situation, not some strange desire DJ has to be bullied, or signals he was sending out, or that my son was looking for attention from me so he made some things up. Yes, all these things were said.
To backtrack a bit, both DJ and his teacher swore up and down to me for most of this school year that DJ and S. had become friends and had put the past behind them. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I realized this was all a ruse on my son's part, partly to deflect any of S.'s abuse - pretending to like him would probably keep DJ off of the short list of people S. picked on - and partly because he didn't want me to worry about him every day.
I did notice a bit of a change in DJ this school year. He was very subdued, very quiet. He was quick to anger and incredibly surly. In essence, he had become someone else. I called the school psychologist about it, but he assured me it had nothing to do with school and therefore I must consult an outside professional. I was trying to figure out ways to get DJ to open up to me a few weeks ago when he decided on his own to just, out of nowhere, blurt out:
Mom, I don't like myself since I became friends with S. I think I changed and I don't like it at all.
My heart nearly broke. Here was this child, a ten year old, struggling with himself and his conscience over his feeling and coming up with nothing but self-loathing, thanks to one small punk named S. What power this child has over mine! DJ swore he would no longer be friends with S. He would just ignore him like many of the other kids in school did. We had a little heart-to-heart about it and I made a mental note to schedule an appointment with the teacher.
I'm not going to get into the details of what has gone on since then. We'll just call it bad and leave it at that. And that's just whatever involved DJ. S. also choked a child this week. For that, he was sent home for the rest of the day. Yea, that will teach him.
I finally met that proverbial camel with the straw yesterday. DJ came home, quiet, sullen, complaining of a stomach ache. I knew the signs. I asked about S.
S. hit him. He hit my son. It had finally come down to that. I tried to remain calm and kept my voice even as I talked to DJ about it. No, no one saw it. No, he did not tell his teacher. No, he did not hit him back.
Now, as I type this, DJ is in the shower and I hear him crying. This is every morning now; it's either a stomach ache or a headache or just random tears and I have officially lost my cool.
I've played nice up until now. I've written formal letters and had pleasant phone calls and just sat there and nodded my head and believed everyone who told me that they would make it all better.
I tried not to come off as that over protective mom who wants to shield her kids from everything. I am not that person. I believe, to an extent, that kids should fight their own battles and learn how to lose and figure out how to solve their own problems because, if a parent does all that for them, they will still be children as adults.
But now. Now I am steaming. Now I am one of those parents, the one who makes the principal cower in fear as she walks through the door. I have made the transformation from mild-mannered Bruce Bannon, to the big, green Hulk. And Hulk mad. Hulk smash. Hell hath no fury like a woman channeling a mean, green, smashing machine.
It's time to hire an attorney. No, I do not want to sue the school or the district or S.'s father. I just want to light a fire under their unsympathetic asses. I want them to know the distress they have caused by letting this ten year old version of Saddam run around loose while the school plays the part of the U.N.
You would think that after a year of complaints about this child, after all the trouble he has caused - and not just with my son - after all the times he has been sent to the main office to sit on the bench and sulk, they would stop with the touchy-feely, root cause, search inside yourself crap and realize what the true problem is: this kid is rotten to the core and he does not belong in a classroom with children who are there to learn, not to be bullied.
One of these days my son is going to turn around and clock S. Of course, DJ will be the one to get suspended, be punished, made an example of. The victims are always turned into the perpetrators in these circumstances. Columbine, anyone? Is the school district going to wait for my son to buy an AK 47 off of the black market and walk into school one day and finally have his say, with bullets? Or are they waiting for S. to really explode and physically damage someone before they take action against him?
I'm at a loss as to how to wake these people up and show them that not only are they enabling this bully, but they are giving him free reign to become bigger and stronger and more dangerous. If the only way I can do it is by threatening them with some kind of legal mumbojumbo, I'll do it. It's either that or I march into the main office and start swinging. Which would not put me in a good position to complain about S., would it?
It's 7:48 am. My son is in his room crying. He doesn't want to talk about it. It's another day he will go to school with red eyes and fear in his heart. Another day that has had all the joy sucked out of it for him because of one bastard kid. It's unfair, it's wrong and it's going to end once and for all, even if I have to go knock on this kid's front door and threaten his father with a lawsuit if he doesn't fix his son's problems, and fast.
I'm going to spend most of the morning at work trying to type a strongly worded letter that makes it clear I will not take this anymore. I really don't know what else to do. This bully has killed my son's personality. He has taken every bit of enthusiasm for life that DJ had and squashed it under his shoe. And he's being allowed to do it.
I am really at a loss.