He finally told me he is getting punched by a kid at school. So we talked. This isn't the first time he has been bullied there.
If you get hit, hit em back. Most of the time a bully will stop bulling you if you defend yourself. But with the policies put into place by the public school system this is not tolerated. The defender will get the same punishment as the bully. We learned this with Large. Large was picked on for years. He is a good kid. It wasn't until his protagonist started beating up on another kid that Large finally did something. After years of abuse from this child and Large never standing up for himself, he defended another child. The bully is not a problem anymore.
Small has never cowered to anyone. Not his brothers, not to any of the kids in the area. But at school he is left defenseless. He has been told that fighting will make his teacher sad. And to Small that is a big no no. He adores his teachers, wishes to please them. He doesn't get into any trouble. He does have a speech problem and though it has been improving there has been a couple of students that has marked this out as something to tease him about. Small and I have talked about this. It bothers him, but he is trying harder to speak properly and ignore the others words.
Yes I know many will say that doesn't matter. That they will find something else to pick on him about. Possibly. Everyone got teased or picked on when growing up. And if you claim you didn't then I am not calling you a liar, but you might be mistaken. People might not have done it to your face, or you consider being completely ignored by your peers not a form of abuse. In any case, it happens.
But the schools give too much power to the bullies. When you leave the good kids no alternative to defend themselves, be it with words or fists, you create a necrotic child. Small so much wants to show this boy that he is not a victim. He tries to ignore him, walk away from his fists. But the taunting only increases. Here Small is a child that can be pushed around. A child that you can do whatever you want to and he will never retaliate. The perfect victim. This causes a domino effect. Once you get a child to cry or to put up with the abuse no matter how stoically, others see this as an opportunity to be a dominate personality.
They claim that the policies in affect help the victims. How? You punish them just as severally as the aggressor. And how long will the victim be able to tolerate not only the abuse but the punishment issued by authority figures when he does defend himself? Why are we teaching our children that defending yourself is a criminal act? When did it stop being ok for a child to try and work out issues before tattling? Once upon a time, boys would argue, they would get into fist fights and they would either end up best friends for years or they would respectfully avoid each other.
Suicide rates among the bullied are on the rise. This is unacceptable. Our children are getting to the point that they see no other alternative?
Sticks and stone will break my bones, but words will never hurt me
is now being taught as
Sticks and stones will break my bones and words will break my heart.
Were my peers so coddled by their hippie parents that we have begun emotionally stunting our children. No more bucking up and allowing the name calling to slide off your back because you know that what they spew is not the truth. That we should all be victims no matter the circumstance and dutifully play the stereotypical part.
We should intervene when we see bullying. We should also unbind the hands of the victims. We should punish not on a whole but on a case by case basis.
Small is unwilling to stand up for himself, to protect himself, to defend himself at school because he fears the consequences. He'd rather suffer quietly than suffer the wrath of his authority figures there. But at home in the neighborhood he will not put up with it. The consequences he suffers at home differ depending on what has happened. He knows that bullying will not be tolerated here but hitting another boy in self-defense is. He knows not to ever hit first.
Many reading this will think me in the wrong. That violence of any kind should be quickly stopped and all parties should be disciplined. Maybe I am too old fashioned, maybe I am too Heartland, maybe I grew up with all boys and have seen the interactions. Whatever you feel about me, my sons will not be involved in the woe is me pseudo victim party. They have our permission and blessings to stop the bullying, to stand up for themselves and what is right.
No, I will not be pulling them out of school for homeschooling. We discovered that over the summer that homeschooling just isn't a good fit for us. I am headed to the school with Small in a few to talk with the principal. I will get his hands unbound.
The meeting was interesting. Very short. Guess the principal saw me coming from a mile away.
First off I did not go in angry. I went in concerned about my child and what the school would do to protect him if they were not going to allow him to defend himself.
The principal reassured Small that he would not get into trouble for telling. Then sent Small to class so we could chat quickly. I asked the Principal if he could see how anxious Small was. He almost cried walking out of the office. The principal assured me he would do everything possible to find out who had hit him and punish said child. He understood Small's worry about getting in trouble, in fact, he said, most of the kids that get pushed around are more fearful of getting into trouble by the teachers than they are of the bully.
Well skin me alive and call me luggage. Really Mr. Principal? I could have told you that. Of course I didn't say as much, I merely gritted my teeth and tried to stay the calm cool parent that I am. He knows were I stand on Small defending himself.
After a bit I got a phone call. The principal had taken Small to the 3rd grade classrooms. The principal pretended to talk to the teacher as Small scouted the room, looking to ID the perp. What a bad idea that is. Of course Small couldn't id the child. Not surprising on many levels. I think it was more wouldn't than couldn't. My boys will tattle on each other until the cows come home (and that's only cuz the cows get home very late at night and they are sleeping) but when it comes to other children, my boys will typically deal with it themselves. They come to us when the situation warrants it. They have yet to get in over their heads. And if they do, they are reminded often that they can come to us. Large came home after defending that one child, very smug and proud of the fact he hit the bully.
The principal once again emphasized that he was on top of the situation.
My worry for Small isn't so much the bullying. He will make it through it like the millions of the rest of us have. My worry is what happens when he can no longer take the bullying and hits the kid and the same size fits all punishment he will receive for doing so. The ramifications of having to sit idly by, seething of course, while he is abused all for the fear of an unjust punishment.
When he returns from school we will talk again. We will talk about right and wrong, crime and punishment, just and unjust, and that if he defends himself he will not suffer by my hands and that I will still adore him.
And I will take it up with the school board if he is suspended for ever defending himself physically.
I understand the need to punish for fighting. It is the policies that treat the children the same (victim and bully) that I take issue with.