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What do you do when one kid tells you he saw his brother at school, crying?

You pull the crier into the kitchen and ask him privately what happened at school today.

What do you say when the kid tells you he was giving a presentation about the pope in medieval times, and his classmates were making fun of him? They called him names, scribbled on his poster, told him he was stupid, a jackass, a nerd.

You ask if he told the teacher.

Where do you stand when he tells you the teacher said she’d discuss it with another teacher tomorrow?

Right by his side.

What happens when you ask if anything else occurred?

He tells you nobody sat with him at lunch and when he approached kids to play, they told him to go away.

Then what do you say?

You say you are so sorry. That stinks. I don’t know why kids do that.

What does he say to that?

“Me neither.”

How can you drive him to school tomorrow and drop him off knowing what he’ll face?

33 comments to Bully

  • OMG ~ How heartbreaking 🙁
    Kids can be so mean

  • colicmommy

    Speaking now as the girl who was the biggest nerd in school, the most made fun of, the one with no friends….the kid who sat alone, ate alone, hid in the bathroom, and escaped to the library during recess and lunch to avoid the jeers and taunts…

    You go into that school and you talk to whomever you need to talk to in order for the situation to improve. I’m not kidding.

    I bore the scars of my school experience for years and years. It took a long, long time for me to realize I wasn’t ugly, I wasn’t fat, I wasn’t all those things they said. I was just smart and had different interests than they had. But it hurt so terribly much. I told my mom over and over that I had no friends and no one liked me at school, but she brushed me off, or just told me to tell the teacher.

    Please, be proactive. Go talk to the teacher and principal yourself. Bullying is much less tolerated these days (post Columbine, etc), and I do believe if you go in there, you might get somewhere your son won’t get to alone.

  • You pray. Not just for him, but with him. Pray for the bullies, the teachers, the principal. And then you go an talk to the apporpriate people as soon as possible.

    I am so sorry for this situation, it’s awful how mean kids can be.

    Jen Higgins’s last blog post..Nobodies

  • I agree 100% with colicmommy. Do what you can – in person – to address this situation with the school. I am appalled that his teachers didn’t notice such horrible behavior on the parts of his classmates.

    Please give him an extra hug in my stead. I’ll send an extra bit of mommy courage to you as well. Good luck, and my prayers are with your sweet boy tonight.

    Goslyn’s last blog post..So Much Depends Upon a Red Snow Shovel

  • My son and I faced those things from about 3rd grade on through jr. high. Pray you get a good teacher who will actually do something. Most of ours didn’t. My question was always why do the teachers allow it? This is a very sore subject for me. I’m sorry you and your son are going through it. I was certainly an opportunity to teach my son forgiveness, and for me to continue to practice it myself.

    I agree, though, be proactive with your son so that he knows he’s not alone. A lot of parents will just tell their kids to ignore it or even to fight back. I even had parents tell me to tell my son to fight back and that if he didn’t it was basically his fault if he was bullied. Some adults just never grow up.

    Dorci’s last blog post..The Long and Winding Road – Part 3

  • Yeah, what colicmommy said.

    feefifoto’s last blog post..Who’s In Your Reader?

  • this happens to my kids too and they are homeschooled! it happens at church a lot. made fun of because they don’t have boyfriends, because they are homeschooled… my kids want to know what to do about it. i always say pray for them. pray for the name-caller. pray for the bully and sometimes i talk to the mom of the kid. there are times when the mom truly wants what’s best for her kid too and sees things as they really are. not always, but sometimes.

    chickadee@afamiliarpath’s last blog post..Finding lost dogs and sending memos: all in a day’s work

  • I went through some of this in elementary school. For almost a whole year I walked around the school yard alone and the teachers did nothing except every once in a while ask me why I didn’t play with the other kids. Like I was choosing to walk around by myself and cry.

    Maybe you can invite a special friend over this week or weekend so he can remember that he does have friends. This is including the advice already given.

    Cyndi’s last blog post..

  • I’m SO sorry this is happening. We had a bully situation last year in our little 2-day/week school we tried out. Yes, homeschoolers sometimes bully other homeschoolers.

    I talked to the teacher multiple times and nothing happened. I then asked for the phone number of the bully’s mom. I never got that number, but you know what? The bullying then stopped.

    The teacher needed to know I was dead serious about doing something myself since she hadn’t done anything about it herself. That seemed to do the trick in our case.

    Of course we only had to deal with it twice/week. I’m so sorry your son has to go through this right now and that you do too.

    Megan’s last blog post..In which I hug a complete stranger in the candy section of my friendly neighborhood Wal-mart store

  • Amy

    That breaks my heart. Just hearing about it brings out the mama bear in me… and I’m not even his Mom.

    I agree with the other commenters. There are millions of opportunities for our children to learn to handle things themselves. This is not one of them. He needs you to be his advocate and defender.

    Schools are required, by law, to protect kids from bullying. I would let the teacher know that you are unhappy with the way she handled the situation. I would also talk to someone further up the chain of command.

    I’ll be praying for your sweet boy.

  • This breaks my heart. And it articulates one of my worst fears in parenting — that my child will be bullied. I can’t add anything meaningful to the advice you’ve goten already, but I do hope you can get some satisfactory response from the school if you bring it up with them.

    In the meantime, I’ll be saying extra prayers for you both.

    Shayne’s last blog post..How Can He Be That Old?

  • I have no advice.

    But my heart is breaking.

    Kelly @ Love Well’s last blog post..This Grand Vista

  • Oh you poor thing my heart breaks reading this! We had a bully situation with the kid from hell – he was an only kid to our se7en so his mom kept signing him up for our activities so that he could feel part of a crowd… and he was awful in every sense – every teacher knew it and nobody knew what to do about it!

    After years (slow learning mother here) of trying to deal with his parents, who were far worse than the kid “Sickly sweet and way overprotective – would watch their kid beat up a little kid and still think it wasn’t his fault”…I was too nice, I lent them books on bullying and they always , ALWAYS saw their kid as the poor victim.

    I finally said what activities will your child be involved in this year because whatever they are ours will not… I calmly said that I wasn’t interested in raising my kids with this toxic energy floating around and while their kid had the potential to change before he reached his teens he was unlikely to if his parents didn’t do a lot of letting go and growing up themselves.

    Needless to say we never heard from them again and I should have said how I felt years before! Learn from my mistake – Don’t let it go on – stop it right now!!!

    se7en’s last blog post..7-Up Cake in Se7en Steps…

  • Oh I’m so sorry Gretchen. How heartbreaking.

    Heth’s last blog post..Making My Kids Eat Gross Stuff- My Life’s Mission

  • My heart is breaking for him and you. Praying for all involved. (((HUGS)))

    Melanie’s last blog post..Where?!

  • Valerie


    I read your post and my heart broke. I had no idea what to even post back. This is a HUGE fear of mine with my kids. I left your blog not knowing what to say. Then I opened up my Daily Bible passages I read every morning and todays passage included Pslam 35:17-28 I couldnt believe how fitting it was for today. I will pray for your child and pray for the bullies. I just dont understand why this has to happen. I have no idea how you drop your child off today, but I pray you can find a way to stop this.

  • Inkling

    Speaking in my teacherly voice: this is completely unacceptable and the teacher needs to stop it, now. Call the teacher on the phone–do not e-mail, it’s too easy to placate via e-mail. Ask to see the teacher in person, to set up a meeting. Then tell her exactly what you’d like to see happen: those who bully will receive consequences, and it will not be tolerated. Be perfectly reasonable and perfectly forthright. The thing I’ve found works best in undermining bullying? They say you can’t change the bully, but you can educate the other kids not to go along with it, to stand up for the victim. If such an incident occurs, the class should be having a discussion about why bullying is wrong and why an ordinary person should stand against it. Most kids don’t access their empathy without some prompting, but I’ve found that most of them will access it if they are guided through the process. Sometimes when this happens I take a couple of kind kids aside, explain the situation, and tell them that I am asking them, because I know they are strong, smart, and good, to be a friend to this student who needs friends. They do it. Do NOT let it go or hope that it will resolve on its own. Teachers can’t see everything that happens–they need to be made explicitly aware.

  • ann

    I have typed and retyped comments on this post, trying to formulate a response. It just makes me so mad! Not only did the other kids hurt your son, but the teacher brushed him aside as well! I’m just really sorry it happened, Gretchen. I hope that teacher held her word today and spoke to the other teacher, and that together they will stand up for your son.

    ann’s last blog post..Late Afternoon Run

  • amy

    I am so sorry, and I agree that the teacher needs to take action. Your school should have a social worker on at least a part-time basis, and I’d call the office and ask to speak to him/her about your concerns that bullying is being allowed to go unchecked. Bullying is not tolerated in any school code of conduct.

    But, the sad truth is that life is full of meanies. I always tell my kids that there are two groups of kids in every elementary school: the kids that get teased and the kids that tease other kids. As much as it breaks my heart to see them sad, I tell them, it would absolutely devastate me to find out that they were one of the bullies – and so, I am terribly proud of them for the sort of human being that is decent, and kind, and good.

  • What Inkling says – that teacher needs to be spoken to immidately and firmly. If she doesn’t fix things within the next couple of days, GO OVER HER HEAD – first to the principal and then to the school board. I have lots of teachers in my family and I know how quickly they deal with things.

    Can you watch your child’s class without his knowledge? Sometimes a kid can do things that provokes bullying and that causes the teachers to be less than sympathetic and it’s good to rule that out, too. Watch for signs of interuppting other kids or the teachers, of ignoring obvious social cues and see if there are things that need to be talked about at home.

    Beck’s last blog post..FOURFOURFOURFOURFOUR!

  • edj

    We have dealt with this some, and I absolutely HATE it. I’m so sorry. I agree with the other advice given. Talk to the teacher, pray for and with your son, including praying for the bully(ies). Also, can older sibs help at all? Sometimes it’s a good thing if an older bro or sis suddenly materializes next to the smaller child.

    His teachers never do much either.

    It only happens with one of ours. He’s small for his age, but he also has the kind of serious personality that responds so “well” to bullying–by that I mean he gives them the response they want. It makes me so mad, because he is also the sweetest kid. We try to help him, but it’s hard.

    edj’s last blog post..8 Years & Counting…

  • No advice, just prayers.

    Bonnie’s last blog post..I Need a new T-Shirt

  • sarah

    I am so sorry. Hugs to you and your son.

  • I have no advice or ideas. Just give him love and I’m sending prayers.

  • Prayers for you both… I agree that you have to be pro-active, even if the school thinks you are hovering. Bullying is a terrible problem in our schools. I will be curious to see how the school reacts to your issues. I wish you well… and I pray that your son will let it roll off his back somehow….

    Jill’s last blog post..i just counted…

  • Carol

    I am so sorry. What a poor response from that teacher. I would think she’d be able to respond to something like that. Hopefully she learns something from this experience too.

  • My heart dropped for your boy’s fear and helplessness. Thank you for being a mom who will address this, however that ends up happening.

    I read the passage Valerie noted, Psalm 35:17-28, and prayed those verses for your boy also. I was thinking maybe it would help to read them with him; for him to know that others have felt this, and a way to connect with the Bible intimately in this place in his life. My prayers are with the two of you.

    Miranda’s last blog post..It’s Good to Be Home

  • I’m so, so sorry. As a former teacher, I say you need to talk to that teacher. That’s not right.

    Beth – Total Mom Haircut’s last blog post..Happy Earth Day

  • amy

    Wow. That’s tough. I’m so sorry for you, and whichever one of your guys this happened to. You must be so proud of the brother who told you of the incident, and you must feel good knowing that your son is willing to confide in you the bad things that happened to him. While this IS a fear of mine, my biggest fear is that something will be wrong in my kids’ lives and they don’t want to talk to me about it — that’s my greatest fear.

    Still, I would be so angry at the school, at the teacher. I’d wonder — why wasn’t I called/emailed about this incident? There are huge signs all around our local elementary school about “zero tolerence for bullying” but I have repeatedly heard that kids get bullied, often with no teacher intervention. I would contact the teacher, the principal, even the superintendent (one at a time, of course), whomever it takes to improve the situation.

  • I’m so sorry – this was so sad to read and it wrenched my heart. Have you gotten ANY answers from the school about why you weren’t told this or why you didn’t have a call?

    Melissa’s last blog post..Rachel Ray…

  • Poor little guy. I will keep him in my prayers today. I hope that it is a good one for him!

    randi’s last blog post..not my usual topic

  • I hate that this happens. I agree with others, you do whatever you have to to make things right for him. Hoping things get better soon.

    banteringblonde’s last blog post..My Car Is Jinxed

  • This is one of many posts on bullying I’ve read recently. I was bullied in high school and it was terrifying. My mom had a come to Jesus meeting with the school (Do NOT mess with my mom!) Our schools need to make it a priority to seek it out and to stop it.

    Antique Mommy’s last blog post..Lizzie

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