Bubba has a bully. Well, sort of.
One evening a couple of weeks into the school year, Bubba told me that a kid in his class named Aidan* had hit and kicked him.
"On purpose?" I asked. "Are you sure it wasn't an accident?" I questioned him only because a few days earlier he had told us that a boy had kicked him in the chest, but upon further questioning he admitted that the kick had been an accident while they were playing.
"No, Mommy. He did it on purpose. He hits me all the time. I don't like him."
Hmmmm. "Well, just stay away from him if you can Bubba. And if he hits you again, tell your teacher. Don't run to the teacher about every little thing, but if somebody hits you, it's okay to tell the teacher about that. Does Aidan hit other people too?"
"Yes, Mommy. He hits everybody. He hit Thomas in the head and knocked him to the floor."
Well good grief.
A few weeks went by and no more mention was made of Aidan but when we went to our parent teacher conference last week, I asked his teacher. She wasn't really aware of what had happened because Aidan isn't in Bubba's actual class and they only see each other in the before and after school program, which she's not a part of .
But two days ago, Bubba came home and told us that Aidan had hit him in the eye and had tried to bite him. Two teachers had intervened and had apparently had a "discussion" about whether to pull a red card on Aidan. A red card is the highest level of discipline a child can receive and usually merits a trip to the office, but apparently they decided this behavior did not warrant a red card.
Well hell, what DOES warrant a red card?
So, short story long, we emailed all three teachers involved (his teacher and the two teachers who witnessed the incident) and asked that action be taken to prevent Aidan from hitting Bubba anymore. Bubba's teacher emailed back the next morning and assured us that she had already spoken to the morning and afternoon monitors to keep Aidan and Bubba separated. And thus far it seems to be working.
But a couple of questions have come up for me. Did we do the right thing by handling this with the teachers? Should we have counseled Bubba to stick up for himself a little bit before getting the teachers involved? I have this vague, uneasy, feeling that perhaps we have let Bubba down in some way but not letting him fend for himself in some way.
But then I think, my God, he's only five. He shouldn't HAVE to fend for himself at this age. And those feelings I have are probably just the antiquated notions of what's proper masculine behavior. Boys are supposed to be rough and tumble and fight and take care of bullies, right? Whatever. I don't want Bubba to be bound by those same notions that boys have to be so tough and never cry and don't talk about their feelings.
But the other question that has come up for me is about Aidan. What is going on with this child that he feels like he must strike out at everyone? His brother apparently has no such issues and is actually a friend of Bubba's. That's part of what makes it so strange. Is Aidan just being "all boy"? Or is there more going on there? I have no way of knowing. I know Bubba has two great advocates behind him, fighting for him, helping him. But who is behind Aidan, fighting for him, fighting to find out why he's so angry? Who is helping Aidan?
*not his real name
5 years ago