First off, Stella is okay, but…
Those are definitely six words you don’t want to hear at the start of a phone call from the school nurse.
A good URL turned IRL friend of mine wrote this post on Monday about one of the horrible games she remembered being forced to be a part of on her childhood playground. It made me shudder, both for her and for all of us who have been in similar situations as women and children. It also made me worried for what situations my own daughter would be a part of on her own playground someday.
That night, my husband and the kids and I were all sitting in the living room after dinner chatting about our days, and Stella mentioned for the first time ever that two boys in her class were being mean to her and her best friend lately. One of those boys (C*) is the child of a close friend of mine – he and Stella have always been buddies in the past, but “now that C* is friends with C, he doesn’t like [Stella] anymore.”
So that wasn’t great to hear, but I get that friendships are something that is an ever-evolving thing for kids. However, when we pushed for more information, it felt even worse.
Are you sure they weren’t just playing, Stella?
No, they’re being really mean to us. They push us and hit us and call us REALLY mean names.
Okay…where does this happen?
At recess and in our classroom.
Have you ever told your teacher about this?
No, she doesn’t know about it. They only do it when she isn’t looking. We don’t like when they’re so mean to us.
Um, okay. Bullying at 4 years old? Consider me supremely unhappy. In the classroom it’s a 1:7 ratio in the pre-school and she never had any issues last year. However, recess has both classes out there at once, and I have no idea which aides are watching them at that time, so I was concerned enough to e-mail her teacher the next morning to explain what Stella had said and to ask her to keep a closer eye for a few days on interactions in particular between them.
No joke, maybe an hour after sending that email, I got the call from the school nurse.
First off, Stella is okay, but she is currently being treated in my office because a boy on the playground threw a rock at her head and it hit her in the temple.
No stitches are needed, but she’ll have a bump and bruise for sure. There were definitely a lot of tears, but the ice pack has helped a lot, and she’s going back to her classroom in a bit.
Um, Okay. I literally just e-mailed her teacher about two boys in her class who have been bullying her. Who threw the rock?
Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that. It was *** who threw the rock. Is that one of the boys you were concerned about?
*sigh* No, but I’m not surprised that’s the name you said.
(Meanwhile in my head, I’m even more fuming pissed because ***’s mother is a friend of mine who has been hidden on my FB timeline for a good year. Our political views are SO polar opposite that it wrecks our friendship if I can see the crap she posts. We had JUST gotten into it on Monday on a mutual friend’s FB post about how WORDS MATTER because she was defending the “locker room talk” and how in her opinion words aren’t part of rape culture don’t lead to actions in her mind (harumph). My head was almost exploding by the ridiculousness of it all. Her style of parenting is also polar opposite of mine when it comes to exposure to violent movies, video games, etc. because of this difference in beliefs about words affecting actions.)
Meanwhile… on the phone, the nurse is reassuring me again that my daughter is fine, she had just wanted to give me a heads up about the bump and let me know that an incident report was being filed with the principal’s office.
Clearly this could have been so much worse, but it was the first time I’ve ever not been able to BE PRESENT to physically protect my child when something concerning happened. I trust her teacher and her school, and I’m hoping they are swift and definite about punishment for altercations like this, but MAN does it get me fired up.
When we asked Stella what has precipitated the rock throwing, she told us that the two boys were being mean to the twins again, so Stella was protecting them and they were hiding from those boys. She said that *** (the rock thrower) thought that was mean, so he threw a rock at her.
I’m about 50% proud of her that this all happened because she was protecting the girls in her class who are shyer and less assertive, and 50% still just pissed off that throwing a rock at her FACE was this boy’s solution to his anger. Physical violence is NOT the answer.
Ugh, that being said, I’m trying to keep a cool(ish) head about this, because after all, they are just 4 years old and learning social interaction. It just sucks to not always be able to protect your kids, you know?