I just realized that it’s been nearly two weeks since I have last written anything–a blog, a work assignment article, etc. I did write a long letter to my daughter’s School Directress earlier, however, since she had encountered another bullying incident with her long-time perpetrator.
Last year, the same kid bullied my daughter by pushing her off her chair and punching her on the arm. This time, the boy has been playing with her school stuffs, taking her money, and even put hand sanitizer on her drinking water. I just couldn’t take it anymore! So much that I have already brought my daughter to a martial arts school for trial lessons. Tomorrow would be her second day to try Wing Tsun and if things go well, I shall finally enroll her next weekend.
I have the school to blame since they apparently did not take seriously the case I presented to them last year–my daughter’s first bullying experience with that child. I strongly believed that if they had taken all the necessary actions to educate the parents of that child and give the required sanctions for the offense, the boy would have been better behaved now, or at least when he’s in school.
My first move was to schedule a meeting with my daughter’s class adviser and school directress, separately. I also wrote a letter addressed to the latter, condemning the school’s lack of attention to such issues and demanding for the recent events to be addressed fully. Without waiting for a response to my initial letter requesting for a meeting, however, I visited the school and met with my daughter’s class adviser.
As soon as I entered the campus, it seemed that everyone was expecting me except the school directress. I wondered whether my presence was so ominous that everybody seemed disposed to say a nice word to me. When the bell rang, signaling the end of class, I headed to my daughter’s classroom. Even the kids there seemed to know my reason for coming. They immediately shared stories on how that certain boy bullied my daughter and they all started looking for him. Apparently, both the class adviser and the boy were not in class.
It took nearly ten minutes before I saw the class adviser. She was in a meeting with their Academic Coordinator, who readily discussed with me the issue. She apologized that their school directress has not arrived, but assured me that they will be addressing the matter the soonest possible and will have a meeting with the parents of the child. Apparently, the boy has already committed numerous offenses and has tried to hurt not only his own classmates but students from other classes as well.
By the way, my daughter is in Grade 2 and is only seven years old. So was the boy. And I thought bullying is unheard of between girls and boys, especially at their age, but I was obviously wrong. Not to mention that my own daughter’s always the victim.
While the class adviser blamed the parents of the boy, I told her bluntly that their own school was as much to blame. They don’t seem to have clear guidelines on dealing with such infractions, and if they do, they do not impose them. In my letter, I went as far as to tell my addressee to involve the police, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Education if they find the parents of the boy uncooperative or indifferent. It seemed that they are not aware of their duties as parents, which include bringing up their son in a manner that will make him a good citizen.
I also did not hesitate to share with my listener what I am recently learning about the importance of parents to have a good relationship with their children. It was a month-long topic at our church, and I am convinced that the boy does not have a good relationship with his parents, or probably almost never spend time with them that’s why he has been misbehaving. While the teacher thinks that the boy may be copying the bad examples of his parents, I told her that even if that may be true, I’ve also seen children who had witnessed their parents gamble, smoke, get drunk, and physically hurt each other, but still behaved well, especially in front of other people. Parents will always have weaknesses that they may not be able to conceal in front of their children, but I believe their children may still love and respect them simply because somehow, the former were still able to develop good relationships with the latter, I added.
I recounted to my daughter’s class adviser the incident during their first grade class’s Christmas party in school last year, too. Apparently, a boy did not like my daughter to sing so he kept taking away the mic from her. He somehow managed to sit on my daughter’s chair, too. When my daughter tried to make him leave her seat by rocking the chair, the boy hit my daughter twice on the chest. I was so shock that it took time before I was able to react and think clearly. To avoid further distress and an ugly confrontation, I let the party end before I talked to the mother of the boy. Mind you, I had to demand an apology from both the mother and her child. I also scolded the boy right in front of her mother for hurting another child, especially a girl, and told the latter to discipline her child well. To this day, whenever that woman would see me, she would try to avoid me. However, if there was no way to avoid me and knowing that I would be within earshot, she would instead speak to my daughter and tell her that she and her son should be friends. I would just ignore the woman, however.
My point for telling my child’s teacher that story was to give her a head’s up on how certain parents treat their children’s misdemeanor: with utter indifference. I have warned her then that without the school’s help when it comes to dealing with both minor and major infractions committed by the students, not to mention some of the students’ parents’ lack of interest in raising their children in a Godly manner, she would definitely have much difficulty disciplining her students. She has to be more creative and consistent when giving rewards for good behavior to encourage the children to behave nicely in class as well as in giving punishments, like taking away of privileges, for bad behavior.
For now, I shall wait for the school to take action. I handed the new Guidance Counselor the letter I wrote for the School Directress and would wait for a schedule of meeting with her next week. My husband will also be coming home by then from Singapore, just to be able to meet with the boy’s parents and the officials of the Alma mater he loved. I think he’s starting to realize now that the glorious days of his school are long gone. Things are no longer the same and our daughter will not have the same lovely experiences that he had while he was still its student.
On the other hand, I kept reiterating to my daughter the need for her to stay away from such bullies and keep close to her friends. I also continue to encourage her to study hard and be more assertive and cooperative in class, so she’ll gain favor from other students and her own teacher. I tell her to pray especially when faced with difficult people and situations, too. I also remind her of her achievements and all the other things that she can do well to boost her self-confidence. Lastly, I encourage her to continue her martial arts training, so she’ll know how to defend herself, especially if there’s no adult to protect her and the bully continues to harass her.
We also came up with a list of what to do when a bully comes near her:
- Call teacher’s attention;
- If teacher is not around, move away, sit with friends, and ignore the bully;
- If the bully continues to pursue her, talk to him calmly;
- Still, if the bully pursues her, attacks her, and there’s no one to protect her, then she should by all means use her martial arts skills to defend herself.
It’s bad enough that my husband is miles away from us. Nothing gets more distressing to a mother like myself than having both a sick child and a child being harassed or hurt by others without the head of our family to help me protect and care for them. Times like this, I easily shift from being a somewhat laid-back yet supportive mother to an aggressive and very protective mammal.