The Mean Teacher…..Is Going Down

teacherOn Sunday my 10 year old son, Sandor, said the words every parent fears, “I don’t want to go to school, they’re so mean”

“Who’s mean?” I pounced on the conversation like a puma. Was my boy being bullied? I was ready to kick some 5th grade butt.

He plopped down next to me on the couch. “The teachers, they talk to the kids so mean. I swear they hate us.”

This was a new situation. Sandor always loves his teachers and does very well in school. Open house night is one of my favorites because the teachers gush on and on about how great he is and what a wonderful mother I must be. When my self esteem is low I re-live parent teacher conferences. That’s how great Sandor usually does in school.

“Are they mean to you or just strict?”

“I can handle strict but they say really bad stuff to the other kids, not me really.”

My inner detective began taking notes. “Like what?”

“If you take more than even a second to answer a question they say “sit down” real fast.”

“Ok,” I said, thinking maybe it wasn’t’ that bad.

“And yesterday a new kid  tried to answer an English question. He got it wrong and was about to try again and Mrs. XXX said. ‘did you go to this school last year?”

“No ma’am.”

“Were you in any “special” classes at your old school?”

Wow, that really was a mean thing to say. I was shocked.

“I felt so sorry for him, Mom. He’s kind of annoying but still, she shouldn’t say stuff like that.”

He was right, she shouldn’t. Two days latter he came in a with a similar story. Apparently, my son has a teacher/bully, a grown adult who mocks and teases instead of teaches.

I’m not storming the principal’s office yet. It’s only the second week of school. I have to pick and chose my battles.

Then I told Sandor about a bubble trick I made up.  When the teachers start getting mean and loud just  close the bubble door. You’re inside, you can see and hear and focus, but the anger and chaos outside the bubble don’t have any effect on you. I made this bubble up for one of my Taekwondo students who was always getting mad at his little brothers and sisters.

Yesterday Sandor nearly tackled me and yelled, “The bubble worked, it totally worked!”

I was stunned. Maybe I’ll have to try it out at work tomorrow.

I’ll keep you posted as to what I do with the teacher.  Sandor can stay in his bubble but I’ve got a feeling at some point I’ll end up popping hers.

Girl Bullies and Groin Kicks on the Playground

football-sandor-207x300This morning Lexie stood in the bathroom doorway as I was putting on my makeup.  “Talk to Sandor about Kennedy, she’s kicking him in the groin on the playground.”

Kennedy is Sandor’s ex-girlfriend.  They are in fourth grade and “went out” for months.   Much to my surprise they were holding hands and he walked around with his arm around her sometimes, just like big kids. But two months ago Sandor broke up with Kennedy because “she got mean and bossy and stopped being fun to play with”.

I waited till we were in the car. “So what’s going on with Kennedy?”

He made a noise with his throat meaning he was disgusted. “She hits me and pushes me from behind and kicks me all the time on the playground.”

“Did you tell the teacher?”

“I tried but she wouldn’t listen.  She told me to ignore it. But she does it every day.”

“Has she ever actually made contact when she kicked at you?”

“Yeah, lots of times. She got my knee last week but she was aiming for my nuts. If she was a dude I’d hit her so hard.”

Sandor has been in Taekwondo for seven years so his defensive skills are pretty sharp. Good thing Taekwondo teaches lots of groin blocks.

And he’s not afraid of a fight.  A couple of weeks ago he came home with bloody knees. He told me a bigger kid grabbed his basket ball and threw it into a ditch then started walking away. Sandor ran up behind the kid jumped on his back. They both went down. Thankfully teachers didn’t see all this action or both boys would be in ISS.

But Sandor doesn’t know what to do with Kennedy…because she’s a girl. Teachers don’t pay attention…because she’s a girl. Sandor is ten and knows he would get into so much trouble if he hit a girl at school…but how’s he supposed to react?

It’s a reverse bully sexism situation.

Good thing there’s only three weeks of school left. Until then he better keep on blocking.


The Truth About Bullies

  Last night we watched Chronicles, the whole family.

  It’s a fine movie, the kids loved it.(spoiler alert) A teen aged boy is bullied and bullied, at home and at school. Then he and a couple of buddies get telekinetic powers and the fun begins. Think Carrie with a modern look and no pig blood.

In a perfect world  all the  bullied kids would turn into compassionate bully counselors who help make the world and schools a better place.  But we all know that’s not how it really is.

Well, the bullied kid in the movie,  seems sweet enough, but he turns into an absolute jerk and then he morphs into a monster. He’s been bullied and instead of being a kid with super powers who is understanding and heroic, he’s bitter and brutal.

He wants to kill everybody because he’s more powerful.

The truth is, sometimes  victims don’t turn into the compassionate citizens. Sometimes, victims become horrible people. So the movie, Chronicles, was a cautionary tale.  Victims who have been squashed, want to squish everybody else.

But that doesn’t excuse their behaviour.

Girl bullies are the worst because it’s emotional and cruel.  If you’re a boy that’s getting bullied, it’s easier to stand up and overcome  the physical abuse. 

But Girls….they are wicked.  Mary was bullied as a little girl, in elementary school. And now she is a hero for the under-represented.  She lives to serve up justice like a juicy steak. She wants to help those who are beat down and if she gets to beat down the bullies that makes her day even better. She’s bold, beautiful, exceptionally opinionated and pretty judgemental….in a brilliant super hero sort of way. Mary is now an “empowered, gorgeous, used- to- be- bullied girl” Most of the girls who used to pick on Mary are now unmarried with a couple of kids, working at a C-store. Mary will get her  Masters and works at the Clinton Foundation. Justice will be hers.

But she could have gone the other way.  She could have become bitter and cruel.

Last year, Sandor realized a squirrelly kid, Jason, was getting bullied in the boy’s bathroom. He was in third grade and didn’t know what to do. We talked the situation over and came up with a plan.(Yes, we told the principal too) When Sandor ran into the problem again all he did was say “Come on, Jason,” the kid followed him out the door.  Sandor escorted the boy out of the bathroom like a security detail. It worked.

Sometimes just extracting someone from a bad situation is enough to help. Bullies are cowards, if somebody, even a little boy, stands up, sometimes they back down. I think that’s because bullies actually know what they are doing is wrong.

I’m tired of talking about bullies and I’m sick of their stories and excuses. They are weak and mean and most are pretty stupid too. 

Parents, if your kid is a bully, you probably know it already.  Do something about it.