I have written briefly about this in an earlier post. But I felt the need to write just about this one particular problem this time. To support my daughter and to learn from all of our mistakes through my written word.
Rebecca is late….she is never late…
My 9 year daughter has a young man in her class that thrives on getting attention. There are a lot of children and adults that are like this. But this particular young man thrives on stalking my daughter. That is really the only word, besides bullying, that I can think of using for this particular young man, let’s call him “A”.
“A” has been, oh let’s call it, interested in Rebecca since the firt day of school. Now keep in mind we just moved here. She’s the new kid and she is a pretty little girl. Long brown hair, sage green eyes, pretty little smile with braces on her teeth. A few days into school “A” proposed to Rebecca. Rebecca thought it was sweet and just smiled at him, they are in 3rd grade, how else should she respond? Then it got a little more intense. It went from telling her that he loved her, to making it so no one could play with her at recess because he stood guard and chased everyone away. Soon after as they were in a group setting sitting on the floor, “A” reached up Rebecca’s shirt and touched her bare hip, Rebecca swatted his hand away and moved. (no she did not report it then but boy did I report it the next day). He has secretly cut her hair and saved the locks for himself, threatened her, called her names, told horrible lies to the entire class about her and gone back to saying he loves her.
Needless to say: Rebecca is frustrated and scared. She doesn’t want to go to school anymore, and she loves school and she is a very good student. She (we) have talked to her teacher, the principal, and the school counselor. They say- and I, personally, hear this as an excuse- that “A” has issues and doesn’t understand boundaries. Okay, as an educator I understand that, but then if he has a history shouldn’t there be some guidelines, some precautions already set up for this young man “A”? He had a different girl of interest last year with some similar issues… so you would think that a set of guidelines was already in place. Not so. Except for the fact that he, apparently, talks with the counselor occasionally about what are appropriate boundaries and the best way they have found to do this with him is through stories of examples. It appears to not be working very well.
I am sorry that he has to be in the position that he is, but does that mean that my daughter needs to feel the way that she does because of this one young man? You know the addage, can’t see the forest for the trees? That is where Rebecca is at the moment. There is another young man in her class that keeps a close eye on her. He makes sure that “A” stays away from her when they stand in line or go to Specials. Rebecca won’t speak up because that would interrupt the class and she feels like she would be an annoyance. (How do I get her to realize that she has to stand up for herself in all situations. To protect herself by not allowing herself to be in a position that “A” can do, whatever “A” can think of doing.) This young man is being a good citizen, he has no other reason, i.e. he doesn’t have a crush on Rebecca. He is being kind. But does my daughter look at the beauty of the forest, her classroom? No, she thinks about what “A” will do next. Last week he wispered in her ear: “I heard some 5th graders say that they were going to beat your a**. Don’t worry I’ll protect you.” Of course no 5th graders said that, they don’t even know her. She has a brother in 5th grade and I work with the 5th grade classes often enough that they know that if someone did say this….well, let me just say…. no one would say this. It was another ploy. Another tactic to cause more discomfort for my daughter. And now he has stepped up his bullying with all of Rebecca’s best buds in class. And Rebecca is worried that she will be isolated.
Where is my sweet little girl? Where is the darling that rose with the first alarm and dressed sweetlly and was ready to walk out the door before it was time? I hate-yes I said hate- the fact that she has gotten lost in all of this rigamarole. I want my baby back. But I don’t think that I will get that. I think that I will get a war battered girl at the end of the year. I can tell you this… she WILL NOT BE IN THE SAME CLASS AS HE IS NEXT YEAR!!! If I have to go over heads to make it so I will.
Bullying has become an epidemic. And although I know that most school systems have a no bullying policy I have yet to see any real action take place in our instance. He has been talked to. The teacher knows about everything and keeps them seperated, as much as you can in a class of 25. But isn’t there something else that can be done? If he is doing the things he is doing, all year long, in 3rd grade what will his “knows no boundaries” mind come up with in 5th, 7th, 12th? I would be afraid to find out. An intervention is in order.
Rebecca may, and hopefully will, come out of this a stronger girl. I would have preferred to have her have her childhood a few more years but that apparently wasn’t the plan. God has a plan for her life and this will help her build on whatever that plan is. So there is a sunrise on the horizon and we will stand firm and face it with resolve to a better day.