Young bully

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carg0612's picture
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Young bully

In my daughter's class she has a bully. I've emailed/talked to the teacher. I've emailed/talked to the guidance counselor. Things got better for a while. Now they aren't again. Here is what the girl does (she's 10, btw)

1. calls names like "you're so stupid", "you're such a baby", "you're so ugly"
2. lies like "well my mom told Mrs. teacher that you didn't talk to me today so you're going to get in trouble" OR "I told boyX that you like him and want to date him and unless you come sit with me at the boys table I'm going to tell all the boys that"
3. sent emails with the same type of language
4. pushing and shoving
5. stomping on feet.

Result: my DD and 2 other girls are afraid to go to school and don't want to go to school. Which is awful because my DD loves school.

Additional info: My DD is not the only one who has had problems with this girl - other parents have contacted me, the teacher, the guidance counselor.

My issue: I don't feel like enough is being done by the school given this child continues to behave this way with my DD and other children.

Question: What should I do? What should the school do? Is the school responsible for remediation? How far should the school go? Is this girl considered a bully (by 10 year old standards)?

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It seems to be well documented with several children that this other girl is being a bully. If she is calling names, using verbal threats, and getting physical: the school should put a stop to it. Either moving that girl into a another school, class, or whatever strong discipline they can allow. I think it's completely unacceptable for children to be scared of going to school because of a bratty child who is being a bully. I would call the school daily to complain until the problem is fixed.

Have you thought about taking it to the school board? Can she go to another school?

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I agree that it's unacceptable. We, very luckily, are in a school system where these types of situations are relatively uncommon. The problem there is that I don't think the teachers and the counselor have enough experience dealing with bullies.

I don't want to pull my DD out of school because of one kid but I do think the school needs to do something stronger than just "talk to the mom" because they've tried that and it clearly didn't work.

I just don't know what they should do or how far they should go. Is this girl too young to have a serious reprimand?

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Bullying is horrible and should be stopped and dealt with by the school immediately. However,I think we are sometimes too quick adn focused on the label bullying and we get way from the fact that these kids are kids, too. And soemtimes we trun them into characatures and sterotypes instead of seeing them as troubled kids.

Now I am not sayign that as a way to dismiss or excuse this little girl's behavior (if all you say is true). But when we focus on it as just bulyying and bullies it makes it too black and white and sometimes it's not. My daughter had a new student in her class and everyday she would come home and say how mean she was. Come to find out the little girl comes from a very poor home. I mean so poor that she has to take a shower sometimes in the nurses office cause her water was turned off. She was made fun of by some kids sayign she smelled and her clothes were ugly, so obvioulsy she has put on a front of "hurt you before you hurt me" attitude. I tried to explain to my DD that if she had no food and had to come to school dirty and take showers at the nurses office she wouldbe in a bad mood, too. As soon as DD started treating her with empathy and kindness, the meanness got 100% better.

Again I am not condoning bullying behavior at all. I am just saying maybe you should not worry so much about whetehr this is bullying or not and talking to other parents, and instead try to get at the root of the issue. And if all else fails, why can't you move your child to another class?

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I would be the world's biggest pest to the school until they dealt with it properly. Your child does not deserve to be treated that way. Additionally, I would (and have) told my child that if another child gets physical with her and words aren't stopping the physicality that she has every right to physically defend herself and we will back her up on that. My children are not to start fights but they absolutely have the power to end them. Sometimes a bullying child needs to see that other children will not put up with that nonsense and I'm sure not everyone will agree with me on this, but sometimes the way that needs to be shown is with a pop to the face.

When I was about that age, I had a kid that was bullying me. Yes, I think she was an unhappy child, but she was doing a lot of the behaviors you're describing and ruining my love and sense of safety at school. The teachers and administration generally ignored the issue until this girl pushed the boy with leukemia down and hurt him; she was finally expelled after that (private school). There is no reason it needed to go on that long.

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Definately no too young.
Complain more, with more parents. Make it very uncomfortable for the principal/superintendant etc.
Physical violence could be taken to the police... only works well if your DD doesn't hit back.
3 of my Best Friends children have gotten beaten up at school, one to the point of unconsiousness, and not much is/was done, because they try and defend themselves.
It all churns my stomach!
Kids should not have to feel afraid just to learn.

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"Rivergallery" wrote:

Definately no too young.
Complain more, with more parents. Make it very uncomfortable for the principal/superintendant etc.
Physical violence could be taken to the police... only works well if your DD doesn't hit back.
3 of my Best Friends children have gotten beaten up at school, one to the point of unconsiousness, and not much is/was done, because they try and defend themselves.
It all churns my stomach!
Kids should not have to feel afraid just to learn.

I can't imagine telling my kid they should just take a beating and not fight back so that the police might have an easier time later. That's ridiculous.

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I know I don't tell them that either, but I don't have to deal with this idiocy.

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"Rivergallery" wrote:

I know I don't tell them that either, but I don't have to deal with this idiocy.

Any child who spends time with and develops relationships with peers has the potential to be a bully or be bullied.

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The idiocy from the beuracracy of the school district.

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"Rivergallery" wrote:

The idiocy from the beuracracy of the school district.

You said the police couldn't handle it if the child defended herself. That has nothing to do with a school district.

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Yes it does. Beacause the child that was knocked out was still forced to attend the school. The school didn't remove or expell the child.

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Please, PLEASE don't tell your daughter to be physical with another student during the school day. No good can come of it. If that's something you want to do outside of school, have at it. Schools cannot tolerate physical aggression, especially at age 10. Can you imagine how quickly something would escalate if everyone used that mentality? Kids at that age don't have the maturity to know about what sort of response their actions would generate. If one child pushes, the next one hits, then what? Not to mention the fact that teachers often see the responder, not the initiater of the trouble. I always tell my students that it's the second kid that gets caught (talking, passing notes, poking, whatever).

The next step, I think, is for you to check the school or county or system handbook, detailing expected behaviors and consequences. My county has a handbook geared for elementary, one for middle, and one for high. At the beginning of the year, the principal goes over it and all the parents and students have to sign it. There should be specific guidelines about what consequences go along with verbal and/or physical abuse. Also, I think there are guidelines (federal, maybe?) about harassment via electronics because of all the troubles with high schoolers and Facebook/email/messaging. If your school doesn't have one, you should contact the main offices for your school system and find one (often published on the system's website).

Find the information specific to what your child is going through and set up an appointment with the principal. Take the handbook with you and point out what it says and give detailed info about what has happened and when (try to give specific dates and actions). Tell the principal that your child is beginning to be afraid to come to school and the actions that have been taken so far (convos with teacher and guidance counselor). Ask if there is some kind of plan in place.

Meanwhile, like Lana said, encourage your child to be kind and patient and to steer clear when possible. Some people are mean (for various reasons) and, if kindness doesn't work, sometimes space does.

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Absolutely, any time a kid has to be afraid to go to school, whether it's mentally or physically, as a result of another's behavior, I consider it bullying. If we label that kid a bully or not is another story, but it doesn't change the fact that something needs to be done. It's really unfortunate that the steps that have been taken so far haven't helped. I'd probably contact the superintendent of schools as my next step.

I also would not ever tell my kids not to defend themselves physically if the need arose. If the cops end up involved and say that nothing can be done because he or she defended themselves, and I felt it warranted (such as permanent disfigurement or an injury resulting in the need for medical care) I would involve a lawyer. I don't encourage my kids to fight, in fact just the opposite, but I expect that if I would defend myself, so would they.

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I just wanted to say I'm so sorry your daughter is going through this. I can't say for sure what I'd do as I haven't been there, but I think you and every one of the other parents w/ kids affected by the bully should continue to pursue the issue. Even better if you all banded together.

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Here's what my school system says about it:

Student Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation
A person is bullied when he/she is exposed to intentional negative actions on the part of one or more students, and whose ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s educational programs or activities is adversely affected. Bullying often occurs repeatedly and over time.

A person is harassed when he/she perceives or actually experiences discomfort with identity issues in regard to race, color, national origin, gender,disability, sexual orientation, religion, or other identifying characteristics, and whose ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s educational programs or activities is adversely affected.

A person is intimidated when he/she is subjected to intentional action that seriously threatens and induces a sense of fear and/or inferiority, and whose ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s educational programs or activities is adversely affected.

Bullying, harassment, or intimidation is strictly prohibited by federal law and will not be tolerated in [this system].

Students who engage in behaviors that constitute bullying, harassment, or intimidation will be disciplined according to the procedures set forth in this Handbook...

It is actually a category II offense in my system:
Category II - Examples of offenses for which the student may be suspended, assigned to an alternative program, and which may result in expulsion:

Attacks/Threats/Fighting
c. Extortion or taking money or possessions from another student(s) by threat or causing fear and intimidation
d. Physical attack(s) on a student
e. Threat(s) on individual(s)

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"daniellevmt" wrote:

I just wanted to say I'm so sorry your daughter is going through this. I can't say for sure what I'd do as I haven't been there, but I think you and every one of the other parents w/ kids affected by the bully should continue to pursue the issue. Even better if you all banded together.

Yes to all of the above. Just don't band together with picket signs in front of the school like the twit parents in the thread about peanut allergies... Wink

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Becky - I wish our school had "categories" of bullying and the consequnces listed. That would certainly make this easier - at least to know what can be expected.

As for the physical nature of the altercations nothing's been "serious" - just pushing, shoving, foot stomping. But, of course, in my mind that's serious enough.

I will be requesting that my DD not be in this child's class next year but that isn't stopping her from doing this to other kids as well.

I tell my DD not to touch this girl. I tell my DD to ignore/walk away. I think that's helped her but she is witnessing her friends get picked on too. In fact her bff got picked on and the bully told my DD that she would continue to pick on the BFF as long as my DD was friends with her.

Do I have a responsibility to continue to complain even if this girl is picking on my DD's friends instead of her?

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The categories are the level of consequence. Like, improper use of school technology is a different category than, say, assaulting a teacher.

Is there no handbook or system guideline? Surely they address physical or emotional intimidation. I see you spoke to the teacher and guidance counselor. Have you spoken to the principal? Tell him/her what you've tried and how it's not working. Tell about how the intimidating child is trying to turn it around so your child feels responsible.

Yes, I think you should pursue it because it is still affecting your daughter. I'm sure she feels somewhat like she's "causing" the problem for her friends.

This stinks! So sorry you have to deal with this!!!!

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"b525" wrote:

Please, PLEASE don't tell your daughter to be physical with another student during the school day. No good can come of it. If that's something you want to do outside of school, have at it. Schools cannot tolerate physical aggression, especially at age 10. Can you imagine how quickly something would escalate if everyone used that mentality? Kids at that age don't have the maturity to know about what sort of response their actions would generate. If one child pushes, the next one hits, then what? Not to mention the fact that teachers often see the responder, not the initiater of the trouble. I always tell my students that it's the second kid that gets caught (talking, passing notes, poking, whatever).

The next step, I think, is for you to check the school or county or system handbook, detailing expected behaviors and consequences. My county has a handbook geared for elementary, one for middle, and one for high. At the beginning of the year, the principal goes over it and all the parents and students have to sign it. There should be specific guidelines about what consequences go along with verbal and/or physical abuse. Also, I think there are guidelines (federal, maybe?) about harassment via electronics because of all the troubles with high schoolers and Facebook/email/messaging. If your school doesn't have one, you should contact the main offices for your school system and find one (often published on the system's website).

Find the information specific to what your child is going through and set up an appointment with the principal. Take the handbook with you and point out what it says and give detailed info about what has happened and when (try to give specific dates and actions). Tell the principal that your child is beginning to be afraid to come to school and the actions that have been taken so far (convos with teacher and guidance counselor). Ask if there is some kind of plan in place.

Meanwhile, like Lana said, encourage your child to be kind and patient and to steer clear when possible. Some people are mean (for various reasons) and, if kindness doesn't work, sometimes space does.

I totally disagree with the bolded. If someone is pushing and hitting my child, she definitely has the right to physically defend herself. Waiting until after the school day to hit another child who hit her on the playground? Unacceptable. Hitting back to protect herself? I 100% support that. I will not teach my children to stand there and just take physical abuse.

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"Rivergallery" wrote:

Yes it does. Beacause the child that was knocked out was still forced to attend the school. The school didn't remove or expell the child.

Did the school district prevent the police from becoming involved?

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I totally disagree with the bolded. If someone is pushing and hitting my child, she definitely has the right to physically defend herself. Waiting until after the school day to hit another child who hit her on the playground? Unacceptable. Hitting back to protect herself? I 100% support that. I will not teach my children to stand there and just take physical abuse.

Ha! Yes, I would agree that the bolded is unacceptable. I was thinking more of the times when they're playing outside of school hours, like playing with neighborhood kids or at the playground.

I also will not teach my children to take physical abuse. I will teach them that they need to remove themselves from the situation and/or tell an adult who can help with the situation, especially at school. If my son hits another child at school, even in retaliation, he will be in trouble with the school, too. That's just not what I want for my kid.

As a teacher, I've seen how many kids misconstrue their parents' permission to fight back. A little girl accidentally bumps into another and a shoving match starts. "My mom told me to hit back," just isn't an acceptable excuse in school. Even well-behaved kids, especially in elementary school (which I'm presuming the OP's child is), have a hard time evaluating intent and appropriate response.

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"b525" wrote:

Ha! Yes, I would agree that the bolded is unacceptable. I was thinking more of the times when they're playing outside of school hours, like playing with neighborhood kids or at the playground.

I also will not teach my children to take physical abuse. I will teach them that they need to remove themselves from the situation and/or tell an adult who can help with the situation, especially at school. If my son hits another child at school, even in retaliation, he will be in trouble with the school, too. That's just not what I want for my kid.

As a teacher, I've seen how many kids misconstrue their parents' permission to fight back. A little girl accidentally bumps into another and a shoving match starts. "My mom told me to hit back," just isn't an acceptable excuse in school. Even well-behaved kids, especially in elementary school (which I'm presuming the OP's child is), have a hard time evaluating intent and appropriate response.

Why would I let my kid play in the neighborhood with a child who was bullying her in school? That would be weird. If you're talking about how a child should deal with a bully outside of school, I think it should be identical to how it's dealt with in school.

Kids aren't always able to get out of a situation and adults don't always bother to help. I've been there. I think you're underestimating kids' abilities to understand when it's reasonable to protect yourself and when it's just fighting. If all a parent said is "hit back," then that's not appropriate teaching. That parent needs to explain how to assess when you're actually in danger and what level of force to use back. Kids aren't stupid, they can understand that if it's explained in an age appropriate way.

My older child (my younger is too little) knows that she may be in trouble at a future school (not her current one) if she defends herself physically. This is something I will reinforce over the years. However, she will be backed by her parents and supported and we will deal with any punishments the school has to dole out as a family. I will not have my child stand there and be a punching bag if she feels the need to protect her body. Too often in my opinion schools do too little about bullying and teachers excuse behavior on behalf of the bully. In the moment, my child may have to be her own advocate.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

Why would I let my kid play in the neighborhood with a child who was bullying her in school? That would be weird. If you're talking about how a child should deal with a bully outside of school, I think it should be identical to how it's dealt with in school.

You always put the weirdest spin on just about anything I say! Um, yes, you are absolutely correct. It would be weird to let your kid play with a bully. It's good I wasn't saying that.

I disagree that dealing with bullies is the same in every circumstance, just like nearly every other life situation. The particulars of a situation have to be taken into account.

Outside of school, I suppose there will be a point when I will tell my boys to defend themselves. But, it starts out the same way - removing themselves from the situation and requesting adult intervention first. I just think school is different. For one, there are lots of adults around who can help, which is very different than playing with a bunch of kids at a park. Secondly, there are specific rules against physical violence in school, which makes it very different from playing at home.

"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I think you're underestimating kids' abilities to understand when it's reasonable to protect yourself and when it's just fighting. If all a parent said is "hit back," then that's not appropriate teaching. That parent needs to explain how to assess when you're actually in danger and what level of force to use back. Kids aren't stupid, they can understand that if it's explained in an age appropriate way.

I think it's less a case of underestimating and more a case of witnessing it over the course of 15 years of teaching.

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"b525" wrote:

You always put the weirdest spin on just about anything I say! Um, yes, you are absolutely correct. It would be weird to let your kid play with a bully. It's good I wasn't saying that.

I put a weird spin on it? I responded that I wouldn't let my kid play with a kid who was bullying them outside of school and that if you meant my kid instead got into a bullying situation exclusive of school my rules would be the same there that at school. What's weird about that?

"b525" wrote:

I disagree that dealing with bullies is the same in every circumstance, just like nearly every other life situation. The particulars of a situation have to be taken into account.

Of course the particulars have to be taken into account.

"b525" wrote:

Outside of school, I suppose there will be a point when I will tell my boys to defend themselves. But, it starts out the same way - removing themselves from the situation and requesting adult intervention first. I just think school is different. For one, there are lots of adults around who can help, which is very different than playing with a bunch of kids at a park. Secondly, there are specific rules against physical violence in school, which makes it very different from playing at home.

Of course kids should try to remove themselves from the situation or get the attention of adults first. I don't think I've said otherwise. There are times, however, when the child can't get out of the situation and the adults around are either not paying attention or uninterested in getting involved. That's when my kid needs to have the power to defend herself. I'm not going to tell my child to just stand there and take it in such a situation because a school rule says she should. Like I said, we'll deal with the consequences as a family.

"b525" wrote:

I think it's less a case of underestimating and more a case of witnessing it over the course of 15 years of teaching.

I'm speaking from experience as a kid who was bullied and as the child of educators. When I was a bullied kid, my parents had 20 years as a teacher/principal (my mom) by that time and 10 years as a teacher (my dad) by that time advise me that if I could not get out of the situation and a teacher was unavailable/unwilling to help, that I was to fight back and I believe they were right. They also told me to expect that I might get in trouble at school but that my safety was more important. That's the same message I'll teach my kids. I frankly don't care if it makes someone at the school's work day slightly harder, sometimes rules in place aren't good ones.

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"b525" wrote:

You always put the weirdest spin on just about anything I say! Um, yes, you are absolutely correct. It would be weird to let your kid play with a bully. It's good I wasn't saying that.

I was going to add an ETA, but I didn't want it getting lost in that last post. Do I know you? How many times have I even interacted with you? Honestly, I don't recognize you by your screen name, so I'm curious how I can always put the weirdest spin on what you say.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I was going to add an ETA, but I didn't want it getting lost in that last post. Do I know you? How many times have I even interacted with you? Honestly, I don't recognize you by your screen name, so I'm curious how I can always put the weirdest spin on what you say.

No, you don't know me, at least as far as I know. It just seems that any response that's made specifically to me has a weird spin and I was pointing it out. For instance, I said that the response outside of school might be different than in school and you took it to mean that they should save up their aggression to hit someone later. Then, I say again that dealing with someone outside of school might be different and you assume I mean that they're playing with the same bully from the school. It's just odd. If I heard someone say those comments, I'd assume that they meant that the response in different situations might be different.

You're probably right that it's not every time. It's happened in a few topics and I'm starting to see it as a recurrent theme. Maybe it's a debate tactic, to take someone's comment and take it to the extreme to make it look like a stupid comment? I didn't participate in debate in school, so I suppose that could work as a debate tool.

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"b525" wrote:

No, you don't know me, at least as far as I know. It just seems that any response that's made specifically to me has a weird spin and I was pointing it out. For instance, I said that the response outside of school might be different than in school and you took it to mean that they should save up their aggression to hit someone later. Then, I say again that dealing with someone outside of school might be different and you assume I mean that they're playing with the same bully from the school. It's just odd. If I heard someone say those comments, I'd assume that they meant that the response in different situations might be different.

You're probably right that it's not every time. It's happened in a few topics and I'm starting to see it as a recurrent theme. Maybe it's a debate tactic, to take someone's comment and take it to the extreme to make it look like a stupid comment? I didn't participate in debate in school, so I suppose that could work as a debate tool.

Are you seriously attacking my debating style instead of actually debating? Great! Perhaps the problem is that your writing isn't clear and then you seem to take it personally when I incorrectly assume what you are trying to say or ask for clarifications. You might want to try to be more explicit in what you say if you're going to get grumpy when someone misinterprets it. Any chance you could try your hand at debating the topic instead of focusing on what you perceive as my shortcomings, b525?

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

Are you seriously attacking my debating style instead of actually debating? Great! Perhaps the problem is that your writing isn't clear and then you seem to take it personally when I incorrectly assume what you are trying to say or ask for clarifications. You might want to try to be more explicit in what you say if you're going to get grumpy when someone misinterprets it. Any chance you could try your hand at debating the topic instead of focusing on what you perceive as my shortcomings, b525?

Okey dokey. You asked for more clarification about your "shortcomings," so I clarified, CalBearinBoston!!!!

Except for the one sentence about your misinterpreting (until you asked for clarification), everything else I posted did have to do with the topic. So, one might say I have been trying my hand at it. I spoke about what I thought she should do. I spoke about trying to avoid violence. I gave examples of how my school system handles the problem. I gave examples of how I hope to handle bullying with my children. I suggested she continue to pursue it if it hasn't been handled appropriately. I requested more information from the OPer about who she had spoken to. Ha, in fact, this is probably the topic I've stuck closest to the OP (other than responding to your question).

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Sorry you have such a problem with me, b525. I can't remember debating with you more than once before this, but clearly I have gotten under your skin. To make the GDB more enjoyable, you might prefer not to debate with me. Peace out.

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"carg0612" wrote:

In my daughter's class she has a bully. I've emailed/talked to the teacher. I've emailed/talked to the guidance counselor. Things got better for a while. Now they aren't again. Here is what the girl does (she's 10, btw)

1. calls names like "you're so stupid", "you're such a baby", "you're so ugly"
2. lies like "well my mom told Mrs. teacher that you didn't talk to me today so you're going to get in trouble" OR "I told boyX that you like him and want to date him and unless you come sit with me at the boys table I'm going to tell all the boys that"
3. sent emails with the same type of language
4. pushing and shoving
5. stomping on feet.

Result: my DD and 2 other girls are afraid to go to school and don't want to go to school. Which is awful because my DD loves school.

Additional info: My DD is not the only one who has had problems with this girl - other parents have contacted me, the teacher, the guidance counselor.

My issue: I don't feel like enough is being done by the school given this child continues to behave this way with my DD and other children.

Question: What should I do? What should the school do? Is the school responsible for remediation? How far should the school go? Is this girl considered a bully (by 10 year old standards)?

This is where the line is for me. It is in writing; there is no her word against another student's. If the other girl is sending your DD threatening messages, I would print all of them and go to the principal. I would make it very clear that the school is on notice - they are aware of the problem and if it escalates, they are also responsible.

I know it's easier said than done, but I would tell my girls to call her bluff. "Okay, tell them" and walk away to sit somewhere else.

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If we can get back to the debate, please....

I agree with this:

I'm speaking from experience as a kid who was bullied and as the child of educators. When I was a bullied kid, my parents had 20 years as a teacher/principal (my mom) by that time and 10 years as a teacher (my dad) by that time advise me that if I could not get out of the situation and a teacher was unavailable/unwilling to help, that I was to fight back and I believe they were right. They also told me to expect that I might get in trouble at school but that my safety was more important. That's the same message I'll teach my kids. I frankly don't care if it makes someone at the school's work day slightly harder, sometimes rules in place aren't good ones.

In an ideal world, the teachers at school will be ready, willing, and able to step in if any student is being bullied. However, my experience is that we don't live in a perfect world, and I simply cannot imagine telling my son that he needs to stand there and take a beating if he can't get away and there are no adults there to help. I realize that opens up the door for other problems (perhaps he misunderstands the threat level, perhaps he gets in trouble in school, et cetera) but honestly I feel like this is a risk that I'm willing to take, and one that we will deal with as a family if need be. I'm sorry, but there is no way I would just stand there and let someone beat on me if I couldn't get away, so how could I expect my son to? If school admin really wants to do something to prevent fights like that, they need to do a better job of stepping in before things escalate to that point. Like the OP in question - the OP has already spoken to the teacher and the guidance counselor and seen no real improvements. That's a problem.

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We have always been very proactive with the schools. I am in there like a dirty shirt! If there have been problems we have documented them and approached the teacher, then the principal, then the school district if needs be. I know that one of the important things that needs to be done is that documentation so that the school then has the information and proof that they need to address the situation. I would keep on the school to deal with the situation and if they were unable or unwilling I would go to the school district. I was once told by a district employee that if there is an issue with the school to write to the principal and copy the district and ministry of education on the issue. And if it were an issue of violence I would be copying the police as well. And if nothing was resolved I would find a new school. If a school is not willing to work with the children and parents to create a safe space for everyone then I do not want DD or DSD at that school.

All of that said I would also be counseling my child on how to try to resolve the issue themselves. I think that a lot of bullies are unhappy in some way and maybe that bit of kindness is what they need. And if that is not the solution then it is best to walk away and try to disengage from the situation. I would not suggest to my child that hitting back or any violent response is appropriate. But there are ways to defend oneself without being the aggressor. I am ok with that. Defense is ok, aggressive hitting back is not. Many times hitting back just escalates the situation.

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I would be shocked & surprised if any school district didn't have a set bullying policy, and if mine didn't before, they certainly would when I was done with them! Our school district's disciplinary policy is similar to the one b525 posted except that it's 9 pages long. :eek: In the OP situation, considering the ages of the parties & that they're in elementary school, the first offense would probably result in a call home to both parties' parents and a conflict resolution meeting with both parties, the school counselor, the principal, and the teachers if the bullying happened in class. The second offense would result in the bully being suspended for two days, along with another conflict resolution meeting including all parents. A third offense would result in the bully being suspended for five days; transfer of the bully to another classroom or school might also be considered. If physical violence is involved, which IMHO foot stomping would be if my child were on the receiving end of it, then a first offense is an automatic suspension.

And our district considers any offense to be "at school" when it occurs not only on school grounds, but also while a student is on his way to or from school, or participating in an after-school organized activity whether on- or off-campus, so getting into a fight off campus after school would still qualify as a school discipline issue. And the bullying definition includes "by means of an electronic act directed specifically toward a pupil or school personnel" so emails, texts, etc.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I totally disagree with the bolded. If someone is pushing and hitting my child, she definitely has the right to physically defend herself. Waiting until after the school day to hit another child who hit her on the playground? Unacceptable. Hitting back to protect herself? I 100% support that. I will not teach my children to stand there and just take physical abuse.

I agree 100% and my DDhas had an instance where she defended herself. A boy had pushed her once in the playground and we had a talk witht he principle because her left leg was scraped from knee to thigh. The boy said it was an accident but DD said it wasn't. Then a week later the same boy slammed her hand with the tray from the cafeteria while in line so she pushed him on the floor. They were both sent to theprinciples office and wanted to give them both suspension for the day. Dh told him if he gave her a suspension he was going to take it to the school board because the boy had a history of putting his hands on her and the school still allowed it to happen. They took back her suspension and we took her out for ice cream.

I will never tell my kids they shoudln't defend themselves any way possible. And the idea that they shouldn't do it in school because it makes it more difficult for them is ludicrous.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I totally disagree with the bolded. If someone is pushing and hitting my child, she definitely has the right to physically defend herself. Waiting until after the school day to hit another child who hit her on the playground? Unacceptable. Hitting back to protect herself? I 100% support that. I will not teach my children to stand there and just take physical abuse.

Agreed. I will act to protect myself if someone hits or abuses me, I would never teach my children to hold themselves to a different standard than I apply to myself.

My kids are in preschool, so this hasn't been an issue yet, but I hope that I never have to deal with this (either from the bullying OR the being bullied position).

OP, I am sorry that you are having to face this and hope that a resolution is found swiftly.

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I don't think that I would tell my child to hit back. Protecting yourself doesn't mean attacking and in the real world it is not the person who instigates the fight that 'gets in trouble', but the person who was the last to escalate the violence. For example, here, if there is a domestic abuse situation it is not the first person who starts the violence (ie wife slaps husband) but the person who escalates that violence (ie husband punches wife back) who will be arrested. So, I would be hesitant to give my child advice to do something that could get them in a lot of trouble when they are an adult.

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"ftmom" wrote:

I don't think that I would tell my child to hit back. Protecting yourself doesn't mean attacking and in the real world it is not the person who instigates the fight that 'gets in trouble', but the person who was the last to escalate the violence. For example, here, if there is a domestic abuse situation it is not the first person who starts the violence (ie wife slaps husband) but the person who escalates that violence (ie husband punches wife back) who will be arrested. So, I would be hesitant to give my child advice to do something that could get them in a lot of trouble when they are an adult.

The husband would be arrested if the punch was not in self defense. If you can easily and safely walk away, you should. Do you think that if a husband was beating his wife and she feared for her life and punched him out that she would be arrested? I don't.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

The husband would be arrested if the punch was not in self defense. If you can easily and safely walk away, you should. Do you think that if a husband was beating his wife and she feared for her life and punched him out that she would be arrested? I don't.

Maybe, but she probably wouldnt be charged and taken to court, but say he is hitting her with his fist, and she hits him back with the frying pan....then she has escalated the violence and would be the one to be arrested. Here they always arrest someone in a domestic dispute. Of course you should always try to get away from any situation where you are being caused bodily harm and if you fear for your life then do whatever you need to do to get out. I would much rather my child be arrested than dead.

My point is that if a child is pushed and hits back (punches) then they are actually the one who has escalated the violence and in the real world, when they are an adult, they would be the one at fault, so I dont think it is right to teach them that they can hit back as a child, and then expect them to understand that they shouldnt as an adult.

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"ftmom" wrote:

Maybe, but she probably wouldnt be charged and taken to court, but say he is hitting her with his fist, and she hits him back with the frying pan....then she has escalated the violence and would be the one to be arrested. Here they always arrest someone in a domestic dispute. Of course you should always try to get away from any situation where you are being caused bodily harm and if you fear for your life then do whatever you need to do to get out. I would much rather my child be arrested than dead.

My point is that if a child is pushed and hits back (punches) then they are actually the one who has escalated the violence and in the real world, when they are an adult, they would be the one at fault, so I dont think it is right to teach them that they can hit back as a child, and then expect them to understand that they shouldnt as an adult.

I do not believe that if a woman is being beaten and fears for her life so she hits her attacker with a frying pan that anything would happen to her in court. You might get arrested but if you were acting in self defense, nothing would happen to you. Lots of people get arrested and then it's determined they didn't break the law in any manner so there are no consequences. It's legal to act reasonably in self defense. You can't shoot someone in "self defense" for stepping on your foot but if someone was punching me I could absolutely defend myself.

I can't imagine anyone would teach their child to hurt someone unnecessarily. In my house, we have already explicitly said that the goal is to get the person to stop hurting you, not to hurt them. Do you see anyone saying that they're telling their children to escalate the violence or hurt the other person unnecessarily? I haven't.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I do not believe that if a woman is being beaten and fears for her life so she hits her attacker with a frying pan that anything would happen to her in court. You might get arrested but if you were acting in self defense, nothing would happen to you. Lots of people get arrested and then it's determined they didn't break the law in any manner so there are no consequences. It's legal to act reasonably in self defense. You can't shoot someone in "self defense" for stepping on your foot but if someone was punching me I could absolutely defend myself.

I can't imagine anyone would teach their child to hurt someone unnecessarily. In my house, we have already explicitly said that the goal is to get the person to stop hurting you, not to hurt them. Do you see anyone saying that they're telling their children to escalate the violence or hurt the other person unnecessarily? I haven't.

"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

I would be the world's biggest pest to the school until they dealt with it properly. Your child does not deserve to be treated that way. Additionally, I would (and have) told my child that if another child gets physical with her and words aren't stopping the physicality that she has every right to physically defend herself and we will back her up on that. My children are not to start fights but they absolutely have the power to end them. Sometimes a bullying child needs to see that other children will not put up with that nonsense and I'm sure not everyone will agree with me on this, but sometimes the way that needs to be shown is with a pop to the face.

When I was about that age, I had a kid that was bullying me. Yes, I think she was an unhappy child, but she was doing a lot of the behaviors you're describing and ruining my love and sense of safety at school. The teachers and administration generally ignored the issue until this girl pushed the boy with leukemia down and hurt him; she was finally expelled after that (private school). There is no reason it needed to go on that long.

I would say that the bolded in the second quote do indicate that the child should escalate the violence by 'ending' the fight or 'popping the bully in the face'. If the point is to just get away then a push or screaming or even (in an extreme) a body shot, should be enough to give some breathing room. If your (hypothetical) child ends a fight by beating up the bully, then yes, I do think that they should have consequences.

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"ftmom" wrote:

I would say that the bolded in the second quote do indicate that the child should escalate the violence by 'ending' the fight or 'popping the bully in the face'. If the point is to just get away then a push or screaming or even (in an extreme) a body shot, should be enough to give some breathing room. If your (hypothetical) child ends a fight by beating up the bully, then yes, I do think that they should have consequences.

Ending a fight is escalating it? I don't think it necessarily is. Have you ever been in a physical altercation? Sometimes the only way to get someone off of you if you're afraid they are really going to hurt you is to make a real impact. That might include hitting them in the face. The goal is certainly not to hurt someone unnecessarily, but I'm sorry, if someone is really beating me, I'm not going to just give a light push and hope for the best. The law also disagrees with you on this. You are allowed to protect your own body using reasonable force, as you should be able to.

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"CalBearInBoston" wrote:

Ending a fight is escalating it? I don't think it necessarily is. Have you ever been in a physical altercation? Sometimes the only way to get someone off of you if you're afraid they are really going to hurt you is to make a real impact. That might include hitting them in the face. The goal is certainly not to hurt someone unnecessarily, but I'm sorry, if someone is really beating me, I'm not going to just give a light push and hope for the best. The law also disagrees with you on this. You are allowed to protect your own body using reasonable force, as you should be able to.

I guess we just disagree about what reasonable force is.

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Tempers! Sheesh! I was looking forward to this one too...

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I agree with Kate that there is a difference between using necessary force to end an altercation and intentionally seeking to hurt someone and/or continue to fight beyond self defense.

My kids aren't Chuck Norris. Most kids who have been hit or attacked simply want to get away, to get help, to put distance between them and their attacker as quickly as possible. I would encourage my children to do whatever they need to do to defend themselves to the point where they can ultimately get AWAY and to an authority figure or adult right away.

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My kids already shown the natural instinct to protect himself by mildly escalating the violence and I'm actually kind of proud of him and hope he can always handle the situation properly.

A bigger kid was trying to drag him out of the barney ride at Chuckie cheese while I had walked the short distance to the soda refill. By the time I started walking back, my son had already said "Please stop, it's my turn" and then when the kid grabbed his shirt again, my son took both hands and pushed as hard as he could. The kid ran off when he saw me open my mouth.

I can't imagine teaching my child to just take physical violence and not do anything about it. The first step is to talk, the second is to try to get away, and the third is to knock the crap out of whomever is trying to harm him if that's what it takes to stop the abuse.

If we had the same situation as the OP I would be all over anyone's case to get this taken care of. There is no reason for continued foot stomping, pushing, or harassing emails and after the first instance, if the school didn't do something that caused a change in the behavior, I would call the cops. It'd be embarrassing, but if the principal and the teachers aren't getting through to her, maybe someone in a uniform can.

I've never heard of someone using reasonable force to protect themselves in a domestic dispute getting charged with something. I do know they often get arrested initially, but once the details get worked through, it always seems to me the original attacker is the one to get the charges.

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I agree with Potter75 in that the goal would be to defend oneself to the point of escape and seeking help.

Fotunately in my DD's current situation things aren't THAT physical. But it doesn bring up a good point - how should I direct her if someone were to actually hit her?

Should she hit back immediately, should she try to talk her way out of the situation, should she run like he!! ??? Try some of all of the above??

I suppose I need to consider what to tell her as the age of greater physical risk is approaching.

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"daniellevmt" wrote:

Tempers! Sheesh! I was looking forward to this one too...

Tempers? We're still debating the OP, so I don't think you missed the opportunity to participate.

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"carg0612" wrote:

I agree with Potter75 in that the goal would be to defend oneself to the point of escape and seeking help.

Fotunately in my DD's current situation things aren't THAT physical. But it doesn bring up a good point - how should I direct her if someone were to actually hit her?

Should she hit back immediately, should she try to talk her way out of the situation, should she run like he!! ??? Try some of all of the above??

I suppose I need to consider what to tell her as the age of greater physical risk is approaching.

What have the teachers and administrators done about it thus far?

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"ftmom" wrote:

I guess we just disagree about what reasonable force is.

The justice system will be the one deciding. I for one would take my chances and not be beaten unconscious because I was worried that hitting that person in the face was somehow unreasonable force. You are free to give a light shove if you are ever in that situation since you seem to think my response is unreasonable.

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I think if the problem still exists and its affecting the way your child feels about school then you need to keep insisting that the school address the problem. Document as much of it as you can and continue to keep other parents involved who are having the same problem. Keep at it until the complaints are a big enough problem for them that they have to address it. Thats the only thing I can think of. That girl is not too young to face consequences for poor behavior.

And i agree with Kate on the physically fighting back issue. If my child is being beaten up by another child...i'm not going to tell my kid that they should be concerned about inconveniencing the school at that moment. They should be taking care of themselves.

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