Friday, March 14, 2008

What a Week! - Part One

No sooner than I post my most recent blog about Son #1's confidence and security than all hell breaks loose - for him and others.

First off, why is it that Son #3 -- who did NOT have any altercations this week -- ends up with a black eye? It was an accident in his kindergarten class, but ironic nonetheless, considering....

Son #1 comes home from school Tuesday. It was a gorgeous day - sunny, breezy, in the low 70's, no humidity. Just beautiful. But I can see him as he's walking home from his bus stop a block and a half away. Something just isn't right, you know what I mean? I can tell by his body language. No spring in his step. No wave and "Hi, Mom!" from half a block away. Shoulders kind of slumped. As he draws nearer, I ask, "how was your day?" "It was good and bad," he says. I ask how his standardized testing went. He said that was fine. I asked about the "bad" part. (Grab yourself a cup of coffee - this may take awhile) Here goes:

After a morning of state-wide standardized testing in the morning, Son #1 returns to homeroom, which is in the gym. There's a second 7th grade homeroom class in the gym. Son #1 has ADHD and likes to pace. His homeroom teacher doesn't mind if Son #1 paces the perimeter of the gym as long as he's not disturbing anyone. Burning off nervous energy, so to speak.

Son #1 walks around the gym. A girl, I'll call her E., stops him on two occasions and asks for "a hug." Son #1 is appalled. He's a young 12.5 and is not yet interested in girls as a group (he's had minor crushes on specific girls in the past, but as a whole, he still finds girls "weird" - sorry moms of girls). Also, he's not a touchy-feely kid. Heck, he barely hugs me. Once in a while, he'll sneak up for the 2-second body slam, but by the time I realize what he's doing, he's gone! So a hug? I don't think so! He said no.

He continued his trek across the gym and she asked again for a hug, he said no again. Third time was not the charm. She didn't ask. She attempted to hug him, and Son #1 sort of snarled out of frustrastion, squirmed away and took off. She tells her girlfriends, that rather than snarling, Son #1 bit her, which is untrue.

Son #1 was mortified and immediately reported the situation to his homeroom teacher (also his gym coach). Teacher spoke to E.'s teacher. No big deal, apparently (Q. Why didn't E. tell her teacher that she was bitten? A. She wasn't bitten!). Son #1's teacher said to let him know if there are further problems. Seems like a non-issue, right?

You would think. However, by the end of the day, folks were asking Son #1, "Why did you bite E.?" and worse - getting within 10 inches of his face on the bus and asking whether Son #1 was going to bite them? Personally, I think he would've been justified to do just that, but he exercised great restraint.

My regular readers know that Son #1 is speech impaired, small for his age, has ADHD, formerly suffered from seizures, is very eccentric and is, in general, very confident in who God created him to be. Tuesday, however, was a day of doubt for him. He works hard to be cordial to others, even if he sometimes lacks the usual social graces. He likes to keep to himself and doesn't like unwanted attention. He especially doesn't like anyone invading his personal space. Yikes.

Had it just been the incident between Son #1 and E. (the hug), I would probably have not been perturbed because I believe the homeroom teachers handled it with a warning. But since other kids - at least a dozen - were bugging Son #1 about it, it was clearly getting out of hand. Rather than getting all "mama bear" about it (tough to resist), I let Dear Hubby handle it. He called the assistant principal (who handles disciplinary measures) and tells him that:

1) our son was the victim of "unwanted physical contact" (a huge no-no here)
2) he was being "slandered" by Emily's lies
3) he was being harassed and "bullied" by other kids on the bus because or Emily's lies

Just enough to make poor Mr. Asst. Principal want to lose his breakfast. Dear Hubby told him politely that he looked forward to hearing back from Asst. Principal by the end of the day how he planned to address the issue. (Dear Hubby rocks! I could've done this, but by junior high, I think administrators start to roll their eyes when Mom calls. I should point out that instead of playing "bad cop", Dear Hubby is actually "ex-cop".)

Later that afternoon, Mr. Asst. Principal called Son #1 to his office to hear his version of events (Rule #1: it pays to be pro-active. Dime yourself out, if necessary.). He calls E. to his office and she fortunately realizes this could be serious business. She admits that Son #1 was telling the truth and that he did NOT bite her. She vows to tell as many people as possible in her social circle that there was a misunderstanding, that she was joking, whatever, but that Son #1 was innocent.

By that afternoon's busride, all seems to be well. Whether it's because E. lived up to her word or because they don't want their heinies hauled into the office, I don't know - or care. I'm satisfied with the way Mr. Asst. Principal handled it (even if E. did not have to apologize publicly, as Dear Hubby suggested. Can you hear that loud speaking announcement? "Hi. This is E. I just want to say that Son #1 did *not* bite me. I repeat, did not...")

I don't know whether E. made good on her promise, but we've instructed Son #1 to issue the standard answer next time he's asked about it:

"Clearly there's been a misunderstanding. I did NOT bit Emily, and I'm sure she'll tell you so if you ask her directly. If she tells you otherwise, let me know, but we've cleared it up and all's good."

Today's bus ride was much better indeed.

Next up: Son #2....


Tracey said...

Oh! Breaking my heart... Why do kids have to pick on each other? Is it a requirement in growing up? Are we hard-wired to elevate ourselves to a higher level no matter how many people must be stepped upon?

I'm so happy for your eldest that he is comfortable in talking to you. And that it was taken care of in a productive way. Hope the teasing stops!

Elle*Bee said...

Thanks, tracey. We hope so too. You kind of have to "nip it in the bud," I guess.

Lala's world said...

oh man kids can be so cruel sometimes! way to go dad! I think that goes such a long way when they see us stepping up for them like that!

love the new look too btw!!

Sue said...

Aw, Elle, poor Son #1. Sounds like hubby had the right "buzz" words to get their attention and make sure the situation was addressed.

Hopefully this will be a better week for everyone.

Shionge said...

I was surprised to read that the girl actually 'asked' for a hug??? Oh gosh...wait till she grows up :)

Glad all is well now Elle.

Elle*Bee said...

Thank you, lala and sue, usually I handle most of the day to day stuff, but this was one time where we thought it would be better to have "ex-cop" deal with it, rather than "mama bear."

Shionge, I don't think anyone was more surprised than Son #1. ;-)