When Anthony first told me there was a "mean boy" saying "mean things" to him, I simply told him to ask him to stop and ignore him. I told him if he wanted to, he could tell the bus driver. I wanted to give him the chance to stand up for himself and try to resolve this issue on his own. Then we would have discussions on how Anthony is a nice boy and how it's wrong to act naughty like that to scare someone. I told him to be brave and continue being his sweet 'ol self because his Mama and Papa loves him very much and we are here to listen to and love him. I asked what the boy's name was, but he didn't know. All he knew was that he went to wrestling with him.
Last Thursday when I picked him up at the bus stop, he told me the mean boy had made him cry. I was ready to step in at this point. But what should I do? I asked all my friends on FaceBook and responses varied from, "See if Anthony can continue to ignore him" to "Just talk to the bus driver and have his seat moved" to "Call the school and principle ASAP, the kid could be a wacko....."
To me, this was one of those situations where there is such a fine line between not doing enough and overreacting. Against the majority of my friend's advice, the last thing I wanted to do was fly off the handle and turn this into a huge deal. I do agree that there are some instances where immediate action should be taken, but there was no physical harm going on (that indeed needs immediate attention) and it's not like Anthony was afraid to get on the bus or anything. Kids can be cruel. I know this from experience growing up. They will say mean and hurtful things just for the hell of it. It's going to happen and unfortunately will only get worse as kids get older.
Sure I was pissed some older boy was picking on my sweet little man. Sure I wanted to kick some bully butt. Sure I want to protect my son ALWAYS from EVERYTHING. But......if I don't teach him that he's got it within himself to try and deal with these kind of tricky situations (within reason), wouldn't I be doing him a disservice?
I had a feeling this was a simple case of a boy getting picked on elsewhere and so he was going to pick on someone smaller than him because he's angry and hurt inside. That someone smaller was Anthony.
So Monday morning I wrote a letter informing the bus driver that there was a boy on the bus bothering Anthony and asked him to move his seat. That was all I was going to do unless it was proven to me that I needed to take more action then that. Later that day I received a phone call from Anthony's wonderful teacher (she is truly amazing). The bus driver had given the note to his supervisor, the supervisor brought it to the principle and the principle brought it to Anthony's teacher who spoke to Anthony all about his bully situation. After I talked with her and had another conversation with the bus driver, we agreed Anthony's seat would be moved and the situation would be monitored. Action would be taken as necissary.
***Just as a side note here, I want to say that I am extremely impressed with the school's reaction to my simple note. It makes me very thankful to have an army of people standing behind my husband and I that care for Anthony (and every other child) as much as they do. How fantastic.
Monday evening Sam took Anthony to wrestling. You know what? The mean boy was there. Anthony pointed him out and said, "That's him, Papa!" Turns out we know him. Along with all his brothers. And his father. Sam's friends with him. So after returning home from wrestling, Sam had a phone conversation with the boy's dad to inform him of the situation so he could have a little chat with his son.
Tuesday Anthony sat in his new bus seat and the boy didn't bother him at all. Not one bit.
Last night at wrestling, Sam had another conversation with the boy's dad to tell him no big deal, don't sweat it, everything's fine now, etc. etc.. It turns out my hunch was right. Dad talked to his son and found out he was being picked on by all his brothers because he's slightly heavier than they all are and so he was taking his hurt and anger out on Anthony. He actually is a nice boy and I witnessed myself (I finally got to go to wrestling last night!!) him being very pleasant towards Anthony.
I'm glad we handled it the way we did and didn't blow the situation out of proportion. The boy's father is also grateful we didn't blow it out of proportion. Not only was a bully situation for my son taken care of, but an in-home bully situation was brought to attention and taken care of. Awesome. Anthony is a very resilient boy and still smiley and chipper.....and now a bit wiser and confident.
Would you have handled things differently?
Bad guys are the reason I got this:
We own 5 acres. There are two 5 acre plots on either side of us owned by others that are empty. We enjoy that very, VERY much. A year and a half ago a camper was dumped on the one behind our house. Lovely, what an eye sore. A little over a month ago, two meth addicts, a guy and a girl, moved in there. Fantastic. Druggies squatting next door. How fun! We had a few run ins with them over the course of their stay. I won't go into detail about those run ins, but I will say they made us feel very unsafe and we did not trust them what-so-ever. I began shutting curtains....and keeping them closed. I began double checking locked cars, doors and windows. We bought a heavy duty lock for our shop. And we bought a gun I can safely and confidently handle. We take our personal safety and property security very seriously.
I've said it in a recent post and I'll say it again. I do believe every responsible person should exercise their right to own a firearm and have access to one they can handle safely and confidently. I believe to be a responsible gun owner, you should know your gun in and out. Practice loading, holding, and firing Frequently. Know where the safety is on your gun and use it. If you have one, use a gun lock. Store it safely and correctly, out of a child's reach. And probably the most important thing to do....teach your children about gun safety. I believe a child who is raised knowing about guns (their danger, their use, their operation (given the right age), etc. etc.) is more aware and respectful and that in itself is a better gun safety tool than anything.
I was getting worried. Sam leaves every so often for Portland, OR or Houston, TX for work and is gone for upwards of a week. He was due to leave soon and leave me, with our three children, home alone.....next to two people who were tweaking out on meth and heckling us. And I'm not just calling them bad people because they were on drugs. They're BAD people. As in break into your house and rob you clean, wander around your property in a drugged out, incoherent, violent haze bad people. Scary situation.
Luckily Sam was able to get his work trip pushed back a few more weeks so we could work on getting these people out of here. We live out where we do for a reason, these people had to go. We worked closely with our local sheriff department, one gentleman in particular, and this week the issue has been resolved. THANK GOODNESS!! We can now breathe a huge sigh of relief and get back to our normal, happy, safe lives out in the good 'ol country.