Growing up, I had my fair share of dealing with bullies. It is a well known fact that any school yard is home to a posse of bullies. And with the school bully comes the school bullied. To be honest, I was both. I used to be bullied. Unfortunately, when I learned to stand up for myself, I also did some bullying…just a little.
Bullying need not be confined to physical acts of aggression. Emotional and mental torment also fall into the category.
Fast forward…..I have new bullies to deal with. It started with Gaby when she was in prep. Sometime around the middle of the schoolyear, I would catch this worried look on her face whenever I would drive her to school. It took a while before she finally opened to me. Apparently, one of her classmates was bullying her. Initially, I did what any “newbie” mother would do. I went to school and I reported the incident to the Prep Director. Then I spoke to the kid’s mom and then to the kid. Lastly, I instructed Gaby to fight back. And fight back she did. Needless to say, the bullying from this kid stopped.
However, that was not the end of our encounters with school bullies. Most recently, both my kids were subjected to mental and emotional torture by some classmates. Adi’s classmate would routinely go through my daughter’s school bag and would “steal” some stuff like pencils, erasers, and paper. Gaby’s encounter was more harrowing as she had a classmate who would call her “fat”.
In typical defensive manner, my hubby and I instructed our kids to fight back. We told them that nobody had the right to treat them that way. But our kids respectfully reminded us that fighting was a major school offense and that they were not allowed to do that.
So we shifted to Plan B…report to the authorities. And that is what they did. Suffice it to say that the bullying stopped. True, there are still occasions when some random classmate makes swipes at our kids but they know well enough to tell their teacher as soon as it happens.
Everything has been working out fine, so far. However, I still can’t get it out from the back of my head how bullies like those in my kids’ school manage to get away with what they do. I know that the authorities have taken the matter to heart but honestly, isn’t there a hard and fast rule against bullying?