My son is in the 6th grade, which means this is his first year in middle school. Every day he comes home and tells me some kind of horror story from either the bus, the gym, the cafeteria, the hallway, or a classroom.
Two days this week, and yes today is only Tuesday, he has told me about either an 8th grader or a kid the size of an 8th grader grabbing him by the throat and threatening him. He’s managed to talk his way out of about 3 or 4 fights, thankfully! He’s had to shove other kids and has been shoved himself, pushed over a railing, had pencils thrown at him, and the list just goes on and on.
I ask him, “Where are the teachers when this is going on?
He says, “They are right there, Mom! But they don’t do anything!”
This is the third week of school and his locker has been broken into 3 times!! Every time he tells the teachers what happened, that things are moved around, that his things are on top of his locker, or that his book has been taken – they tell him, “No one has the combination but you.” or “Who did you give your combination to?” or “You need to check at home for the missing book.” – in this instance, he never brought the book home, it ain’t here. He caught one kid trying to break into his locker, joking with his friends about how he had been trying to get into it all week. My son chased him down the hall, but lost him. Another of my son’s friends showed him how you can open a locker if you hit it in 3 specific places. My son figured out that if you just put the combination lock on the last number of the combination, the lock will open every time.
So, this is how my son’s day went today.
The kids come in off the buses and sit in the gym until they can go to the cafeteria to get breakfast. While they are sitting on the bleachers the 8th graders throw pencils at them until they all get to leave.
Leaving the gym, the 8th graders push them around or run into the smaller kids.
He gets to the cafeteria and gets in line when a 7th grader cuts in front of him. When my son challenges him about it and asks why he is cutting, the kid responds that he is a 7th grader(like it’s his right as a 7th grader to cut whenever he wants to). After they exchange words, he went to another line where a kid he calls “butt chin kid” starts pushing him and poking him. After he gets tired of that, he went to another line and butt chin kid follows him there and starts pushing and poking him again. He goes to a fourth line and asked another kid if he could get in line with him and he said no because he wanted to see him get into a fight with butt chin kid. Eventually got he got his breakfast, only to be bullied and called names by 8th graders trying to kick them out of their seats.
As he is trying to leave, butt chin kid starts bragging to his friends that he has been hassling this kid (my son) for the last 3 days and then pushes my son into my son’s friend and they both fall over the rail. All the way to their building, the kids call them names and push them around.
On the way back from his 3rd period class, around 10 am, he is pushed into the grass trying to get from the band building to his regular classroom building by 8th graders.
In his fourth period class, the child that was passing out the classwork missed my son’s table. When he told the teacher that he didn’t have the paper, she asked the other student at the table if he had his. He thought he did and told the teacher that he did. Later, when he couldn’t find the paper, he told the teacher that he didn’t have the paper after-all. So the teacher refuses to give the boys the classwork because they “lost” the first one that was given to them. Eventually, she did give them the paper.
On the way to his 5th period class, which is in a different building, he is pushed around and man handled by the 8th graders – again.
By this time of the day he’s pretty worn out. Apparently the teacher in his 5th period class has a very nasal voice and he said, “I just couldn’t take it today, Mom. I tuned her out.” Of course when he tuned out the teacher, he missed instructions for an exercise they were doing and had to figure it out for himself. This, of course, put him a little behind the rest of the class and he was running a little late going to his next class.
He is at his locker getting his book for the next class, when he discovers that someone has broken into his locker and put all of his stuff on the top of it. And on top of this, there is this kid that keeps trying to pick a fight with him. This kid is getting in between my son and his locker so my son pushes him aside as he is telling him that he is not going to fight with him. At this time, the kid’s big friend grabs my son by the throat and tells him to leave his friend alone. My son manages to talk his way out of this fight by telling both kids that he is not going to fight with them. After that is settled, my son discovers that his workbook for his next class is gone.
When he tells the teacher that someone has broken into his locker and taken his workbook, she responds that he must have left his book at home. When he tells her that he never took the book home, she asks him who he shared the combination to his locker with. He tells her that he hasn’t shared the combination and explains the 2 ways that he knows of that a locker can be broken into. She says that he will have to tell his mother or the principal.
And, finally, the day is over.
I hear stories of days like this, day after day after day! I am so angry at the teachers, at the kids, at the parents of these kids, and at the school administration. I don’t know what to do!!!!! Most days he tells me not to be a Mama Bear and that it will be alright. Other days, he is so worn out from the hostile environment he has been in all day, that he just breaks down and cries. I am exhausted after he tells me about his day, I can’t imagine having to actually live it.
My knee-jerk reaction is to rip him out of that school and home-school him. But I know that is not the answer. That possibly teaches him that it’s okay to run away from bullies and intimidating people. I know that we should stay and try to change the school.
Is anyone else out there having the same kinds of experiences at school? Is it just my kid that is going through this? What are you doing to help your kids cope with this kind of aggression and hostility?