Tuesday, May 5, 2009

“They’ll Catch Up”

At the end of March, I asked the question When is Enough…Enough? regarding my daughter and her experience with school bullies. It was the end of the third quarter marking period. I requested a conference and scheduled it for the beginning of April. The fourth grade teacher called me and due to conflicting schedules, we had the conference over the phone. I was prepared to ask tough questions.

I started the conversation informing the teacher that my daughter dislikes school. The teacher did not hear me correctly and said, “I am glad she likes school.” I had to repeat the statement “No, she dislikes school and often does not want to go”. I made sure to mention that my daughter likes the teachers and the office staff (she does). The teacher seemed surprised and saddened that my daughter did not like school. The teacher commented that my daughter engages in classroom activities and learns from all teaching platforms.

I asked the teacher for her impression of my daughter in relation to her peer group. No surprises here…my daughter relates better to adults than other kids (she is an only child). She is nice to the other kids but often will seek out conversation with adults rather than her classmates. The teachers and staff only say good things about my daughter. The teacher further explained that this particular fourth grade is not a “welcoming” group (lovely).

I told the teacher about the name-calling, pushing, and mean behavior. I reported an incident in the recess yard when my daughter was grabbed. A boy four inches taller and at least twenty pounds heavier grabbed her wrists and tried to push her against the wall. My daughter was able to perform a simple wrist release to escape from his grasp. The bullying behavior is not acceptable. She agreed.

As the conversation ended, the teacher mentioned that my daughter was more mature than her classmates. She said that in a few years the other students…”They’ll catch up.”

I did not find these words very comforting.

What could happen until they do?


Joshua.m1001 said...

I have been reading these current articles with interest. I haven't been a victim of bullying myself but can relate to being more mature then my peers as well as relating to and communicating better with adults. I feel for you and your daughter going through this in the public school system(I was homeschooled) What really drove me to comment was the fact that the teacher said that "in a few years, they'll catch up" referring to the other students. I disagree completely with that. Because unless something happens to those kids that shows them they should change, they won't. It doesn't happen that way. They will be the bullies and intimidator's of the next grades through high school and all the way into adulthood. So for the teacher to say that they will just happen to change their ways without outside influence is actually dangerous. Best wishes to you and your daughter in these tough times. Joshua

Robert Barker said...

Thanks for the comment Michele. I did not know about your blog until your comment and wish I had.

Unknown said...

We had pretty much the same experience with our younger daughter. She also was more comfortable talking with adults and was bullied and rejected by her peers. We tried everything. Psychologists, social workers, teachers, and it never got better for her. When the bullying got out of hand or physical we insisted the teachers intervene. Physical bullying is never acceptable, especially if it's a boy inflicting on a girl and luckily the teachers were sensitive to our daughter's plight. But we did have to constantly advocate for our daughter or they would have done nothing. Sadly, I think your daughter's teacher is right. It has only gotten better now that our daughter is a Freshman in high school. The snarkiness is still there but she is better equipped to handle it and she has finally made a friend. It still gets dicey but it is definitely better. My heart goes out to you and your daughter.

Michele said...

Joshua: Thank you for visiting my blog and for your comments. I agree that bullies and intimidators will be present in all grades. I have mixed feelings regarding "they'll catch up". I hope that as the kids grow up and their interests widen, my daughter will find friends who have similar goals. Thanks again.

Rob: Thank you for stopping by! I will make sure I check back and visit your blog often.

Fontaine: Thank you for your comments. It is difficult to watch children go through tough times. I am glad to hear that things have worked out for your daughter. I understand when you say things get dicey. There are some days when things are great and then all of a sudden...