Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An impromptu blog as I edge towards tears…

I have 3 children, a 4th grader and twins that are in kindergarten. My twins went to preschool for 2 years together in the same classroom and this is the first year that they are separate.

They lunch together but sit at different tables and have recess at the same time, but they are independent enough from each other to have their own set of friends. Still I would think it must be nice for each of them to know the other is there.

Yesterday, I got a phone call from the school nurse. As soon as she introduced herself, my stomach dropped.

She tells me that one of my twins was just in her office with a scrape on her knee and her forehead. My daughter told her that she was punched on the playground and pushed down by a boy.

The nurse gives me the standard chatter of the playground supervisors are extremely watchful, that they would have seen this; I tell her I understand the playground supervisors probably are watchful but that playgrounds continue to be a place rife with bullying. 2 playground supervisors can’t really catch everything between 25+ kids.

I told her I help run ABC and that my children know to find an adult and tell them when bullying happens. They are proud of my involvement with ABC and my daughter introduces me as her mom… with ABC… often-times to strangers.

But my daughter told her teacher that she just bumped into someone.

This leads us to the crux of this situation…..

We’ve had to really get on my daughter because of her fibbing, story-telling etc. She is a great story-teller, has a fantastic imagination, but the fibs, the lies, they lead us to a lack of trust with what she says. We have recently implemented a 5-minute time out in the corner every time we catch her in a lie. If we are not home and she lies, we total the minutes and when we get home she heads to the corner.

I told the nurse I would talk to her later and when she got home from her dad’s, we sat in my bedroom away from the other two kids and talked.

She told me that this boy with a white shirt punched her in the forehead and pushed her down by the swing set. She added that a playground supervisor had the boy apologize to her. And she said the boy was in my son’s class.

So I went and asked my son who was the boy in the white shirt and if he saw what happened. He hadn’t seen it, but he knew the boy and said he believed his sister… sorta.

I BADLY want to believe my daughter…. but due to her frequent fibbing and that there were 2 stories, I don’t 100% believe her. I’m at like 98%.

I hate typing those words, because it’s a terrible feeling….therefore the edge of tears.

I told my daughter last night that if she gave me her word I would believe her and she did, so I in turn believed her. And I told her I was going to follow up with this playground supervisor having the boy apologize to her but not telling either teacher that something happened.

This is such a HUGE problem in today’s schools.

The individual that sees the bullying handles it and passes along the information to no one. I want to know when something happens to my children and I feel it is the school’s responsibility to communicate within its staff when bullying occurs.

I called my daughter’s teacher this morning and we spoke at length regarding this.

I asked her if she would talk to the playground supervisor and call me back. I struggle with what I will hear when she calls me back. I do believe my child and I would hate to have that trust broken.

It’s a terrible situation to be in, one that I share with you in the hopes that there are parents out there in the same situation, or have struggled with the same thing in the past.

I would do anything to protect my children (and others) from bullying. Even if I don’t know 100% (like in this situation) I will follow up and do my job as a parent, as an anti-bullying advocate, to make sure there is clearer communication and that I am told that there was a situation.

A sense of resolution:

My daughter’s teacher called me back and told me she talked to everyone involved and that my daughter and this boy were playing tag and he pushed her down into the wood chips, the playground supervisor took them both aside, talked to them about it and the boy apologized.

My daughter was telling the truth about being pushed down, though I still don’t know how the forehead scrape happened, I feel an overwhelming sense of relief. And I feel bad about being at that 98% but I’m glad I had the opportunity to seriously talk to my daughter about how her frequent fibbing leads us to question her when something serious happens.

I have to give my daughter’s teacher kudos for listening to me, understanding the situation and taking the initiative to tell the playground supervisors if ANYTHING happens to one of her students on the playground she wants to know about it.

And finally, I want to say to parents who have been in the same situation as this, or one similar, that even if you have a doubt, always take the time to follow up and perhaps turn the situation into one that is a teachable moment not only for your child, but also can be for yourself.

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