To be specific, one of my sons is a daily witness to minor and major forms of bullying between races and classes of students in his new school. Some of it amounts to the kids-will-be-kids variety of abuse like relentlessly making fun of ears or nose sizes or other immutable characteristics.
Other times its nuisance crimes like having his personal property purposefully broken by other people’s children.
And, too often for my comfort, it is the threat of violence or actual violence.
In most of those cases, I give my kids all the bad advice I was given back in the era of disco.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
“Never start a fight, but always finish one.”
“If you feel you’re going to lose a fight, make sure your opponent gets so many scars they never want to try you again.”
And, most famously, “respect everyone, but if they put their hands on you punch them in the throat.”
Luckily I’m married and my wife offers our kids responsible strategies to use when they encounter trouble at school.
The fact that we need to focus so intently on working with our kids on navigating don’t wild school environments where adults have too little control is a sign that has “exit” written all over it.
But, it gets worse. My elementary school-age daughter reports to us she has been punched has had her hair pulled, and was spit on by a boy in her class.
Playtime is over.
This is where the SIS transforms into the SIT and SID.
Joanne has more.