How should I handle my 9 year old special needs child being bullied and ostracized in the classroom?
My 9 year old has ADD, speech issues, and has autistic tendencies. I informed his teacher of this when school began and told her he has been the target for bullying in the school he previously attended. He has been coming home asking me how to make friends because the other boys in his class do not like him and make fun of him, or ignore him entirely. I decided to attend a field trip with the class to observe the situation for myself. The other 5 boys in his class pushed him away on several occasions, and when they all sat down for a picnic lunch one boy knocked my son's lunch to the ground, stood up and pointed "Go over there!We don't want you here!" I was heartbroken for him. Arriving home that day he told me when he went to sit with his classmates on the bus he was told he "couldn't" and he had to sit by himself. I talked to him and explained that he had the same rights as the other boys and to stand up for himself. We practiced him saying "NO! I can sit where I want to sit." He said he was afraid he would get in trouble. I assured him he would not get in trouble as long as he did not curse or touch.The next day he went to sit on a bench and was pushed off. He did what I told him and one of the boys kicked him w/ his foot. My son said "Screw You!" The boys who torment him had no consequences but my son was called into the office for saying "screw you!" He said he reported what happened. I am livid and have planned a meeting with his principal. Any advice on handling this?
We are sorry your son is suffering this way. It sounds like things are very hard for him. We think you are doing something very right by going to the principal.
When you go to talk to the principal, be sure to keep a problem solving attitude. Many parents get very angry at the schools when their children are bullied and can be very aggressive in trying to make the school fix the problem, when it is not an easy problem to fix. Often times schools will try multiple interventions, which may have varied levels of success. Please continue to monitor the situation and continue to inform the school of how things change. You may also want to look into awareness raising campaigns or organizations that educate about bullying and see if you can get the school to participate with one of these sort of activities.
If you try and try with the school and your son continues to struggle, don't be afraid to consider a transfer if possible. Also please try to brainstorm with your son people in his class that he think may be able to stand up for him or simply be there for him. Also consider getting him involved in community organizations where he may be able to meet peers where he will feel like he fits in. Church groups or after school clubs can be good for this. Sometimes focusing on creating more good times than eliminating the bad times can be the most effective for improving the lives of our children.
Please take care and remember that you can call the Boys Town National Hotline 24 hours a day at the number below, free of charge to discuss any parenting issue. We are here to help, you are not alone!
Boys Town National Hotline-A Resource for Parents and Teens www.parenting.org
I THINK YOU DID A GOOD WORK BY TEACHING YOUR SON TO REACT. HIS BEHAVEIOR WAS A GOOD RESPONSE AND IT SHOWS HE IS CAPABLE TO FACE HIS TROUBLES. I THINK HE WILL GO ON OK WITH NO NEED FOR PROTECTION FROM PARENTS.
IT'S OK THAT THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL CALLED HIM, AS HE IS BEING TREATED THE SAME WAY AS ANY OTHER MISBEHAVING KID. A BULLIE IS VALUED BY OTHER KIDS WHEN HE IS CALLED INTO THE OFFICE, SO WILL BE YOUR SON.
AS FOR YOUR INTERVEW WITH THE PRINCIPAL, YOU ARE TO AGREE WITH HIM, AND TO THANK HIM AND THE SCHOOL STAF FOR CORRECTING YOUR SON WHENEVER HE SAYS NASTY THINGS, AS ANY PARENT WOULD SAY ABOUT ANY NORMAL MISBEHAVING BOY.
STARTING FROM THE FACT THAT YOUR SON IS COMPETENT ENOUGH TO FACE HIS DIFFICULTIES, YOU SHOULD NOT INTERFERE WITH HIS PROBLEMS. THE BEST CHANCE FOR HIM TO SOLVE HIS PROBLEMS IS TO LET HIM BE IN CHARGE OF IT.
ALSO, YOU SHOULD NOT QUESTION THE SCHOOL STAF'S. INSTEAD, YOU SHOULD AGREE WITH THEM, SO THAT YOUR SON FEELS YOU ARE ALL ATE THE SAME SIDE. OTHERWISE, THE CONFLICT WILL DISTURB HIM, NO MATTER IF YOU ARE RIGHT OR WRONG ABOUT IT.
MY COMMENTS ARE BASE ON MY EXPIRIENCE WITH MY OWN SON WITH A VERY SIMILAR PROBLEM (HE IS NOW 25). EXCUSE ME: MY WRITTTEN ENGLISH IS NOT THAT GOOD.
don't teach your son it is ok for others to treat him this way. you don't have to agree with the staff if you don't. it is the parents role to educate children on life skills and the schools job to educate academically. parents are suppose to teach respect and compassion while it is the schools job to make sure ALL the students have a safe learning environment. this school does not seem to be providing that for your son. yes your son should have been disciplined for his "language" but the other children should have had some sort of discipline for their actions that caused the "language". i do agree that you should accept the discipline for that and tell your son that he should get an adult involved the next time he gets upset to the point of using "bad language". i hope this helps you out. also I'm assuming that the class is a SDC class. where are the aides when this is happening? check your district policy online for bullying find out what the policy is and ask that something be done about it if it continues. making sure that staff is aware of the situation is a good thing too. also if you can volunteer for recess times sporadically to monitor the situation yourself that good too. then you can go to the principal with on this day i observed this or that. that's always good to have and make sure you have everything in writing. email the principal just for keeping records of whats going on and copy any written exchanges. again hope this helps you.