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Karenmom
Karenmom asks:
Q:

In Kindergarten, one child is teaching profanity to my child (possibly others) how should this be handled?

I was "shocked" today on my drive home from school, when my kindergarten used a new vocabulary word.  The first time, I wasn't sure that I heard him correctly and I asked him to repeat what he said.  Then I was certain and asked him if he knew what that word meant and he didn't, then I asked him where he had heard it, and he told me which child at school in his class called him "that" and the child actually told him to call his sister "that".  So, I've had a talk with my son, I didn't punish him because he didn't know, but he knows now not to use that word again and that it is inappropriate.  I could tell that he felt bad about it and I'm sure that he won't repeat it.  Out of anger, while I was upset, I wrote a letter to the teacher explaining that I know she can't do anything about it, but I just wanted her to be aware that "so-n-so" was teaching profanity, to maybe keep her ear open.  Now, that I've cooled down a bit and understand that these things can happen, should I have said anything to the teacher about the child?  The child in question, has been a bit of a "bully" and causes my child to become upset, I have wondered if the child is not being abused at home and now with such language, it concerns me more as to what kind of home life he has.  Should the teacher become involved?
Member Added on Feb 18, 2012
UPDATE:   I decided not to mention anything to the teacher, she is aware of the situation regarding the child and the student has missed so many days of school now that I believe others will become involved in the child's home life situation.  My son has picked up another "new" word and I've had to have another conversation about appropriate and inappropriate language and behavior with him and I believe he understands.  I hate that Kindergarten has introduced him to so much, but I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later anyway after all, school is a learning experience, sometimes the education is not from the books, but from society and learning what it means to be an ideal citizen within our community.  It is unfortunate that that such young children have already been exposed to such "evils" of the world.  
Thank you all for your comments and thoughts.
In Topics: School and Academics, Working with my child's teacher(s)
> 60 days ago

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Expert

BMelton
Jun 16, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

By telling the teacher about your concerns, the teacher can take action or make a referral to the school counselor who has special training to intervene. Children mimic hat they see at home, particularly at this age. This does not mean abuse is occurring at home, but professionals are required to report suspected abuse or neglect.

You are also concerned about bullying and working with the teacher to maintain a safe environment for all is critical. Schools have a no tolerance policy about bullying and it's many forms.

You did well in making your concerns known. You may write the first letter and then wait a day before sending the message. Focus on what you observed and what your son told you rather than opinions or conjecture.

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Additional Answers (2)

EdEd
EdEd writes:
I think there are probably three different issues here:

1. In terms of learning new "vocabulary" - nice way of putting it, eh? :) -I would focus on teaching him what's appropriate and not appropriate to do in particular environments, which it seems like you did. I'd also go a little more broad and explain the concepts of "bad words" in general, and invite him to talk to you more if he thinks something he hears is one of those words.

In general, it's probably important to realize that kids will be exposed to these kinds of things - bad words, sexual language, etc. - rather than becoming visibly upset or angry (which tends to teach kids that they shouldn't come and talk to you about such experiences), take an instructive approach - explain things, be calm, etc. Bad words are relatively insignificant compared to a lot more serious things that will come up, and if you've laid the foundation appropriately, your son will feel more comfortable coming to you. If you act like the police, you're the last one he'll come to for advice on more serious things in later years.

In terms of the child who initially used the bad word, I think you were right to let the teacher know what your son told you. Let her handle it (which hopefully she will) as she sees fit, and expect some feedback about what she does and how it worked.

2. Aside from bad word usage, the "bullying" you've mentioned is a separate issue and deserving of slightly different treatment perhaps. Bullying is one of those terms that has become quite common these days, so the first thing is to be a bit more specific about what you mean by "bullying" - do you mean that the other child is coercing your child into doing inappropriate things, that he's hurting your child physically, or that his bad behavior is rubbing off on your son? There are a lot of different situations that may be the case - learning more about specifically what's happening, sharing your concerns, and working collaboratively with the teacher to intervene, is probably a good way of proceeding. If you would find it helpful to post a follow-up about the specifics, people may have some specific advice on that situation here.

3. In terms of the child's "home life," I'd probably not share any projections into that area with the teacher - sharing your own experiences and reports from your son is very helpful, but there are a number of reasons why that may occur, and teachers are generally trained (on at least a basic level) with proceeding in situations like that.

Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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charisma21517
charisma21517 writes:
yes!! that could  get very dangerous! what if the child get hurt for talking to some one like that they might try to hurt the lil boy!! bless your son heart ! iwill be suer to pray for him tonight and at church tommorow! i will pray 4 everybody!!
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