Why did my son's preschool teacher attack my concerns about a bully?
My son has been the target by another since almost the beginning of school (8 mths). I have seen signs throughout the year, but the bully is clever and sneaky. I have volunteered numerous times, and am now "just getting it"!(ex: with a look, is able to get all the kids to move from my son's table to his; puts down my son's artwork; tells my son he doesn't want me in the classroom) My son also has a therapist in the room 2 hours a week, and she has witnessed much more than I. The teacher and 2 aides haven't witnessed anything, even after I voiced my concerns about "little things" through-out the year. Since the emotional abuse & friend-manipulation has clearly escalated in & out of the classroom (ex.: bully got all the kids to run from him at party&his mom watched!) his therapist &I voiced our concerns with the teacher, and she asked me to write them down. I did, and she started to excuse the behavior & discredit my every concern! I reminded her she asked me to do this, it was my observation, and that there was another objective person (the therapist*) who has seen much more than I have, & with other kids, too. The teacher then asked me why I continued to send my son to school if I felt it was so "unsafe"! It's been over a week, and she has not said anything to the mother of the other child because she personally hasn't seen it. Please help me understand!!! (* therapist doesn't discuss other kids, but seeing increased behaviors her supervisor advised her speak-up!)
I'm sorry to hear that your son is a victim of bullying. If you are not getting anywhere with your son's teachers, it is time to go to the administration. Ask for an appointment to meet with the principal. Once you get a date and time, ask the therapist if she can join you. If not, ask her if she would prepare a statement based on her observations. When you have your meeting, have all your paper work in order - any notes from the teacher, a timeline of events, and copies of your notes that you sent her. Try not to get emotional, which I know is hard, but sticking to the facts can make your case stronger. Once you present your concerns, ask the principal specific questions such as:
What anti-bullying plan does the school have in place?
How is the school going to make sure it is safe for your son?
How is he going to make sure the teacher understands the seriousness of the problem?
How can he assure that your son will not be in the same class as the bully next year?
What can you do to help move the process along?
Since the end of the school year is approaching quickly, make it your goal to not let this happen again next year. I would also make sure that next year's teacher knows your concern for the beginning. Try working closely with her to make sure your son has a happy, safe, and successful school year.
Be sure to check out Education.com section on bullying and teasing. It is a great resource. Good luck!
Thank you so much for your response. I am keeping a paper trail as suggested.
The teacher stated she would be keeping a close eye on the situation this week, especially to observe behaviors herself.
I guess my most burning question is why she went out of her way to ignore my concerns? With my every written issue I presented to her, she either: came up with likely senarios to excuse the behavior I witnessed. Or, she redirected my concerns onto me: the bully's mother breached a confidentiality rule by speaking to my son's therapist about him (bully's mom is also a therapist and used their prior working relationship in that regard). But the teacher ignored that issue, then voiced concern about me talking with another mother about the bully & the identical treatment our sons experienced by him. This conversation occurred at her house.
It's a private preschool, so they won't be in the same school next year. And the teacher is the head of the program.
It sounds like the teacher is feeling helpless. In a way she is; how can she assume the leadership to talk to another parent about something she dosen't know of firsthand?
Can you request a meeting between the therapist, teacher, other parent and you? If the teacher can't find it in good conscience to report to another parent on something she herself hasn't seen, she can at least meet you halfway and let the therapist explain what she has seen.
Let the teacher know that the issue won't just go away by itself. Your child has to feel comfortable in his "home away from home". It's not like your child spends only three hours a week at school. He spends a full half of his waking hours there during the work week. I'm sure this teacher wouldn't like it if she had to deal with some nasty co-worker 40 hours a week.
The teacher needs to be more interested in your son's problem. If she's waiting to see the bullying by chance rather than trying to observe without being seen then she might see nothing forevermore.
She has to meet you halfway, and you should be prepared because if she arranges a meeting this other parent might come in with a nasty, defensive attitude. To prepare for this you have to remain emotionally present and take the lead from the start, smiling wide and being very cheery when you meet the other parent. If you don't take the lead from the start, letting the other parent know (nonverbally) you not trying to attack her son, then the whole meeting could be doomed.
I suspect that this might be the concern of the teacher also if and when you do request a meeting, so you should reassure her that you don't want to gang up on the other parent, that your intention is to be sensitive toward the other parent.
That's how I would handle it. I can't imagine any other way that would be effective. Good luck to you. Hope you can get this resolved once and for all.