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passing notes, bullying, teacher not paying attention, raising girls

I don’t usually complain about my kid’s school. In fact, I mostly love their school. If you have children in a parochial school you already know this but kids who attend parochial just seem to consider consequences of actions more than the average kid. Our children’s education is based on a foundation of charity, family and faith. Kindness, compassion and respect for others is reinforced in the classroom from the beginning. I’m thrilled to see the lessons we teach at home being reinforced at school. These are good kids. This is why I work to pay tuition. For us it is worth it. So you can imagine my shock and dismay when I hear of a child behaving in a way counterintuitive to everything they are taught. What’s worse is when the teacher ignores or misses it.

What’s not worth it is to expect all this and then realize that this year, you got the teacher who is not invested and never accessible unless you pop into the classroom and even then there is a very good chance then that you’ll be cutoff midsentence and asked to leave. True story. I am used to teachers who, if call or email about my child, respond. I am used to teachers who pay attention to what is going on in the classroom and handle it.

For the past 3 years, my oldest has been victim to some bullying and every year, I contacted the teacher and he or she handled it. We worked together and it all ended up fine without too much emotional scarring but it took all parties involved to be invested. This year, one of her previous bullies is in her class again. It’s a very uncomfortable situation.

Yesterday at pick up, my 8-year old got in the car and immediately started telling me about her day at school and then started crying telling me that her teacher thought she was bullying a little boy and she swears she didn’t do it. When she tried to explain, the teacher called her a bully. You see the same little mean girl who bullied her in 1st grade is in my daughter’s class again this year and this time she has a new victim, a little boy in the classroom who sits next to my daughter. The little girl wrote a note of insults about the boy and put 4 girl’s names next to them. Girls she also doesn’t like. Then she showed the little boy. Then she gave it to my daughter. My daughter knows that we have a zero bullying tolerance. She told the girl to erase her name and when the girl wouldn’t, my daughter went to the teacher, only to be shushed and told to sit down. A few minutes later the little girl threw the paper at my daughter and the teacher saw it mid-flight and assumed the girls were passing notes and when she saw what the note said she moved the girls apart and then told all five girls (the child who wrote all of it and the other 4 girls names who she had put on the sheet (as far as I am concerned victims too) that she will be bringing up the “bullying” incident at Friday’s parent teacher conferences.

Now this all comes after a week of my trying to get in contact with the teacher via email about the Halloween party I’m organizing, with NO ANSWER to any of my emails. This also comes after she almost made my child wet her pants because she wouldn’t allow her to use the restroom (I have since told my child that if she needs to go..go and I will deal with the consequences rather than her piss her pants and deal with the ridicule). My daughter is 8, I think she knows if she really has to piss. So this teacher has been, in my opinion, half-assing a lot of things this year.

I have a couple problems with the whole “bullying” incident because 1) if the teacher would have taken a second to just listen to my daughter when she tried to give her the note in the first place and not shushed her maybe the little boy would never had gotten the chance to see it and she would have known who was doing what. 2) If she paid attention to my daughter in class at all, she would know that doing something like this is not in her nature especially since she has been bullied herself. 3) When I called her to discuss the incident (5 minutes after pick up) she was gone and never called me back this morning. I think if you are going to be throwing around the word “bullying” and label my child you should at least answer the phone message of a concerned parent who wants to know what’s going on because if my daughter is not the perpetrator she shouldn’t be labeled and punished and if she is then she should be punished by her father and I.

She swears she never said the things written on the note after a long and thorough discussion, I believe her. I still told her that she needs to apologize to the little boy; to which she said she already had when he first saw it. My husband has told her to show a little extra kindness to the child who was insulted because he’s probably feeling pretty down. I just want to get to the bottom of all of this so we can take the proper steps to stop this kind of shit from happening to our children. If I were that little boy’s mom, I’d be livid. Things like this can stick with you forever.

I need your advice. As a parent, what would you do?

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