It’s been a difficult week for me as a mum this week.
Picklepot informed me that one of the kids in his class has been particularly nasty to him recently. For the last 2 years this other child has been deliberately kept away from Picklepot as they would argue and fight, but starting at the beginning of this term the other kid told Picklepot that he was “done being nasty” and wanted to be friends this year. Picklepot being the forgiving boy that he is, he accepted this and for the first couple of days things were good.
Then the other boy started his old tricks again. He pinched and kicked Picklepot when the teachers weren’t looking. He pulled Picklepot’s hair, called him names, told him only girls have long hair, even smacking his bottom if Picklepot tries to walk away from him.
The last straw for me came when Picklepot came home from school with a red line across his fingers. I asked him what had happened.
We’d had a discussion the night before about this other boy, and I told Picklepot that a bully is normally a bully because they’re jealous of you. I told him he was good looking, clever, kind and thoughtful, and had lots of friends. This other boy was probably jealous of those qualities, so the way he made himself feel better was to try and make Picklepot feel bad about himself. After that, Picklepot drew a lovely picture, showing two boys smiling together, one labelled with his name and one with the other boys name. It said “We be friends” over the top of the two boys, and he said he was going to give it to the other boy and tell him they should be friends and stop being mean. I thought it was very sweet of him and he took it into school the next day to give it to the other boy.
He did as he planned, and gave the picture to the other boy, and told him that they should be friends, and the other boy said “OK I accept”. Picklepot thought this was genuine and went to walk away to go for break, when the other boy called him back so Picklepot paused with his hand in the doorframe of the classroom. The other boy slammed the door shut on his fingers, laughed at him and screwed up the picture, calling Picklepot names and saying he would never be his friend.
My eldest son went to the first aid room for an ice pack for his fingers, but he didn’t tell them the whole truth about what had happened. Though only seven, he has noticed previously if he reports an incident and names this boy, when the teacher then talks to the boy he knows who has ‘grassed him up’ and he will come back after Picklepot twice as bad as before. So Picklepot, aged seven years old, lied to the teacher attending the first aid room that day and didn’t tell her that this other boy had deliberately slammed his fingers in the classroom door, because he was scared of what would happen if he told on the other kid, and the other kid coming after him to do something worse.
To say I was livid would be an understatement. It took all of my self control the following morning not to march up to the other kid and drag him by the scruff of his neck to the head teacher. However, I managed not to. I managed to keep a lid on it until my meeting with the acting head teacher that afternoon, when I spilled to her exactly what has been going on with this boy since the start of term, and explaining to her in a barely controlled voice that wobbled because I was SO angry about this incident that I expect this to stop, right away. I do not expect to hear any reports of any more name calling, pinching, kicking, hair pulling, much less bottom smacking or slamming of fingers in classroom doors. She was aghast, she had no idea what had been going on, and she promised faithfully she would sort it out.
For now Mama Bear is resting, but her ears are listening and she sleeps with one eye open. You’d better believe I will be growling if anything happens next week!