A very important Elliott update 

At therapy tonight, we worked on empowering Elliott and helping him learn to stand up for himself.  

One of my nonviolent suggestions was to have Elliott pick up the pencil after its thrown at him, break it in half and throw it away. While it sends a message, it also eliminates this kids ammunition. He can’t throw pencils at Elliott if all his pencils are gone. 

I also suggested that the next time this kid hits him, throws a pencil at him or knocks things off his desk,  Elliott very loudly say this kids name and demand that he stops doing whatever he just did. This will get the teachers attention and they will hopefully address the problem. 

I don’t want Elliott to fight this kid or provoke him in any way. At the same time, I don’t want him to be a doormat either. He has a right to be in class without having pencils thrown at him or getting smacked on the back. He has a right to defend himself and demand that these things stop, even if it means making a scene. 

Are they ideal solutions? Of course not but with the absence of teacher support, he needs to stand up for himself. Dr. Pattie, Lizze and I all agree that these are appropriate responses to what amounts to acts of aggression. 

In the morning, Lizze and I will be returning to the school and addressing these things in a different way. While I’d rather work together for a solution, by allowing these things to continue, the teachers are failing Elliott and the other student who are the main targets of this bully.  

I’ll not be so nice this time around.  

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Kim Gebhardt

As frustrating as it is, I do understand the teacher’s point on this; they really do need to see the ‘bullying’ happening before they can deal with it. You have mentioned before that Elliott is somewhat of a tattler, so that might be playing into the teacher wanting to see it for themselves as well. You said that there were other kids being targeted, why not get together with those parents and approach the school together as a united front? I agree that the behavior needs to be addressed. If this jackass of a kid is allowed to get away with this type of thing now, he will only get worse as he gets older.

JR

I’m not so sure that the teacher actually has to see the “bullying” as it’s happening in order to take measures to ensure that it doesn’t happen in the future. If the kid was beating the crap out of other kids at school, but out of sight of the staff, would the school just say “Sorry, we can’t do anything because we didn’t see it?” Of course not. They would react because they would be relying on reports of other kids about what happened. Sure, it would be more dramatic if a kid could point to bruises, injuries, etc., but here there’s potential emotional damage going on.
The behavior has been reported. By their own admission, although they haven’t seen it, they know it’s going on. That’s enough. They should be taking action. Obviously the amount of “action” they take would depend what has been reported, what they believe is happening, etc., and might be limited at this point. But I don’t think it’s entirely acceptable for the school to claim that they can’t do anything, even though they know something’s going on, because they haven’t caught the bully in the act.
No reason to be “not so nice”, Rob. Just advocate for your child.

JR

And with all due respect to Kim and the idea of strength in numbers, I don’t think this is a situation that calls for the collective onslaught of parents in order to be rectified. Rob should be able to get the school to get this under control by himself. I know I would much rather speak for myself on behalf of my kid to get things done, particularly of this sort of nature, than to rely on the proverbial “angry mob” to do it.

Kim Gebhardt

The reason I mentioned a united front with other parents was because if more than one child is having problems with the bad seed, then it becomes less of a ‘he said/she said’ type of situation. Rob mentioned the other day that Elliott wasn’t the only target.

JR

I understand what you’re saying, but why bother going through the whole thing of potentially publicly shaming this “bully” (who, for all we know, is less of a bully but instead just another kid struggling with his own issues, of which his parents are fully aware and are desperately trying to work on), when it can be resolved on an individual basis? More importantly for Rob, his primary concern is Elliott, not the student body at large. Rob’s individual approach is more likely to result in a solution for Elliott. What if all it takes is moving Elliott’s seat away from this kid? Or making sure they don’t sit near each other for lunch? Just doesn’t seem like something that requires such a rallying of the troops.
My position would change if the bullying behavior was more dangerous and if the school was not going to act despite one parent’s individual complaints…
Either way, I hope Rob’s continued efforts result in some action by the school. And I was glad to see that Rob has taken advantage of a potentially negative situation and used it as a learning tool to teach Elliott something about self-advocacy, something I asked about in an earlier post.

Rob Gorski

You’re right in the sense that the bullying isn’t severe but this is really impacting Elliott on an emotional level. Sometimes the bruising is visible on the outside. We’re working getting Elliott to stand up for himself but that’s not easy. Elliott will stand up for his friends when they’re being bullied by this kid but not for himself.

Empowerment is a good direction to go in…

JR

Although painful to go through, these real life situations present the absolute best opportunities to teach self-advocacy (just to put a positive spin on the situation). And just to be clear, I wasn’t minimizing the bullying in the least…as I said above “there’s potential emotional damage going on.” Best of luck.

Kim Gebhardt

I don’t think this child should be publicly shamed at all. I agree with you on having Elliott attempt to take care of this himself and also just moving his seat, but the behavior of the offending child still needs to be addressed. I would hate to see the new kid sitting in Elliott’s seat end up with pencils thrown at him throughout the day. My thoughts on having more than one set of parents approach the school was because they may not take one child seriously, but maybe they will take 2 or 3 seriously. You raise a good point that maybe this other child is struggling with his own issues- I hadn’t thought of that. To be honest, I’m not even sure what Rob describes is ‘bullying’; it sounds more like just a jackass of a kid to me. I guess I put bullies into a different category.

Rob Gorski

From stopbullying.org

There are three types of bullying:

Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
Teasing
Name-calling
Inappropriate sexual comments
Taunting
Threatening to cause harm
Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
Leaving someone out on purpose
Telling other children not to be friends with someone
Spreading rumors about someone
Embarrassing someone in public
Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
Hitting/kicking/pinching
Spitting
Tripping/pushing
Taking or breaking someone’s things
Making mean or rude hand gestures

Braden

‘Leaving someone out on purpose’ is bullying now?

SMH

Rob Gorski

I don’t make the rules…..

Kim Gebhardt

Right? Is it just me or is that ridiculous? I get that no one wants their child’s feelings to be hurt, but isn’t a lot of this all part of growing up?

Rob Gorski

I totally agree. I mean to an extent anyway. Kids need to learn to deal with situations where perhaps they are being teased or picked last. I get that. Once someone makes physical contact in a manner that is or could cause harm, that’s crossing the line. That’s where we are right now. We just don’t want it to get worse.

If it were a matter of his feelings being hurt, this would be handled differently

Kim Gebhardt

I wasn’t speaking to Elliott’s situation in particular, mostly the bullying list as a whole.

Rob Gorski

I know that. No worries. I was just agreeing and defining the difference… ☺

Rob Gorski

Kim, I agree with you. If multiple kids are reporting similar problems independently of each other, that should be enough for action to be taken.

Rob Gorski

I totally agree with you. Unfortunately, the teachers feel they have to witness this beta ior first hand in order to deal with it in some meaningful way. That’s the frustrating part. Plus when Elliott goes to them for help, he’s being brushed off and that’s not okay.

Rob Gorski

That’s an interesting point Kim. A united front would put pressure on the school to actually deal with the problem. I don’t think this is a bad kid but perhaps he has impulse control issues, which frankly wouldn’t surprise me. Either way, the problem remains and it needs to be dealt with. I also agree that if left unchecked, it’s likely to get worse.

Kim Gebhardt

As frustrating as it is, I do understand the teacher’s point on this; they really do need to see the ‘bullying’ happening before they can deal with it. You have mentioned before that Elliott is somewhat of a tattler, so that might be playing into the teacher wanting to see it for themselves as well. You said that there were other kids being targeted, why not get together with those parents and approach the school together as a united front? I agree that the behavior needs to be addressed. If this jackass of a kid is allowed to get away with this type of thing now, he will only get worse as he gets older.

JR

I’m not so sure that the teacher actually has to see the “bullying” as it’s happening in order to take measures to ensure that it doesn’t happen in the future. If the kid was beating the crap out of other kids at school, but out of sight of the staff, would the school just say “Sorry, we can’t do anything because we didn’t see it?” Of course not. They would react because they would be relying on reports of other kids about what happened. Sure, it would be more dramatic if a kid could point to bruises, injuries, etc., but here there’s potential emotional damage going on.
The behavior has been reported. By their own admission, although they haven’t seen it, they know it’s going on. That’s enough. They should be taking action. Obviously the amount of “action” they take would depend what has been reported, what they believe is happening, etc., and might be limited at this point. But I don’t think it’s entirely acceptable for the school to claim that they can’t do anything, even though they know something’s going on, because they haven’t caught the bully in the act.
No reason to be “not so nice”, Rob. Just advocate for your child.

JR

And with all due respect to Kim and the idea of strength in numbers, I don’t think this is a situation that calls for the collective onslaught of parents in order to be rectified. Rob should be able to get the school to get this under control by himself. I know I would much rather speak for myself on behalf of my kid to get things done, particularly of this sort of nature, than to rely on the proverbial “angry mob” to do it.

Kim Gebhardt

The reason I mentioned a united front with other parents was because if more than one child is having problems with the bad seed, then it becomes less of a ‘he said/she said’ type of situation. Rob mentioned the other day that Elliott wasn’t the only target.

JR

I understand what you’re saying, but why bother going through the whole thing of potentially publicly shaming this “bully” (who, for all we know, is less of a bully but instead just another kid struggling with his own issues, of which his parents are fully aware and are desperately trying to work on), when it can be resolved on an individual basis? More importantly for Rob, his primary concern is Elliott, not the student body at large. Rob’s individual approach is more likely to result in a solution for Elliott. What if all it takes is moving Elliott’s seat away from this kid? Or making sure they don’t sit near each other for lunch? Just doesn’t seem like something that requires such a rallying of the troops.
My position would change if the bullying behavior was more dangerous and if the school was not going to act despite one parent’s individual complaints…
Either way, I hope Rob’s continued efforts result in some action by the school. And I was glad to see that Rob has taken advantage of a potentially negative situation and used it as a learning tool to teach Elliott something about self-advocacy, something I asked about in an earlier post.

Rob Gorski

You’re right in the sense that the bullying isn’t severe but this is really impacting Elliott on an emotional level. Sometimes the bruising is visible on the outside. We’re working getting Elliott to stand up for himself but that’s not easy. Elliott will stand up for his friends when they’re being bullied by this kid but not for himself.

Empowerment is a good direction to go in…

Kim Gebhardt

I don’t think this child should be publicly shamed at all. I agree with you on having Elliott attempt to take care of this himself and also just moving his seat, but the behavior of the offending child still needs to be addressed. I would hate to see the new kid sitting in Elliott’s seat end up with pencils thrown at him throughout the day. My thoughts on having more than one set of parents approach the school was because they may not take one child seriously, but maybe they will take 2 or 3 seriously. You raise a good point that maybe this other child is struggling with his own issues- I hadn’t thought of that. To be honest, I’m not even sure what Rob describes is ‘bullying’; it sounds more like just a jackass of a kid to me. I guess I put bullies into a different category.

Rob Gorski

Kim, I agree with you. If multiple kids are reporting similar problems independently of each other, that should be enough for action to be taken.

Rob Gorski

I totally agree with you. Unfortunately, the teachers feel they have to witness this beta ior first hand in order to deal with it in some meaningful way. That’s the frustrating part. Plus when Elliott goes to them for help, he’s being brushed off and that’s not okay.

Rob Gorski

That’s an interesting point Kim. A united front would put pressure on the school to actually deal with the problem. I don’t think this is a bad kid but perhaps he has impulse control issues, which frankly wouldn’t surprise me. Either way, the problem remains and it needs to be dealt with. I also agree that if left unchecked, it’s likely to get worse.

Kim Gebhardt

As frustrating as it is, I do understand the teacher’s point on this; they really do need to see the ‘bullying’ happening before they can deal with it. You have mentioned before that Elliott is somewhat of a tattler, so that might be playing into the teacher wanting to see it for themselves as well. You said that there were other kids being targeted, why not get together with those parents and approach the school together as a united front? I agree that the behavior needs to be addressed. If this jackass of a kid is allowed to get away with this type of thing now, he will only get worse as he gets older.

Kim Gebhardt

As frustrating as it is, I do understand the teacher’s point on this; they really do need to see the ‘bullying’ happening before they can deal with it. You have mentioned before that Elliott is somewhat of a tattler, so that might be playing into the teacher wanting to see it for themselves as well. You said that there were other kids being targeted, why not get together with those parents and approach the school together as a united front? I agree that the behavior needs to be addressed. If this jackass of a kid is allowed to get away with this type of thing now, he will only get worse as he gets older.

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