A child in elementary coming home with unreasonable bruising, scrapes, etc., starts my inquires that leads to hearing how the outdoor play time is going for this child.
The first strategy was being around the playground area during breaks to observe what it happening that leads to two discoveries. The field assistants are chatting with each other and not looking at the children playing. The next thing is the play is such that kids (many much older) are ganging up on the younger ones, one at a time. Ouch!
The second and third strategy was to talk to the administrator of the school about my concerns and to suggest that we get the kids into a group and talk about what it is like for them to have this experience.
1. Walking home a few days later from taking this child to school, now alone with a baby, a car speeds up and drives up onto the side-walk and stops with brakes screaming directly in front of us. We are both in shock having thought we were going to be run over. My daughter was three years old! That driver was a parent of one of the children on the field who I had not named! This driver, another mother, began a rant that was threatening and a behavior reaction that one would never forget! The school administrator had called her to make a complaint on my behalf when I had not named names of the kids I had observed.
2. The second consequence was that rather than creating a group discussion the administrator went into the classroom and called my son out of the classroom leaving him with understanding he had done something wrong and felt shame over.
3. A notice went out telling all parents that they could not be on the fields at school breaks.
What I learned, is that if I speak up and share my needs for my child we would suffer by being bullied. My son was not only bullied on the field, he was bullied by the an adult in a structure there to support him.
How many parents do not speak up for these very reasons? Is it still working for us or is it time to speak up and share what our needs are demonstrating to our children how to connect rather than disconnect to better meet them?
In discussing this with my child’s teachers what I was told, off the record, was that they too felt intimidated by this school administrator and that similar things were happening to them. Therefore they were not speaking up anymore.
Isn’t it time we focus on how to connect rather than to protect?