Six days ago, our son suffered a concussion on the playground at school. He was knocked unconscious not because of a simple accident or misstep. He was trying to get away from a bully–the same one who had just knocked him on his back at recess.
I am fiercely protective of our two boys, ages 6 and 8. I shared my own story of my 8 year old’s experience and was shocked to learn how many other children his age are being bullied as well, boys and girls both and in “safe” school districts across the country.
I’ve learned quickly over these past few days how the victims of bullying are often blamed in some way and how bullying is still taken lightly even though we know that people are taking their own lives as a result of bullying. I’ve learned that some people want me to let this slide or to accept that this happened and move on.
You know what? This mom will NOT be silent. I will NOT accept the status quo. I will NOT accept the excuse of “boys being boys” or anything like that. I will NOT accept the ridiculous comment that “this will build character” or that “being picked on is a rite of passage.”
I am using my voice, my keyboard, to stand up not just for my son, but for all victims of bullying. I will not go away and I invite you to join me in my efforts to combat bullying. This truly begins at home. It is the responsibility of each and every single parent to raise their children to be kind, empathetic, respectful, and accepting of others.
Before we move on, I would like to tell you what happened to our son. I will tell you of the progress being made in our own situation, our conversations with the school administration, the bully’s parents, etc. This is still on-going for us, but I intend to use this blog as a tool to relay our experience and to hear yours as well. Bullying occurs in every town, large or small, and at all ages.
Here is our story:
I have the best role ever in this life–that of mother. I love being a mom and love my boys more than anything in this entire world. My boys are such wonderful, unique little guys and I just adore them with my whole heart.
My son Nick is 8. He is a cool dude. He is a bit quirky (hey, that’s a good thing), loves to talk about Greek Mythology, Star Wars, facts and figures, and neat information he finds in National Geographic Kids. He is a sensitive boy with a great big heart full of compassion and kindness. He loves to dance and sing and he is not afraid to be who he is. He embraces the fact that he is different from other kids in many ways and carries himself with poise. He’s a great boy–last week, he was named Star Student again at school and he just makes us proud to be his parents.
His kindness, sensitivity, and unwavering trust and belief that all people are inherently good also makes him the target at times of the class bully. This is the same class bully who picked on kids back at AGE 4 in preschool. The same class bully who knocked a little GIRL to the ground and hurt her last year at school. The same class bully who kicked my son and left bruises on his legs two weeks ago.
Yesterday, Nick was playing outside at recess. He was knocked to the ground after being pushed in the chest. He told a grown up (one of the recess aides) what happened and the bully was issued a 5 minute time out.
After time out, the bully decided it would be fun to try to get Nick again. Nick tried to run away from this boy. He decided to climb up the metal ladder on the playground equipment and was hurrying to get away from this bully. Nick slipped and banged his forehead on the metal rungs to the ladder. The force was so strong, he was knocked unconscious and he fell to the ground on his back.
No one noticed that this happened to Nick. Not initially. In fact, the bully apparently is the one who got a grown up to come help Nick. That part is still a little foggy. Blacking out will do that to you.
I was sitting here at my desk packing a box of jewelry to mail to the boutique my jewelry is sold in down in Virginia Beach and chatting with my mom on Facebook when the phone rang. The school nurse called to tell me that Nick had been injured and that I needed to come get him.
Thankfully, we are extremely close to the elementary school. I ran over to meet him in the office. The nurse walked Nick in. He was dazed and holding ice to a mammoth egg on his forehead. Nick wasn’t himself at all. He was confused and hurting. At the emergency room, the events were recounted to us. We thought this was an accident. We thought Nick was having fun playing and just lost his footing. It was at the hospital when he was questioned by the doctor where the truth came out.
To find out that he was trying to run away from the bully who had just knocked him to the ground is shocking and unacceptable.
Nick was closely monitored and spent yesterday at home resting. We had to go back to the doctor to follow up and to make sure he is OK. My sweet Nick blacked out and suffered a concussion because of a bully. Nick is just 8 years old. He wouldn’t harm a fly. He is concerned about world peace and everyone getting along. He is the peacemaker when his friends have a dispute. He tries to see the good in everyone. He even tries to explain that perhaps the bully has had bad things happen to him to make him act like this.
You can better bet this this mom will not be accepting “boys will be boys” or “they were just playing” or “accidents happen.” Something will be done about this situation and I will not accept anything less than a solution that involves true consequences for the bully so that this will not happen to any more kids.
We’ve all heard quite a bit about bullying on the news. Nearby in Buffalo, a teenager recently took his own life because he was being bullied. This is happening all over this country. Yes, there always has been bullying, but something is wrong in this society. Where does an elementary school child learn to do such things? How is it OK with parents to raise their children this way? This is NOT acceptable. And it is not even just children. Look on the internet at message boards and in workplaces and there is bullying. People need to wake up and realize that it is not OK to treat other human beings this way.
My child suffered a head injury. Thank God he is going to be OK. We have to watch him carefully and pray that he doesn’t injure his head again because a secondary concussion could be much more serious.
I shared my story on my own personal blog yesterday. I received so many emails from parents about their own children being bullied–little girls in first grade, for example. I was even told a story about a boy who was pulled out of school and sent to a private school because of bullying.
Bullying exists everywhere and in every school district. I love our school district. It is the key reason we moved here. We live in the suburbs in a great school district. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I constantly sing the praises of our school and our district. We have loved it here. We love the people. We love the teachers.
However, even bad things can happen here. It happens everywhere. It happens in Pittsford and Fairport and Greece and in little tiny rural towns and it is wrong. I am sharing my story because I do not want any other parent to see their child suffer. I do not want any other parent to watch their son in pain in the emergency room because he was trying to escape a bully.
Are you a parent? Do you know–really know–how your child is treating others? I think some of you would be shocked. I know there are parents I know whom would be shocked if they truly knew how their kids treated others at school. It’s time to get involved–police what your kids are doing, what they’re watching, who they’re involved with. I am thankful that our school is listening and investigating. And I promise to keep you all updated as well.
This issue will NOT be let go until it is completely resolved in an appropriate manner. This makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. As a mother, all you want is to protect your children. I will protect him. I will not tolerate bullying. My child should not have to have suffered a concussion for others to open their eyes, though.
Keep a lookout–know what is going on in your child’s life. If you see someone getting picked on, SAY SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING, DON’T STAND FOR IT!
I intend to keep you all up to date on how this is handled. We met with the school. We have a new principal whom I feel comfortable talking to and I really do believe she has the safety of all children a top priority. However, I will not be silent or accept blaming the victim, boys will be boys, or a simple slap on the wrist. Until parents stand up and say that this is wrong and will not be tolerated, our children are all potentially at risk. It is time to end the cycle of bullying once and for all.