04 February 2013

I Told My Son To Punch Another Kid in the Face

Bully Free Zone Sign
Bully Free Zone Sign (Photo credits: www.mysecuritysign.com)
Before you read this post keep in mind that I do not condone violence unless it is absolutely necessary.

About few years back my son came home crying one day. He was so upset that I couldn't understand what he was trying to say to me. My level of concern was high because this was not typical behavior for him even if he was distraught. When I finally calmed him down he explained that there was a bully at school and his group of friends were being harassed every day on the playground. I asked if he talked to the teacher and he said yes. We continued to talk about the situation as my wife came home from work. She got even more upset than he was and vowed to call the teacher the next day. I instructed my son to inform the teacher if it happened again.

The next day my son came home and he was just as upset as the day before. He told me that the same thing happened. I asked if he told the teacher and he said yes, but the bully persisted as soon as the teacher walked away. I called the teacher and explained the situation again in an unmistakable manner and told her that she should talk to the other students parents about what was going on. She said that she would and she would also let the principal know. Satisfied with that answer I told my son once again to inform the teacher if anything happened the next day.

For the third day in a row my son came home just as upset. Obviously, the faculty did not care about maintaining a proper learning environment at this particular school. This time I told my son how to handle the situation without intervention from the school officials. Most bullies are afraid of resistance so I gave him permission to do what I had taught him to protect himself. My son stared at me with a look of confusion. He knew that normally the punishment for such action would be severe. I looked him square in the eye and told him "PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE AND MAKE SURE IT HURTS! If you do it right the first time, he won't punch you back." I knew that I was risking him getting suspended but sometimes a young man has to take a stand.

The following day I waited for the phone call from the school. I was positive that I would be getting a call stating that my son had assaulted another student, but it never came. When I made it home I asked him what had happened. He began to explain how he told his friends that he was going to stand up for them no matter what happened on the playground. They all liked the idea and decided to fight back together. Recess time came and the bully came over to them and to his surprise they all pushed him away instead of succumbing to his aggression. The solidarity of the group scared him away and kept my son out of suspension, but it shouldn't have gotten to this point.

The teachers failed him. As parents, what are we to do when the school system doesn't take the problems within their school seriously? My son has since moved to another school (and another state for that matter) but I'm positive that he is not the only one to go through a situation like this....
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