Because of Bullies

That’s part of Nigel’s statement when he tells people that he’s being homeschooled. “I’m doing homeschool because of bully problems.”

When he was seven, I witnessed a neighbor boy call Nigel a “retard,” as I have written about previously. It’s possible that there may have been some of that going on at school as well, but to the best of my knowledge, and from what I was able to extract from him at the time, most of the bullying started in fourth grade. I don’t remember how it came up, but we were sitting around the dinner table, that hallowed place of family meetings, and he mentioned something about a kid spitting on his jacket. He didn’t want to tell me about it, he said, because he didn’t want me to worry. But I was able to drag out of him that two kids in his class had been cornering him at lunch and spitting on him. And Mama Bear was pissed.

I called his teacher and told her about it, and she assured me that she would have an aid watch them at lunch. Six weeks later, I noticed that Nigel had been pulling out his hair, so I asked him if the kids were still bothering him. He said yes. I immediately contacted the teacher, this time mentioning that I would call the boys’ parents if this wasn’t resolved quickly. The teacher told me that she would personally make sure it wouldn’t happen again. About two months went by, with me blithely assuming that surely now everything would be okay. Then I noticed another one of Nigel’s old stress indicators: severely chapped lips and mouth. He confirmed that he was still being bullied.

At that point I was so angry I was ready to take the school to court. This is discrimination against someone with a disability. My blood was boiling. I asked the teacher to set up a meeting with the principal and both of those boys’ parents. This ends now, I said. The teacher convinced me that she should have a meeting with the boys’ parents first, since they had not yet been notified, and after I calmed down, I conceded. I must have finally gotten my point across, because two weeks later when I asked Nigel if the boys were still bullying him, he said no. He said that the boys had apologized to him and that they were now “friends.”

Well, I guess a state of forced “friends” is better than ritual bullying. It just burned me to know that I had to throw my “Mama Bear” weight around to have them take me seriously. I shouldn’t have had to resort to threatening with litigation. Aside from the bullying issue, both of my kids did really well at that elementary school, and most of the teachers really cared about them. But I would have done whatever was necessary to get that situation resolved. I think they realized that, and that’s why, as far as I know, there were no more bullying issues the remainder of the time (one year) that Nigel attended that school.

Unfortunately, middle school was much worse.