A couple days ago Brian came home and he suddenly started crying and wanted a hug. Eventually we got out of him that a girl was very mean with him and told him he was too little to be in 1st grade and called him a baby. I, admittedly, got furious. They are the youngest in their grade and they are little but who the *bleep* does she think she is, right? Someone would teach her a lesson. I reflexively wanted to tell him to tell her “I’m in the highest reading level in our class and you’re not. Maybe you’re too stupid to be in 1st grade”, but, of course, I didn’t :-).
It was a chance to learn a sad lesson about people for Brian, though, and we talked about it quite a bit.
He is such a sweet kid and doesn’t have anything near that kind of cruelty in him, neither of our boys do. They’ll fight over toys and tease each other for laughs, but I can’t remember them saying things just to be mean like that. What to do?
I did some research and found out that the child has problems at home, and at mother’s visiting day yesterday I watched her (I wrote more about Mother’s Visiting day at the isocrat blog). I can see what the problem is, the mother understands, and it’s not just with Brian, but he’s more likely to take it personally; Alan is so much more carefree with his feelings. So my plan is to bring it to the attention of the teacher and ask her to keep an eye out for now. I want to protect him, but know part of learning in school is social learning about how to manage these situations.
It does cause worry though, specific to us. When I first heard him say a girl was mean, I immediately thought she may have picked on him because our family is different. I can only hope other parents will do their part to make the learning environment civil and inclusive for all children or there will be a situation. I have to hope we can continue to keep the outwardly benevolent hostility nurtured here by our predominant culture out of our home and school. But people who vote to bully us out of equal protections have children too, I'm sure they pass on their bias, and we will interact. Maybe we can do it civilly. If not, though, I feel I’ve got armies of potential waiting to deal with that moment, and we will.
All that aside though, yesterday at Mother’s Visiting Day was wonderful. I learned about vertebrates with Brian, I sang a song, played dodge ball, and wrote a fairy tale with Alan about a talking leaf and the sun. We are so lucky to have the school administrators, teachers, and parents there that we do.