I’m telling you, nothing feels worse than when your child is hurting. Nothing.
From the minute the boys burst open the front door, exactly 2.2 minutes after their bus drops them off at the corner (that is if they weren’t distracted by any trees or rocks or random treasures found lying on the side of the road) they are coming at me with a play-by-play of their respective school days. It is sometimes hard to listen to both of them at the same time, so I try to give them turns, reminding them to “let your brother finish what he was saying” and “slow down, I can’t understand you when you’re talking so fast” so that I can get a somewhat clear picture of the things that mattered to them on that particular day.
After they’re done with the re-cap, they grab a snack and head on outside to throw basketballs at each other’s heads and get a few more grass stains on their pants, which delights me to the ends of the earth.
The other day though, something unusual in McRae’s “what I did at school today” rant caught my attention.
“Today at recess, some kid whipped me IN THE FACE with a jump rope.”
Wait a minute, what did he just say? Some kid did what? To my baby?
Of course, after interrogating him just a little to make sure that it wasn’t something he started (by saying “hey you, big, mean, older kid over there, yeah you, what are you lookin’ at?”) I listened to his story.
Apparently this “really bad kid” decided to unleash his anger upon my little boy. He has been suspended from school and McRae was not in any sort of trouble as his involvement was purely that of a victim. A victim. My boy.
I don’t know what bothers me more about this, the fact that things like this happen on the playground all the time or that nobody bothered to inform me of it (meaning I did not get a call from a concerned adult regarding my child’s injury). Granted, he was not sent to see the school nurse (whom I went to high school with and I am sure would’ve called me) but obviously one of the “playground teachers” saw what happened or heard what happened and dealt with the situation. No, he wasn’t hurt badly, on the outside. But from his description, it sounds like it was a fairly violent incident. One I am not willing to just ignore.
So, next week is conference week and I will be discussing this with his teacher, that is if anyone bothered to tell her about it.
Our school has a very strict no bullying policy and for that, I applaud them. But what they need to have is a better communication policy, because if a child can be whipped in the face with a jump rope (twice) and then be expected to go on with the day as if nothing happened, I think that’s ridiculous. Just because a kid does not have blood pouring from his wounds, do you think he’s okay? Should we assume that because a child is a boy (as opposed to a girl) and he gets injured but does not cry, that he is not in pain?
If we want to prevent violence in our schools, we need to keep these lines of communication wide open. They need to be as wide open as possible so that parents and care givers can empower their kids with support and understanding when bad things happen.
If he wouldn’t have told me, I would’ve never known. And he would’ve bottled it up inside and let it fester.
Thankfully, my kids still like to tell me about their day. They tell me the good and they tell me the bad. They tell me how many times they went to the bathroom and who won at tetherball. They tell me what their teachers had for lunch and if someone was having a bad day. They tell me all kinds of things that make me roll my eyes inside my head (when they're not looking) and think "do I really need to know this?". Guess what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.