One evening my six year old daughter comes off the school bus in tears. She explained that there is a girl on the bus being mean to her, telling her to get up and move, or don't sit here or there.
I'm heartbroken for my little girl.
I explained to her that sometimes children are mean because their parents don't always enforce certain forms of behaviour at home or give them tools to navigate in the outside world.
I also explain that sometimes kids choose to do wrongs behind their parents and teachers back when they think they wont be caught.
I explain some kids just want to fit in with their friends and thinks it's okay to act big by picking on others.
I told my sweet daughter:
Next time she tells you to move from where you sit. You will state to her as loudly as possible. This is the seat I choose and I will sit here until I reach my stop. You can go find another seat. Or if you feel like moving over in kindness, then you can do so, but only if it's your choice and you didn't do it because you felt afraid.
She might not know your name and that's why she tries to call you names. Remind her as loudly as you can. My name is V******* and if you forget, I can always remind you.
I also told my daughter that ignoring someone as if they are not present, can be a most powerful thing to some people. Just talk to other kids and read as if that person trying to bother you isn't there at all.
I gave her lots of little things to try for about two weeks.
I figured it would eventually calm down. Some kids tend to be antagonistic at times. However, this girl's sights seemed to be set on my six year old daughter. She went so far as to tell my daughter not to tell her mother (me) anything because she didn't want to get into trouble.
My daughter is in 1st grade and that other child is in 4th grade. HELLO! (I only learned that later on at the confrontation)
I asked her brother if he knew this girl who is upsetting his sister. He said yes and she is really mean. She also treats her own sister very badly while on the bus.
I think boys sit on the other side or something, because when I asked if he could sit with his sister, he said it wasn't allowed.
After a few weeks my daughter comes home and she is crying. She does not want to be on the bus anymore. She begs for me to drive her to and from school again.
I told her mama is on board and will now help her handle this issue, but if anyone is getting off that bus, it surely will not be her.
She explained that while waiting on the school bus at school, she opened her bag to get a book to read. This same child grabbed a book from my daughter's bag and wouldn't return it. When the v-principal who was right there, got involved, the girl lied that my daughter had given it to her. Why would my daughter give away a library book????
My daughter said the v-principal handled it. But you could tell she was very upset.
I wrote a letter to the principal at school thanking her for getting involved with that matter with the book, and explained the matter on the school bus and my need to have it resolved immediately since it's something that has been ongoing.
The next day, the principal called my daughter to the office and away they went to search for this child who was being consistently antagonistic towards my daughter. (that's how I learned she was in 4th grade) My daughter said, the girl apologized and the principal told my daughter that next time to just come to her if there is a problem and she doesn't have to tell her mother. UM WHAT????? Let me shake that off.
My daughter was upset thinking she was in trouble. Of course if you get called away to go to the principal's office, as a kid, you feel nervous and as if you are in trouble.
I explained to my daughter, that they only wanted to know who this other child was, so they could get the situation worked out, so she wouldn't feel afraid to ride on the school bus.
Before all this, I didn't know the child's name and my daughter wasn't sure of the name so when I wrote my letter, I could only say: "another student."
I also explained to her that anything at all that happens, she must tell her mother. I am her defense first.
I'm thinking that is the end of it. We nailed it without too much uproar and things will move on.
The VERY NEXT DAY my daughter comes home. I asked her if she had any problems on the bus, and she said no.
THEN my son tells me (he is 8) that this same girl, (we'll call her Jill) told him that he should: (And I quote) "YOU SHOULD KILL YOUR SISTER, and if you don't, I will break your fingers!"
Now when he told me that, I thought it was something I didn't hear right. So I asked him to repeat. I asked him if he was sure. I asked him when she said it etc etc etc. And I asked him what did he say to her. My dear son, didn't know what to say to her. He is not used to this kind of evil. I don't think he even understood the gravity of what that child said to him.
Then my vision went black, blue, red, simine, pinnypink etc etc etc. I shook. I cried. I shook. I stopped. I hugged my daughter and I prayed and breathe.
My daughter didn't hear her say it, so I just hugged her.
It was the evening, schools were closed etc. I thanked God for the night to sleep and calm down because I had a monster roaring inside.
I wrote another letter in the morning that I will be coming in for a meeting. I explained what had happened on the school bus and sent the letter urgent to both principal and vice principal.
I dropped the kids off at school. I figured I'd give an hour for them to settle in, and then I'd be in the school office.
Did I mention I was still shaking?
Exactly ONE hour later, the vice principal called. She said, they just came out of a meeting. Why was I NOT THERE. I specifically said I want a meeting!! My son was called in to say what happened, and so was Jill, but I'm not sure if they were in the meeting together.
She explained that the matter was taken care of and all is done. She said, she cannot share what was decided, but I should rest assure that Jill will not bother my daughter again.
She seem in a rush to get off the phone. I felt cheated. I told her thank you politely and hung up.
I know that if this comes up again, I will just simply go to the police.
A few days pass and my daughter is once again flying off the bus to come greet me with delight instead of tears.
Then one day she brought home a letter. It's a handwritten apology from Jill.
We read it.
A week or so later I didn't hear anything at all about Jill. So I asked my daughter if she was still on the school bus. My daughter said yes, but she doesn't bother her anymore. She is now a ghost. And just like that the storm clouds rumbling and building up stopped.
I'm glad. But whatever had happened. My daughter would not be the one running away from something she did not cause.
I gave it time to stop and it didn't.
I roared just a tiny bit and that was that.
I'm shocked that such a young child, would say something like that. I can't understand it at all.
After awhile I had a sit down with both my kids.
I explain to them, that even as they grow up, there will be other children and even adults who wont like them and even they might not like someone either, but it's always important to show kindness and respect.
2. Kids are mean for many reasons.
Sometimes they didn't get taught any different and why it's important to treat others with care and why it's wrong to hurt them..
Sometimes it makes them feel powerful.
Sometimes it's because someone else was mean to them, but to break that cycle, you have to choose good.
3. Always speak up. Tell your parents or an adult what's happening. Big or little, it's not tattling. If it hurts you then it needs to be stopped.
4. Bullies like to do things on the sly and hide when they think no one else (adults) can hear or see them. Don't be afraid to speak loudly when you confront a bully. Whether they are harassing you, or picking on some other child. Say it loud so another adult can hear you!
5. Don't ever be the mean kid. And always try to help the other child in trouble. You know what it feels like to be hurt and so you know what the other child is going through.
6. Bullies will threaten you. It will all hurt really bad inside, but there is always help available. But you can only get help, if you speak out on what is happening.
7. Remember the rule of life. You will get what you give. Give good and it will come back to you.
And most importantly. You are beautiful. Behave with beauty.
We had a nice long discussion and they asked questions and explained how they feel
Colette is a busy mom of 2 kids focusing solely on being a mom. She hails from the Caribbean and now balances the full life of being a SAHM and dabbling in odd jobs to help around the home. She enjoys sharing her memories, hopes, food, travel, entertainment, and product experiences on her blog. Please read my disclosure