My 10 year old LOVES school. She gets so excited about back to school, seeing her friends and teachers. She even likes back to school shopping and picking out her school supplies. This year is a big one, it’s the last year in her elementary school and she’s got all kinds of opportunities available to her. With great excitement she was dropped off to her first day of school and it was with great disappointment – and I admit to a great deal of fear -the day ended as she told me about her day. Not only is her bully back to school too, but she is in her classroom. Yep – the child who told my child to commit suicide is IN HER CLASSROOM!
My first response is anger. I’m so freaking mad at this school. How DARE they put her in a class with someone who spent last year calling her fat, ugly, and stupid. How could they ignore all the instances on the playground and in the lunchroom? The emails, the phone calls?
But as a mom I have to hold back. I try not to jump to conclusions or react too strongly or my daughter may not feel she can talk to me for worry about what mom may do. She tells me:
“Mom she was really nice today”
“The teacher said she will not tolerate any bullying”
“Mom, I don’t want to change classes, I want to stay in this one.”
We table the discussion for when I can talk to her alone, and find out about my youngest daughter’s first day of school. Later on after everyone goes to bed Bryan and I talk about it. We head to bed determined to do something about the situation, demanding one or the other of the children are moved to another classroom.
The next day I try to contact the school, I’m determined to get this child moved out of my daughter’s classroom. It’s day 2 of school – how well do you think that went?
Last night my daughter gets in the car and the first thing she says is, “Mom did you move me from the class? I really don’t want to move. She was nice to me again today. Maybe we can be friends.”
Oh my heart breaks, she wants to get along so badly! But all the what ifs start floating in my head. What if this child has not changed? What if she continues to bully my daughter? What if my daughter starts to trust her and THEN she starts to bully her? What will we do then? The damage will be done. Her trust in people could be damaged, if not destroyed. I’m not willing to take that chance. I’m just not. Or so I think until she says,
Mom, I can handle it. I will be okay. I promise I’ll talk to you if anything happens. You just gotta let me try. I’m growing up you know.
And there it is. She is growing up. And it’s time to make one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in the 10 years of parenting this beautiful, generous, loving and kind girl. It’s time to let her try to deal with this bully all on her own.
What if? says a voice inside my head. What if this child has changed? What if my daughter has an amazing opportunity to feel strong, confident and independent?
That’s a What if, I’m willing to hope for.