11.19.2010

The Bully


My son has a bully at school.  For ease of storytelling, I'm going to call this child "Biff" as in Biff Tannen, George McFly's arch nemesis from the Back To The Future trilogy. 

Biff is not a bully in the traditional sense, meaning he hasn't physically attacked my son. I feel certain that if he had simply laid a hand on my boy, Biff would have found himself at the receiving end of a knuckle sandwich and the problem would have ended immediately.  The situation, however, is a little more complicated.

The problems with Biff started at the beginning of the school year.  Biff was the new kid in class and ironically, the only child he had a previous relationship with was one of my boy's very best friends (let's call him Buddy).  As a result Biff immediately gravitated towards Buddy and tried to exclude anyone that might pose a threat to their friendship.  

To make matters worse, Biff is one of the smallest kids in the fourth grade, while my boy is one of the biggest.  The boy told me that Biff seemed insecure about his size and that, as a result, he wasn't particularly nice.

Biff's first line of attack was to tell my boy things like, "You're stupid!" or call him the more obvious, "Carrot top!" and "Four eyes!"  The boy tried not to let the silly insults bother him and continued to try and convince Biff that they could all be friends.

When that didn't seem to work, Biff began telling other kids in the class that if they didn't pick on my boy, he would beat them up.  He was so convincing that many of the other kids, including Buddy, began to insult and gang up on my little guy.  It was awful.

Buddy seemed to fall into the same category as the majority of kids these days.  Most are worried about being bullied themselves and want desperately to be a part of the "in crowd."  As a result, they decide that it is just easier to go along with the attacks or simply ignore it rather than stand up for what is right.

The hubby and I have always been huge proponents of letting the boy sort out his own problems.  We offer him advise and guidance at home and then encourage him to handle things for himself.  This situation was different.  The boy needed a little intervention from good old mom and dad.

I immediately spoke with my boy's teacher, Ms. W., and told her exactly what was going on.  She gave me some background information on Biff's family.  I was heartbroken to hear that things in his home are a complete disaster.  That little tidbit of information explained so much.

Ms. W. also told me that Biff had been getting into trouble on the bus and during specials (PE, art, music...).  She was horrified to hear that my boy was having problems, but not surprised that it had gone undetected because she found Biff to be "quite sneaky."  

Ms. W. made my boy promise that he would tell her every time Biff picked on him.  In turn, she stated that bullying would not be tolerated and vowed that it would stop immediately.  She spoke with the principal and school counselor and they are all trying to work with the family to get them some much-needed help.

I also decided to talk to Buddy's mom and let her know what was happening.  She apologized profusely and promised to talk with her son.  When the boy came home from school the next day, he told me that things were back to normal with Buddy and that he had even defended my boy against Biff's insults.

At home, the hubby and I have been holding nightly talks with the boy about how things are going.  The boy even started praying that he would be able to forgive Biff and that they would become friends.  He has such a kind and tender heart.

When I picked up my boy at school the other day, he had some exciting news to tell me.  Apparently, Biff had hurled yet another insult at my boy.  Instead of responding in anger, my boy replied, "Biff, why can't we just be friends."  Biff's reply..."I'll think about it."

At least it's a start.  

1 comment(s). Leave yours!:

kathleen said... Best Blogger Tips

How wise the boy is to know that forgiveness is a key to changing a situation. I'll be praying that they become friends as well. It sounds like Biff is in desperate need of a friend like the boy!

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