…and I couldn’t do anything about it.
[UPDATE!!! See below]
This post has taken me a long time to write. Maybe it’s been germinating but I think it has been festering. The week before Christmas we received a call from the school nurse informing us that our daughter was involved in a playground incident. She was playing tag and didn’t want to keep playing and a boy, we’ll call him, Buddy, became angry and started hitting and kicking her. He even attacked the teacher who tried to stop it. Needless to say she was quite shaken up but they assured us she was okay. They said we didn’t need to get her, so we just sat there in shock. How could this happen to our innocent little girl? What made Buddy attack her like that? Why is this happening in first grade? We felt helpless, angry, and perplexed. Why would anyone want to hurt our daughter?
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting her you’ll agree that she’s awesome. I’m a bit biased but take my word for it. She’s fun, beautiful, kind, and very smart. Here are some pictures that are worth a thousand words.
Buddy was suspended for five days, we had the week off after Christmas, and honestly the incident didn’t come up and we figured it was over. We were wrong. On the third day back, we got an email from her teacher. Buddy was back in school and Ainslie was scared to be around him. He was making threatening faces so they were keeping him away from the other kids. The next day our daughter chose to stay inside and even talked to the social worker about her feelings.
The school staff has done a great job in dealing with this situation. We’re trying to work through this with our daughter, but it’s been a slow process. We’ve tried our best to assure her that her feelings are normal but she needs to move past the fear and trust that she’ll be safe at school. It wasn’t her fault. We explained to her that Buddy lashed out likely due to some other things going on that we probably won’t ever know about. We feel badly and are concerned about him too. But what a drag for a first grader to not want to play with her friends! I get upset even writing about it. It’s maddening to see her spirit crushed and at such a young age.
So, how will this turn out? I’m optimistic and I know that my daughter will be okay. She’s already thinking of ways to be kind to Buddy, and might have found her Prince Charming. This other boy stood up for her, punched Buddy in the belly, and got in front of her during the incident. He’ll have to wait about 20 years if he wants a chance, but he has a head start on other suitors.
Have you had to deal with bullies? How would you deal with this?
Ainslie came home today and told us that “Buddy” apologized to her and she forgave him! Then they talked about how his mom just had a baby boy and that he has to be careful with the baby’s head. Ainslie was able to share that her mom is about to have a baby too.
She told us she felt better in her heart and isn’t afraid anymore. Her “prince charming” heard about this and was confused why Ainslie forgave Buddy, it was a novel concept! Wow, I was floored since it’s second nature in our family as we teach our kids that when they receive an apology they offer forgiveness. I was extra proud of my daughter that she was able to explain this concept to her friend. And the best part, all afternoon and evening she was in a great mood as if a huge burden was lifted.