This morning Grace said to me: "Mom, I will tell you this and you will tell no one." (She is a bit dramatic and she speaks likes this often.)
I obviously braced for something big. Sort of.
She said this:
"Mom, there is a bully at school and NO ONE plays with her. We all run because she will attack you if she gets near you."
Now, maybe you are wondering if I called that school right up and demanded that the bully be kept away from my precious little snowflake.
Not a chance.
My heart goes out to that girl. Grace is fine. She has a team of friends around her. They might even be bonding over their fear of this girl. This makes me ill.
I felt gutted for two reasons.
1. I imagined a school yard full of children running and hiding from a little girl.
2. I imagined Kate in her place.
Kate is rough and tumble. She hugs like a linebacker and she has no mercy when she wants something that you have. She doesn't understand social conventions and she might always struggle with these abstract concepts. She might be that girl that everyone runs away from.
I believe there is a place for anti-bullying education. I believe some children are bullied mercilessly and it changes them. It shapes them into anxious, self-doubting adults. It leaves scars that cannot be healed. I shudder at the thought of my girls being bullied. I know Kate may be a prime target herself.
This girl though, the one Grace is talking about, is different. I've met her. I've watcher her interact with other children. I suspect there are developmental issues clouding her judgment and her understanding of school yard etiquette. I've schooled myself in such things and while I have no right to label this child, I feel strongly that there is something more to her behavior. I believe that the label could bring much needed answers and support for her and her family. Ultimately, It is not for me to say.
Grace and I had a long talk this morning. She left confused. All the propaganda surrounding bullying demands that Grace despise this activity. She must run and tell her teacher. She must stand strong with her friends against the bully.
I don't expect Grace to understand the intricacies of this situation right now but I hope one day she will.
After all, she will share that school yard with her sister in two short years.
Happy Mail to:
27 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB
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Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)