Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Roses are Red

"Roses are Red. Violets are blue. Keep messing with me and I'll karate chop you!"----that's the poem Scott's brother Todd suggested Julie write to the class bully. 

The kids are supposed to write Valentine's cards to every classmate. "I'd rather not write any than have to write something to him," Julie said of this bully.

Because. Yeah. There's this bully. A real jerk of a kid in her class, who bears a striking resemblance to the freckle-faced mean boy on "A Christmas Story"---messy red hair and all.

All year he's been picking on Julie.
The first I noticed was probably before Thanksgiving break, when I started reading Julie's school emails. (They go directly to my inbox, but I hadn't bothered to read most of them until I saw she had a few from a boy named Joseph.)

They weren't long. Just short little bratty snippets. Shut up. You're weird. What's wrong with you? Go home. Etc.

Julie had never uttered a word about this boy until I brought it up. Then, she told me the whole Joseph story--how he's mean pretty much every day. Says mean things, tells her he's wiping dog poop on her chair, called her "the worst actress ever" in the school play.
But, that it doesn't really bother her. She's Ok because she knows none of it is true.

While I'm extremely proud of her confidence, I was not OK at all with this boy's behavior. Point blank. He's a bully. I told the teacher, who in turn, promised to talk to the kid and possibly his parents.

Of course things died down after that, but, like most bullies, a few months passed, and he started right back up.

So, here we are a week before Valentine's Day and school protocol says kids have to give every classmate a card. What would you do?
I totally get why she doesn't want to write this kid any sort of love note. I, personally, would like to write a note to his mother, and it wouldn't be a nice note.

But, do you force your child to give a Valentine to someone who has been mean all year?
Do you let them not give one? Do you allow them to make their own decisions? She is, after all, in fifth grade.

I'm so torn. Part of me thinks, teach kindness. Encourage her to be the bigger, better person. The other part, thinks she has every right to not want to be nice to this boy, and that she can decide for herself.

Still not sure what to do, but I feel like there's some sort of life lesson in this whole thing. You agree?

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