Friday, January 12, 2007

Child Sized Worries...

If only my worries were that of a child. But then I remember that it wasn't so easy sometimes, being a child. I never wanted any of my children to go through some of the bullying I went through. Rebecca Rampone. Arin Mihal. Some of the boys. Between first grade and through middle school, I genuinely hated those girls. They were cruel, mean, pushy, and spiteful. When I got to high school, I had a bit of personal growth and started sticking up for myself more. They left me alone.

Juliana has been riding the bus, and back in December, some of the buses were having behavior issues with some of the students. Assigned seats and newer, stricter rules were put into place and are still being enforced. Unfortunately, one of the trouble students, Tyrome, is sitting in front of Juliana and her 5th grade friend Abigail. Tyrome is in the very first row of seats to be close to the bus driver. He's not supposed to turn around in his seat, but he does. He knows what buttons to push with Juliana, and he pushes them. If he manages to have a friend sit with him, he gets his friend to join in. Stupid little things but are still huge problems for a 6 yr old first grader. Calling her mean names. Trying to make her do math problems that she hasn't learned yet. Calling her by her nickname when she's asked to be addressed as "Juliana." Telling her impossible riddles. Calling her stupid.

Well, I knew this kid was annoying her, but until Wednesday, it was tolerable and she wasn't getting terribly upset. She had told me this kid was sitting in front of her and why, because he was bullying other students his own age at the back of the bus. He's a third grader, with some serious behavior issues. Thankfully, Juliana's protector and friend is Abigail, who is like a big sister to Juliana. But it's been getting worse, and the kid doesn't always do it in front of the morning driver, or at least not loudly enough for her to hear. The afternoon driver tells the kid to leave Juliana alone when he's able to hear what's going on.

It came to a head Wednesday, where she got so upset that Abigail walked Juliana to the door when they got off the bus so that she could tell me what was going on. That it had suddenly gotten worse and Juliana was responding and getting very upset, yelling and almost crying.... and from what I can tell, getting so upset that if she got any more upset, she'd probably get in trouble herself. This happened two days in a row, so I called the school and was connected with the Vice Principal.

Thankfully he took my call seriously. The VP says he knows Juliana very well, and enjoys her immensely. He felt very bad for her, and we talked probably for a solid 20 minutes. He gave her and Abigail permission to change seats this morning, which I could tell shocked Tyrome when they sat down elsewhere. The kid looked disappointed, whipping his head around, and I could tell he had planned to start in on her as soon as she sat down and the bus pulled away. I'm GLAD he was disappointed. I'm telling you, I had half a mind to get on the bus and tell the kid I knew what was going on but I know that would only have made things worse for Juliana and I didn't want to escalate the situation so that he'd make things difficult for her beyond what he'd been doing. Anyway, by the time the afternoon came the VP promised a new seating chart where Juliana wouldn't be anywhere near the kid. He moved Abigail and Juliana together to the back of the bus. He also promised that today he would be sitting down and talking to Tyrome about his behavior on the bus, and letting him know that his continued bad behavior and attitude have been noted and will not be accepted. His parents, of course, would be notified of the talk with the VP but NOT of my conversation with the VP.

For the first time getting off the bus, Abby gave me the thumbs up sign, and Juliana didn't have a Tyrome Complaint. She's always been concerned with his behavior and how he bullies other kids, so there were always some complaints. It was just only recently that he turned it towards her.

My darling little girl.

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