Learning from an Eight-Year-Old

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It was a discomforting feeling to know that the principal not only didn’t have any answers but no plan on how to rectify the situation going forward. Little did I know that my parental hysteria, if you will, was only going to get worse.

The principal then goes on to tell me that not only was he aware that my son was attacked by an older student that is known by officials at the school to be a troublemaker, but that he himself witnessed the same student taking food from my son’s lunch box while in the cafeteria earlier that day.

Say what?!

“You watched one student take food from another student’s lunch box and didn’t say anything?” I asked him.

“Well, of course I said something” the principal replied smugly. “I asked your son if he was okay with the student in question ‘borrowing’ some of his food, and your son said he didn’t like it, but he wasn’t upset. So, I thought everything was fine and didn’t feel a need to say anything to the other student.” He then added that he didn’t think that this was the first time this had happened.

Again, say what?!?!

There is not a blog big enough for me to explain how I felt.

The school and its principal failed my child. The trust that I had in a system that was supposed to protect and nurture my son had been completely obliterated, and I’m still not sure how to completely get that back.

But as furious as I was with them, I was just as upset with myself. I felt like a failure as a mother for not being able to keep the ugliness of life away from my child. Mommy couldn’t kiss this situation and make it all better.

But I got over the guilt pretty quickly and went right back to being furious.

As parents, we expect school officials to protect our children – when they don’t OR won’t, it is our responsibility to make sure that our children are safe in all situations.

Not only did the principal not have a plan; he didn’t have a clue about who he was dealing with – a furious AND proactive mother. I escalated my complaint to the district level and after more than five meetings, not only had the principal been moved out of the school, but the bully had also switched to a different district. A plan was developed to prevent this type of situation from happening again, and the school will host an anti-bullying rally that I will organize.

It that doesn’t erase what happened. Willis has my genetic make-up and is already talking about all of the positives that we can take away from the situation. He recognizes that what happened to him is wrong and now feels better equipped to deal with a similar situation.

So do I. And I’m grateful for those who continue to speak up on behalf of not only the victims, but the bullies, who studies have shown may have been bullied at some point in their lives.

Even The White House held a conference on bullying prevention in March during which President Obama said that he hoped to “dispel the myth that bullying is just

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