School bulies

My 2nd grade grandaughter has been experiencing some bullying from a boy in her class. Not only her, but some of the other children have as well. He is very aggressive and physical–hitting, shoving them into things, as well as being verbally agressive to both classmates, teachers, and the principal. His aggressive behavior is almost a daily occurrence, from what I have been told.

The school has been proactive in their approach to bullying, they had an evening for parents and students discussing this subject, and have tried to intervene in this child’s behavior with counseling sessions for parents and child, but it is obvious this child has a severe behavior problem. I know the school is trying to get him some professional help (according to what my daughter tells me), but he cannot be taken out of school without some long process, according to the school. What that process is, I don’t know.

My concern is what to advise my grandaughter. She has been repeatedly told to report the bullying when it occurs, but sometimes is afraid to, and will let it go a day or two before telling her parents that he elbowed her in the stomach or punched her. She says she is afraid she will get in trouble, although she has been told by both parents and school staff that she will not. I don’t know if he is threatening her not to tell or what. In any case, when the behavior is reported, the child is removed to the classroom and taken to the principal’s office, but nothing changes, he is right back at it.

Now I am sure that many will see this as inappropriate, but my instinct is to tell her to defend herself and punch him back and mean it. She is capable physically of doing this, having well developed muscles from being on a swim team. The reason I say this is that I experienced this as a child myself from a certain girl at school, and and one day I had enough and threw a punch back and after a few minutes of scrapping, that ended the problem. Her mother also experienced this when she was about 10 yrs old with a neighborhood boy, and defended herself and that was the last of that. She came home with her shirt torn, and rather dirty, but he never went near her again. I am not a violent person and do not like fighting one bit, but somehow, given the fact that no one else has been able to deal with this child, I think my grandaughter should feel free to defend herself at least. Am I “all wet” here? I don’t want her to grow up fighting, but I also don’t want her to grow up thinking she has to accept being punched and hit. Her parents have expressed the same thoughts I have, but we are uncertain about the ramifications. This has been going on since school started. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Or any experience? I do think the school is doing all they legally can at this point and they have been very willing to meet and discuss things with the parents who have complained, but they say they cannot remove the child from the school the child at this point.

I am sorry that she is expieriencing this at such a young age! Prayers to your family …and the bully too for that matter!

You are afraid of the “ramifications.” What ramifications? If the bully has no ramifications* from the school, there are none.

I am not being snippy, I just feel a bit strongly about this. My eldest daughter shrinks back from confrontations and that really worries me for exactly this reason. Just because your kid is “good”, they have to just accept pain, PHYSICAL pain? I have similar experiences to what you are thinking about: I was on a bus when all of a sudden a boy yanked my hair out. Out of the blue. I was a quiet, good kid, but man, that hurt! I turned around and tried to rip the kid’s ear off (well, not really, but I grabbed that ear and puuuuuuuulled as hard as I could–no permanent damage or anything) The boy was too prideful and just kept repeating, “That doesn’t hurt, that doesn’t hurt . . .” as his ear, then cheek, then neck started turning red. When we got to school I kept waiting for the principal to call me down to the office. I didn’t care. Let my parents pick me up from school. I spent 12 years of life without so much as a tsk, tsk from any of my teachers, I knew I was a good kid and so did everyone else. The call never came. The boy never reported it and he NEVER bothered me again. I think the boy was testing me. I strongly feel that if I had cried or backed down or switched seats, I would have been that boy’s target for the rest of the year.

My mom taught public middle school and she did all she could legally. She went by the book and helped all the kids as much as she could. But she saw bullying often. The little kids that took the abuse, got the abuse. The ones that stood up for themselves (even if they got a suspension for “fighting”) were left alone. My mom was shocked and since we were already grown up by then, she apologized for teaching us to “just walk away.”

Does it work everytime? No. I’m sure there will be people on this board where fighting has made it worse. Should the good kid be vengeful or cruel, NO. Should anything happen outside of school, NO. But if a kid punched me in the hallway for sport, I wouldn’t play that game. God wants us to take care of our bodies. Would your daughter keep showing up for work if her coworker was smacking her around and her boss just shrugged it off? I don’t tell my daughter to go around punching people, but I do tell them to take care of their God-given bodies. You don’t take drugs, you look before you cross the street, and you don’t let people lay a hand on you–that, ultimately, unfortunately, is their responsibility. Hopefully that only means yelling, “Back Off” . . . sometimes it may require more.

Ugh, now the “Momma Bear” in me is all worked up. . . .

*Unless you are talking about ramifications as in the bully seeking even more severe revenge. That is a concern. . . but can it get worse?

The school is not following their bullying policy.

I agree. Fight back. At this age, no one is going to get seriously hurt, and if you “take it”, you’ll be a target forever. You don’t have to escalate or injure anyone, just respond in kind.

I was bullied as a kid, too, and taught not to fight. So I couldn’t defend myself. Today, I tell my kids to fight back. They are model students, but if they ever got “in touble” for defending themselves I would be proud of them.

Schools can’t or won’t provide justice because the teachers can’t be everywhere and it is always one kid’s word against another. So they punish everyone involved in fighting. Fine. My kids will fight the first time and then it will never happen again.

It’s time to pull out your own can of whoop-a$@. Why is this child allowed to dominate all of the adults and kids in the school? Regardless of what this bullied kid’s problems are, he should not be allowed to have this much control over the process. Yes, the bully needs help and Christian love - but that does not mean he has to be pandered-to.

I recommend that you make it plain to the school administrators that you simply will not tolerate the bullying - period.

Frankly, I would tell them that unless they deal with this bully effectively and immediately that you will talk to an attorney and consider legal action to secure a safe learning environment for your granddaughter. And then back it up. Paying a few hundred dollars to an attorney to send a nastygram to the school might prompt the administrators to really do something NOW rather than pussyfoot around the situation.

I’m sorry, but it boggles my mind that this bully is allowed to control this situation. There comes a time when you have to dig in your heels and fight. :mad:

As for your granddaughter - tell her to report every bullying incident to her teachers, to you, and to her parents. Tell her to avoid the bully whenever possible, and to stay in sight of teachers wherever possible. Don’t fight him, unless he attacks first.

And another idea. Consider calling the police. Punching and hitting is assault and battery, and might be criminal - even for a second grader there might be juvinile court. Juvinile justice might actually be good for him, because the COURT will force therapy onto this kid.

Even if the police won’t press charges - I guarantee you the school and this bully’s parents will situp and take notice if the cops get involved.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful here, but, am I glad we’ve been homeschooling for over 20 years.

If we don’t learn to deal with bullies in 2nd grade, we will be dealing with them for the rest of our lives. We all have the right to defend ourselves; for Chirstmas, I would send your granddaughter to karate lessons.

I’ve studied karate for 20 years. In my experience, unless your granddaughter can be aggressive, she will not be able to fight the bully - but karate is very very good for her in the long run. For now, avoidance and staying with teachers is better.

And you and her parents should get lawyers and police involved. Put an end to it, period.

Right now, this bully is the greasy wheel that is getting attention. You need to make yourself the one that is getting the attention, and legal compulsion is the way to go.

  1. Call the parents of the bully and basically tell them they need to deal with brat of a kid. Personally, I’d probably fly off the handle if it were my kid (obviously, I don’t have any…I am thinking of becoming a Priest) and probably just rip into the parents verbally, threatening every lawsuit and legal action in the book and probably ending with an extremely nasty wish for the bully
  2. Threaten every legal action against the school if they don’t take action.
  3. Teach my kid how to fight

Well weither you ment disrespect or not it is irrelevant and a bit spiteful to say. Many families cannot homeschool for various reasons.

AND homeschool children are no angels either. They bully (even physically) just like any other kids


As for the bullying…my DD had this problem in 2nd and 3rd grade with one boy and after the stupid school dragged their feet about it and pretty much twisted it around to blame my DD (blaming the victim…real nice) I gave her permission to do what she had to do to defend herself. She clocked him in the nose, bloodied it, and he never bothered her again. She also didn’t get disciplined because the principal in an odd moment of clarity said it was warranted and she was right to defend herself.

Of course I’d say work with the school and the PARENTS first, and if that doesn’t work, she has to defend herself if the people who are charged with protecting her, won’t.

NO, NO, NO!!! That is the wrong course of action. You don’t call someone and tell them “they need to deal with their brat of a kid”. First off that’s not very Christian, secondly, that is just going to start a fight with the other parents and they will be less inclined to help you out. A little tact goes a long way in a situation like this.

CB Catholic,
If this kid is bullying the teachers AND the principal than NO the school is not doing all it can. Why are the adults in this school allowing this kid to bully them? This school is allowing this to continue. I’m curious when you say “he can not be taken out of the school” are you saying that the school says they can not suspend him? In our school his behavior would not be tolerated at all! Our teachers and the principal would never allow this kid to treat them that way much less allow it to happen to the students. The adults in that school need to start playing hardball here. Playing softball clearly isn’t cutting it. I do agree your granddaughter is going to have to learn how to defend herself against this kid.

I’m all in favour of the attorney solution. It does wonders. Criminal prosecution means that likely someone will possibly get reprimanded but the case won’t go far and there won’t be any significant loss to anyone except for a scar on the record. A civil action, however, means monetary consequences, including possibly exemplary (punitive) damages and that’s enough to get a proactive response. By the way, one attorney can represent many people and several afflicted families can afford an attorney more easily than one. I’m not trying to convince you to launch an adventurous class action, but a letter from an attorney in the name of several sets of parents would do better and it would take some of the focus off your granddaughter and her parents. Besides, having proof of such a letter, together with the response and the associated files, will help any future cases against the bully and/or the school because it will show that there was a problem, attention was being brought to it, but proper steps were still not taken.

Bullies and the way they were handled were the reason why I became a lawyer. Schools seem to love not taking action, or blaming the victim. Or punishing those who hit back instead of those who throw the first punch. In my view, there’s not enough law and law enforcement at schools.

One more thought, this may be outside the realm of practicability, but aren’t parents allowed to come to class and sit in the last row or something like that?

At any rate, a letter from an attorney seems to be the best solution because it won’t leave anyone unshaken, it can’t be blamed by the school on the child of the parents hiring the attorney (I remember being blamed for bringing things up) and it’s not the same among the kids (parents hiring a scary attorney is not the same as a “whiny” kid “ratting out” another kid).

Wow. I typically heard I should’ve been the bigger person and acted like the wiser kid, i.e. solving it unviolently or even bearing with it. When I brought things with teachers they then either said I shouldn’t agitate against my fellow pupils or that there was no smoke without fire and I probably was at fault there too.

Sad to say, and maybe this is because we live in a fallen world, sometimes bullies only understand force. That doesn’t mean to physically assualt them (though sometimes standing up to a bully like that, when your in second grade, works wonders) but it does sometimes mean to confront them head on.

A lawsuit should be used like a divorce. Done only as a last resort to save a life. It’ll suck up all alot of time and energy, even if your clearly in the right. Be careful. Don’t rush into litigation (I’m sure your not the type, just wanted to make you think)

I’ll keep you in my prayers. Being bullied is terrible.

Wow. I typically heard I should’ve been the bigger person and acted like the wiser kid, i.e. solving it unviolently or even bearing with it. When I brought things with teachers they then either said I shouldn’t agitate against my fellow pupils or that there was no smoke without fire and I probably was at fault there too.

She was told that, for two years. Enough is enough. I do not like the idea of letting my daughter be bullied by a male and being taught to just take it in the name of peace keeping. Peace has to be a two way street and he wasn’t walking in a peaceful direction. We truly exhausted all avenues, talking to parents etc. I’m Ok with how it turned out. There is a real lack of willingness in schools to be firm about this stuff.

I’m sorry you were told it was your fault…that kind of thing really irks me.:mad:

Bradly the Quarterback for our team is my friend, “Bradly why does Johnny keep picking on everyone??” Walking holding hands…

Sorry but that is what it usually takes…

One Sock and the 2nd Grader Bully is fixed and everyone is saved…

If graddaughter is afraid to tell the teacher, her parents should call up the teacher and let her know little bully-boy is bothering, and intinidating their daughter. She is afraid to report it, because she feels intimidated.

The teacher should be able to deal with it after knowing the full picture.

There’s a name for male-against-female bullying: it’s called “sexual harassment.” Call an attorney.

No child should have ever to “fight back” at school, particularly not in elementary school. That’s the most asinine thing I have ever heard on here. The child “fighting back” is the one who gets suspended, expelled, or worse, and the bully (the instigator) walks away with a slap on the wrist.

It’s inexcusable to me that your granddaughter should have to learn karate, etc., and shoulder the burden for someone else’s immaturity. No, bullies don’t respond to force: they respond to decisive, definite consequences - and if an adult male “bullied” an adult female, he’d get arrested or hit with a restraining order. What makes school any different? That it’s at school? Please. No boy is too young to learn that he’s a potential rapist (news flash: it starts somewhere, and rape is an act of violence, of bullying), and no girl is too young to learn she has the upper hand even at 5, 6, or 7 years old.

My prayers and best wishes for the granddaughter and her family dealing with this nonsense. :gopray2:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit