The fourth day of school, and I’m already visiting the principal’s office with my son. Is it really gonna be THAT kind of a year?! Apparently, there was an “incident” on the playground yesterday, and my son ended up getting hurt. Luckily, he’s o.k., but ever since then, I have been so aggravated about the lack of supervision on the playground. (My daughter also had some sort of “incident” last year in kindergarten where she was pushed to the ground by a group of boys.) It seems to me that the playground is where all bad things tend to go down. It’s where bullying takes place, where self-esteem goes sour, and where kids often get hurt, both physically and emotionally.
Yesterday after lunchtime, I received a call from the school nurse that started out by saying, “Don’t worry. Everything is fine.” Now, why in the world do they preface it with a line like that? If everything was fine, then I wouldn’t be getting a freaking phone call, would I? Anyway, the nurse could not have been more vague in her description of what had happened to my son. All I could get out of her was that my son was playing with another boy, who got very “excited” and scratched my son. Um, excuse me?! I don’t know about you, but I don’t typically scratch someone when I’m excited. I tried to pump her for more information, but it was obvious that she was afraid to say too much. It was very clear to me that she was trying to carefully choose her words. She reassured me that the other “excited” child had been to the principal’s office and that a phone call had been made to his mom. And then she must’ve told me three different times that she’d cleaned up the blood from his face and disinfected the cuts. I kinda felt bad for the poor woman, because I guess she didn’t really know how much she should or shouldn’t say, thanks to all the lawsuit-happy parents out there. I asked several times if he was upset, and she said no and that he was already back in his classroom. She even offered to go get him from class so that I could talk to him on the phone. It was such an odd suggestion to me, that I actually kind of chuckled at the thought of it (totally inappropriate, I know, but I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of pulling my previously freaked out son from his classroom once he’d already calmed down to go all the way down to the nurse’s office to talk to his mom on the phone.) Needless to say, I politely declined the offer and said I’d talk to him after school.
I spent the remainder of the afternoon wondering what my son’s face would look like when I picked him up from school. Would he look like he’d been attacked by a cougar or scratched by a kitten? When he finally emerged into the mob of waiting parents, he appeared to be as happy as a clam and only had two medium-sized scratches just below his eye. I tried to ask him about the playground incident, but as is usually the case with him, I got a whole lotta nothing. I did, however, get bombarded by three of his little girlfriends who were more than willing to give me a recap of what went down. Of course, they had a completely different version of the story that involved punching. My head was spinning, and since I still didn’t know what the hell had really happened, I decided to find his teacher. Naturally, he’d had a substitute yesterday, who didn’t really know anything more than I did, so I then chose to visit the principal, herself. And all I really got out of her was that the kids were all playing too rough and the other boy got a little out of control. I so badly wanted to scream, “Isn’t ANYBODY watching these kids out on the playground??!!” My husband and I both talked to my son individually last night about appropriate behavior and keeping our hands to ourselves. We also talked to him about his right to find an adult in charge if someone isn’t treating him nicely at recess. Since we still didn’t REALLY know what happened, we tried to cover all bases, whether he was the one doing the teasing or whether someone else was picking on him.
Whatever the case, it seems very obvious to me that our playgrounds need WAY more adult supervision. Kids should be able to let loose and have fun for that small window of playtime without feeling threatened or mistreated by other kids. They should feel safe to be themselves and not worry about getting hurt. And if they do get hurt, an adult should be able to report the details of the situation without fear of getting slapped with a lawsuit for simply telling the truth. Playgrounds should not be venues for pint-sized fight clubs. And as much as I love Brad Pitt, I just personally don’t want my kids to become street fighters. So, unless parents are cool with their offspring entering into the UFC ring someday, then somebody better figure out a way to get a handle on this situation pronto.
Filed under: mom blog, mom trying to stay sane blog | Tagged: boys, bullying, family, fighting, kids, moms, motherhood, parenting, playground, principal, recess, school, teacher, teasing | 12 Comments »