We have managed to get through six years of school with very few incidents of bullying. But now Katie’s in middle school and the landscape has changed.
Thankfully, we started reading Queen Bees and Wannabees together just before school started. What a great book. We are only about half way through (homework is blowing out our time together) but the first half is awesome. It describes the Girl World and how the rules and roles are changing – especially in junior high.
Katie loved listening to the different descriptions of each kind of girl and the role she plays in the larger group. Because Katie hasn’t been in public school, she isn’t really part of a group yet. She was also born an arm-chair psychologist so she has an uncanny way of understanding others motivations in a way most kids don’t.
Fast forward to right now.
Katie has met her first official Queen Bee and she is a bully. A bona fide, no-holds-barred idiot who has decided my kid needs to be put in her place. It started with “accidental” backpack bumps and mocking. It has escalated to more overt pushing and putting Katie down in class (PE class – perfect isn’t it?).
This bully managed to stab another boy in the back with a pencil, sending him to the office nurse because it got so swollen. I have begged Katie to tell the girl to stop. Just stop. But Katie feels she can handle it and her current strategy is to ignore her.
Probably not a bad approach until Frisbee golf late last week, when Katie accidentally hit the Queen Bee in the head with a Frisbee. Of course this lead to a big discussion on Freudian Slips and are accidents really accidents. But the bottom line is now the simple bullying is on the verge of escalating.
So I don’t have a tidy conclusion.
I am at an impasse with my daughter on how to handle this. I want her to make some adult aware of what’s been going on in case it gets worse. She wants to downplay the whole thing; sure that it will blow over. She has good judgment and maybe that’s the hardest part – knowing when to trust her’s or mine.
We are at the point in growing up aren’t we?
So I ask you your opinion? Do I trust her ability to handle it? Do I slyly get in it? I don’t believe she’s in danger – at least not yet – so there’s time to let things play out. Love to hear from you…
UPDATE: In mid October, Katie hopped in the car after school and said the bully told her she had big feet. Katie said, “yep, I do! I am going to be tall.!” And the bully replied, “no, those big feet are going to get you beat up.” I jumped from the car and marched Katie right back into her last period – PE.
The teacher was there and I made Katie explain what had been going on. For me, hearing “beat up” was the line in the sand I was looking for. The teacher handled it wonderfully. Asked Katie how she wanted to proceed and Katie said a face-to-face meeting with the other girl (I was shocked, what a brave choice!). Katie explained later she didn’t want the girl weaseling out of anything, she wanted to make sure she owned it. A day later they had a CRT (Conflict Resolution something) and it was discussed.
The upshot, was a week later, said bully came up to Katie in the halls and said, “Hi Katie, how are you?” and was apparently genuine! Katie was floored. There haven’t been any more problems. I am keeping my fingers crossed!