I ran 5 miles today. I had planned – oh, hubris! – to run before breakfast. Not so much. I found sleep to be a beautiful and necessary thing this morning. So, after I dropped Ruby off, up to the Temple of the Treadmills I drove. Once I got on, the few remaining empty ones filled up. A full congregation worshiped in sweaty, humid silence broken only by panting and footfalls. It was a good run, steady, with only a little kinking up quickly remedied by stretching. Amen.
And after this morning’s interlude with Ruby, I needed to do something.
Ruby has dreaded school for several weeks. Turns out several of her friends and non-friends like to push her around. As in, shove her and knock her about. I suspect it’s all good-natured. Ruby is a fun girl and tiny. Her classmates probably assume she’s fine and she can take it. However, she gets off the bus belligerent every afternoon, spoiling for a fight. She’s hurt at how she’s treated. We’ve both talked about it with her and prayed with her. We’ve made it very clear that getting angry is fine. Taking it out on other people (like innocent-bystander us) is unacceptable.
She pushed back about getting ready for school in a very mouthy way this morning and spent some alone time in her room. I finally got the idea of writing to her teachers about what I now consider bullying.
Bullying is : unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.- from stopbullying.gov.
Ruby says her teachers haven’t helped her when she does tell on the objectionable behavior. They brush her off, maybe thinking it’s all in good fun. They instruct her to tell the kids to knock it off. Kids like to roughhouse sometimes. I know teachers can’t get involved in every kerfuffle that comes along. Kids do need to learn interpersonal skills and work out their conflicts face to face.
I didn’t want to use the “b” word. It carries so much weight in schools now. Now, kids shoot other kids for feeling threatened. We want Ruby to be strong. We want her to know who she is and what her personal boundaries are. Growing up smaller than the average kid, I endured my own share of teasing and such. But when it starts hurting feelings as well as little bodies, it’s not okay.