Project Alicia : Raw Unadulterated Throes of Passion

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Raw Unadulterated Throes of Passion

Today I am filled with new, unchartered emotions.

I arrived at Roosevelt to pick up Little Man from track. Overall his first week of middle school has gone amazingly well, contrary to what I had envisioned. He was invited to be in an accelerated math program, he started track intramurals, and has adjusted quite nicely to having multiple teachers in a new building. It has been a much smoother transition than I anticipated.

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As I sat in the parking lot waiting for him I was immersed in thought. One led to another until I convinced myself that I had been wrong about this school- the school that I tried not once, but twice to get him out of. I talked to every person in position of authority I could think of, wrote multiple letters, and when the answer was still no, I had to surrender and accept defeat. You can read more about that here.

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My thoughts were abruptly interrupted when I saw my little man walking towards me… his face was red, his eyes swollen, he was quivering, and his entire body was writhing between sobs. I jumped out of the car to offer comfort and before I even had a chance to learn all of the details, my blood was boiling. It was hard to make out, but something about a boy punching him in the face in the locker room.

Now I was livid and mama bear was ready to go in for the kill. The claws were out.

I was told he had already gone home, but I hunted that kid down and demanded answers. He claimed he was defending himself.

Any ounce of level headedness was now gone. This was my little man. And he’s not called little man for no good reason. He is just that, little.

“Are you telling me that you had to punch this little boy? And there was nothing else you could do, like use words?”

He continually told me he had to defend himself, but it wasn’t gonna fly. Not with this p-o’ed mama. Heaven help the one who messes with my kid. I dragged his sorry butt up to the office because there was no way I was just gonna let him get away with this. There is no acceptable reason for punching anyone in the face.

We aren’t even through the second week of school and little man is getting punched for no good reason?

Little Man sat with the principal and the big fisted bully sat with the vice principal. They both shared their stories while little man iced his face.

As I listened to more of little man’s story between intermittent sobs it became blaringly obvious that this kid was your stereotypical bully, plain and simple. He had been tormenting him since the beginning of track, trying to trip him and kick him, then he locked him in and wouldn’t let him leave the locker room. Turns out the door handle broke off yesterday. Then after he cornered little man, shoved him, and nearly strangled him, he punched him twice.

As a mother I want nothing more than to protect my child from the evils of the world, but as hard as I may try I can’t keep him encapsulated in a bubble forever. He will and must experience hurt and even pain. It is inevitable and imperative for his progression.

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Sigh.

(Oh, and if little man doesn't look so little, it's because he's standing by his 5 foot tall mama.)

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again… motherhood is not for wussies. It is the epitome of the agony and the ecstasy. And every emotion in between on the spectrum.

And just as our children need us less we want nothing more than to keep them by our side 24/7. The idea of snuggling to Cailou and Blues Clues sounds like a walk in the park about now. There are days I mourn my precious babies. Those sweet little kissable, lovable pockets of chubs nestled up with you for hours on end… back in the day when I could do no wrong and I was their entire world.

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But we must let them go… and make mistakes and fall down. And get hurt. As much as it pains me I must allow this to happen. For them.

But there are also those times that as a mother there are battles that I must fight. Battles that exist because of extenuating circumstances outside of their control and things that they shouldn’t even be subjected to.

Little man may not need me to nurse him or clothe him or change his diapers, but he still needs an advocate rooting him on.

Call me what you will, but I will go to any lengths to ensure that my kid has the best. He deserves nothing less. And after all, if I don’t fight these battles for him, who will?

So, we are stuck at a school that is located in a rough neighborhood with kids from all walks of life with exceptionally low scores because contrary to what Cedar Rapids claims, they do not allow open enrollments. (Unless you want McKinley or Roosevelt.)

Who knows where this kid lives or what his home situation is. All I know for certain is that I was promised a positive experience at Roosevelt and this is anything but. Don’t even try to convince me otherwise. I should have continued to fight and never accepted this for my son.

And you can mark my words… this is not over yet!
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7:30PM
I wrote this in the throes of raw unadulterated passion earlier. And not the good kind. Since this time I have received a phone call from both the track coach and the vice principal assuring me that they will do right by this and that little man will be safe at school from here on out. The VP also complimented me on my demeanor today. So, although I was initially steamed I did have a few mintues to cool down and collect my thoughts prior to our meeting.

They told me that they had an eye witness that backed up everything little man reported and that for whatever reason this bully just had it out for him. They also informed me of my rights as a parent of a child who was assaulted. And although I will probably not be pressing charges, it's a comfort to know that he is aware that we have 6 months to a year and that we will be watching him.

Although this is not an incident I would wish on anyone, I am pleased by the manner in which the school responded and are dealing with it. Their concern and kind regards are certainly appreciated and my only hope is that the rest of the week is not as tumultuous for little man. But I still can’t help but feel a little irked. Wouldn’t you?

The one thing I have learned from all this is that it pays to know the staff. We had already had two meetings with the vice principal prior to this incident to express our concern about the school and little man. I think the development of personal relationships with the individuals who look after your child is key to a successful experience.

I'm willing to give it a few more days, but in the end... mama bear will do whatever it takes.

43 comments:

  1. Sounds like you did the right thing and are receiving good support from the school. Stay on it. I hope things get better really soon...

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  2. Sorry to hear about your little mans rough day! Kids can be so mean and middle school years, I think are the worst! I hope things get better soon!!! Stay strong!

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  3. Oh Alicia - I'm so angry for you! Why the heck are some kids so mean? You know I don't have kids, but my 9 year old brother (also a little man...we're just not tall people!) has been picked on before in school and it just breaks my heart. I hope things get better. Little Man is lucky to have a mom like you!

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  4. I could easily cry looking at that picture of your kiddos back in the toddler days.

    I feel for you in this moment and I think you are strong and smart and a hero for your kids. Don't give up, YOU'RE right!...No question about it. I hope this is the last of the bullying for your little man.

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  5. Oh my goodness. I almost cried when you showed the picture of your children when they were young. My girls are three and one and I am petrified of the upcoming years of school and bullies..etc...etc. I'm sure all will work out for you and Little Man! Good luck!

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  6. Sheesh! This sounds awful. I want to skip those years with my kids. I remember my brother getting picked on in middle school, and it just made me feel "icky". I cant' really explain it any better than that. I'm sorry this happened. I also can't help but feel bad for the poor administrators who had to deal with this crap so early in the year. Middle school is lame-o!

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  7. I'm sorry your son (and you) have had to experience this. As a psychologist contracted with a school district I see this way too often. Bullying is one of the most difficult problems for schools to get a handle on (and I won't even start on the problem of textual harassment) and I commend the staff for their efforts so far. Hold them to their word. Hold them accountable for the safety of your Little Man and all the other students in that school. I'll get off my soap box now.

    As moms their will always be battles that we must fight.

    Oh and I love the architecture of the building :)

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  8. Way to go Mama Bear, Good luck to you both in this battle :)

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  9. my heart is hurting for you... I havent been in the situation (yet) but since my oldest just started kindergarten, the feelings of letting go a little are fresh. and it kinda hurts.

    Im sorry for little man and im sorry for you having to deal with this. It makes me SO ANGRY.

    also- my kid is in charter school now because we dont have open enrollment either.

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  10. Oh no. This is terrible. I'm bawling my eyes out for you and your son! I swear I'm going to home school my kid and live in a cabin away from anything that can hurt her! ugh. God I'm sorry you are dealing with this.

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  11. Ugh! How awful. I'm so sorry you and your son are going through this. I think you handled it right. You do have the right to press charges for assault. I think if this boy tries anything again with your son, you should follow through. Hang in there!

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  12. Wow. I could hardly breathe reading this. I feel like a I know little man just a little, and I am PO'd too.
    Poor little guy!
    But you handled it GREAT mama bear, and I bet little man is glad to have YOU in his corner.
    I know I would be :)
    xxx

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  13. My younger brother had a similar experience (also at Roosevelt) where 2 kids knocked him off his bike and beat him to a pulp. Only after that did they let him transfer to a different school (Wilson). I bet little man is glad to have you for his mama! What a crummy way to start the school year though. Best wishes for the rest of the year!

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  14. proud of you lish. you did the right thing. and i'm glad the school responded that way. is there any punishment from the school for the bully?

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  15. Poor little man!!!! Go get 'em Mama Bear!!!

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  16. Keep at it Mama Bear! I'd do the same and my heart aches for what you had to go through. It's my biggest fear for my children, do have to deal with a bully. Good for you for how you handled it. I hope your son never has to deal with this again...ugh...it gets my blood boiling just thinking about it.

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  17. Yikes, I'm not looking forward to Middle School as I have a "Little Man" of my own. In WI, we are lucky to have open enrollment which we are currently taking advantage of. It took awhile to get there though. Last year we moved our kindergartner out of Catholic school at semester to our public school of choice and actually PAID for a semester. It cost almost $4000 (for a semester of 5K!?!?!) but pretty much ensured acceptance of our open enrollment application for this year for all our kids. And once they're in, they're in... until Middle School. When we weren't sure what we were going to do if it wasn't approved and we considered renting an apt or buying an apt to rent in our district of choice. It's true, Mama Bears do whatever they have to do. Good luck!

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  18. Why can't they just stay our babies forever? I commend you on your levelheadedness. I agree that having a good relationship with the school helps. Even if this situation doesn't happen, parental involvement means that teachers, principals, etc. know that you are watching and ready to be involved. The schools response is definitely commendable.

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  19. I would be right there with you, LIVID! I think it was a really good step to voice your concerns about this school before anything ever happened. Great move! Poor little man! Thank goodness for his tough little mama! This made me be really thankful to have 3 boys on a different level. The word around school better be, "you don't mess with the Sharp boys!" Don't get me wrong, they WILL NOT be bullies, but they won't put up with being bullied either and they have 2 brothers to back them up! I hope things get better and this doesn't happen again.

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  20. You are so right that no one will advocate for our children like we can. Sometimes, there is no one else to do the job.

    I think every day about the moment w hen this might happen to Boy Wonder and what I will do. I hope I can handle it with as much class as you did. I totally agree that forming those personal relationships in advance goes a long, long way. It's why I feel blessed to be able to stay at home and volunteer a ton at school. It's a lot harder to brush off a familiar face.

    hang in there.

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  21. I'm sorry your little guy had such a rough time at school, bullies suck! I'm glad the school is working with you. You go mama bear!

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  22. So sorry little man had to go through that. I'm with you. I would be furious too. Moms just want to protect their kids.It is so hard when we can't. Hope little man has no further problems at school.

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  23. Sorry about the bully!! That is just crazy! You handled it so well and showed your son a good example of how to deal with things like that!

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  24. Your son's story sounds very similar to what I went through as a Middle School Student. My Mom always went to bat for me like you did for your son. It was comforting to know that someone loved me and would protect me no matter what. Even though there was this group of horrible girls I had to deal with, my Mom loved me and thought I was worth something. When your son is older he will remember how his Mom loved him enough to stand up for him and to help him stand up for himself. Good job Mom!

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  25. Lish,
    Mine are 24 and 15. I live in the midwest. They live in "the valley" of Los Angeles. Baby 2 is an actor. Baby 1 is his guardian...out of college and missed his baby bro.

    1 is the "everybody's all american jock", 2 is skinny, an actor, tough and passionate. They were/are victims of bullies. My best advice is STAY involved at the school so they know you AND your husband. It's especially important that lil man knows his dad thinks he is "OK". Boys crave their dad's approval (I keep asking, "why?" but they don't have an answer).
    HANG in there Lish. The best years are ahead!
    Sending good non-bully karma.
    citymom

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  26. I'm glad that you got a good response to your concerns...hopefully this will be the last of it. But if not, I'm sure you'll find a way to make it right!

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  27. Oh - I share your outrage!

    My 17 year old was assaulted by an ADULT bystander on a local basketball court last evening. My kid has facial fractures, extreme pain, swelling, must use many precautions, see a specialist, and there is a possibility he will need surgery.

    Not only that - first trip to the ER he was pooh poohed by the FNP who saw him - who didn't even x-ray the kid (who had lost consciousness at the time of the event) and sent him home. We had to make a repeat trip to the ER in the wee hours...

    My mama bear hormones are raging strong this morning. Gold star for you for being proactive and appropriate with the powers that be!

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  28. My advice to you is to make DAMN sure that the school has documented this very carefully. Especially since you are not pressing charges (which if I were you I would consider) Like you said in your post - you have no idea what kind of a home life this other child has. If there is no guidance, rules, or discipline at home, what can the school REALLY do to protect your child? The scary fact about this is - if that other child has issues at home - he will pick out someone to take out his aggressions.... Good luck and I hope that Little Man doesn't have any more problems with this kid!

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  29. Oh, what an awful thing to have to go through! I hope it gets straightened out soon and he can enjoy the rest of the school year.

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  30. Wow Alicia, I'm so sorry that happened, especially after all the work you went through to keep from having this happen :(

    You're right mama bear will do what she needs to do!! Hang in there, both you and Little Man!!

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  31. Hi there! New to your blog....you had me feeling this scenario every moment. I just dread the teen years....the sometimes unavoidable pains that come with it! I want to keep my little girls forever, I want to protect them from all things that are painful....and yet I know, as you stated, it's impossible and a part of life. Ugh.

    Well, you did the right thing! You spoke up, you didn't let it go and I'm SO glad that the bully was held accountable. Regardless of his personal situation, there is nothing that excuses behavior like this. As a teacher, it's great to read that you know you are little man's biggest advocate. There are too many parents that take the passive approach. Well done!

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  32. How terrible! But you did the right thing and bravo to you for standing up to the bully. I'm hoping this situation gets better soon and doesn't drag on for the both of you. Hugs.

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  33. mama. so, so, so heartbreaking. just that your kiddo was punched in the face, by a bully. bullying is one of my greatest fears for my sweet kids. i was bullied. it's awful. and i really pray that this works out for his school year.

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  34. Yes, it is good to be known by the staff(and vice-versa)..."the squeaky wheel gets the grease!" If you are reasonable(and you are) and they know you are paying attention, they pay attention too:) With so many kids at school that's just the way it goes. Moms are #1 fans!
    Being a mom is bittersweet...wait till you say good-bye when they go to college:(

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  35. bullies are the worst. It was one reason I just couldn't stand teaching at the middle school level. It makes me sad that the neighborhood/families who live in a school district can bring down the school's reputation so much. We get that in the school I teach in too. People consider low test scores and poverty a recipe for a dangerous school. Ours is anything but. We have great students and teachers.

    Bullying is unacceptable. I truly hope your school stands behind what they say and keeps Little Man safe. It's the school's responsibility to create a safe and happy environment for ALL kids!

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  36. I applaud you, and your post written in pure raw emotion, was beautifully written. This is why I have an award for you at my place. I hope little man has a much better time now and the bully is kept in check.

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  37. I'm so glad the school responded in such a positive way -- and I think you're right when you said that it was probably at least partly because you had a good relationship with them. You have every right to be angry over what happened! I hope that this is the last ugly incident you have to deal with at this school!

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  38. I applaud you for dealing with the situation like you did! So many people make the lame excuse that getting bullied is part of life and you should just leave it alone! My husband who is not a little man and wasn't in high school fell victim to a bully. The boy was just crazy and didn't like that he was hanging out with a girl he liked, he would threaten him and it went as far as him removing the lug nuts from his tires so the tire came off while he was driving! The school he went to was in an affluent area and unfortunately the school didn't do anything about it! I am glad that you are teaching your son that he does not have to take abuse like that and that you are making sure the school is accountable for doing something about the situation! I really hope it gets better!

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  39. Oh Lish, I'm just reading this post and it makes me sick! You did the right thing, there are just times when we have to step back in to help them. This was one of those times. I totally agree with you on the relationships with staff, and the fact that you were able to help find out what happened AND keep your demeanor calm will do nothing but help you all in the long run.

    Off to read about the next few days...**hugs**

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  40. Sorry, I'm only catching up now and I'm sorry he had to go through this. Bullying seems so common and I fear for my child as well (you know he has special needs). Another blogger went through this with her son too so I thought I'd share her experience with you (she has several posts abt it, you can read them in her blog):

    http://knottyawetizmmama.blogspot.com/2010/04/letter-to-school-district.html

    Hang in there Mama!

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  41. What a grotty, grotty thing to happen to your little guy. Just horrible. Well done for knobbling the bully there and then and tackling it head on. I can't imagine what I'd do if that happened to one of my girls!

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  42. I'm so sorry this happened!!! Poor Connor. This is so sad. I guess he's been officially initiated to middle school. I'm proud to hear of your response, both in comforting him, and then standing up for him and making him feel safe in his school. He's lucky to have you. Looking on the bright side, I'm glad he is doing well academically and in sports, in spite of this bully. Hang in there, and send him my love...

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  43. Mama Bear does what Mama Bear needs to do. A bad situation, but it sounds like you handled it perfectly and the school stepped up. It's really great that you as a parent can be really involved now, not like when I was a kid when if the parents were involved you got it twice as bad. Things are better now when bullying isn't seen as trivial or a kid problem. You inspire me. =)

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