Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Brawl

Last Friday, B missed lunchtime at school because of a follow up doctor’s appointment. He also missed participating in a huge fight that took place on the playground during recess.

The incident involved the majority of his friends. I’m not sure what started it. There was tackling, faces being shoved in the snow, hitting, sitting on other children. Sounds kind of barbaric and upsetting to me. To my husband, it sounded more like typical boy stuff. Coming from a household of only girls, I am still learning when it comes to all things boy related.

The boys all ended up standing against the wall for the rest of recess. This is seen as a punishment at their school. When they returned to class, they were each issued a yellow card-another type of punishment for poor behavior.

A friend of mine called to fill me in on what happened. Her son was involved. She was upset with him, as I would be.

The fight began with a particular child. One that has been causing issues on the playground all year. One of those kids you would rather not have in your child’s class. The parents of this child are very nice. They are also very naïve. He was not disciplined this weekend at home at all for his actions. This is his third such fight this year and there have been no consequences for any of them. I know this because I know his mother very well. This child was worried about his school consequences to the point that he faked a stomachache on Monday so that he did not have to attend school and face the teacher. His parents let him stay home even though they were aware of his faking.

We talked to B about the incident. We asked him what he would have done. We’ve tried to teach him about guilt by association all year. This is a hard lesson for a seven year old. His good friend got the same punishment as the others after he went over to try and stop the fight. He ended up getting pulled in instead. We’ve preached up and down about whom you choose for friends and what that means. We’ve talked about consequences for your actions and about good decision-making. I know some of it has sunk in. He has a grasp on pieces of this and has proven that to us recently.

I hope he would have made the right decision if he were there. But, I know it’s hard. It’s hard to walk away and be the only one doing so. It’s hard to be a lone voice when the bully is shouting out orders and all seem to be listening. Is it right for us to expect this from him? Is it too much for us to ask? I don’t think so. I think it’s just the beginning. He needs to be able to hear himself above the noise. To hear the echoes from home guiding him with these decisions. If there is a next time, and I’m sure there will be, I hope he gets the chance to stand still and listen before he acts. And to know that we are always there with him.


  1. We have a bully kid in our neighborhood who is such a little rat! And his parents are so blase' about the whole thing.

    Sounds like you did a good job!

  2. I think we all have one of those in our schools/neighborhoods, don't we? I think you handled it great!

  3. Oh man, what a situation!
    We have been up and down the river with trying to get our daughter to learn how to choose friends who are good for her. It's so frustrating! Being a kid is tough and I do not envy my kids at all. However, sometimes it is even harder to go through it a second time around as a parent. Sigh...

  4. Isn't it hard to send them out into the world armed with only their own judgement? But it sounds like your son would have made a good decision, and good for you, discussing it with him afterward, even though he hadn't been there. Parents like the one you described do their children no favors, unfortunately, do they?