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Not Step Related.. but Kid Related advice?

ESMOD's picture

So, it's not my problem, but my brother's family dealing with this issue.

His son is in elementary school... 4th/5th grade (never can keep this straight..haha).  It's a private school.  His wife also works at the school in an educator position.

The problem is that there are two brothers that have taken to targeting my nephew.  He is a smart kid.. talented at sports but he is not a huge kid for his age. 

Apparently, despite complaints nothing has been done about the bullying.  Well, my brother got frustrated with his wife not handling things and went to the school himself.  Apparently the parents of the "bullies" were contacted.

The next day one of the bullies bloodies my nephews nose.. he got suspended till the school year end I believe.. but his brother still is at school from what I understand.

I don't exactly know what kind of advice I could give in this situation.

1.  I know it's somewhat unfair that he is upset because his wife has not taken care of it.  She works there.. her role isn't just mom and she can't go off script from what the school tells her to do.  She isn't the teacher in charge of these kids anyway.. so it's not like she can supervise it.

2.  I kind of get the school initially taking a he said/she said approach and not punishing without more proof.. but now there IS proof right?  and since it is siblings.. even if one has been sent home.. that still leaves one bully there... so what can be done to protect my nephew?

3.  And... while it seems like this is a 2 on 1 bullying situation.. I don't know if my nephew could be doing anything to fuel any of it.  again, he is smart and talented athletically.. is he bragging.. being a smart a##?  (family genetics smart a##'s haha)

Has anyone ever been in a situation like this?  On the one hand, my brother could find a new school.. but it's also his wife's employer... so that is a bit complicated right? What would you guys say to your brother... if the school won't take it seriously.. and there has been literal blood shed.. would you pull your kid and find another school?


SeeYouNever's picture

That is a complicated situation I wonder what the mom's relationship is like with the nephew's teacher.

A lot of private schools have a discount or free tuition for the children of employees. My brother-in-law works for a school like this but my nephew is only four and in preschool and my BIL does maintenance on the school on non-school hours so it's a bit of a different situation. However since it's very common for parents to work at a school where their kid goes there should be some sort of policy in place. Are parents allowed to see their kids during the school day? The wife may not be allowed to interact with her son during school hours. 

Another thing to consider is that if he is in four or fifth grade then that is an age where kids want nothing to do with their parents. You're right that is possible that he is instigating and leaving out some part of the story. But now that there is physical evidence of the bullying the school really has a responsibility to do something. I think your brother needs to bring this to the school and say that if nothing is done he will pursue legal action because his son is being injured at school due to unaddressed bullying. That should get the school's attention.

ESMOD's picture

I think that's really all they can do.. and possibly remove his son from the school if the school can't adequately protect him.

I actually really do understand that his mom really can't do much in her position because she is there to teach.. not to be a parent role.  It's not like she can pull these bullies aside and threaten bodily harm if they don't knock it off.

It seems like when my brother went to the school.. the kids' parents were called.  It's likely that is what prompted the "retalliation" the next day when he got the bloody nose.

It's tough.. there is even part of me that thinks that kids like this are often being raised in a bad situation themselves and taking out their grievance on some innocent person.. (my nephew).. they may have gotten their own punishment from their parents.. maybe they are abusive.. who knows.

I do think my brother is going to expect the school to do more... hopefully this can get resolved though.

CastleJJ's picture

As someone who's younger brother was bullied in middle school to the point of being bloodied several times and having two parents on the school board, I can say that it's complicated. 

My brother was labeled as the "problem kid" because he is high-functioning autistic. My brother never did the instigating though; he was quiet, a little socially awkward, and generally kept to himself. My brother was beat to a bloodied pulp several times, but the school believed my brother had instigated it. The school refused to believe him for months and my parents (who should have had pull given their status on the school board), were dismissed time and time again. One time, my brother knew these kids were coming to beat him up, so he positioned himself under one of the huge ceiling dome mirrors to take the beating. When he went to the office to report it, they again dismissed him, but my brother knew there was video evidence because the dome mirror he stood under was directly in line with a security camera, so the reflection off of the mirror would have been caught on film. The principal pulled up the security camera footage and sure enough, the whole incident was caught on film via the mirror with my brother being the innocent party. The kids were suspended. 

Schools are terrible about protecting the victims of bullying. Frankly, they don't have capacity for it. The one brother was suspended until years end. Have other incidents occurred since with the other brother? If not, I would leave it alone and see how it plays out. If there are more incidents, then action needs to be taken with the school. Pulling nephew out of school seems drastic. 

ESMOD's picture

Yeah.. changing schools is a drastic move.  This wasn't the first incident.. but apparently the one that actually drew some reaction/action by the school.  

I think at a minimum that all the teachers etc.. should be aware of the conflict.. and the problems and make an effort to ensure that the remaining boy and my nephew don't cross paths to the extent it's possible.  It's a small school.. so there is bound to be some interaction.. but maybe the kid will be sufficiently scared by the consequences his brother got.

I think my brother would prefer if they would move to expel the other kid.. not sure if there has been enough evidence beyond this one bloody nose incident to warrant that though.  It would likely drive both kids out of the school if one got expelled though since the parents would probably want both kids in the same school.. it would be the best outcome though not the most likely outcome i guess. 

advice.only2's picture

Your brother should put it out there on the schools website and social media, that seems to be the only thing that gets their attention now a days.  Here locally we had a mother call out a group of kids and their parents who were bullying other kids...they also reported the kids and their parents to the police.  I'm not sure what the follow up was, but it got the school districts attention because they took the time to address it and send home letters to all the parents detailing how they were going to be implementing stricter rules and recourse if a kid was found bullying other students.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

My son had this issue in middle school. A teacher witnessed the other kid repeatedly "flipping" my son's jacket hood onto his face after he told him to stop, then progressed to pushing him. The teacher did nothing and this was during class time. Finally after about 15 minutes, my son punched him and he fell. Several kids who were there told me the same story so i know my son wasn't instigating it at all. My son was suspended 3 days, but wasn't in trouble at home. I let my dad take him fishing. This happened in a classroom full of kids and it was the last instance that i know of that he was bullied. 

I know as parents we aren't supposed to advocate for violence, but I don't know of a better way. As prevention, maybe talk to him about avoiding being in situations where he could be alone with the bullies. Bathrooms are often areas where attacks occur, so he needs to be careful there. If your brother does go this route, he should teach him some self-defense skills or get him some lessons, then instruct him that if/when he does fight back, to do it in front of a lot of witnesses, preferably some male teachers who can quickly break the fight up. The kid has already been injured despite his parents going to the school administrators. It's sad that they pay for a private education and still have to deal with this, but it looks like the school isn't going to help. True bullies will prefer easy targets. If the boy is seen as someone who will fight back, they will hopefully see him as not fun to pick on and not worth the trouble. 

thinkthrice's picture

I gave him permission to defend himself.   Bullying will unfortunately never be eradicated and has been around for as long as human nature has.  I was bullied constantly in school.   Avoidance and if that is not possible, strike back as bullies look for those who will not fight back. 

Survivingstephell's picture

I think it might be best for your brother to handle this. Leave his wife out if it as she works there.  And he does need to be the squeaky wheel or nothing will get done.  Exposure to public knowledge is most effective in my experience.  Administration does not want to be found slacking in this day of school shootings.  Use that for leverage.  

24 years as a SM's picture

Where we live the private schools still have to follow the guidelines that the state has in place for no bullying in schools. If the schools, private or public do not follow the rules, then you can get the police involved. If other people saw you nephew get punched, then tell your brother to go to the police and file assault charges against the bully. If the nephew had to go to the doctor for the bloody nose, send a copy of the receipt for the medical to the bullies parents and the school for them to pay, if they don't take them to small claims court. 

Another route to go with this is file harassment complaint with the police, or at least have the police document, each and every time this happens. Schools are supposed to be a safe place for kids to learn, not a place where they are harassed or beat up.

7 years ago, I went full on scorched earth with a public school, my youngest GS was being harassed, bullied, beat up and the school did nothing. The final straw was when the bully slammed a door on GS11 fingers and broke 3 of his fingers. We had our own documentation from GS friends writing statements, videos from the school bus of the bulling. I went ot the principal and he blew me off, went to the district office, same thing, just poo poo'd me that boys will be boys. Do not ever piss off this grandma. The next step was going to the sheriff's department and filing a complaint for assault, harassment. We went directly to the DA's office and told them that I sincerely hope they follow through on this issue or it would be come a very large matter on every social media and news station that I could get to air the problem and that I would make sure that the DA's office would be the main cause of justice not being served.

I also contacted CPS, to file a case against the school and the bullies parents, for innocent kids being exposed to violence in a supposed safe environment. We have a friend that was an attorney that was giving us all the advise for free and was willing to go to court with us to solve the problem. The bully was charged and got probation, the parents and the school had to pay all medical and therapy bills for GS for that school year. 


ESMOD's picture

The age of the kids in this case make it more difficult I guess... but, I do think that if there were witnesses... that they should take action.