Okay, Here's The Scoop
If you remember, there's a child in Diminutive One's class who has been tormenting him all year.
There's one every year. Every. Goddamned. Year.
Diminutive One is different. Quirky. Unuuuuuusual. He doesn't have the same skills as other kids when it comes to social intercourse. He doesn't read social cues very well and he doesn't understand or acknowledge common social constructs such as pecking order, cliquism, and dog eat dog mentality.
In some ways, that's a good thing. He doesn't follow blindly and he doesn't kiss ass. He is not easily influenced to do things he wouldn't otherwise do. In other words, he is definitely his own person.
When he's older, I think these traits will be extremely advantageous.
But now, it simply makes him a target. He might as well walk around wearing a bullseye sandwich board.
And I don't know how to fix that.
So every year, there is some kid that zeroes in on his vulnerabilities and then exploits them to the fullest.
We've been dealing with one kid in particular all year long, with no real resolution. Nobody seems to be taking it seriously.
In fact, I learned at one point, that Diminutive One's desk was placed in a group with this child! First of all, I don't understand the group seating thing at all (I know AA, but I still don't get it). And secondly, why in the world would the teacher place my son in a small group in close proximity to a child that has made sport out tormenting him all year long??
Does that make sense to any of you???
My request that he be moved was honored without much fuss, but there was a definite sense of being placated.
Now, though he is sensitive, Diminutive One is very stoic. He doesn't want people to know he's upset, or angry, or hurt. He does not wear his heart on his sleeve.
He would rather stand in a room full of his peers naked, than have anyone see him cry.
Needless to say, it can sometimes be difficult to guage his emotional status.
So I thought after the last go-round, in which I expressed my dissatisfaction with the way things were being handled between the two, things had gotten better. He hasn't said much about the kid recently, except to complain that he wouldn't particpate in the class musical and was ruining everything by refusing to sing. Typical, but nothing that set off alarm bells for me.
Last week however, those alarm bells were ringing loud and clear. Deafeningly so.
In the car after a disappointing baseball game, I was haranguing him about giving up. They were losing badly, and at one point in the game, he simply stopped participating. I was yammering on and on about how that's not fair to his team and he can't let them down like that, and yada, yada yada....
And right there in the van, on a dark and winding road, my son had a complete emotional breakdown.
"I TRY MOM! I TRY AND I TRY AND I TRY AND IT DOESN'T MATTER! EVERYONE SHITS ON ME. EVERYONE HATES ME. NO MATTER WHAT I DO, EVERYONE THINKS I'M STUPID AND WORTHLESS!
He sobbed until he was hyperventilating and dry heaving. He railed and he ranted. He pounded the window with his fists and he stomped his feet on the floor.
And all I could do was drive.
I was stunned. All this over a baseball game? I thought. But of course, it was more than baseball.
When we got home, I dried his tears and held him until he calmed down.
"So, there's more going on than losing a baseball game. Talk to me."
He was done yelling, but I was less concerned when he was angry. The complete and utter defeat in his eyes and his slumped shoulders sent tendrils of fear down my spine and curled into my belly.
He mumbled, "I just can't take it anymore. I just can't. Every goddamned day I have to listen to his bullshit. It never ends."
Right then and there I decided that he would not return to school until somebody fucking DID something.
People..if you could have seen the relief in my son's eyes when I told him he would be staying home until I could figure out a way to fix this...you would have wept.
I wept all night long. I tossed and I turned, thinking about all the terrible things that could happen if I fuck this up; if I can't make it right for him. This is why children commit suicide. This is why they bring guns to school and shoot people. This is why they kill small animals or start fires.
Because nobody listens, and nobody takes their torment seriously.
But you know what? It's not a rite of passage. It's not a harmless little game of one upmanship. It's not boys will be boys.
It's abuse, pure and simple. If an adult treated another adult that way, would we be so blythe? No. We would not.
And I'll be goddamned if I'll find my kid hanging at the end of a rope.
So the next day, I took him to the movies. On a weekday, at 11:00 am. We had slurpees and popcorn and we put our feet up on the seats in front of us because we were the only ones in the theatre.
It was completely decandant and he was thrilled to bits by the sheer wickedness of what we were doing.
I was worried, to be honest. I've tangled with the truant officer before.
But the smile on his face and the bounce in his step assured me that I was doing the right thing.
That was almost a week ago, and he's still home. It's a long, story, and not pretty.
Tomorrow I'll give you "Okay, Here's The Scoop; Part II" alternatively titled, "Why Cobb County Sucks And Don't For a Minute Think They Actually Give A Shit About Your Child".
Footnote: I had qualms about sharing this with my readers. It's his business, afterall, not mine. And I'm not sure if I were in his shoes, that I would want my business being trumpeted over the internets by my Mom. BUT...
This is an important issue. If you read the link above, you know that elementary children ARE killing themselves. And if I can help someone by sharing our experience, then it's worth it.