School bus bullies and how/whether to teach your children to defend themselves

Danielle - posted on 02/25/2011 ( 20 moms have responded )

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My son (who is in first grade) gets off the bus yesterday and first thing out of his mouth was "Mom! These boys (who are in 6th and 3rd grade) tried to make me kiss their private parts!" I asked exactly what happened and he showed me how they took his head and shoved him down. (These same boys were calling him gay b/c he had a girlfriend a few weeks ago) I was furious. I instantly called the school and got in touch with transpertation. Luckily there are cameras on his bus so they are going to investigate what happened and I also talked to the bus driver and she moved him. But I also took it one step futher. My son has permission to do what he needs to do if they do something like that again. He knows not to start a fight and understands the difference in defending himself and being mean. He did the right thing by coming to me and telling me but I can't be on the bus to/from school to protect him. It's his bus driver's place but it's kind of hard to keep an eye on 30 kids and drive at the same time. How would you handle it if it were your child?

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My 2nd daughter had a bully but not on the bus. We did all we could and nothing was ever done. So I taught her to fight and I taught her the consequences if she did. A few days later I got talked to from the sitter and told the sitter what I had done. She told me I should do something about it and I agreed. I informed her I was taking my daughter out to celebrate at our local ice cream shop and walked off. (my daughter gave the boy that was hurting her exactly what he gave her every time he did it. He pushed her, she pushed him back harder. He knocked her down she clocked in the face. He tried to kick her feet out from under her, she kicked him in the stomach. He stopped for the day. He tried every so often and my daughter gave as good as she got every time. She also spent time in time out for it and every time she did I would inform the sitter she was going to celebrate for a job well done. (really pissed off her aunt) roflmao

Danielle - posted on 02/25/2011

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I just got back from a meeting at the school and they did look at the video and could only prove one of the boys actually did anything wrong but that's progress. I tried to get them to tell me the boy's parent's names so I could have a talk with them myself but as I knew they would, they refused. He seems to be taking it ok just angry of course.My husband and him had a little sparring lesson last night and my husband dropped his guard for a second and he got popped in the jaw lol. He later told me that if Logan does hit one of them that they will leave him alone b/d "It stung a little bit" I'm not a fan of violence either and as I told the counseler this morning, it was one thing when they were tripping him or popping him in the head but that's unacceptable and way out of line, borderlining on sexual abuse. When they questioned the boy as of why he did it he told them that my son was getting on his nerves. WTH? He's in first grade! He gets on EVERYBODY'S nerves! That's no reason to disrespect him. My biggest question is where did this child learn this in the first place?

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Nikki - posted on 02/25/2011

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@ Danielle, I hope you don't think I was insinuating that I thought you were a bad role model for teaching your son self defence, that certainly wasn't my attention. You know your son better than anyone and are the best judge of character as to which method to use. I was just using it as an example of how some children react when they are given the green light to use self defence. I don't think that parents always think about the implications when teaching their children such lessons, but it's clear that you have. If I were in your situation I would teach my daughter the exact same thing. (I might also be tempted to slip a pepper spray into her lunch box! ;P)

@ Theresa I still think that it should be looked into, although children are having sex earlier and earlier that's not really the point. If the sex or sexual acts are performed with consent as much as it is disturbing and wrong, not to mention illegal it's not as disturbing as a kid who thinks it's ok to try and force a smaller child into sexual acts. If that bully was my kid I would be sending them straight to a psychiatrist.

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Nikki... while it may be a bit shocking coming from a 3rd grader... 6th graders are having sex, so behavior like that, while completely BEYOND inappropriate, is not really surprising.

Danielle - posted on 02/25/2011

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I'm going to call next week and find out where classes are being held. He may not every have to use it but maybe just knowing he can defend himself will give him a little more self confidence.

@Nikki~ At first I wasn't calm at all but if I had called the school yelling and cussing my son would have seen and I don't want him handling his problems like that. First and foremost I'm a role model and I want him to see that problems can make you angry and you need to handle them but you need to keep a level head about it. Not to mention my husband was throwing a fit bad enough for both of us lol. I'm not sure that the parents were involved. I'm pretty sure they were but I wasn't able to ask all of the questions I had b/c she had to go handle another issue. I plan to inquire about it Monday. I understand what you mean by lashing out but my son is very passive. I've had to pull my four yr old daughter off of him while she was beating the crap out of him before and instead of smacking her to make her get off of him he just hunkered down and took it. Last night my husband did scenarios to make sure he understood what was self defence and what wasn't (that's how my husband got popped in the jaw lol that was priceless) We have continually had the conversation about walking away and not stooping to their level b/c these same boys have been teasing him for the past two mnths. But nothing like this, it was just kids being kids. He told us the reason he didn't hit them was b/c he didn't want to get in trouble. So I explained to him that if anyone EVER tried to do anything like that (sexual) or tried to make him do it to smack them square in the jaw. He understood that he may get in trouble on the bus but I would take care of it.

Nikki - posted on 02/25/2011

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You were very calm, I know they wouldn't give you the parents names, but have they involved them? Is the bully receiving counselling? I think I would call family services or CPS depending where you live. Where is this kid learning this behaviour, this is a serious offence and should be investigated thoroughly.

As far as the self defence goes, while I agree with it for a very serious situation I do have concerns as to a child's ability to use correct judgement for when it's appropriate. I worry that it can cause a lot of trouble for children who use it, children feel threatened by bullying, it can be an emotional response to lash out, if the bully has not touched your child then your child is going to be the one in trouble if he defends himself. I think if you are going to use this strategy you need to be very clear about the ground rules and even look at role playing scenario's so he understands when it is and isn't appropriate. I would also discuss other solutions for bullying, talk to him about how to communicate effectively with bullies, how to walk away and find help before things escalate into a physical confrontation.

Good luck, I hope your little boy is ok :)

[deleted account]

Taekwondo is a lesser known form of Martial Art than Karate, but they are very similar--Karate is the Japanese art while Taekwondo is Korean. I highly recommend it :) Our son has been learning since he was 4 and his Master expects him to be on the Black Belt Team when he is 7 yrs old and a full Black Belt around his 8th birthday, depending on when the testing occurs (they only do Black Belt testing twice a year).
I love the values he is learning through the art, and the team atmosphere and friendships he has made through his school are wonderful for him. He has grown so confident, focused, and happy over the past 2 years!

Lacye - posted on 02/25/2011

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I think you did the right thing. You were a lot more calm about it than I would have been.

Danielle - posted on 02/25/2011

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@ Kelly ~ I am actually entertaining the thought of putting him in some kind of self defence class. He has mentioned before that he would like to lear Karate.
When he got home today I asked him how it went and he said the third grader actually came to him and told him he wouldn't be "mean" anymore. So I'm assuming that was sort of an apology. Logan said that they were all seperated and the ride today was "fun" again. But I will be keeping a close eye on the situation.

Ez - posted on 02/25/2011

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God dammit Danielle, that is AWFUL!! This is the second case of sexual harassment I have heard of in young school children in the last two weeks. I would be beyond furious. And I would certainly be advising my child to stand up for themselves if it were to happen again.

My Dad always told us that if he ever heard of us starting a fight, we'd be in for it. But if someone started on us, we better be the one to finish it. I clearly remember two boys attempting to intimidate me when I was 9 or 10. I beat the ever-loving shit out of them both (keep in mind I was 5'4 at 10yrs old, so much taller and stronger than these shitheads) and that was the first and last time I ever dealt with bullying.

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I'm glad they moved the children, but I really think more should be done. As for the self defense issue, I have taught my son that he is NEVER to hit anyone unless there is absolutely no other option, which I cannot imagine happening in elementary school.
My son is 6 yrs old and in kindergarten. He is a blue belt in Taekwondo and can take an offender down in less than 3 seconds without ever hitting or kicking him. I find that much more effective than throwing punches or kicking wildly--remember, in the middle of a punch or kick, his defenses are down, so if the other kid is bigger or faster, he is opening himself up to blows. The best defense is to contain the offender in a lock or hold so they cannot throw any more punches until an adult arrives to handle the situation.

Danielle - posted on 02/25/2011

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The counseler had to leave to handle an issue so I couldn't ask her what kind of punishment the boy would recieve. I'm not even sure she can tell me that but all I know is that they moved Logan on the bus, but in my oppinion that alone won't stop the bullying completely. I'm just going to stay on top of it and if ANYTHING at all major or small happens again I will be back up there and if that doesn't help I will take it to the board of education. I'm not going to take him off the bus b/c I don't want him to get in the state of mind that you should run from your problems. But they better do something b/c I WILL become their worste nightmare.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/25/2011

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So what are they doing to prevent this from happening again?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/25/2011

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The only thing that I would do differently? Contact the principal...go down to the office at the school and talk with him/her directly and demand something be done immediately becouse they could have a sexual harrassment case on there hands.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/25/2011

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Oh man...keep us updated on this! I, like most of us...know exactly how cruel kids can be on a bus. I don't know if I want my son to ride it when he is in kinder and first grade if at all for this reason. Kids can be worse bullies when they can duck behind a seat. I hope these kids get REEMED!

I am so sorry for your son...how is he dealing with this?

Becky - posted on 02/25/2011

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That's awful!
My husband says the best way to deal with bullies, after telling them to leave you alone, is to pick the biggest one and start beating on them, and they'll leave you alone when they see that you're going to stand up for yourself. I don't know - I'm not a big fan of violence, but on the other hand, I do think you're less likely to be bullied if you display self confidence and they know you're not going to take it. I guess you just have to have a balance between defending yourself and becomming a bully yourself. But yeah, I certainly wouldn't fault a child for hauling off on someone who was trying to get him to kiss his privates!

Katherine - posted on 02/25/2011

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:O
You handled it better than I would have. I hope they find it on camera so those boys get into BIG trouble. How horrible.

I also hope there is some serious school involvement..

[deleted account]

I find nothing wrong with teaching appropriate self-defense. I think you handled the situation well. I so wish that all buses had two adults on board...you've pinpointed a major problem by saying that a driver can't be expected to drive safely while supervising 30+ children.

Tabitha - posted on 02/25/2011

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I think we need to teach our children how and when to protect themselves. There are circumstances where physical violence is the only way to stop something physical or sexual from happening. If we don't teach or children to defend and protect themselves we are only teaching them to be submissive. If someone puts there hands on him in a threatening or sexual manner, he should be able to use physical force to get those hands off of him, only if of course other measures have been put in place. We can't teach our children violence but we also can't let them be bullied into submission because they aren't allowed to defend themselves. There is a fine line in what is considered bullying, but if your child feels in any way that harm is imminent, i would applaud them for defending themselves. However nowadays the child is normally punished for using physical violence when he was only trying to protect himself. I also think what they child says to the bully has a big impact on wether there has to be any force. Teach your child what to say and do when this is happening, if he has the right words and clever comebacks he may never have to resort to any violence period. Its ok to give him permission to protect himself, but there needs to be a clear line that he should not cross, and im certain that you have told him what constitutes crossing the line.

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