Wednesday, August 24, 2011

High Hopes


School starts for our kids in a little less than two weeks.  They're both as ready as they can be, but I'm not sure I'm ready yet.  It's not that I want them to have more time off (heaven only knows I'd relish a few days to myself).  It's that I'm a little apprehensive about the bullying situation our son found himself in last year.

The junior high school has been very responsive to us this summer.  I've spoken to the assistant principal, the guidance counselor, the director of special services, and to Safety Guy's new resource teacher.  The assistant principal asked me a number of questions about how we could help Safety Guy make the transition to seventh grade.  The guidance counselor gave him a private tour of the school and walked him through his entire schedule.  We'll be meeting the new director of special services next week, so she can get to know Safety Guy.  And his resource teacher called me at home tonight to talk about him, and has already addressed one of the issues I brought up regarding gym class that the assistant principal passed on to her.  I couldn't ask for a better response to my requests for help.  I really am hopeful that this will be a better year for Safety Guy. 

No, I'm nervous about the random factor - the bullies themselves.  I don't think I pushed hard enough on the middle school last year about the bullying, so I'm going to be even more on top of it this year in junior high.  I'm not looking for perfection, but I'm absolutely expecting accountability, and hoping for progress.  I'm hoping for less provocation and bullying by the other students against Safety Guy, and for less anxiety and fewer overreactions from him.  I hope that the bullies learn to curb their hurtful behavior (for their own sakes, as well as for our son and their other victims), and I hope our son learns further coping skills and strategies to deal with bullying, and how to stand up for himself with proper assertiveness.  The teachers and staff can't be everywhere all the time, but I hope more is done this year to separate the bullies from their victims, and make the consequences against the bullies stick.  Because I'm under no illusions about bullying going away.  It's part of our culture now, more than ever, sad to say.  But that doesn't mean we have to take it.