Jamie has been having a lot of trouble lately with one of his little friends at school (we’ll call him “A”). A and Jamie are inseparable most of the time, yet Jamie comes home every day with bite marks, or bumps, or bruises, or scrapes, always attributed to A. Not having any idea if Jamie was only telling me his side of the story and there was more that I didn’t know, I talked to his school. I know that Jamie has no qualms about defending himself when bigger bullies are giving him trouble, so it surprised me to see him letting himself be picked on by A, who despite being an entire year older than Jamie, is literally half Jamie’s size.

After a conference on Monday about this, Jamie’s preschool owners started reviewing recent tapes of classroom playtime (bless that webcam!) and had another conference with me this morning. Apparently, Jamie is NOT defending himself, and they both feel it is because he knows A is so much smaller than him and he doesn’t want to hurt his friend, even when his friend is bullying him. It’s a sad situation, particularly because I’m sort of proud of Jamie for having such scruples at his young age, but at the same time, I don’t want him allowing himself to be victimized to preserve a friendship. I don’t want a two-year-old with Stockholm syndrome!

It’s also sad because there are also GOOD things that have happened as a result of Jamie’s friendship with A, namely the fact that only a few months ago we were discussing possible speech pathology options for Jamie’s slow speech, and now he’s talking a blue streak. A is very articulate (probably because he is so much older than Jamie), and Jamie seems to be picking more up from A in the speech department than adults have been able to impart on him of late. So there are good things, too.

But it had escalated last Friday when A stole Jamie’s hat, threw it in the trash, stole it back again later and then promptly tried to flush it down the potty. That’s when I spoke up to the owners about the growing trend of A’s bullying.

Today when I brought Jamie to school, I was given a two-page letter/action plan on the preschool owners’ observations so far and what to expect in the near future. Apparently, they have contacted a behavior specialist to start coming in to observe A’s behavior (apparently he’s running wild nonstop, and no matter if other kids occasionally cause trouble, Aiden is always the common denominator in every mischievous act). The specialist will observe, make recommendations, track progress, etc. until A’s behavior improves. Additionally, the school has conferenced with A’s parents, who are very receptive, and will be having them come in three times a week to watch remotely, then enter the classroom and “assist” A with friend-appropriate behavior to add consistency to his previously “parent-free” zone.

I was really impressed with the proactive nature and quick actions taken by Jamie’s preschool once they were more aware of the concerns we were having. It’s been handled so professionally, and they have really wasted no time in getting to the bottom of it, which I appreciate immensely.

Here’s to hoping Jamie has a great day at school today!

–Gracie

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