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Friday, December 14, 2007

So, how was your day at school? How was the fight?

I'm beginning to wonder if I should ask this question as a follow up to the first.

Yesterday, on the way home, my daughter breathlessly told me about how one girl walked up and started punching another in the middle school courtyard during lunch. The entire eighth grade knew about the upcoming smack down, it seems, and were all there to watch, as one girl, Anne, walked up, and start punching another girl, Megan, known for being the eighth-grade school bully.

"She totally deserved it," said my daughter, who said that the first girl had bragged all morning about how she was going to let Megan have it.

"Even the teachers weren't sympathetic, no one likes here," my daughter continued.

Anne, who started the fight, had a black eye at the end of it, while Megan broke her hand, punching back.

Finally one of the teachers arrived on the scene, separated the two, and marched them into the principal's office. A one-day suspension for the bully, a three-day expulsion for the girl who started the fight.

This whole conversation led into a discussion on bullies, the way girls fight (lots of hair pulling and slapping), the way boys fight (lots of punching), and why any kid's a bully in the first place. Apparently this bully comes from nice parents, according to my daughter, and a $1 million home.

Okay, but bullies aren't born, they are made, I reminded her. The middle school bullies in my school (before it became the subject of studies and movies like "Mean Girls") hired a much bigger girl than herself to slam people (including me) into lockers.

I surmised that she obviously has problems, probably at home that no one knows about.

"Well, she's a bitch," J. declared, with a sideways glance. But the "bitch" apparently has her uses.

Later that night, as she was brushing her teeth, J., my daughter said that she hoped Megan didn't get in too much trouble. She's a good basketball player and the team needs her.

"We'd really suck without her," she said.


D-Caff said...

Maybe I'm naive. I know my daughter (grade 7) is. But I NEVER hear about this stuff going on at her Tacoma middle school. (Even though I'm sure it does).
I walk her to school every day w/ my hubby -- we do have to bail out of the picture before we get to the school door, but we always walk on the opposite side of the street and make sure she gets in the door without being kidnapped.
There are always hordes of kids hanging around, waiting to go in. Most of them seem really nice. No one is smoking dope, fighting or doing much of anything anti-social that I can see.
Anyway, if this kind of horror goes on at her school, she either stays out of the way or just doesn't tell dear old mom because she knows I will have a heart attack.

Barbara Clements said...

Apparently my daughter seems to view this as a spectator sport. She doesn't hang with the kids who fight, but she enjoys watching and egging them on.

When I voiced concern, she assured me that it's rare to see girls fight.(politically incorrect comments to've been warned)

"Mom, it's usually just the Mexicans and the African-Americans. And the Mexicans usually lose (boys) because they're just dumb."

Frankly, I'm not sure how to respond to this.

D-caff said...

First, you need to explain that stereotyping by race is not only un-PC, it's dumb.
Then, you need to explain that watching this kind of crap is degrading, both to the participants and to herself. She should have more respect for herself, if not for them.
If she doesn't want to be a tattletale, at least she can walk away and not give the combatants the satisfaction of an audience.
You can also try some "blessed are the peacemakers" talk" and encourage her to go with a group of friends and tell an adult when this happens or is about to happen.
A.'s school had an anti-violence program last year -- can't remember the name of it, will have to search the Web -- and they also had a component for parents. It was very moving, put on by the family of one of the girls killed at Columbine. They ask all the kids to take an anti-violence pledge. Maybe it worked? (Or maybe not. There was also that horrible shooting at Foss, and those kids went through the program too. Sigh.)

"All we are saying, is give peace a chance."
John Lennon

D-caff said...

Addendum: A. just told me several kids got suspended this week from her school for planning a fight, although no actual fight took place.
Like I said, I may be naive....

Barbara Clements said...

Well, I did give her the "Hispanics, J. not "Mexicans" and they are not dumb."

I'm not sure if it took.

I'm having a tough time getting around this view of its okay to watch a fight. Esp. when the girl getting creamed seems to be so thoroughly disliked.