3rd grade bully

This post is not about Josh….. it’s about another boy!  Let’s call him Brad!

As long as I can remember, Emily has said that school is awesome!

Whenever the “awesome” is not the first word she says when I pick her up, it means something happened.  As she is getting older and has more words, it is easier to figure out what happened but back when she was 9…. this was not an easy task!

Going back to 3rd grade… suddenly Emily is not quite herself and I can’t figure out why.  Lucky for me, I take Emily to school every morning and I walk her in the school to get her set-up for the day.

It’s been a couple of days of Emily acting a little strange…

As I am dropping her off, her teacher asked me if Emily told me what happened…


Now I am quite concerned.

It took the teacher a day or so to figure it out herself as Emily didn’t speak-up.

Brad was sitting behind Emily in the class.  Emily’s hair at the time were always pulled back in a ponytail.  This little boy had the whole class convinced he had a lighter in his pocket and he told Emily that he was going to light her hair on fire…  Of all the things he could have said to her, to set her up on fire was probably the worst.

Emily is afraid of fire, I have a friend who has a theory as to why but that is a story for another time. Since Emily was little, we haven’t been able to have candles at home or at a restaurant…  She is REALLY afraid of fire!!!

Can you imagine her discomfort when Brad told her he was going to set her up on fire?  Who says things like that???

All the students knew Emily was nervous and scared but all of them kept to themselves except one little girl…  at the end of the day, she told the teacher why Emily was acting so strange.

Tank you little girl!  I don’t know who you are and Emily couldn’t tell me who sat next to her but for that little girl I am grateful!

Once we knew what happened, the teacher separated Emily and Brad.  I thought I was clear in my expectation that Brad was not to come near Emily.  Emily had a full-time teacher assistant for her in the classroom… you would think it would be simple to keep an eye on her.

A couple of days later, when I picked Emily up after school, she was glowing.  Her day had been awesome, Brad was her friend once again and even told her he LOVED her…..



My heart was racing so fast and I was so upset at that statement that it took all my years of drama class to act as if I was happy for her.  I didn’t want Emily to think she did something wrong but I needed to get to the bottom of this.  When did he talk to her, where was her teacher and her T.A.  Was anyone else around….

The next day, I arranged to meet with her teacher before class.  She (the teacher) was glad to report that Brad was himself again and had a talk with Emily…



Am I the only one seeing something extremely wrong here…?



At that point my blood was boiling!  I was so mad that it took me some deep breathing exercises to calm down.  Than I ask Emily’s teacher if she was aware of the family violence cycle….  You know, I love you, I hurt you, I bring you flowers, I apologize, I love you again…. the next step is more hurt and normally it gets worst…

She looked at me puzzled…  Puzzled?!?!?!

Now, I don’t know Brad’s family but at this point in my head, I do not want him near my daughter.  Emily is vulnerable, she only sees the good in people and she is a target… a perfect target!!!

I believe that day that my concerns finally registered with Emily’s teacher and with her T.A.

Brad was kept at a distance, I tried to the best of my abilities to explain to Emily that Brad was not a friend and that she needed to stay away from him.  That at anytime, the kid who said he was going to set her up on fire could be back, that this “I love you” phase was cute but not permanent.  I think she understood…  But I will never know.

The following year, he wasn’t in her class and they haven’t shared a class since.  They haven’t shared any activities.

We don’t know where Brad is and I think it is better this way!  I don’t know if they would recognize each other…

Josh was one type of bully and Brad was a completely different story but still a bully!!!

Did I over-react?  Should I have given him another chance to get close to Emily?  What would you have done?

may to july 2006 309

That kid! A bully in his own way!

Emily was 7 when we moved to our current location…

Once we knew where we were living, Emily started school and daycare…


There was a boy at the daycare… let’s call him Josh…  Josh was one grade ahead of Emily at school and was being picked-up by the daycare van at the same time as Emily.

Everyday, when I picked Emily up at the daycare, she would say bye to Josh and he never ever answered her!  He didn’t matter if he was on his own or if his parents were there, he ignored her and his parents did the same!  Many times I felt like saying something to them but didn’t want to embarrass Emily…. For months even years, Emily kept saying “Hi Josh” and “Bye Josh” but he kept ignoring her.

I told her to stop, that he wasn’t worth it.  I probably called him some not really nice words but she kept at it!  Nothing I said worked.

A couple of years into this strange routine, Emily and Josh were in the same class as it was combined class (2 different grades in 1 class).

He just kept ignoring her until one day, the teacher decided to sit Emily and Josh next to each other.  The whole class was sitting 2 by 2, Emily had been sitting next to other kids without any issues.  When I saw that she was sitting next to Josh, I voiced my concerns to the teacher.  I wasn’t going to let that little piece of sh… bring my daughter’s self-esteem down.  The teacher promised to keep an eye on them and to make them work together…

Josh had to interact with Emily at school but never did he acknowledged her outside the classroom.

And she never gave up on greeting him and saying goodbye to him!  I still don’t know why she never stopped trying to make him acknowledge her or even just see her!

Eventually we moved Emily to another daycare than in 6th grade she moved to a different middle school so we don’t see Josh anymore.

From where I stand, I am happy that he is out of the picture.

Ignoring someone the way he was ignoring Emily is a form of bullying!  The fact that his parents saw nothing wrong with the way he was behaving speaks louder than words…

Should I have said something to them?  Would you have said something?